Can you work as a Coach without Certification?

The legal answer to this question in short is Yes. However, is this something that we would recommend? Definitely not. And there are a variety of reasons for this.


The answer to this question in short is Yes. However, is this something that we would recommend? Certainly not. And there are a variety of reasons for this.

A point to bear in mind is that this article focuses on coaching in the UK as the industry is slightly different in other parts of the world, particularly the US. In the UK coaching is unfortunately an unregulated business, so essentially there is nothing stopping you from creating a website, calling yourself a coach and start selling yourself. However, we’d strongly advise against that!

Below you can find some considerations and thoughts as to why certification is important if you are thinking about starting a coach accreditation programme or launching your coaching career and practice.

Ethical Implications – first of all, ethically it’s tricky to justify working with people, particularly with individuals who might be struggling or trying to overcome challenges in their life without having had specific coach training. Apart from the more technical aspects, a Coach Training programme will equip you in developing your behaviour and approach as an ethical coach. Awarding bodies such as the ICF also have Code of Ethics that coaches work within. They are extremely helpful as they guide us when working with clients so that what we do supports who we are working with. 

Confidence – an area that a lot of coaches enhance whilst completing a program such as our ICF Accredited Diploma in Integrative Coaching is their confidence. Developing skills and attributes that resonate with who you are, how you want to coach and knowing that what you are doing is evidence-based really helps. Although learning coaching through self-study aids this, the biggest factor that our students say has the most impact is the practice and feedback they receive. Getting specific feedback with a qualified coach on your own sessions is invaluable. It helps you develop as a coach and more importantly it helps you support your coachees even better.

Competitive Advantage & Credibility – having the right qualification and certifications to back you up not only builds your confidence but also gives you an edge over competitors. Organisations do pay more for coaches who possess an ICF Credential, and in the long run gives you a better prospect for job security and knowing that you are keeping abreast with professional development. 

Dedication to your Continuous Development – one great thing that I love about coaching is that it’s something that you can continuously develop yourself in. And although there are no minimum requirements for mentoring or supervision most coaches do tend to continue getting feedback and be supported by other practitioners. This cycle of practice, self-reflection and feedback is key for mastering coaching and it’s one of the key attributes that we look for in our trainees.

Choose the Right Coach Certification Programme another aspect to note in relation to coach training is that they are not all the same and there can be great differences between them in terms of content and assessment, even if they might lead to the same ICF credential. For example the Diploma in Integrative Coaching develops our trainees in a wide range of psychologically-evidenced coaching frameworks including, Humanistic Coaching, Acceptance Commitment Coaching and Cognitive Behavioural Coaching. For more information on choosing the right programme have a read through this post that addresses things to look out for.

Let us know if you have any questions or comments about becoming a qualified coach or certification processes. We are more than happy to share what we know and help!

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