Issuing Invalid Qualifications

Case StudyAlthough the global coaching and mentoring industry is legally unregulated, meaning that anyone can call themselves a coach or a mentor (or both), regardless of their professional background, qualifications, and competencies.

To address this issue, the industry has found a solution in self-regulation; and the International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring CIC (IRCM CIC) is a UK government-approved Regulator for the protection of the consumers.  The IRCM CIC works closely with a number of Professional Bodies who have set independent professional and ethical standards for coaches, mentors, and private commercial training providers.

Although self-regulation can be seen as a big step forward in becoming more professional as an industry, it still doesn’t solve all the industry problems: as seen through the Requests for Facilitation and Formal Complaints lodged with the Ombudsman Service.  Not every person or business within the coaching and mentoring industry agrees to comply with the minimal Unified International Codes of Conduct.

This Formal Complaint highlights the challenges of Coaching and Mentoring Organisations that have been set up to supply coaches and/or mentors to consumers, without fully understanding or agreeing to comply with the self-regulation unified international industry codes of conduct – ethics, standards, and competencies.

As the Ombudsman Service received no appeals from Complainant or either Respondent; the Head of Ombudsman Service concluded that the report, sanctions, and recommendations have been accepted.

Neither Respondent #1, nor Respondent #2, nor either Third Party have met the Recommendation or Sanction requirements, and as such these will be retained on the Ombudsman Service Register until they do.  Should further grievances, disputes, and/or complaints be registered with the Ombudsman Service against Respondent #1 or Respondent #2 or involving either Third Party; this complaint will be incorporated into the review.

This element of these Formal Complaints relates to the TCM 12 week NLP Practitioner Programme; where the qualified trainer left mid-way through the course, and the resultant qualification is not recognised by the NLP industry or consumers.

It has been determined that these Formal Complaints relate to Managing the Expectations of the consumers, as well as representation of the course. The Ombudsman Service has identified that in these Formal Complaints the Consumers are the Respondent (Private Commercial Training Organisation) students and the student’s clients.

In NLP there is a globally accepted certification structure, in which there is a common understanding of how the trainers are approved and the students are trained. Therefore, the expectation of the student and the student’s clients is that, on successful completion of the training, the student will be able to register with one of the recognised NLP Professional Bodies.

Formal Complaint 6: 4th August 2020

Formal Complaint 7: 4th August 2020

Formal Complaint 8 part 1: 20th August 2020

Formal Complaint 9 part 1: 21st August 2020

The Complainants have registered the following requested outcomes:

    1. Full refund.
    2. Compensation for lost earnings.

The outcome of the Ombudsman Service investigation is that the student’s qualifications do not meet the globally agreed NLP training qualifications.  The NLP Professional Bodies does not recognise these qualifications: and the reason is that the training hasn’t been delivered in full and the certificate hasn’t been signed by an NLP Professional Body recognised and qualified NLP Trainer.

Therefore, for this particular course (where the industry recognised and qualified trainer left in week 6) and subsequent courses which have not been delivered by an NLP Professional Body recognised and qualified NLP Trainer, the student’s expectations have not been met.

The students have been unable to continue with job applications as they are unable to register with industry recognised NLP Professional Bodies.

Therefore, for all students impacted by the qualified trainer leaving the NLP course in week 6 and this course and all subsequent courses run by a non-NLP Professional Body recognised and qualified NLP Trainer, the Complainants have been awarded one of the following options:

    • The Respondent (Private Commercial Training Organisation) will provide the students with the opportunity to complete their NLP qualifications with an NLP Professional Body recognised and qualified trainer.
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      OR
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    • The Respondent (Private Commercial Training Organisation) will refund the full cost of the NLP Practitioner Programme directly to the student.
  1. The NLP courses run by the Respondent (Private Commercial Training Organisation) are ‘accredited’ by a Professional Body that is not within the coaching, mentoring, or NLP industries; but represents the Complementary Medical industry.
  2. The original trainer employed by the Respondent (Private Commercial Training Organisation) was a recognised and approved NLP trainer.
  3. The original trainer left the course half-way through.
  4. The training was completed by the original trainer’s son.  The son had been trained in NLP by the original trainer, but not to the qualification of an NLP trainer.
  5. The qualification certificates include the branding of the Respondent (Private Commercial Training Organisation), the Complementary Medical industry Professional Body, and another coaching and mentoring Professional Body.  The logos and branding on the certificates do not represent this course accurately.
  6. The qualification certificates were signed by the original trainers’ son.
  7. An NLP Professional Body has confirmed that the qualifications issued from the time that the original trainer left this course, means that the qualifications are not valid within the NLP industry.
  8. One of the Complainants was told that, as they were unable to gain membership with a recognised NLP Professional Body; they would not be able to progress a job application.

