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Are coaching qualifications required?

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

Studying the Institute of Leadership (ILM) Level 7 in Executive Coaching and Mentoring was a real eye opener. In truth I'd say it's not for the feint hearted. Generally speaking I found the teaching and the fellow students and teachers to be fantastic, but - and its a BIG BUT - the assessment OMG! I wasn't prepared, and its been a long topic of conversation amongst those of us completing the qualification. However, in hindsight is is designed to bring about a transformational change in you as a coach, and make you think harder and more deeply that you might have done previously about your practice. I'm definitely in favour of only using coaches who are qualified and also members of a professional body, which also means that they are regularly supervised.

There's an awful lot of research and academic rigour into the subject. You can even get a PhD if you want.

But in many ways, this isn't what it's about. The experience of a coaching relationship is a wonderful one. You need practice to learn how to do it well, find your forte, or raison-d-etr or particular flavour of coaching - maybe just your style. It might (or might not) surprise you to know that there are many coaches who have no or very little qualification and are not affiliated to any professional body in order to practice. As far as I know, its not a requirement - please correct me if I'm wrong.

There in lies the rub. I'm told that there is a lot of poor practice out there. I'm also told that there are some amazing coaches who don't have qualifications. It's an industry and is not officially regulated. Those with the qualifications and professional affiliations advocate tighter control to stop the charlatans.

The ILM Level 7 is the highest academic qualification in the UK apart from a couple of places where you can study as a PhD. I'm sure there are many people out there who are coaching and wondering ..... Do I need to get qualified?

So to a very topical point. As we all know, NHS staff have been through the ringer over the past few months, with many reports of people pushed to the edge. For one highly motivated coach this was an opportunity for a call to arms for coaches to support those in the NHS who were in dire need of support. Thousands of applications later - a dilema - can we use unqualified coaches even if they are brilliant?

Craig Newman of Project5, has beautifully summarised how he and those supporting the idea came to their conclusion.

What would you have done? Read the following article and see how it turned out and then make up your own mind.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

A red and yellow sho with crossed legs depicts an imacge of someone contemplating if they should follow a path to get qualified as a leadership or executive coach or not.
Which path to follow


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