Career Coaching and UK regulation? 2

UPDATE  March 3rd 17.40: An added comment

You may have read Dave Doran’s guest post a few weeks ago that asked Is your coaching business was at risk? If you read that nice and early you may have missed the discussion that then took place in the comments section.

As you will see as you read the comments it’s a conversation that concerns the UK government potentially regulating coaching. Having now heard back from the relevant government department I wanted to publish the whole thread as a post in chronological order.

  1. Peter Tate says:
    February 7th, 2011 9:54 pm  

    I understand that some coaching sectors are to become regulated in UK, and very soon. I’m involved in Career Coaching and am aware that the UK Government is very keen to regulate this area, with a kite-marking programme being developed as early as April 2011.

    Regulation creates 2 issues. The first is a major threat to many in the industry that they are not operating in a professional enough manner anyway and should be heeding the good advice in this article; but the second is the level of input that the whole profession (if we can call it that yet) has to the accreditation process. How does the government decide what level of education and experience is required – which standards do they use?

    The Career niche is about to be closed down to a lot of very good professionals because the majority of participants in the group that are deciding on the accreditation are from the old school of Careers Guidance which is largely academic and reflecting the public sector. Consequently, if as a coach do not have a qualification based on the academic careers counsellor standards you could well be shut down until you have spent the time and money to become certified.

    This is a very serious topic that all coaches should be watching closely.

  2. Jen Waller says:
    February 8th, 2011 12:56 pm

    Hi Peter,
    Thanks for taking the time to comment.
    You said that: “I am aware that the UK Government is very keen to regulate this area, with a kite-marking programme being developed as early as April 2011.” Can you share the source of this knowledge?
    For years now I have seen stories and heard rumours that coaching is about to be regulated – normally when I track the original source of a story down it turns out to be a training/accreditation provider who also happen to be selling a training/accreditation they imply would meet these “new regulations”.
    I’m not for one minute suggesting that this is the case here. I don’t work specifically as a career coach and as it could be something niche specific I could easily have missed such announcements. I’ve just learnt over the years that it can be very easy to get panicked by such stories about regulation and the impact it can have on your business without checking out the origins.
    I look forward to hearing from you

  3. Peter Tate says:
    February 8th, 2011 7:16 pm  

    Hi Jen

    I am a member of the Association for Career Professionals International and sit on the interim board. ACP International is the only member organisation representing private sector career professionals that have not taken Career Counselling qualifications as the route to their practice involved in the government discussions. I’ll paste in our most recent communication but not sure how much your comment will hold – mail me if it gets cut short!

    Dear Career Professional.

    You are probably aware of the move towards regulation of the Careers Profession.

    John Hayes (MP Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning ) is overseeing this and working with the Careers Profession Alliance (CPA) to make this happen. Private sector Career Professionals are represented on the CPA by the Association of Career Professionals International

    Duncan Bolam (current ACPInternational chair) met with John Hayes’ senior civil servant leading this project last week and was left in no doubt that the minister is determined to ‘professionalise and regulate’ the career profession in the UK. The private sector not participating is not an option. Both the Department for Business Innovation and Skill and the Department for Education are collaborating on this unprecedented initiative to achieve this goal.

    It is essential that ACP International (UK Network) can demonstrate a significant body of membership so that registration of career professionals and/or a license to practice (whatever mechanism is chosen) can take into account the prior experience and alternative qualification pathways that are relevant to independent career professionals.

    The bottom line is – those of us seeking to make our livelihoods out of this industry can continue to do so in the future.

    If we cannot demonstrate a significant body of membership we are likely to be left out of discussions and have ill-fitting regulation forced upon us which may not be fit-for-purpose to career professionals operating in the private sector – which includes outplacement.

