Today I answered a question on LinkedIn’s International Coaching Network. The question was if certified coaches make more than non-certified coaches and if certification actually helped to get deals or allowed to charge more. This is what I answered:
Coach training programs and designations are flooding the market
On the one hand, this is a good indicator signaling positive growth and demand. On the other hand, it can also mean lots of market confusion. The proliferation of designations–the vast majority of which are not affiliated with any professional association–is leading to market confusion about the quality, focus and nature of services the coaching industry offers.
There is growing need for some sort of quality mark for coaches and coach training programs. Building a profession means building and maintaining public trust. This is achieved through self-regulatory activities such as creating a professional code of ethics, a well defined set of professional standards, a body of knowledge, and a standard of training and credentialing.
The two best known associations in the world are the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC). Both have an accreditation (for coach training providers) and certification (for individual coaches) program in place.
I have been a Business, Executive and Life Coach Trainer at the International Coach Academy where students are trained to become Certified Professional Coaches (CPC). Since the International Coach Academy is ICF accredited, students will be ICF certified when they successfully finish their training.
I have also been an full member of the WABC for a number of years. Two reasons to join: 1. I wanted to be a part of a business coaching community which allows me to stay on top of my game and 2, all the big names from the business coaching community were there, which had to mean something.
Now what does certification mean anyway?
Being certified by an accredited body means that you know your business. The public (individuals and organizations) want some kind of assurance that the money they are about to spend, will be spend wisely. When they can chooce between a certified coach and a non certified coach, the first one will be more likely to be chosen than the latter one. Today many coaches are hired through ‘word of mouth’. But soon that won’t be enough.
I have invested heavily in certification. Although I have achieved the highest level of certification (Chartered Business Coach™), I still continue to invest in my education because I owe it to my clients to be the best coach I can be.
I have landed my first Fortune 100 client because I’m a member of WABC. They found me through the members directory. This means that I have earned back my investment and membership fees at least a hundred fold back.
I know many coaches who were able to double or even triple their fee after they became certified. They have come to understand the value of a certified coach and were able to prove it to their clients who happily paid for it.
In my humble opinion I think all serious coaches should get themselves certified and become a member of a professional coaching association. It will be good for them, good for the clients and good for our emerging coaching profession.