Coaching is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, with new coaches joining the ranks each day. However, the industry remains largely unregulated, with no qualifications required for someone to call themselves a ‘coach’. For this reason, people who would otherwise be mentors, advisors, consultants, or simply friends (!) can hang their shingle and charge good money for ‘coaching’.
The ICF says the coaching industry globally is growing by 6.7% annually (see here) which they put down to the changing trends in how coaching is delivered - where coaching was once seen as a luxury service for executives, it’s now something all professionals see the value in, and hence there’s been a massive demand for more coaches to meet the needs.
This demand has meant that a small pool of executive coaches couldn’t meet the needs of the market, and therefore new entrants have seized the opportunity. Many of these new coaches are excellent! A lot of coaches come from backgrounds as HR, psychologists, and business professionals making a sea change or picking up a side gig. And most coaches want to do the right thing - they believe in upskilling themselves and abiding my ethical standards, so they take the time to do the coach training, mentoring, exams and ongoing continuous development required by the likes of the EMC and ICF (the two biggest industry membership bodies) to demonstrate their seriousness about the profession. Still more coaches are taking on Masters and PhD programmes to contribute to the growing body of research evidence for coaching practices. However there are coaches who have turned their backs on all of this, as there’s no legal requirement to do so, and they can make a good living without all the effort!
Let’s face it - your coach is dealing with your psychology, yoru relationships, and how you behave in the world. They’re delicate items that you want to be protective of. Don’t just let anybody in there to impact how you think and act! A qualified coach has frameworks, backed by research, to work with you on how you make decisions, change habits, and approach your work. You wouldn’t let an untrained surgeon operate on you, or a hobby carpenter to build your house, so, you know….
Many untrained people aren’t aware of the ethical dilemmas coaches face, with regards to confidentiality, relationships, conduct and insider trading, and the list goes on. Qualified coaches need to satisfy their membership bodies standards through a test, and also sign a comprehensive code of conduct. This doesn’t guarantee that all coaches are perfectly ethical, but his does create awareness of the major issues, gives a baseline expectation for standards, and also ensures you and your employer have a path of recourse back to their organising body if there is a breach you’re concerned about. You’re simply more covered from a standards perspective having a qualified coach.
Not all qualified coaches have a supervisor, but our research with BOLDLY coaches demonstrates that 70+% of our top performing coaches maintain an ongoing coaching relationship. This supervisor can work with the coach on their case challenges, their professional development, and also provide a reflective space for them to consider how they can be of best service to you. Although we don’t have clear data on this, we suspect that not many unqualified practicing coaches go to this trouble, meaning they’re only accountable to themselves. Your qualified coach has a network around them, if not a supervisor, to ensure they’re doing the best work they can for you.