Unified International Industry of Coaching and Mentoring Definitions

There are a huge number of definitions within the Coaching and Mentoring industry.

For the purposes of the Unified International Industry of Coaching and Mentoring, to provide a simple approach to managing consumer expectations, the following are the common understandings of the words used:

Accreditation or Credentialing is defined as the independent external verification of competence awarded by a Professional Body (accreditation bodies, trade/membership bodies, or associations) to a

  • Coach;
  • Mentor; or
  • Private Commercial Training Organisation, each course/workshop, and tutors/teachers/lecturers/etc.

Accreditation must not be confused with Qualification.

                                                                                                                                          Version 3, February 2018
This definition is defined specifically so that the consumer understands the difference
between the terminology used across the industry, and it may change at any time.

Accreditation by the IRCM is awarded to Professional Bodies who are Registered with the IRCM.

Thes Professional Bodies apply to demonstrate that they, through an independent external verification of their accreditation/credentialing services; have committed to the highest standards of competence through building trust, confidence, and excellence in the coaching and/or mentoring industry, as well as their active involvement on the IRCM Steering Committee.

This is reflected in the competence of their Coaches, Mentors, and Private Commercial Training Organisations.

Accreditation must not be confused with Qualification.

Version 3, February 2018
This definition is defined specifically so that the consumer understands the difference
between the terminology used across the industry, and it may change at any time.

Accreditation for Formal Education Bodies and Private Training Commercial Organisations is not provided by the IRCM:

  • Formal Education Bodies will be (accredited) approved through their countries government education department/system.
  • Private Commercial Training Organisations will be accredited/credentialed through one or more IRCM Registered/Accredited Professional Bodies.

Coaches work with individuals, teams, or groups in a confidential partnership relationship. The Coaching each Coach uses in this partnership relationship creates a thought-provoking, forward-thinking, creative process that inspires each individual to maximise their own potential in an area in which the consumer chooses.

Although a Coach is trained to work across the full spectrum of the consumer personal and professional life; specific niches of Coaching, for example, corporate Coaching, business Coaching, leadership Coaching, life Coaching, executive Coaching, strengths Coaching, and the list goes on; provides each Coach to confirm the type or area of Coaching in which they prefer to work. In all niches, the definition remains the same.

Coaches develop the skills and learn the tools and techniques to work with consumers in a one-2-one, team or group relationship.

Version 3, February 2018
This definition is defined specifically so that the consumer understands the difference between the terminology used across the industry,
and is incorporated in the IRCM Unified Code of Industry Ethics.  It may change at any time.

Coaching is a range of skills, tools, techniques used within the Coaching industry by Coaches.

In the November, 2017 The State of Play in European Coaching and Mentoring, Executive Report 2017: coaching is defined as ‘A Socratic-based future-focused dialogue between a facilitator (coach) and a participant (coachee/client), where the facilitator uses open questions, active listening, summaries and reflections which are aimed at stimulating the self-awareness and personal responsibility of the participant’.

Version 3, February 2018
This definition is defined specifically so that the consumer understands the difference between the terminology used across the industry,
and is incorporated in the IRCM Unified Code of Industry Ethics.  It may change at any time.

Competence on the IRCM’s Directories is demonstrated by:

  • each Coach, and/or Mentor who is Registered with the IRCM and Accredited/Credentialed with one or more IRCM Registered/Accredited Professional Bodies.
  • each Private Commercial Training Organisation which is Registered with the IRCM and Accredited/Credentialed with one or more IRCM Registered/Accredited Professional Bodies.
  • each Formal Education Bodies which is Registered with the IRCM and is automatically provided with a level of approval through their countries government-led Education Department.

Each individual/organisation Registered with the IRCM has agreed to abide by and (where applicable) incorporate into their training the IRCM’s Codes of Conduct.

Version 3, February 2018
This definition is defined specifically so that the consumer understands the difference between the terminology used across the industry,
and is incorporated in the IRCM’s Directories.  It may change at any time.

A consumer is a person or organisation who buys (for a fee or bartered or pro-bono or free) a product or service for personal or professional development.

