Non-delivery of services/products
including Unprofessional Behaviour

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 that 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 industry-recognised Codes of Conduct.

This Formal Complaint highlights the Consumer challenges when responding to an advert from a Coach and/or Mentor who does not demonstrate their understanding of or agrees 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 by the Respondent.  For this reason, the recommendations and sanctions will be retained on the Ombudsman Service Register until they do.  Should further grievances be registered with the Ombudsman Service against this Respondent this complaint will be incorporated into the review.

  • Reason: Non-delivery of Services and Products
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    Following on from a review of the information received, it was determined that there were four complaints:

    1. Non-delivery of Services in line with signed Agreement (under the Governing Laws of England)
    2. Courses (2) sub-contracted to a Professional Body accredited Private Commercial Training Organisation.
    3. Non-delivery of Other products.
    4. Unprofessional behaviour of the Respondent.
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  • Outcome: UPHELD
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  • Outcome Issued: 4th December 2020
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  • Actions, Recommendations, Sanctions:
    • Complainant: Awarded
    • Respondent: Sanctions
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  • Dates that Actions, Recommendations, and/or Sanctions Lifted:
    The Ombudsman Service has not received an application for these recommendations/sanctions to be lifted. 
    Should an application be received to lift these recommendations/sanctions, this Case Study will be updated.

Date Lodged: 20th August 2020

The Respondent selected not to respond to the Ombudsman Service emails but explained that he is unable to deal with these Formal Complaints at present due to a very full schedule; and that his solicitor would respond on the Respondent’s behalf in due course.

The solicitor explained that he had reviewed the paperwork and was waiting for his client’s instructions, but noted that his client’s company was in Hong Kong and requested a clarification of jurisdiction.

The Agreement signed by the Complainant was issued under the Governing Laws of England.  This clarification has been provided to both the solicitor and the Respondent; since which neither have selected to respond to the Ombudsman Service communications.

The Head of Ombudsman Service confirmed that Point 2. Setting and Managing the Relationship, specifically 1. Establishes had been breached by the Respondent, as the contract/agreement includes the points below which do not relate to his Hong Kong company:

  • The Respondents name and address registered under the initial paragraph is his personal name and a UK address.
  • The Respondents name and address registered under the ‘Notice’ clause is the same personal name and UK address.
  • The ‘Governing Law clause’ includes “It is the intention of the Parties to this Agreement that this Agreement and the performance under this Agreement, and all suits and special proceedings under this Agreement, be construed in accordance with and governed, to the exclusion of the law of any other forum, by the laws of England, without regard to the jurisdiction in which any action or special proceeding may be instituted.”
  • The payment was made to a UK bank account and not a Hong Kong bank account.

The Complainants have registered the following requested outcomes:

    1. Full refund.

For all Consumers who have contracted with the Respondent and can demonstrate that he has not fulfilled his contractual duties, the Consumers are awarded one of the following options:

    • The Respondent continues to work with the Consumers in a professional manner that befits a Coach and/or Mentor, to the fulfilment of his commitments in his adverts and contracts/agreements.
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      OR
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    • The Respondent provides each Consumer with a full refund based on the value documented in his adverts and/contracts and agreements.

It has been determined that these Formal Complaints relate to Managing Expectations, the Quality and Quantity of Services delivered or not delivered, and the Professional and Ethical Behaviour of Respondent.

The Ombudsman Service has identified that in these Formal Complaints the Consumers are the Coachees/Mentees of the Respondent; and that the Respondent has sub-contracted two elements of his contract to a Private Commercial Training Organisation (who has had one of the sub-contracted elements accredited by a Coaching Professional Body.

When the Respondent received an email from one of the Complainants in relation to progressing the contract, he responded and asked the Complainant no longer contact him, but contact his solicitor instead.

Informally sub-contracting part of a contract without the clarity of who is responsible for the support and complaints of the Complainants.

The Respondent appears as a Director on the Private Commercial Training Organisation’s website, but not on UK Companies House as a registered Officer of the company.

To address the Complainants expectations and dissatisfaction, the Ombudsman Service sanctions the Respondent to contact all of his Consumers included in this Formal Complaint and all other Consumers who have at any point expressed their disappointment in his services or have indicated that they wanted to cancel their agreement and:

    • Agree to continue to work with the Consumers in a professional manner that befits a Coach and/or Mentor, to the fulfilment of his commitments in his adverts and contracts/agreements.
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      OR
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    • Cancel his contracts/agreements and provides each Consumer with a full refund based on the value documented in his adverts and/contracts. and agreements.

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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: 4th December 2020
Ombudsman Service
International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring (CIC)
27 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3AX, United Kingdom

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