Why use a certified coach?
If we were talking about a doctor, a lawyer or an accountant, the question of recognition of the legitimacy and the training of this professional would not arise. A coach is a professional who is coaching people and organisations. As such, it is important to master specific knowledge and skills. This article aims to better inform you about the requirements and prerequisites expected of any good professional coach. We hope that you will have all the information you need to make informed choices as a customer.
A profession which is not very known
Coaching professions are not regulated and certification is not an obligation. Today, anyone can claim to be a life coach or professional coach without having received specific training and without having to justify his professional practices or his experience.
This situation has many disadvantages and risks :
A lack of knowledge of the profession
The definition of the word coaching is not unanimous among professional coaches or among coaching organisations. In this context, it is normal for the public to misunderstand its prerequisites and requirements. There is distrust of this profession as a whole. Not knowing who the real professionals are, the general public is losing interest in the coaching profession. Many people are unaware of the benefits that a certified professional coach can bring.
Professional coaching comes from the art of maieutics. The art of maieutics initiated by Socrates consists of “giving birth to spirits”. To coach a person is to help him find his own solutions. Coaching is a helping relationship that deals with the human. Therefore, it is necessary to be vigilant. An unethical coach is not only likely to deliver a poor coaching performance, it can also have a negative impact on the clients personal and professional life.
Coaching certification allow coaches to:
Acquire fundamental knowledge in human, cognitive or behavioral sciences;
To lead a personal development work, allowing them to better understand all facets of their person;
Learn to manage human relations and interpersonal relationships;
To develop their know-how and their skills
The personal or professional coach who has not worked with these different aspects takes the risk of adopting a posture harmful to the one who is being coached. For example:
Counseling instead of accompanying
Impose one’s own vision of the world instead of helping the coached to clarify his situation by himself;
Lack of kindness, empathy and neutrality;
To seek to exert any influence on the one being coached, to maintain a dependence.
As a client (coached), why choose a certified coach?
The certified coach demonstrates a desire to self-regulate and acquire the professional skills required by this profession. It is a guarantee of seriousness and accountability.
What certifications are there?
According to the National Commission for Professional Certification (CNCP), a certification testifies the “abilities to carry out professional activities”. The certified title is thus issued to a professional deemed to have acquired the skills, aptitudes and knowledge necessary for the exercise of a trade.
In the professional world of coaching, two types of certification are authentic:
RNCP is the acronym for National Directory of Professional Certification. These certifications are covered by the Ministry of Vocational Training.
In order for their professional coaching courses to be recognized RNCP, coaching schools must notably:
Provide proof that their training program is adapted to the skills required by this profession; Describe the different tasks that a certified coach must know how to do at the end of his professional training, then put those tasks in relation to actual professional situations; Provide information on the professional activities exercised by the students in their last three classes (do the coaches certified by these schools actually practice in the field of professional coaching?); Specify evaluation methods for future coaches and the procedures for issuing the certified title; Have set up a procedure for validation of prior learning and experience.
Alongside the RNCP certification, we find the ICF certification
The International Coach Federation (ICF) is one of the first professional coaching associations.
ICF certification should not be confused with RNCP certification. While the RNCP certification aims to ensure that individuals newly trained in individual or collective coaching have received a foundation of training recognized by the State, the ICF certification is not subject to any official recognition. It is however recognised in the profession and remains an element of additional credibility for the certified coaches who use it.
The certification process provided for by the ICF is a continuing education process who aims at professional coaches who have already finished their course in school. Indeed, the ICF asks all of its members to enter this certification program within two years of joining the association. This certification must then be renewed every three years.
To obtain their ICF certification, members must:
Have followed an initial coaching training;
Continuous and regular training;
Professional experience and a sufficient number of hours of practice;
Commit to respecting the ethical code and ethics of ICF;
Sufficient knowledge of the 11 competencies identified as key by the ICF (eg being able to co-create continuous learning opportunities […] to undertake new actions that will most effectively generate the desired results);
Perfect their practice of the eleven key skills through mentoring.
The supervision is a process in which a professional coach (the supervised) is accompanied by another more experienced certified coach (the supervisor). The goal is to allow the supervised coach to benefit from an external perspective and to exchange with a peer around the difficulties he encounters in his practices. All coaching organisations (professional associations and coaching schools) recognise the need for supervision.
Where the ICF talks about certification, the EMCC talks about accreditation.
Alongside ICF certification, EMCC accreditation
Alongside the ICF, the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC) is another major professional coaching association with approximately 900 members in France in 21 European countries, including France.
The EMCC accreditation process is equivalent to ICF certification. EMCC accreditation (also known as European Individual Accreditation – EIA) is a post-training, continuing education program, aiming at certifying the coach’s professional experience in the field and recognition by peers. This certification must be renewed every five years.
To obtain accreditation, the member coach of the EMCC must notably:
Have a number of hours of practice;
Send the association feedback from its customers;
Follow professionalization workshops;
To be regularly supervised;
Having carried out a work of introspection and analysis of its practices professional;
Commit to respecting the ethical code and ethics EMCC;
Master the eight skills considered key by the EMCC (Example: the coach must be able to “demonstrate awareness of his own values, beliefs and attitudes, admit that they affect his practice and use this self-awareness to maximise his effectiveness and achieve the client’s goals”).
Finally, it should be noted that the EMCC accreditation process is more demanding when the professional coach has not received training at a coaching school recognised by the association.
Recognition of training organisations by professional associations
Both the EMCC and the ICF, the two associations have implemented a procedure to validate the training process by different coaching schools. This procedure, independent of the RNCP certification, is called “EQA Training Labeling” by the EMCC, “ACTP Training Accreditation or ACSTH” by the ICF.
Professional coaching courses, having obtained their certification or accreditation, says their “coach students” benefits from:
A defined number of theoretical training hours in the classroom, around the “key skills” that a certified professional coach must master;
Of practical sessions of coaching interviews involving the future coach, a coached person and an observer;
Of feedback written about these coaching sessions;
Evaluation including a written examination and an oral examination;
Hours of mentoring.
Finally, obtaining a RNCP certification, an ICF certification or an accreditation by a professional coaching association does not deprive the certified coach, who wants to acquire specific skills, to follow additional training.
The certification, accreditation and labelling processes are aimed at acquiring coaching tools and general knowledge by the certified coach. However, depending on his affinities and past professional and personal experiences, the certified coach may wish to engage in a particular branch of coaching. The possibilities are numerous: company coaching, team coaching, collective intelligence, life coaching, executive coaching, change coaching, etc.
To improve professional practices, it is important that the certified coach follows complementary training, in addition to his basic training in coaching. This may include, for example, a specialisation in Nero Linguistic Programming (NLP), Transactional Analysis, Ericksonian Hypnosis, Systemic Organisation, Gestalt, Brief Therapy, Conflict Management, Diagnostic Profile Techniques. personality (enneagram, process communication model, MBTI, etc.)
Of course, all the knowledge and know-how acquired can not replace a self-study of the certified coach aiming to improve his skills and develop his coaching posture. They remain fundamentals such as active listening, the art of questioning, the meta position, neutrality, non-judgment, benevolence, empathy, common sense, to name just a few examples, which can not not be learned in a traditional way.
In conclusion, in the face of a profession that remains not regulated enough, certification, accreditation and labelling process provide benchmarks and tools for coaches wishing to engage in a process of professionalisation of their practices.