Consumers are the individuals and/or organisations who benefit from the services or products provided by individuals and/or organisations within the Coaching and Mentoring Industry.

Consumers are simply buyers, end-users, clients, customers, students, and members, who can also be coaches, mentors, or owner/staff of coaching/mentoring organisations.

Version 3, February 2018
This definition is defined specifically so that the consumer understands the difference between the terminology used across the industry,
and is incorporated in the IRCM Unified Code of Industry Ethics.  It may change at any time.

Course and Workshop definitions:

  • course is a series of lectures or lessons in a particular subject, leading to an examination and qualification.
  • workshop is a seminar, discussion group, programme, or similar, that demonstrates and applies one or more techniques, skills. etc.

Version 3, February 2018
This definition is defined specifically so that the consumer understands the difference between the terminology used across the industry.
It may change at any time.

Accreditation or Credentialing is defined as the independent external verification of competence awarded by a Professional Body (accreditation bodies, trade/membership bodies, or associations) to a

  • Coach;
  • Mentor; or
  • Private Commercial Training Organisation, each course/workshop, and tutors/teachers/lecturers/etc.

Credentialing must not be confused with Qualification.

                                                                                                                                          Version 3, February 2018
This definition is defined specifically so that the consumer understands the difference between the terminology used across the industry.
It may change at any time.

Individual means that the relationship is a one-2-one relationship between a Coach and a consumer; or a Mentor and a consumer; or an organisation and a consumer.

Team generally means that the relationship has more than one consumer working with the Coach, Mentor, or organisation. In a team the consumer is normally
There are many definitions for team; but the one commonly adopted definition is that defined by:

Katzenbach and Smith (1999): ‘a small number of people with complimentary skills, who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach, for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.’

Kozlowski and Bell (2003): ‘collectives who exist to perform organisationally relevant tasks, share one or more common goals, interact socially, exhibit task interdependencies, maintain and manage boundaries and are embedded in an organisational context that sets boundaries, constrains the team, and influences exchanges with other units in the broader entity.’

Hackman and Wageman (2005): ‘direct interaction with a team intended to help members in the co‐ordinated and task‐appropriate use of their collective resources in accomplishing the team’s work.’

David Clutterbuck (2009): ‘helping the team improve performance and the processes by which performance is achieved, through reflection and dialogue.’

Group generally means that the relationship has more than one consumer working with the Coach, Mentor, or organisation; but does not necessarily mean that the two or more consumers are working to achieve a single goal for the same organisation. More often, group Coaching or Mentoring relates to the same development topics that are important to a number of people at the same time i.e. learning a skill, developing a hobby, learning a new tool or technique.

Version 3, February 2018
This definition is defined specifically so that the consumer understands the difference between the terminology used across the industry,
and is incorporated in the IRCM Unified Code of Industry Ethics.  It may change at any time.

Listed on the IRCM’s Directories provides the consumers with a list of all Organisations and Individuals trading in the coaching and mentoring industry who have not selected to demonstrate their commitment to excellence.

This list has been generated by Organisations/Individuals who have requested to be included on the Directory as ‘Listed’, or discovered during the IRCM’s independent search of the globe to discover exactly how many coaches, mentors, and organisations are currently trading.

Version 3, February 2018
This definition is defined specifically so that the consumer understands the difference between the terminology used across the industry,
and is incorporated in the IRCM’s Directories.  It may change at any time.

Mentors work with individuals, teams, or groups in a confidential partnership relationship. The Mentor is a knowledgeable, experienced and trusted guide or advisor. In Mentoring each Mentor uses their own working knowledge and personally gained experience to create a partnership relationship that is guided, thought-provoking, forward thinking, and creative process that inspires each individual to maximise their own potential in an area in which the consumer chooses or the organisation requires.

Each Mentor has knowledge and personally gained experience in a specific niche. Unlike Coaches, Mentors do not work outside their own niche. In all niches, the definition remains the same.

Mentors use their own knowledge and personally gained experience to work with consumers in a one-2-one, team or group relationship. Mentors may also use the same skills, tools, and techniques a Coach uses.

