Just call yourself a coach

 As a lifelong learner, I'm always looking for ways to learn and to grow -- whether formally or informally.

Recently, I signed up to earn a certification in religious trauma studies.  The program is relatively robust and -- to date --  has been well-designed and delivered.  Having said that, it's nowhere near as rigorous as the ICF certification process, and there are no ongoing requirements once initial certification is earned.

Students in this program are also invited to join a Facebook group -- another powerful opportunity to connect with those who want to learn more about this topic.

Last week, another enrollee in the program posted this question (modified, to ensure anonymity):


"I am a student in this program.  I have an unrelated master's degree and am an ordained minister. I am not a licensed social worker, nor am I a family counselor. I wanted to market myself as a spiritual counselor but was advised by counsel that I can't do so in my state. So,.. what should I call myself?"


I read this posting with interest... which quickly turned to dismay once I began to read the responses to this question... which included the following:


"Options are consultant, mentor, advisor, coach,"

"Just call yourself a 'coach' instead"

"I think a spiritual coach is the best term"


While I generally try to avoid online debates with strangers (no... I really do!), I did feel compelled to weigh in with my thoughts... which were as follows (again, sanitized to ensure anonymity):


"I would be cautious about that term, as well. Coaching is an unregulated profession — but there are many of us who study for years to become certified coaches so as to honor the profession, and the impact it can have on client’s lives."


Honoring the profession.

Honoring -- and feeling the full weight of -- the impact we can have on client's lives.

This is part of why many coaches work to earn ICF coach certification.

Other aspiring coaches might seek to affiliate themselves with the legitimacy that ICF accreditation confers, to demonstrate their commitment to the profession, to set themselves apart from other coaches... or for myriad other reasons.

Whatever reason you are considering -- or have chosen -- to earn ICF certification, we honor you.

We celebrate you.

We thank you for choosing to develop your competence and commit yourself to upholding ethical standards in a profession that -- at this moment -- is unregulated.

And we want to partner with you -- providing you with the resources, tools, and community support you will need to travel this journey as meaningfully and successfully as possible.

It starts with passing the ICF certification exam.

Working with a mentor coach.

And completing the required training, authorized by ICF (we're working hard at Ferrymaster on this component ... stay tuned!).

For choosing to become a coach... rather than to just call yourself a coach.


Ferrymaster Cathy



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