Following a recent article in the Saturday Telegraph about the potential damage that can be caused by unqualified coaches and therapists, the IAPC&M has stressed the importance of accreditation.

David Monro-Jones, Chief Operating Officer of the IAPC&M, said: “The article in the Telegraph highlights the need for anyone seeking the services of a coach to be vigilant and discerning when making their choice”

Through accreditation, we build trust and confidence in the coaching and mentoring profession for the benefit of everyone.

“We accredit coaches because the members of the public who put their lives in the hands of people need to know they are being given a professional service, and I want people to understand the importance of only working with those professionals who are professionally trained, qualified, experienced and above all accredited.”

David added that although the coaching industry is not yet regulated, clients should ask about the experience and qualifications that their potential coach has.

“When you board a plane, how often do you ask to see the pilot’s license and their latest performance review? At your last check-up at the doctors, did you ask about their licence to practice? If, like me, you didn’t, it is likely because there is an expectation that the person you are with knows what they are doing. We take it for granted because it is a regulated industry/profession. So why would you not ask these types of questions in an unregulated industry? I would argue that you should, indeed you must!”

“An accredited coach has demonstrated their capability and proficiency in several areas. Their training, qualifications and experience are all checked and verified. Next, they also undertake a comprehensive and detailed assessment of their capability through interviews and skills assessments, which is an accreditation model we have researched to ensure best practice and is in keeping with the requirements of the industry.Only those who meet the exacting standards expected of a professional coach will be awarded their accreditation. The higher the level, the higher the standards required to pass.”

But accreditation does not end there. Every accredited coach is expected to follow a Code of Professional Conduct and to be re-assessed every three years, earlier if they upgrade to a higher level. During this period, they are expected to develop their skills, knowledge and experience further through CPD (Continued Professional Development). They are also encouraged to be insured and to seek their own coaching, mentoring and/or supervision.

David added: “Our organisation has long argued for the importance of accreditation for coaches, mentors and training providers (for coaching and mentoring). We strenuously align ourselves closer to the caring professions where the end client is the most important person. All our accredited coaches, mentors and training providers know that they are bound by our Code of Professional Conduct and that any breach may result in suspension or removal of their accreditation status; temporarily or indefinitely.

“If you paint a wall in your house and you don’t like the colour, you can repaint it. That’s easy. If a coach asks a client a question and this results in the client ‘taking a lid off a box’, then a professional coach will know how to deal with the issue or recognise that it is beyond their level of ability. If this is the case, they may refer the client to another coach or an alternative therapeutic intervention. Either way, they will act accordingly and professionally.

If the issue you are dealing with is important enough to seek the help and support of a coach (personal, executive, leadership, business, health, or wellbeing), then it is important enough to ask the pertinent questions before you engage anyone. Are they trained? Are they qualified? Are they experienced in the issue/topic you need to deal with? And above all, are they [actively and currently] accredited?

Accreditation may not be a panacea, but it is certainly a step in the right direction and one that you must not ignore.”

David added: “We would endorse the Telegraph’s request for people to contact their MPs to get the law changed

As a reminder….The IAPC&M has the following guidance for anyone who is looking for a coach:

• Both coaches and clients need to understand what coaching is and isn’t – accredited coaches will know the difference and will not cross boundaries
• Professional coaches will contract with you for the services you require and utilise a coaching agreement. If they don’t, you are entitled to ask why?
• An accredited coach will be able to confirm what they can and can’t do. They will refer anyone that they cannot help
• Being accredited is a different matter to registration, or even certification; it is based on the vigorous process applicants have to go through
• The IAPC&M is the only accreditation body accredited by the IRCM
• A professional coach will establish, during the contracting stage, the anticipated duration of each session and how much time the issue at hand will take to resolve
• Coaches need to be registered with an organisation such as the IAPC&M directory, and they can be struck off for failing our professional standards
• A complaints procedure is here to protect everyone
• More detail about accreditation guidelines can be read here:

David added:“If you have been affected by issues raised here, write to your MP to request the law be changed to protect vulnerable people from any form of therapy by unqualified practitioners.”