All students impacted by the qualified trainer leaving the NLP course in week 6 and all subsequent courses run by the son (a non-NLP Professional Body recognised and qualified NLP Trainer), the Complainants are awarded one of the following options:

    • The Respondent (Private Commercial Training Organisation) will provide the students with the opportunity to complete their NLP qualifications with an NLP Professional Body recognised and qualified trainer.
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      OR
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    • The Respondent (Private Commercial Training Organisation) will refund the full cost of the NLP Practitioner Programme directly to the student.

To address their consumers’ (current students’) expectations, the Ombudsman Service sanctions Respondent (Private Commercial Training Organisation) to contact each student who has qualified on the course which the original trainer left halfway through, as well as subsequent courses without an NLP Professional Body recognised and qualified NLP trainer; and offers them one of the following options:

    1. Completing their course with a qualified NLP Professional Body recognized trainer, and on completion of the course, work with the NLP recognised Professional Body to support their students gaining membership.
      OR
    2. A full refund of the cost of the NLP Practitioner Programme to enable the students to train on an NLP course with an NLP Professional Body recognised and qualified trainer.

In line with using the coaching and mentoring Professional Bodies logo on the NLP certificates, the Ombudsman Service sanctions Respondent (Private Commercial Training Organisation) to demonstrate the accreditations awarded to the Respondent (Private Commercial Training Organisation) for the NLP course accurately and to work with the coaching and mentoring Professional Body to update the Respondent’s (Private Commercial Training Organisation) certificates to remove the incorrect logo’s.

By using the coaching and mentoring Professional Body’s individual coaching accreditations for the owners of the Respondent’s (Private Commercial Training Organisation) company, and the coaching and mentoring Professional Body’s logo to infer that the coaching and mentoring Professional Body had accredited the NLP course, the Respondents (Private Commercial Training Organisation) have invalidated their certificates.

To provide valid certificates, the Respondent (Private Commercial Training Organisation) should employ a qualified and NLP industry recognised trainer and gain recognition for their course from a recognised NLP Professional Body.

Although many trainers may choose to seek accreditation from a third party as an endorsement for the courses they are delivering; it has been found that the Respondent’s company has chosen an organisation that is not a recognised NLP Professional Body, and that the Professional Body has accredited this course without knowledge of the NLP industry.

The Professional Body confirmed that they received three training certificates for the unqualified trainer in support of his knowledge and experience to run Respondent companies NLP courses.  Two of the NLP training certificates are from a recognised training company and demonstrate that the unqualified trainer has qualified as an NLP Practitioner and NLP Master Practitioner (albeit on a course run by his mother).  The unqualified trainer has not provided a certificate to demonstrate that he is qualified as an NLP trainer or NLP master trainer.  The third certificate is an accreditation certificate (not a qualification) from a coaching and mentoring Professional Body.

The Ombudsman Service has confirmed that the Accredited Senior Coach certificate from a coaching and mentoring Professional Body is not a training certificate and does not meet the recognised NLP globally agreed certification structure for trainers of NLP courses.

The Ombudsman Service recommends that the Professional Body that is not a recognised NLP Professional Body but a complementary medical professional body reviews the NHS website for CAMs and the relevant House of Lords report.

The Ombudsman Service recommends that the Professional Body that is not a recognised NLP Professional Body understands and documents how their decision to accredit an NLP course (as a Professional Body not recognised by the NLP industry) has impacted these students.  These qualifications have been deemed to be meaningless within the NLP Professional Bodies and industry; as the students are unable to use the qualification to gain meaningful employment or assignments.

As the Ombudsman Service understands that this course is not accredited by the coaching and mentoring Professional Body, it is recommended that the coaching and mentoring Professional Body works with Respondent’s company to represent the Respondent’s company accreditation accurately; both through the use of their logo and the coaching accreditation awarded to the two coach trainers.  (cross-reference to Respondents Sanctions 2 above).

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The Ombudsman Service has not received any applications for these actions, recommendations, and sanctions to be lifted.  Should applications be received to lift these actions, recommendations, and sanctions, this Case Study will be updated.

Dated: 21st September 2020
Ombudsman Service
International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring (CIC)
27 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3AX, United Kingdom

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Notes:

  1. The definitions for industry-standard terminology can be found on the IRCM CIC’s Coaching and Mentoring industry recognised Definitions.

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Currently, all information provided by and correspondence with the IRCM CIC is in English.