By now, everyone seems to be aware that we have been duped by various fake news stories. The victimization of individuals and corporations can be damaging even when the story has been proven false. According to the New York Times in an article entitled, “How Fake News Goes Viral-A Case Study”, “While some fake news is produced purposefully by teenagers in the Balkans or entrepreneurs in the United States seeking to make money from advertising, false information can also arise from misinformed social media posts by regular people that are seized on and spread through a hyper partisan blogosphere”.
Unfortunately, the truth is not always easy to discern and we can easily misinformed about any service or profession. As a certified professional coach, I am particularly frustrated by the number of individuals who simply create the persona of being a professional coach with literally no credentials. This is easy to do and I refer to it as “fake coaching”. Anyone can attach the label of “coach” to themselves, develop a polished marketing campaign and “voile”, they’re in business. It is for this reason that I would like to support the entire coaching profession in making a distinction for what a professionally trained and certified coach is. Here are a few tips to guide you in recognizing what is “fake” and what is “real” in the coaching profession:
- Be clear about what your needs are… so that you can determine if you need a professional coach, a mentor or a consultant. If you need advice about business operations, structure or skill training, a consultant is best. Mentorship is about knowledge-sharing usually from one peer to another.
- Know what a certified professional coach does…they do not advise, mentor or tell clients what’s wrong with them or their business. A coach listens and asks powerful questions so that the client can own their decisions and determine their path forward. The coach serves as a personal champion completely present in service to the client.
- Review the credentials of any coach you are considering before you make the decision to hire them. The International Federation of Coaching (ICF) serves as a credentialing agent for the profession of coaching. Professional coaches become a member of this organization only if they have completed coach training through a company that has been accredited by the IFC. The list of accredited coach training programs can be reviewed on this site, so at a minimum, ask about the training credentials for anyone who claims to be a professional coach. Professional coaches must have at least 120 hours of training, supervised assessment, and pass both a written and oral exam. Beware of anyone who has attended a two-day leadership coaching program, even if it is a reputable name brand. These types of programs are not accredited through the ICF. For additional information, go to coachfederation.org.
If you have an interest in finding out more about coaching, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.