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I’m switching allegiance…

Thinking about maternity leave has led me to wonder what I want my business to look like when I return. It’s an opportunity to reset in many ways, and the top thing on my mind is professionalising.

As a young coach, fresh out of training, I was easily drawn into the language of ‘gold standard’ accreditation by the ICF. It was like a flashing sign saying ‘do this and people will take you seriously!’. And it did work for me for a while. I have no wish to knock the ICF accreditation process, nor the work done by them, but when my membership renewal came around in March I found myself thinking that it wasn’t really for me anymore.

At that time I was halfway through my mentoring for PCC, I had my hours etc, and was begrudgingly sorting through recordings, but when it came to thinking about applying, quite frankly, it didn’t seem worth spending the money. It’s a lot of money (at least it is for a personal coach charging affordable rates).

Then I niched towards relationships and couples, I got asked a couple of times about whether I was pursuing supervision accreditation, and then fell pregnant (with a truly awful first trimester), which decided things for me really. Something needed to change.

The change (or the first one), is one of alignment. I am now a member of the Association for Coaching.

The reasons for this shift are multiple. For one, I believe in regulation for coaches and so finding a body to align to was always a priority. Then there’s the cost, which was much more achievable (for membership and accreditation pathways). Another big draw is the focus on supervision. The AC require their members to be supervised, and provide accreditation for supervisors, and as a supervisor myself this is also something I believe in. Lastly (though not in importance), I found myself more drawn to the code of ethics which, although certainly similar to the ICF and others, has more of a focus on technology, DEI and unconscious bias, and even mentions climate change.

Changing memberships will create some admin for me, yes. My house is in order, but I may need to order it slightly differently to happily meet what’s now required of me. And later down the line I’ll have to write a lot more – but that’s fun.

My plan is to allow my ACC to expire in July next year, and then, when I have returned from maternity leave, to give myself a year to meet the requirements and apply for both professional coach accreditation and supervisor accreditation. It’s a slower pace than I’m used to. In many ways I feel like I’m checking out of my previous competitiveness around credentialing and am instead working to my own time frame and needs. (As an aside, from what I’ve read the AC credentialing process seems much more thorough than the ICF – supervision is required, reflective practice is required, case studies and client references are required, on top of the usual hours, training, cpd, recordings etc.)

I’m yet to fully immerse myself in everything offered to AC members, but you can find my profile here. If you’re a member and you’d like to connect, or have any advice on where to start, I’d love to hear from you!

Professionalising will also mean a lot of other things too… a revamped website, a scheduling tool, online document signing, and an alternative to Zoom amongst more. It’s certainly going to be a busy year ahead, but it’s giving me a renewed purpose – plus the baby, ofc.

A lot of change is about to happen, and those client-side will see very little of it but it’s still vitally important. I’m on track to become and even more effective coach, despite the pause in work I’ll need to take, and that feels good.