Did you know that anyone can call themselves a coach? No training, no preparation and no supervision. Just a website and a business card and you are away.
That's because coaching is an unregulated profession, unlike, say psychology. To practice as a psychologist you must be registered with a professional body. For example, in the UK the British Psychological Society maintains a legally recognised register of chartered psychologists.
So how do you know if the coach you want to work with is competent? One way is to look on registers of accredited coaches. There are a few of these that aim to raise standards in coaching and they are a good place to start.
Another way is to check what qualifications and training your coach has. I am very proud to have achieved a Level 7 Certificate in Executive and Senior Leadership Coaching and Mentoring from the Institute of Leadership and Management.
Gaining this qualification isn't easy. The ILM 7 Certificate develops the knowledge and skills required to embed a coaching culture in an organization and to develop coaching expertise as an independent Executive Coach. It is a year-long programme of training, practice and assessment.
Key points of learning include: coaching models, eliciting values, goal setting, embedding a coaching culture, developing a coaching strategy, positive psychology and the psychological elements of executive development. In the course of a year I completed more than 170 hours of work including 3 major assignments on the theory and practice of executive coaching. I also worked with a range of clients over several months while receiving supervision.
This means that, if you work with me, you can be certain you'll be getting a high quality service, not just a website and a business card (who even has those any more anyway?).