Is Coaching Really a Profession?
What a strange question to ask, after all I'm offering my services as a professional coach so why am I questioning whether coaching is actually a profession? I believe that I do offer coaching services in a professional manner through my education, experience and professionalism. However, coaching as a profession has not yet reached a similar status to that of my former career - a Chartered Engineer, or other professional careers e.g. Lawyers, Accountants, Doctors etc. In order to be seen as a professional status it needs to include (1) significant barriers to entry, (2) a shared common body of knowledge rather than proprietary systems, (3) formal qualifications at tertiary level, (4) regulatory bodies with the power to admit, discipline and meaningfully sanction members, (5) an enforceable code of ethics, and (6) some form of state-sanctioned licensing or regulation. (Grant & Cavanagh, 2004)
The coaching industry is working on all fronts to move it towards being accepted as a profession e.g. there is an increase in evidence-based knowledge being researched and reported showing quantifiable evidence of the impact of coaching for different niches from the perspectives of the client, the coach, the models used and the influence on the system itself. The ICF and EMCC jointly filed with the European Union a Code of Conduct for Coaching and Mentoring as the benchmark for the profession. Universities are offering tertiary level courses in Coaching. This takes time and any coach who provides professional coaching should be aware of what's happening in the industry, and support the transition and changes. However, the road towards professional status will not be an easy one as there will be many difficult and unpopular decisions to be made.
Ref: Grant, A and Cavanagh, M (2004) Toward a profession of coaching: Sixty-five years of progress and challenges for the future, International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, Vol 2(1)