We all need help from time to time. Sometimes, having somebody else to guide us in the right direction can actually get us where we want to be much sooner than trying to figure it out on our own or by talking to friends. This is especially true when it comes to career choices or you feel you are frequently coming up against certain emotions or feelings that are having an impact on your life – such as overwhelm, imposter syndrome, confidence, parenting challenges. If you find yourself going round in circles, and let’s be honest, friends and family have the best intentions but often asking people close to you rather than an independent professional can compound the problem. It might be time to consider having some coaching sessions. Coaching isn’t about fixing us but rather just part of our self-care or personal development plan, keeping us on track for wherever it is we want to get to in any aspect of life.
You might assume Coaching is something that senior execs get through work. That was a few years ago. Now coaching is much more accessible and really can be an incredibly helpful tool. It is very different from counselling which requires a clinical qualification and doesn’t usually have an end goal in sight, and very different from mentoring which is more informal, usually done by a more experienced person who will volunteer their time for free to someone less experienced, Coaching is about working with you to achieve outcomes you set.
But where do you start finding the right Coach for you? And with so many different certifications, how do you choose someone with the right qualifications to meet your needs? Do you even need a Coach with qualifications? In this blog post, we look at the different professional qualifications coaches can have so that you can make an informed decision regarding your development.
There are many criteria you need to look at when hiring a coach (read our recent blog “10 Top Tips on How to Pick a Coach”), and one aspect is their qualifications and training. Here is a breakdown of the most common associations that offer certified coaching qualifications:
- Association for Coaching (AC) – (https://www.associationforcoaching.com/)
- Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (APECS) – (https://www.apecs.org/)
- UK International Coach Federation (ICF) – (https://www.coachingfederation.org.uk/)
- International Authority for Professional Coaching and Mentoring (IAPC&M) – (https://coach-accreditation.services/)
- European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) – (https://www.emccglobal.org/)
Please note coaching qualifications are expensive and can cost anything from £1,000-£5,000, more if accreditation is via a university. Coaches therefore charge for their time, often reflecting the investment they have made both financially and time-wise in their profession in order to help their clients.
Many Coaches will train via a body like Animas or The Coaching Academy. These organisations offer extensive coaching training, accredited by the by the Associations mentioned above. Each coach will have their own unique combination of qualifications and experience, and each will be able to help you in different ways.
So, how do you know which coach is right for you?
The first step is to figure out what you hope to achieve through your coaching sessions? Once you have a good understanding of your development goals, you can start to look for coaches who have the qualifications that will help you achieve them.
For example, if you’re looking to make a career change, you might want to look for someone certified in career coaching. If you’re struggling with confidence, you might want to find a certified coach in Positive Psychology.
However, there are a few factors to bear in mind when making a choice.
Coaching and mentoring is not a regulated industry
It’s also worth observing that the coaching industry is a relatively new field, and is not currently regulated in most countries. This means anyone can call themselves a coach, regardless of qualifications or experience. So, for example, if you are seeking help with mental health issues, it is important to find someone who is also a qualified counsellor, therapist of psychologist. These practitioners undergo extensive training and are subject to strict ethical codes. This ensures that they are equipped to deal with the complexities of mental health. It is important to be aware of the difference between coaching and counselling before you begin working with anyone. Otherwise, you might not be getting the level of care that you need. At Careering into Motherhood we have Coaches who are also qualified counsellors and therapists. These practitioners can work under both disciplines, but it will be clear before you start which discipline they will be using.
Decide if you need a coach with training and professional experience or life experience?
Once you have identified a potential coach, ask about their training and experience to see if they have the insights and skills you need. It’s important to remember that a coach may use their life experience. These coaches should not be dismissed as they often bring a wealth of experience to clients by drawing on their own experience. Ultimately, the most important thing is to find a coach who you feel comfortable with and who you feel can help you achieve your goals.
Has your coach had recent supervision sessions?
It is also important that your coach has regular supervision sessions to reflect on their style and receive feedback to help them grow and improve. When you are considering working with a coach, you can always ask if and when they had their last supervision session. This will give you a sense of how they continue to develop as a coach and whether they are up-to-date on the latest coaching techniques. If they have recently started their practice they may not have had much supervision since qualifying but ask how frequently they learn from other Coaches and how they ensure they are keeping a well-rounded approach to their clients’ situations.
At Careering into Motherhood our Coaches are part of a cohort of 60+ professional Coaches who they can ask for help and share best practice. We organise monthly and Quarterly online meetings just for our Coaches to share ideas and learn from one another.
Ensure you have a good mentoring relationship with your coach based on trust?
Your relationship with your business or life coach is built on trust. You need to feel comfortable talking to this person and believe they have your best interests at heart. A good coach will be someone who you can confide in, they may challenge you but they will help you to achieve your goals. They should be someone who makes you feel supported and motivated and who offers constructive feedback. Most importantly, they should be someone you feel accountable to. A strong coaching relationship is one of the key ingredients for success, so it’s important to choose a coach that you trust and feel compatible with.
Be clear on their fees.
Finally, be really clear on what it will cost. We pay for nights out, dinners with friends, holidays and other smaller things that make us feel better so we should absolutely expect to pay Coaches what they charge. But be clear before starting your programme what it is going to cost, whether there are payment plans available, and what you will get for the investment. It as an investment in your self-development, but as with any investment, make sure you have understood what you’ll get and that you have the fee in writing.
What if I am unsatisfied?
As with any unregulated profession standards will always vary. But follow our guidelines here and you will minimise your risks, better still work with one of the Careering into Motherhood Coaches and you’ll know that we have already met and worked with them all. Our Coaches are all in the business of helping women. If after two or three sessions you aren’t feeling the way you had hoped, or getting what you wanted from them, then talk to your Coach. It’s highly likely they will be able to adapt their approach. If they don’t know you’re not happy they can’t do anything about it.
Here are a few questions to ask your coach and help you to find the best one with the right qualifications for your needs:
- Have you undergone any formal training? If so, what qualifications do you have and from which accreditation body?
- What type of experience do you have?
- How long have you been coaching and how has your coaching changed during this time?*
- Are you up-to-date on the latest coaching techniques?
- Do you have regular supervision sessions?
- What is your relationship like with your clients?
- What should I expect from you as my coach?
- Can I speak to 2 recent clients to get a feel for how they worked with you?
But ultimately just like buying a house, you can read the Agent’s specification and look at the photos, but the moment you step inside you know if it feels like somewhere you can be at ease.
Coaching should be a warm and friendly relationship.
Check out our website for lots of great coaching resources, and lots of easily searchable Coaches’ profiles.
January 27, 2023