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  • Writer's pictureChris Budde-Petch

Independent Life Coaching Associations

Updated: Apr 15, 2020

If you are considering taking up a career as a coach, you will want to train and work under a respected affiliated coaching association. There are a number of internationally recognised associations that will offer training and guidance on how to coach to exacting standards and within respected ethics. I have highlighted some fo the better known associations here.

International Coach Federation (ICF)

Founded in 1995, the International Coaching Federation (ICF), which now has over 30,000 members is possibly the best known and most independent and credible of the life coaching industry associations.

Its founder, Thomas Leonard, the originator of the modern concept of life coaching, was the first to come up with a code of ethics and credentialing for coaches. His book The Portable Coach was first published in 1999. I constantly refer to it for myself and my clients and I thoroughly recommend it. Have a look at the reviews and decide for yourself!

Based in the US, the ICF considers itself to be the global voice of coaching and sets the highest benchmark standards for pure life coaching in the profession (that is no mix with consulting or mentoring) with three levels of credentialing - Associate (ACC), Professional (PCC) and Master (MCC).

The ICF credentialing process is one of the most stringent but really counts for credibility in the coaching market place.

If a training course is accredited by the ICF, you are pretty safe in assuming that it will deliver the goods but still check out it is the right training for you by using the information I provide in the section: Choosing a Life Coaching School and Training

Association for Coaching

Based in the UK, The Association for Coaching is an independent organisation with the goal to promote best practice, raise awareness and standards across the coaching industry. It credentials coaches and accredits trainings and offers many benefits to its members including a directory of members.

This association also encourages associate membership from individuals and organisations involved in the coaching industry so is not limited to professional coaches.

European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC)

EMCC is made up of Affiliated Country EMCCs and their membership plus direct members where a local EMCC does not yet exist.

It is made up of delegates from each of the following affiliated EMCCs – Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Asia Pacific Region.

Their website has a pull-down menu of flags so you can learn about the operations of the EMCC in your country. Several levels of membership are offered to coaches and mentors.

The Asia Pacific Alliance of Coaches

The Asia Pacific Alliance of Coaches (APAC) is strongly allied to the ICF and serves coaches in the Asia region including China and India.

It provides a forum, community and opportunities for coaches working in Asia to connect with each other and work towards strengthening the presence of coaching in the region. The APAC has already held several very well attended conferences.

The Christian Coaching Network

The CCN is aligned with industry-standard coaching organisations such as the ICF, IAC, etc., but it is also faith-based for those who want to include a Christian focus in their coaching.

A member of the CCN kindly submitted this information to Life Coaching Professionally, for inclusion in this list and I was pleased to do so.

International Institute of Coaching and Mentoring (IIC&M)

The IIC&M (originally the Executive Coaching Institute - ECI) was formed in 1999 as a not-for-profit organisation to be a force for good in coaching. It was founded by and continues to be run by professional coaches. Its focus is building, maintaining, raising awareness, and working to promote best practices for coaching internationally, while providing value added benefits to its Members.

It has several levels of membership and accreditation the website is worth exploring as it sets out very clearly the requirements for each level.

The International Association of Coaching (IAC)

The IAC® says it is different from other coaching organisations in that they assess coaching mastery in the belief that attending coach training or graduating from any specific program is not sufficient evidence that a coach can, in fact, coach.

The IAC® believes that becoming a coach is a transformative process, and honours prior training, education and life experience.

Coaches and Mentors of South Africa (CMSA)

COMENSA is the SAQA-recognised non-statutory professional body for coaching and mentoring in South Africa.

It regulates the coaching and mentoring professions in South Africa through a professional code of ethics and conduct, professional designations, ongoing continuing professional development, professional supervision and access to resources.

It also has a directory of coaches and mentors and protects the rights of users of coaching and mentoring through an enforceable code of ethics and an ethics complaints procedure.

The Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC)

This association claims to be the first global professional association to exclusively represent the business coaching industry. Since its inception in 1997, WABC has dedicated itself to raising the profile of business coaching and to differentiating it from life coaching in general.

The Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (APECS)

This one is for the corporate coaches as APECS has the stated mission "to ensure that in a complex world, organisations are enabled to use coaching and supervision to deliver ethical and sustainable growth".

It has two levels of membership and offers events and resources for members.

Association of Coaching Supervisors

The mission of this association is to add value to the industry by exclusively focusing on coaching supervision as compared to mentoring and to actively promote the role of the supervisor. Its founder Edna Murdoch has published a book, Full Spectrum Supervision, that is really useful if you get to the stage where you feel you have the experience to supervise other coaches.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year and every good fortune in the year ahead.



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