Professional and Ethical Behaviour of Respondents

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 the Respondent; the Head of Ombudsman Service concluded that the report, sanctions, and recommendations have been accepted.

Neither the Respondent nor the Third Party has 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 the Respondent or involves the Third Party; this complaint will be incorporated into the review.

This element of these Formal Complaints relates to the manner in which the owners of the Private Commercial Training Organisation communicated with their students.

One of the owners focused more on their own experiences, problems, and challenges.  They did not respond to the concern raised by the student or the formal complaint eventually raised once the Private Commercial Training Organisations complaints procedure had been made available.

The issues detailed in this section of the Formal Complaint were not raised by the Complainants and as such, they have not requested any outcomes.

It has been determined that these Formal Complaints have raised additional points that relate to Clear Communication with the consumers, terminology (commonly understood language)consistency, and representation.  The Ombudsman Service has identified that in these Formal Complaints the consumers are the Respondents students and the student’s clients.

The outcome of the Ombudsman Service investigation is that the Respondents have not met the minimum standards required for a Private Commercial Training Organisation in the coaching and mentoring industry.

In addition, the information received and reviewed by the Ombudsman Service panel raised a number of additional concerns:

    1. Professional and Ethical Behaviour
    2. Representation
      • Complaints Procedure
      • Governance
      • Representation
      • The Respondents Membership
      • The Respondent, UK
        The Respondent, Hong Kong
    3. Terminology
      • Accredited
      • Master
    4. Consistency
      • Terms and Conditions

The details raised in this section of the Ombudsman Service process have predominantly been raised by the Ombudsman Service in its determination to understand the details of the Formal Complaints above.

Therefore, there are no outcomes awarded to the Complainants.

One owner of the Respondents – sanction 1:

The Ombudsman Service sanctions one owner of the Respondents to review the following clauses in relation to their responses to the questions, concerns, and complaints raised by their consumers (students):

    • Coaching and Mentoring Industry Core Competencies,
      specifically Effective Communication (5x)
    • Code of Conduct: Ethics,
      specifically Ethical foundation, Personal Conduct 3, Professional Conduct 11.1.
    • Coaching and Mentoring Industry Core Competencies,
      specifically Effective communication (1i)
    • Code of Conduct: Ethics,
      specifically Professional Conduct 7.2.

One owner of the Respondents is to clearly document their reflection on their actions, specifically relating to the way in which they responded to the questions, concerns, and complaints raised by their consumers (students).

More details on Reflection can be found under Unified Coaching and Mentoring Industry Core Competencies point 7.

One owner of the Respondents – sanction 2:

The Ombudsman Service sanctions the same owner as above, of the Respondents to formally apologise to the four ‘ladies’ in writing for their breach of the unified international coaching and mentoring industry Codes of Conduct, and provide each consumer individually with a response to their own questions, concerns, or complaints.  The Ombudsman Service is to be copied on all communication.

The Respondents – sanction 1:

The Ombudsman Service sanctions the Respondent, in line with their own Complaints Procedure is required to ‘make sure they offer a clear explanation for their decision’ to cancel membership and Facebook access.

It is unclear from the responses received from the Respondents and from a senior member of the coaching and mentoring Professional Bodies team, as to when this Complaints Procedure was first published by the Respondent.

Therefore, it is sanctioned that the Respondents work with a senior member of the coaching and mentoring Professional Body team to review and if required, update their Complaints Procedure.  This review should include adding the review date and making their Complaints Process more obvious on their website.  Once this has been completed, the Respondent is required to notify all their students and the Ombudsman Service.

In light of the Respondents statements that they respect this industry, the Directors of both the UK Company and the Hong Kong Company are required to fully review their Governance webpage and re-write the sections that relate to the coaching, mentoring, and NLP industries in line with the Unified International Coaching & Mentoring Industry definitions, the awarded accreditations by the coaching and mentoring Professional Body, the universally accepted NLP training and qualification structure, and their awarded accreditation by complementary medical Professional Body.

This re-write must be sent to the:

    • Ombudsman Service for confirmation of industry detail.
    • coaching and mentoring Professional Body for confirmation of their accreditation detail.
    • NLP Professional Body for confirmation of the NLP industry detail.
    • complementary medical Professional Body for confirmation of the Medical industry detail.

The Ombudsman Service recommends that the coaching and mentoring Professional Body clarifies to the Respondents how the coaching and mentoring Professional Body represents their own brand; the use of the coaching and mentoring Professional Bodies name and logo in relation to the coaching and mentoring Professional Body accreditation awarded to (1) the Respondents course or courses/workshops, and the (2) trainers/coaches.

The Ombudsman Service recommends that the coaching and mentoring Professional Body clarifies to the Respondents how to represent their course accreditation on their Membership page, in terms of what it is that they have been awarded.

In light of the confusion over who is and who is not a Director of the Respondents companyUK and the Respondents company, Hong Kong; the Respondents are required to:

    • Add to the website the Respondents company, UK company registration details i.e. company registration number, their Registered Office Address, if different their trading address, and full contact details.
    • Add to the website the Respondents company, Hong Kong company registration details i.e. company registration number, their Registered Office Address, if different their trading address, and full contact details.
    • Update the website with reference to which individuals are Directors for which company or companies.

No additional actions, recommendations, or sanctions have been awarded under terminology.

It is unclear from the Respondent’s Terms and Conditions; which terms and conditions apply to which products and/or services.

It is recommended that the Respondent’s review their Terms and Conditions, combine the details into one set of Terms and Conditions and ensure that the one set of Terms and Conditions appears on each webpage.

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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.