Version 3, February 2018
This definition is defined specifically so that the consumer understands the difference between the terminology used across the industry,
and is incorporated in the IRCM Unified Code of Industry Ethics.  It may change at any time.

Mentoring is the definition of the knowledge and personally gained experience each Mentor has attained; which may also include a range of skills, tools, techniques, and general industry knowledge used within the Mentoring industry by Mentors.

Peer-to-peer Mentoring is where, for example in the Coaching and Mentoring industry; a Coach or Mentor seeks guidance from a more experienced and qualified Coach or Mentor. It is the IRCMs recommendation that the only Coaches or Mentors contacted for advice and guidance should be those who are IRCM Accredited.

In the November, 2017 The State of Play in European Coaching and Mentoring, Executive Report 2017: mentoring is defined as ‘A long term relationship that meets a development need, offered by a senior or more experienced individual to a junior or less experienced individual where the less experienced individual receives guidance, advice and support to help their development’.

Version 3, February 2018
This definition is defined specifically so that the consumer understands the difference between the terminology used across the industry,
and is incorporated in the IRCM Unified Code of Industry Ethics.  It may change at any time.

Qualification is awarded to each student (Coach and/or Mentor) through the successful achievement of their training from their Training Organisation.

Qualified students are usually issued with a qualification certificate that shows their success in a specific course or workshop.

Qualification must not be confused with Accreditation.

Version 3, February 2018
This definition is defined specifically so that the consumer understands the difference between the terminology used across the industry.
It may change at any time.

Registered on the IRCM’s Directories demonstrates that each Organisation and Individual provides a level of commitment to excellence by demonstrating that they have agreed to abide by the IRCM’s:

  • Unified Code of Industry Ethics,
  • Unified Industry Core Competencies,
  • Disciplinary Procedures, and
  • recognise the Ombudsman Service for Consumers.

The IRCM Registered Professional Bodies and IRCM Registered Formal Education Bodies have committed to building trust, confidence, and excellence in the coaching and/or mentoring industry through their inclusion on the Directory, and active involvement on the IRCM Steering Committee.

The IRCM Registered Private Commercial Training Organisations, Support Groups, and Individual Suppliers (Coaches and/or Mentors) have committed to building trust, confidence, and excellence in the coaching and/or mentoring industry through their inclusion on the Directory, and timely involvement in their responses the IRCM Steering Committee request for information, surveys, and questionnaires.

Version 3, February 2018
This definition is defined specifically so that the consumer understands the difference between the terminology used across the industry.
It may change at any time.

Supervision is where a Coach or Mentor seeks advice or guidance from a more experienced and qualified Coach or Mentor. It is the IRCMs recommendation that the only Coaches or Mentors contacted for supervision should be those who are IRCM Registered and accredited with an IRCM Accredited/Registered Professional Body.

In the November, 2017 The State of Play in European Coaching and Mentoring, Executive Report 2017: Reflective Practice and Supervision is defined as: What is reflective practice? Reflective practice is widely accepted as an effective method for learning and continuous professional development. How this is achieved has been widely debated and this debate continues, reflecting different traditions within coaching and mentoring. We believe reflective practice is an essential part of professional development. This can be fulfilled in different ways. What is supervision? One popular method drawn from counselling and clinical environments is coaching supervision. This can be one to one (or one to a few) involving a facilitator (supervisor) who supports, guides and encourages the participant (a coach) in a reflective process. Coaching supervision may be defined as: The process that occurs when a mentor or coach brings their work to a supervisor in order to be supported, reflective and engage in collaborative learning for their personal development for the benefit of themself, their clients and their organisational clients’.

Version 3, February 2018
This definition is defined specifically so that the consumer understands the difference between the terminology used across the industry,
and is incorporated in the IRCM Unified Code of Industry Ethics.  It may change at any time.

Course and Workshop definitions:

  • course is a series of lectures or lessons in a particular subject, leading to an examination and qualification.
  • workshop is a seminar, discussion group, programme, or similar, that demonstrates and applies one or more techniques, skills. etc.

Version 3, February 2018
This definition is defined specifically so that the consumer understands the difference between the terminology used across the industry.
It may change at any time.

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

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