    The cost of joining is currently USD 80 (equivalent approx. £50) and this IS your clarion call to join TODAY. Don’t leave it another moment, join here: http://portal.zzeem.com/acpi/Registration/tabid/1167/Default.aspx

    — Cut a piece about membership benefits —

    Most recent developments in the Careers Profession Alliance:
    · The CPA has won a bid for £40k funding for Phase 1 to regulate the industry. This first phase ends on 31/3/2011.
    · A programme manager, Ruth Miller was recently appointed by the Careers Profession Alliance’s newly-appointed Chair, Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute.
    · In turn, Ruth Miller has appointed her own team of Project Managers to deal with the following workstreams:
    1. Development of Common Professional Standards – industry-wide
    2. Career Progression Framework for all career professionals – public and private sector
    3. Plans to progress to a Level 6 profession
    4. Review of initial training and all access routes into the career profession
    5. Review of CPD
    6. Progress to an overarching national ‘kite-mark’ for the career profession
    7. A Business Plan – to be produced by Chief Executive of PARN (Professional Associations Research Network – http://www.parnglobal.com )

    ACP International (UK Network) will in future distribute communications and questionnaires regarding your professional journeys to date, which professional Code of Ethics you subscribe to, how you regulate yourself and what accreditation standard you stand by when selling your services to the public. There are alleged to be in excess of 9,000 career professionals operating in the UK. Approximately 7,500 of that number are members of professional bodies contributing to the Careers Profession Alliance. ACP International is the only private sector-orientated body and we are massively under-represented in numbers.

    There is a sizeable risk that the prevailing language of ‘career guidance’ will swamp the exciting contribution that we all know to be achievable using dynamic and commercially savvy career coaching methods. Not only do we owe it to ourselves to leverage these invaluable insights into the wider careers landscape, we owe it our consumers as well.

    There is also the key consideration, why would any practitioners operate outside of their professional community and not put their weight behind an initiative aimed at raising standards for career professionals and their customers? To be called a truly bona fide professional one has to demonstrate to the world that:
    · Your practice is based upon empirical evidence.
    · You are signed-up to a rigorous Code of Ethics.
    · You obtain regular supervision – all too often ignored
    · You operate with utter impartiality and with complete confidentiality.
    · You are able to demonstrate your ongoing and continuous professional development (CPD) – annually.
    · According to the new qualification frameworks and levels of achievement, you hold a minimum of Level 6.

    So the case remains: If you care about your profession, please join ACP International NOW. Many people, several in particular, have given considerable amounts of their own time for free to ensure that you are represented in these important talks. This really is the final call.

    If there is no significant increase in membership, then there are clearly not enough people like you interested enough in our sector having a voice and, whilst ACP International will continue to grow and benefit its members, we will all have to react to regulation that is imposed upon us, rather than being involved in its creation and professional principles driven by us for us.

    If you are already a member of ACP International (UK Network), please sign-up to our member forum on LinkedIn at: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=3568610&trk=myg_ugrp_ovr

    Thank you for your support – please pass this notice on to interested colleagues and help us generate real momentum.

    Members – ACP International (UK Network) Interim Board

  4. Jen Waller says:
    February 9th, 2011 2:04 pm 

    Hi Peter,

    Many thanks for providing such a detailed response. It was very informative and interesting to read ACP International (UK Network), news. I see that understandably, given the described situation, ACP International (UK Network) is looking to grow their membership.

    Because this can also be viewed as a sales letter I have contacted John Hayes (MP Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning ) and asked him to confirm that this is something he is working towards. According to the autoresponse I have recieved I should hear back within 15 days – I will let you know what I hear back.



  5. Peter Tate says:
    February 9th, 2011 2:36 pm 

    Thanks Jen

    I completely understand your desire for corroboration and yes there is a sales component because it’s critical that ACP International membership increases to be deemed credible as part of the process that the Careers Professional Alliance are undertaking. There is further discussion on this in a LinkedIn group – the Career Coaches Forum run by John Lees. Given that the CPA will report back on March 31st there is not a lot of time. If you or any of your connections are attending the National Career Guidance Show at Wembley 8/9th March ACP International will have a stand and more information and so will many other organisations that are part of the CPA such as the Institute of Careers Guidance.

    A lot of this stems from a speech made by John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, when he announced the creation of an All-age Careers Service for England last November. You can read it at http://www.bis.gov.uk/news/speeches/john-hayes-icg-conference – and take special note of

    “So we will revitalise the professional status of careers guidance, looking to the Careers Profession Alliance to establish common professional standards and a code of ethics for careers professionals.

