A multi-stakeholder group has launched with the aim of collaborating to shape the future of the coaching profession

The group, Collaborating for the Future of the Coaching Profession (CFC), emerged from the Coaching at Work-led Accreditation Forum, but will be wider in scope and communities represented.

Instead of just professional bodies and sponsors, it will also include academia, for example, and will expand its focus to include establishing why/how coaching makes a difference to better understand what’s being accredited; developing guidance on best practice; continued alignment across accrediting bodies on standards and quality control, and ethics, including a common code of conduct.

CFC includes former Forum members from the main professional coaching bodies and coaching sponsors
KPMG, Civil Service Learning, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and GlaxoSmithKline. Tatiana Bachkirova, co-director at the International Centre for Coaching & Mentoring Studies at Oxford Brookes University, and David E Gray, professor of leadership and organisational behaviour at the University of Greenwich, have also just joined its ranks.

“The move reflects a growing trend within coaching to engage to be more collaborative, facing up to challenges and opportunities together. Coaching is coming of age and it is time to engage in even more mature and more inclusive dialogues,” said Liz Hall, editor of Coaching at Work, which will coordinate CFC.

At the landmark Forum meeting in February, which saw CFC’s birth, it was agreed that the group will be a collaborative effort, and will seek to contribute to the wider field, to influence the future of professional coaching and to help develop coaching as an industry.

KPMG’s Louise Buckle, who attended the meeting, said that one catalyst for launching CFC was the lack of response to an article she wrote with PwC’s Maria Symeon (“Cherry Pickers”: showcasing thinking and questions emerging from Forum member coaching sponsors and calling for responses from the wider community.

“Having posed some big questions for the industry and the profession, it felt as if we may be ahead of the game. The challenge from the sponsors in the [February] meeting was that, in the absence of these questions being considered by the wider industry, organisations will move ahead – and indeed are. This is part of a general shift in focus towards internal coaching and organisational needs…We agreed we needed to take a leadership stance,” she said.

Attendees at the meeting also included Veronica Lysaght from the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) Coaching Division. The latter hosted a meeting in March on collaboration between coaching bodies and sponsors, highlighting once again coaching buyers’ desire for greater clarity and commonality from coaching bodies.

The spotlight at one point fell on those who have not signed the Professional Charter for Mentoring and Coaching, launched in 2011. So far, signatories are the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC), the International Coach Federation (ICF), the Association for Coaching (AC) and the Société Française de Coaching.

The Charter was also discussed at a meeting in February of EMCC, AC and ICF members of the Global Coaching & Mentoring Alliance (GCMA), whose stated purpose is to professionalise the industry.

A team is reviewing the Charter and each body’s code of ethics, to produce a common scope of work. The AC agreed to add its competence framework to those submitted by the EMCC and ICF by the end of this month (May), to align on a Global Set of Common Coaching and Mentoring Competencies. The GCMA was due to meet again this month (12 May).