European Coaching, Mentoring Industry Moves to Self-Regulate

By Theresa Minton-Eversole July 12, 2011

In a joint effort at self-regulation, the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) and the International Coach Federation (ICF) on June 29, 2011, filed with the European Union a common Code of Conduct as the benchmark standard for the European coaching and mentoring industry.

In view of the tremendous growth experienced over the past decade in the coaching and mentoring industry, professional bodies increasingly have recognized the need to lay the ground rules, establish markers of good practice and move to self-regulate.

This code establishes a set of guidelines whose goal is to establish a benchmark for ethics and good practice in coaching and mentoring in Europe. It is drafted with regard to European law such as to be registered on the dedicated European Union database, which lists self-regulation initiatives in Europe. Currently members of the ICF and EMCC are participating in the joint code, however, the code will be advertised by the ICF and EMCC with the hopes that other organizations will participate in the code in the future.

This publicly accessible database is co-managed by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee.

"The ICF and EMCC are working hard to make sure there are safeguards in place for those interested in working with a coach or mentor—be it an individual or a business," said ICF President and Professional Certified Coach Ed Modell. "Both groups are interested in advancing the profession as well as helping to protect consumers."

This initiative is designed to inform coaching and mentoring clients and to promote public confidence in coaching and mentoring as a process for professional and personal development. The guidelines for practitioners cover requirements for:

  • Competencies.
  • Training.
  • Continuous professional development.
  • Ethical standards.

The guidelines for professional bodies cover requirements for:

  • Commitment to ethical standards by their members.
  • Disciplinary and complaint procedures for ethical issues.
  • An independent board to monitor and sanction breaches of the Code of Conduct.

"By putting our full weight jointly behind this major initiative for the profession to self-regulate, EMCC and ICF are setting the benchmark for all professional coaches and mentors," said Gregoire Barrowcliff, master practitioner coach and EMCC's vice-president for regulatory affairs.

The ICF, with nearly 16,000 members in more than 100 countries and more than 4,500 members in Europe, is a global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession and to providing independent certification. The EMCC has more than 5,000 members in 20 countries across Europe and exists to promote professional good practice, as well as organizational and individual practitioner international accreditation.

Theresa Minton-Eversole is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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