    We will implement the recommendations of the Careers Profession Task Force. In doing so, we will consider the Taskforce’s recommendation on levels of qualification, particularly the speed at which we could move towards establishing Level 6 – equivalent to an Honours degree – as the minimum standard for practising careers advisers within the service”.

    He later referred to this as a “Licence to Practice” Its happening fast and independent careers professionals (coaches etc.) may well face a closed niche while they re-certify. I’m not trying to scare people into membership so much help them wake up to the threat and see a route to being involved in the process.

  6. Jen Waller says:
    February 10th, 2011 9:54 am  

    Hi Peter,
    Many thanks for the extra information and your understanding. I want this site to provide valuable information for coaches so felt I had a duty to corroborate. :)

    You are doing a great job at educating and spreading the word. I don’t work in this particular niche and had heard more about a potential first step to regulation in Australia (with a draft publication of a “handbook”) then I have about this in the UK.

    If there is anything else that is important to know regarding this situation feel free to share it. In the near future I will make sure that a series of tweets goes out throughout the day to allow more people to become aware of this discussion and the situation.

  7. The S4P Blog » Blog Archive » Coaching: Government Regulation or Self-Regulation? says:
    February 19th, 2011 9:48 am edit 

    […] more interesting is that a post on the Coaching Confidence site “Is Your Coaching Business at Risk?” had a comment from Peter Tate suggesting that some areas of Coaching are in the sights of […]

  8. Jen Waller says:
    February 28th, 2011 3:44 pm  

    I have had a response from John Hayes department:

    “Thank you for your email to John Hayes of 9 February 2011 about the careers profession, which has been passed to me to reply.

    In October 2010, the Careers Profession Task Force published its report, Towards a Strong Careers Profession [http://www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationDetail/Page1/DFE-00550-2010]. The report made fourteen recommendations to improve the quality of careers guidance and to raise the status of the careers profession. As part of recommendation fourteen of the Task Force report, the 2011 report on progress will be taking place on the 28 March 2011 directly to John Hayes, the Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning responsible for Careers Education. This will include an update on the move towards regulation within the careers profession, through the establishment of common professional standards and a code of ethics, of quality standards that will underpin the new all-age careers service, of a career progression framework for careers advisers, and of clear expectations for initial training and continuing professional development. All of which will help to strengthen the profession so that it is better able to adapt and respond to future challenges.

    The Department for Education is currently working with the careers professional bodies, through the Careers Profession Alliance, to implement the recommendations, as we know the success of future arrangements for careers guidance will depend largely on the quality and professionalism of the advisers who work within it. The Careers Profession Alliance have a specific remit around standards, ethics, a progression framework and the national kitemark as part of taking forward recommendations from the Task Force report.

    [An individuals personal contact details is then given for further details on the Careers Profession Alliance (CPA). Until I have that individuals permission I will not be publishing those contact details.]

    I hope this has helped to clarify matters for you.

    Yours sincerely,

    Saqib Ahmed
    Quality, Support & Guidance Division”

Since these comments have been posted I have had a phone conversation with someone from the CPA who I hope will be sending additional information. As soon as I get that information I will happily post an update. They did state that there is also the Institute Career Guidance who represent the private sector.

UPDATE: An added comment

Dr Deirdre Hughes says:
March 3rd, 2011 5:32 pm

This blog begins with a really helpful outline of key issues relating to possible new regulation measures for careers coaching and its allied professions. Are we on the cusp of major change in establishing a strong careers profession or is this another short-term initiative that might eventually fizzle out? Let’s briefly consider the facts:
Firstly, the Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning in England has announced his intention to support a regulated careers profession that can operate freely within an ‘open and free market’.Without this, government is at risk of failing to deliver on services for the public good.
Secondly, findings from the Careers Profession Taskforce in England highlighted a fragmented careers sector which causes missed opportunities for both end-users and those working within and across the careers sector.
Thirdly, major reviews of public, private and voluntary/community careers services in each of the 4 home countries of the UK have indicated the need to build on best practice in having a Code of Ethics, Professional Standards and a Career Progression Framework for people coming into the sector with differing qualifications and experiences.
In response, six careers professional associations came together to form a Careers Profession Alliance (CPA). The Chair of the CPA is Ruth Spellman OBE, Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI)who is responsible for bringing together the associations to work on a plan to achieve Chartered Status in the next 3-5 years, linked to the creation of a professional register of practice or licence arrangements. This will build on the work of 6 careers professional associations in which at least 2 are private practitioner orientated, namely, The Institute of Career Guidance (ICG – the UK and Europe’s largest careers professional association)and ACP International as described above.
The six careers professional associations are working together through the Alliance and we will be publishing key findings at the end of March 2011. If you want to feed into the discussion then email your view points to us at ICG and/or ACP International. We all want to ensure the voice and requirements of private practitioner’s are fully captured.
At the heart of the debate is how best to serve and protect, where necessary, the interests of the client. We’re learning lessons from other sectors and we’re building a dynamic framework which hopefully will inspire and help create a stronger UK careers profession.Watch this space for more news in the coming weeks.

