Good day to you, my precious readers! This week I am writing from Phoenix, Arizona, where I am taking part in the AYE Conference. Attending workshops and seminars is just one of the ways to keep up with continuous learning opportunities as well as growing as a person and becoming the best (enter your profession here) possible. For coaches, there is one slightly confusing element in the picture. Here's why:

As of 2008, the US life and business coaching industry is not regulated by neither state nor federal boards. A number of privately held organizations have published their generally applicable standards of professional and ethical conduct, but so far no one institute or code has been stipulated as mandatory requirement for the profession.

A word about these organizations: the International Coach Federation ICF and the International Association of Coaching IAC are the largest in the market so far. They were both founded by Thomas J. Leonard (1955 - 2003), also founder of CoachVille School of Coaching, in an attempt to foster professional standards for continually evolving coaching methods by putting in place certification programs and guidelines.

The fact that both ICF and IAC were initiated by the same person might be confusing for those of you who wonder which certification to pursue. If I’m not mistaken, the ICF came first, so the question on my mind was, "why form another one?", unless there was something wrong with the model. I understand that nowadays, while the IAC enjoys greater popularity and has more members, the ICF aims to be perceived as independent, not affiliated with any schools, and striving for the highest level of moral and professional accomplishment for its members. They do, however, "approve" training institutes that offer courses specifically geared towards complying with ICF credentialing standards.

Certification is a process that takes time and money, so I suggest you study their websites, mission statements, ethical guidelines, and certification methods thoroughly to see which best fits your values and needs before making your decision. The differences you may find are subtle, both rely on written examinations, audio recordings of your own work, testing for evidence that you are complying with their understanding of coaching competencies and ethics. I do believe that association with one or both of these organizations can definitely be helpful in terms of networking, advertising, continuous learning, and having your information be made available to potential clients, and am still wondering myself which route to pursue.

As for the necessity of certification, depending on who your customers are you may find that some businesses trust and insist on the ICF or IAC stamp on their coaches’ credentials, while others hire coaches on account of their experience and personal fit into the company culture. On a side note, it may seem redundant to some to apply for a certification of “Master Certified Coach”, which requires over 2,500 hours of paid coaching work, when in fact over 2,500 hours of paid coaching work could be considered sufficient proof in and of itself that the coach is doing a great job. As always, the decision is up to you.

Til next time, have fun learning something new!

Thank you sgame for the free medal!

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