Ombudsman Service

When a consumer is looking for a course and/or workshop to train as a coach and/or mentor; or to add to their existing skills and knowledge: the Ombudsman Service recommends that the consumer verifies:

  • not only the status, quality, and reputation of the Private Commercial Training Organisation; but also
  • the ‘competence (Note 1)’ of the trainers,
  • as well as the professionalism of the accrediting/credentialing Professional Body.

To understand the status, quality, and reputation of the Private Commercial Training Organisation, the consumer must verify that:

  • the Private Commercial Training Organisation or Formal Education Body is REGISTERED on the IRCM CIC’s Education Directory.
  • the course and/or workshop has gained an independent verification from one or more IRCM CIC Registered or Accredited Professional Bodies.
  • that the trainers have the right level of qualification and
    • are REGISTERED on the IRCM CIC’s Individual Suppliers Directory, and
    • have been independently verified by an industry specific Professional Body.
      For example, NLP trainers must be members of and recognised as a trainer by, an internationally recognised NLP Professional Body.
    • as an additional benefit, the course and/or workshop is SELF-CERTIFIED on the IRCM CIC’s Education Directory.
    • the end result of the course/workshop is a qualification and not an accreditation.

To determine ‘competence’, the consumer should confirm that the coach and/or mentor is:

  • REGISTERED on the IRCM CIC’s Individual Suppliers Directory and
  • ACCREDITED/CREDENTIALED by one or more IRCM Registered or Accredited Professional Bodies and
  • is recognised as a trainer and not just a coach and/or mentor.
    This is specifically important in the NLP world where NLP trainers must be members of and recognised as a trainer by, an internationally recognised NLP Professional Body.
Ombudsman Service


Coaches and Mentors CLICK HERE to REGISTER

Date Lodged: between 4th August 2020 and 21st August 2020

A single investigation may be incorporated into multiple disputes/complaints about the same topic; as this avoids duplication, excessive cost, and identifies systemic failings.  These four Formal Complaints have been combined into a single investigation as the Complainants registered the same details in their Formal Complaint about the same Respondent.


  1. Issuing Invalid Qualification,
  2. Issuing Invalid Accreditation, and
  3. Professional behaviour, Representation, Terminology, and Consistency.

The Ombudsman Service received four Formal Complaints.

In the Ombudsman Service’s understanding of the complaints it was determined that there were two formal complaints registered and the third had been concluded through the review of all the material submitted:

    1. 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.
    2. TCM 12 week Coaching Qualification Programme, Accredited Foundation Training Course – Equivalent Level 4.
      – where the training organisation awarded their students certification and accreditation; and not a qualification.
    3. Professional and Ethical Behaviour of Respondents.

Following on from an initial review of the information received, the Head of Ombudsman Service has determined that this complaint centred on Managing Expectations and the use of terminologyconsistency, and representation.

Outcome: UPHELD

Outcome Issued: 21st September 2020

Actions, Recommendations, Sanctions:

  • Complainant: N/A
  • Respondent #1: Sanctions
  • Respondent #2: Sanctions
  • Third Party #1: Recommendations
  • Third Party #2: Recommendations.

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.

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 (Note 1), and competencies (Note 1).

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.

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

    1. With no regard for the consumers (the Private Commercial Training Organisations students), the owners of the training company have completely disregarded the standards set-up through many years of self-regulation; and left their students without the opportunity to utilise the ‘qualification’ they have paid for.
      • When the industry recognised and qualified trainer left half-way through the course, the trainer’s son stepped in to complete the course.  This has not only left those students and all following students with qualifications not recognised in the NLP industry but raises the ethical question about a mother training her own son.
      • The Professional Body that accredited this course, using qualifications issued by the trainer’s mother and an accreditation awarded by a different Professional Body for the trainers coaching accreditation; is a Professional Body that works within the Complementary Medical industry.
    2. After gaining their own and their course’s accreditation from a Professional Body; the owners of the Private Commercial Training Organisation changed their course so that it both certifies and accredits the students who complete their coach training course.
      • With complete disregard for the coaching and mentoring industry; the owners of the Private Commercial Training Organisation have devalued their coach training course by selecting to award an accreditation, which is normally awarded by an external and independent organisation, and not a qualification.
      • The Professional Body that awarded the accreditation to the two trainers (owners of the business) and the course has not protected their brand and organisational standards.  They have devalued their own standards and branding as they have continued to allow the Private Commercial Training Organisation to use:
        • the trainers coaching accreditation to verify the Private Commercial Training Organisations NLP course content and standards.
        • their logo on all the Private Commercial Training Organisations courses, whether the courses are coaching and mentoring related or not, inferring that all the courses (coaching, NLP, and business) are accredited by the Professional Body.
        • their logo on the Private Commercial Training Organisations membership area, which is updated monthly with new courses; inferring that all courses in the membership area are accredited by the Professional Body.
    3. Although the Private Commercial Training Organisation confirmed that they “highly respect” the International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring CIC, the written submissions, actions, and behaviour of the owners raises concerns over their Professional and Ethical Behaviour.

As the Ombudsman Service received no appeals from Complainant, the Respondent’s, or the Third-Parties; the Head of Ombudsman Service concluded that the report, sanctions, and recommendations have been accepted.  Until the Sanctions and Recommendations have been met, these will be retained on the Ombudsman Service Register, and should further grievances, disputes, and/or complaints be registered with the Ombudsman Service against the Respondents; this complaint will be incorporated into the review.

Further details are found under each case study below,
where the details for the individual complaint have been documented.

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


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