In addition Dr Deirdre has also provided a copy of the latest CPA update to ICG members. You can read it on this page

I’d personally like to thank everyone who has so far contributed to this discussion and will welcome any other contributions 🙂

Feel free to add your thoughts and comments below.


How not to get dragged down by a clients negativity?

I recently had this question land in my inbox and I thought it was worthy of this weeks coaching related post.

When I asked myself this question I came up with the several points about how I approach coaching, some of the beliefs I hold and how they impact this potential situation. I’ve included 7 in the post below.

This is not intended to be a list that tells you how all coaches “should” approach coaching. If you read any of these points and find that you use a different approach then, as always, I’m going to say use the way that works for you and your clients. (Plus feel free to contribute your approach/belief in the comment section.)

If you find any points that you totally disagree with I invite you to consider it for a moment as a way of potentially increasing your own coaching flexibility or just re-affirm your own thinking.

The Meaning of Empathy

I know that many coaches think that being empathetic is an important part of how they coach.

If you look up the meaning of the word empathy in the dictionary you will find an entry such as: Noun: “The ability to identify oneself mentally with a person or thing and so understand his or her feelings or its meaning.” Note that it does not say – feeling the same as that other person.

If you had previous thought that you had to show empathy to be the coach you want to be, don’t get tricked in to thinking that means you have to be feeling the same thing as your client.

Look after yourself

It’s just easier to fully focus on your work and your client if you are looking after yourself. You probably already know that it’s a lot easier not to be affected by someone else’s mood if you are feeling well in yourself.

You’ll probably already have a good idea about what the things are that when you do them you have a better day.

Have a support system in place

That may be a system in place that alters over time. It can be individuals and groups that you pay and those you don’t. It may even take the form of a particular book, CD or media clip. The important bit is that it’s a system that works for you.

(I may be biased, but for me as a coach, one of the most obvious members of a support system is another coach!)

Non-judgemental listening

I have to be honest; my initial response was to rack my brains for examples of clients’ negativity. When I looked there were potentially several situations that I guess could be labelled as clients negativity.

You may read that and wonder if I am that unobservant not to have seen/heard that during the actual coaching session. During a coaching session I am listening/looking for what is going on for a particular client – both in “reality” and how they are perceiving a scenario.

I’m normally listening to influence – I find that judging and labelling those conversations and thoughts as positive and negative don’t add anything to my work.

Be aware of your own “stuck points”

If you find yourself feeling stuck at any time you’ve probably bought into the same story that your client is telling themself. Quite possibly because it’s a story you also tell yourself.

It’s a lot easier for someone else’s mood not to impact upon your own if you haven’t bought into their “story” – the things they are telling themselves about a situation.

Change can happen in an instance

I believe that change can happen in an instance. I think that being “dragged down” by negativity can be perceived as a much bigger problem if it’s a situation that you think is something you can’t change immediately. If I feel my mood shift in a direction I don’t want to go, then I know I can also quickly change it back.

Selecting the clients who work with you

If you find a particular client negatively impacts you, then I suggest you consider why you are working with them?

I know, particularly when you are first beginning your coaching journey and setting up a coaching practice, it may feel that you have to say yes to everyone that wants to work with you.

You will know your finances and situation best. You may want to consider what you could be doing with the time and energy you’re using with such a client instead.

If this is a common theme in the majority of your clients, is there anything in your marketing materials etc that is attracting such behaviour?

What else can you add to this list?