Many of us can relate to the fact that we are drawn to certain careers based on our historical experiences, which in turn forms our values, and ultimately shapes us for the type of professional that we become, or at least aspire to become. Coach Adele McCormack, who is Head of Porfessional Standards at IAPC&M explains why our accreditation status matters.

“I trained as a counsellor for drug users, following which I had a desire to become a child protection social worker, yet I found myself working as a social worker in the field of mental health. Perhaps it was my own experience with teenage depression that led me to this point. Nonetheless, I was less than inspired with the approaches we were trained to use to help people. Of course, these approaches evolved over the years, and we increasingly moved towards strengths-based techniques, but I still felt it wasn’t enough; I intuitively felt we were limiting people from achieving their full potential. Life coaching came into my life while I was going through a divorce. I trained with other students and we offered each other support and reciprocal sessions to build our practical skills. In some sessions, I explored issues around my divorce, in others I worked on my career frustrations. Gradually, I started to believe anything was possible as new feelings about different opportunities came into my life; it was exciting, and I thought ‘Yes, this is what I want to do’”

Consequently, Adele ended up living the life she dreamt of living; a life where she learnt to fly a plane, to run not one, but two marathons, got promoted at work, quit smoking and lost excess weight; all amazing transformations and she is still experiencing this amazing drive and energy today.


Adele said: “Speaking as someone who knows about the endless possibilities, post-divorce, it’s probably not surprising to know that I now support others going through a divorce. Perhaps more importantly, I help people transform their lives and achieve great personal growth.
My coach training provider required me to attend a residential, and it was there that I first heard about accreditation. I immediately applied to what was then called the IIC&M, which has since evolved into the International Authority for Professional Coaching & Mentoring here and my Accredited Practitioner Coach (APC) status was granted when I qualified as a coach”

“Interestingly, as a social worker, it is of course mandatory to register with the HCPC in order to practice, so it was natural for me to apply the same professional standards of accreditation to my coaching practice, not least because getting, and retaining my accreditation is further confirmation and endorsement of my hard work. The real surprise comes in the fact so few coaches take advantage of this key differentiator when helping clients to identify them from a crowded market place”


Adele added: “Being accredited is an integral part of building my coaching business; to be able to say to clients ‘I have been recognised as being a high standard coach, and my practice is monitored, and here is where you can complain in the unlikely event you are not satisfied’ is important to me, and I believe it to my clients too. Being able to say my accreditation status holds me to account also keeps me on my toes to retain a high standard of coaching, plus it’s proving to be a useful differentiator when talking to prospective clients. During the first session, I have with a client, this differentiator also fuels a powerful conversation in establishing that I am the right coach for them, that I care, and that I am able to guarantee them a high service. Just the other day, I secured a new client, who is himself a qualified solicitor, he expected me to be accredited too and would have questioned the absence of an accreditation on my part. So being accredited is helping me to build a pipeline of new business from solicitors, because they know I have the credentials to support their clients, and they trust me. Without this important accreditation, I would not have secured this line of referrals.”


“Unfortunately, I’ve also had clients say they’ve had bad experiences with other coaches, including a lack of recompense for their troubles. It’s scenarios like these that damage the public perception of our profession. I know clients come to me because my website clearly states who I am accredited with, and what that extra level of assurance provides them. Our clients are buying a product and a service, so they deserve to be reassured, as mine are, about the guarantees about the quality of service they can expect to receive from me.”

“I remember updating my LinkedIn profile to include my trained and accredited coaching status, only to see people I knew who have not invested in any coaching training, branding themselves as a coach. I invested a lot of time, money and energy into my accreditation, it’s part of my coaching journey, and I’m now an Accredited Senior Coach (ASC), yet I know these people have done nothing professionally to call themselves a coach. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t dream of waking up one day and deciding to declare myself a doctor just because I had correctly diagnosed a headache, so what gives people the right to declare themselves a coach?When you go to a doctor, you naturally expect the doctor to be trained and registered with the GMC. I doubt you’d be willing to let a doctor treat you without that accreditation status, so why should the coaching industry be any different?”


Adele believes that this discrepancy lies in the fact that coaching and the general world of therapy tends to work on intangible issues; confidence and self-esteem issues, mental wellbeing, anxiety, depression, and limiting beliefs are not physical ailments. You cannot put a plaster cast on to fix them, so they are difficult to quantify.

She added: “However, on a political front, more attention is finally being placed on the mental wellbeing of our nation. The government is aiming to achieve parity of esteem for mental health because the current cost to the UK economy for work days lost due to mental health sickness is a staggering £70 billion per year. It is also recognised that 1 in 4 people will suffer with their mental wellbeing at some point in their life. This includes stress, low self-esteem, feelings of panic and fatigue. All these scenarios may be symptoms that our clients will be experiencing, so as a collective group of coaches, no matter what our niche, we are all working to improve the wellbeing of our clients. Therefore, we are all working with their mental health. The political drivers to achieve better parity of esteem for mental health provision should bring with it a greater level of expectation from the public to have coaches who are not only trained, but also accredited. So, if you are not yet accredited, now is the time to do it.”

You can contact Adele McCormack through her website or to find out more about accreditation contact her here