Coaching and Mentoring Industry Terminology


Each industry has its own words with specific meanings.  For example, the word coach has multiple meanings:

  • a comfortably equipped single-decker bus used for longer journeys.
  • a railway carriage.
  • economy class in an aircraft.
  • someone who can help you make changes to one or more elements of your life.

Within each industry-specific words have particular meanings, which when they are not used within that industry context causes confusion.  On the other hand, some words cross industries and where the word is used out of context it can cause confusion.

Terminology is a discipline that ‘labels’ specific actions, tasks, tools, subjects, etc. within a specific industry.  Terminology can be limited to one language or more than one language.  Words do not always translate and maybe the word in the original language needs to be used, or maybe a phrase needs to be used.

Within an industry, terminology can make things easier, but for consumers coming into the industry either as consumers or as people joining the industry; it can make for a confusing time.

This was highlighted in 2020 when a number of students raised complaints with the Ombudsman Service.  One of the Private Commercial Training Organisations who had been started by two newly trained coaches who had not run a business before and who did not understand the coaching and mentoring industry in detail; provided their students with certificates that could not be used within the industry.

Although 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, competencies, and use whatever terminology they like; the industry has found a solution in self-regulation.

The International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring CIC (IRCM CIC) is the UK government-approved Regulator for the protection of the coaching and mentoring industry consumers and works closely with Professional Bodies and all members of the industry, to set, review, and update as required, a single independent professional and ethical standards for every individual and organisation within the coaching and mentoring industry.

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.  With Private Commercial Training Organisations setting up and trading without consideration for the outcome of the coaching and/or mentoring industry, like the one that has been reported to the Ombudsman Service; the quality and excellence of this industry remains questionable.

When every person or business or organisation within the coaching and mentoring industry agrees to use the standard terminology and comply with the industry agreed to minimal international Codes of Conduct., this industry will be considered to be a recognised profession.