A few years ago, I was at a networking event and met a very nice man who had Business Coach on his name tag. When I asked where he had completed his coach training, he told me he hadn’t any qualifications in coaching, it was just a good way to attract clients. I was horrified! 


If you needed to have a lifesaving operation on your brain or heart you would certainly hope the medical professional assigned to your case not only had the necessary qualifications but was updating their skills on a regular basis and doing everything they could in order to operate ethically, safely and responsibly.


If you are thinking of investing in working with a coach, you may be thinking it’s not a lifesaving operation though I could point you to a number of people who would beg to differ.


I am not saying everyone needs an accredited coaching qualification to be able to have a coaching conversation but everyone needs a certain level of good quality training, at least at a foundation level to make sure they are coaching safely.


During this year I have taken the opportunity presented by the pandemic to invest even more time in my own coaching professional development. With the wonders of Zoom and not even having to leave my office, I completed an Advanced Coaching with Neuroscience certificate in the USA, 3 Brains Training in Madrid and a Team Coaching Certificate in Belgium.


A professionally trained coach, just like any other professional has invested heavily in themselves, undertaken rigorous training so they can do their very best to make sure that the service they offer their clients is one that is going to get their clients results providing the client is willing to commit.


Clients want return on investment and so I like to let people who are looking to work with me know they are not paying for a chat – they are paying for a change.


So if you looking to work with a professional coach what should you be looking for in terms of the “professional” bit?


Here are some questions to ask:


Do you have any formal certified coaching qualifications and if so, is the training provision accredited by reputable bodies who promote, develop and set the standards for best practice?


The International Coach Federation and the European Mentoring & Coaching Council EMCC are two of the ones you would be expecting to see in the coaching world as a benchmark for quality.


The ICF estimates that there are over 71,000 coaches worldwide and of those 31,538 are credentialed by ICF. As of September in the UK only 601 have obtained Professional Certified Coach (PCC) status. Clients often ask what the PCC means after my name. For those who like the stats, it means the coach has over 500 hours of coaching and the credential shows a commitment to high ethical standards and demonstration, through rigorous assessment and competence in using a variety of behaviours and skills in their work with clients.


What is your commitment to continuous professional development?

Is the coach constantly learning and investing in themselves? Have they been attending courses, webinars, doing research adding qualifications to their portfolio? Are they committed to their own self-development? If they are learning new techniques and new models and consistently updating themselves this will mean their coaching gives you variation with a wide range of proven techniques that get results.


Do you have regular supervision?


If they have a coaching supervisor with whom they meet often it means their practice will have the benefits of another professional perspective to ensure they are practicing safely and ethically.


How will you keep my data safe?


You will want the coach to demonstrate that they are GDPR complaint and registered with the ICO.


Do you operate to a Code of Ethics?


If they are a member of ICF or EMCC they will have committed to practicing under their principles meaning there are clear guidelines as to what you can expected in terms of their professional conduct, confidentiality and privacy. You can view the Code of Ethics that I adhere to here.


Do you have any case studies that you can share which demonstrate that you have coached another client in a similar situation?


In coaching we coach the person not the problem and every client is different. What you are looking for is a good track record so you can be fairly confident that you are in good hands. Read my client’s stories here.