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Truth About Life Coaching School Accreditation

With life coaching becoming "the" career choice in this millennium, many of you are seeking the right choice for training and certification. Hopefully this article will answer some of your questions.

There are many fine life coach schools, academies and institutes. Some are accredited and some not. Should the school's accreditation make a difference to you? In my opinion, no.

Because there are no universal standards for the life coaching profession, there are no universal standards for schools. Also, because well-paid coaches generally work in a niche, those niches are such that they are developed by the coach independently of any training they might receive.

What makes the issue of accreditation particularly confusing is marketing. Accreditation is being used as a marketing tool in some cases, not as a barometer of their success. Many coaching schools are accredited only because a group of colleagues got together and decided to form a group and accredit their associates' schools. How do you know whether this is the case for a school you are interested in? You really don't know and generally can't find out.

Many schools use accreditation as a marketing ploy to draw you in and charge exhorbitant rates. If you just want to spend more money, go ahead. Price really has little to do with the effectiveness of the materials. Mid-range schools generally work harder to please students and offer as good or better training in many cases, because students get more one-on-one time with instructors.

How important is a school's accreditation? Let's put it into realistic perspective. What is most important to a prospective coaching client is, can this coach help me? Most clients look to see whether a coach has had formal coach training, but not into the background of the school. And the truth is, clients don't care whether the school you attended, is accredited. It just doesn't come up. Clients will decide to use your services if they like you, feel a connection, and experience benefits from their sample session with you. That's pretty much it.

Peer Resources (http://www.peer.ca/coachingschools.html), recognized world leader in coach training resources states "accreditation" in the coaching field at present has a number of troubling aspects, including its lack of wide-spread acceptance, conflicts of interests between reviewers and some rated schools, minimal reporting of results, and questionable or vague criteria. While accreditation typically means the school has been reviewed by an external source, it does not necessarily mean that "non-accredited schools" provide less value or poorer quality programs."

Since coaching is a distinct and relatively new profession, and no universal standards exist, many new schools have come into existence. To build a fence around the training opportunities and the income derived from it, some schools formed organizations to accredit only their schools of choice and make it nearly impossible for a newer school to become accredited. They will mandate applicant schools to show evidence of ten or more years of professional success, before they even consider them for accreditation. Then, they apply personal biases for accrediting schools, so unless a school fits within their philosophies, they aren't eligible or will not be approved.

So how does the potential coaching student make a sound choice? Here are some ways:

Read student testimonials

Verify the school's philosophies allign with yours

Contact the school and see if they are prompt with replies to your questions

Look for a school in your desired niche - Here is an example:

Let's say you are a Christian and prefer training that agrees with your faith. It will be important to select a Christian (bible-based) certification course. Admittedly this niche offers a few options for training. Some are accredited and some not. But this should not matter, because there is no governing body to decide whose course is best. The Christian schools who show accreditation from established secular accrediting bodies, are actually less likely to have substantive biblical content, because secular groups frequently subscribe to new age philosophies and may influence course content and materials.

Through my research and contact with various institutions, there was only one Christian coaching school which impressed me. That is the Professional Christian Counseling and Coaching Academy. (www.pccca.org). PCCCA offers training and certification for Christian Life Coaches and Christian Counselors.

I found they stand on their principles of faith, maintain the integrity of their programs and consistently strive for excellence. What is more, they offer one-to-one training with practicing coaches, serving as coach training instructors. Any coaching school's success relies on what they bring to the table with their skills, integrity, response-time, reasonable fees and knowledge. Add that to superb training and you have an unbeatable combination. While PCCCA has Christian School Accreditation, they do not have secular coaching school accreditation.

I recommend that potential students not be persuaded by gimicky advertising, high fees and accreditation. Look for the best school for you. Period.

The author, Emery Hilton-Goode is a freelance writer specializing in entrepreneurial strategies and career training. You may contact the author at diamonglo@aol.com

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