If you need a doctor, dentist, lawyer, plumber or any other type of professional, you would want an assurance that they are suitably qualified and regulated. When you engage their services, your life could literally be in their hands. You want to be confident and trust that they will act in a professional manner. That they are the right person to help you with your situation. We take it for granted that they are working in a regulated profession.
Coaching out with the world of sports is a relatively new concept. It has gained momentum over the past 20 years or so. Over four decades ago, Sir John Whitmore – one of the most prominent figures in the world of Coaching today – identified an opportunity to work with businesses to maximise their people, profits and impact on the plant – the ‘triple bottom line’ as he calls it.
Since then, Coaching has evolved into many shapes and forms such as: Life Coaching, Mindset Coaching, Relationship Coaching, Dating Coaching, Career Coaching, Group Coaching, Performance Coaching… the list goes on. However, it is important to note that unlike most other forms of ‘therapy’, Coaching is largely an unregulated profession in the United Kingdom, but also many other countries. Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Therapists and Counsellors all need to meet very specific qualification and practice requirements in order to hold their title and to practice. Anyone can call themselves a Coach, some may have even read a book or did a short online course. Whilst they may have other relevant experience and have a lot to offer you, you need to have some assurance that they are operating within ethical and moral codes of conduct.
Thankfully, there are now bodies such as the International Coaches Register (ICR) who are attempting to raise the standard of Coaching. In order to register with these organisations, a Coach needs to have undertaken a course with an accredited training provider. They have a rigorous registration process, which includes the auditing of experience and qualifications. They also require ongoing continuous professional development in order to maintain the highest standard of Coaches.
As with Coaching, in the United Kingdom, Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) is largely unregulated. Training does not need official course content, be of a specific duration or require specific levels of competency.
Whilst Coaching requires a specific skillset in order to help your client get the most from you in order to achieve their goals, NLP is much more complex. Combining NLP techniques with Coaching means that Practitioners can help their clients get even more from their sessions and therefore achieve their goals without anything holding them back.
The benefits and outcomes of NLP can be literally life changing. If not trained to the highest standards, those who are not accredited by a suitable body, someone calling themselves an NLP Practitioner could at best mislead the client as to what they are able to achieve and at worst do more harm than good. This is where bodies such as the International Coaches Register (ICR) and Association for NLP (ANLP) can provide clients with an assurance that the NLP practitioner is suitably qualified and has signed up to a Code of Ethics and/or Conduct.
International Coaches Register
Bodies such as the International Coaches Register (ICR) will have Codes of Ethics and/or Conduct to which Coaches need to sign up to. This means that if you are using the services of a Coach, you can be assured that you are receiving the best possible service. The ICR Code of Conduct objective is “To promote and maintain the quality of professional action and behavior of the certificate holders, in the broadest sense.” Their Code of Conduct can be found here.
The ICR is completely independent and their Coaches are subject to their rules for complaints and disciplinary action or dispute settlement and arbitration. This means that should you be unhappy with any service you receive from a Coach registered with the ICR, you will have a means to report them and seek a resolution to the problem.
Questions to Ask a Coach or NLP Practitioner*
If you are planning on working with a Coach or NLP Practitioner, you may want to consider asking the following questions to give yourself an assurance that they operate to professional standards and codes of ethics.
1. What qualifications do you hold and what training have you undertaken? You want to be sure that they have trained with an accredited training provider. There are many online/video training courses, which do not allow for registration with a professional body such as the International Coaches Register or the Association for NLP.
2. What experience do you have? Experience is as important as qualifications. You want to be sure that your Coach or NLP Practitioner has the right experience to help you with your situation. Coaches and NLP Practitioners come from all walks of life and can bring a lot of transferrable skills into their work.
3. Do you have testimonials or recommendations from other clients? If the Coach or NLP Practitioner has a website, they would usually share feedback and testimonials from previous clients. Some previous clients may be willing for you to contact them to hear first-hand how the Coach or NLP Practitioner has helped them.
4. What professional body do you belong to? As discussed above, there are a number of different bodies who are working towards Coaching and NLP being a more regulated profession. You can usually verify the Coach or NLP Practitioner’s membership by searching the relevant professional body website.
5. Where are you based? Some Coaches and NLP Practitioners will see clients face-to-face; others will see clients online via video-conferencing; and, many will offer a hybrid of both. This means that distance is not an issue and many Coaches and NLP Practitioners work with clients all over the world!
6. How much do you charge, how long is a session and how many sessions will I need? It is important to understand what you will be paying and what you will be getting for it. With Coaching and NLP it can be hard to say exactly how many sessions you will need, as it will depend on a number of factors such as what you’d like to achieve and how deep rooted your negative emotions and limiting beliefs are. However, a good Coach or NLP Practitioner should be able to tell you approximately how long it will take them to help you and agree this with you beforehand.
Most Coaches and NLP Practitioners will offer a free, no obligation, introductory conversation which will allow you to ask these questions and hear more about how they can serve you. Once you are happy with all of the above, the most important consideration is that you feel comfortable with your Coach or NLP Practitioner. Having a good relationship and confidence in who you are working with is essential to you being able to achieve your goals.
As an ICR registered Coach I am held accountable for my practice and I strive to operate from a psychology of excellence, bringing quality and professionalism to my clients. You can find my answers to the above questions here: Frequently Asked Questions. I look forward to helping you Maximise Your Life!