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Coaching and Mentoring Code of Industry Standards and Ethics

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The International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring CIC (IRCM CIC) is the only international coaching and mentoring regulator approved by the Regulator of Community Interest Companies (appointed by the United Kingdom’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) for the protection of all consumers.

This approval gives the IRCM CIC the authority to carry out international activities for the benefit of coaching and mentoring Consumers (buyer, end-user, clients, customers, students, members); as well as Coaching and Mentoring Professionals (coaches and mentors), Professional Bodies (accreditation bodies, trade/membership bodies, and associations), Support Groups, Training Organisations, and a range of Commercial Organisations.

As the International Regulator for the Coaching and Mentoring Industry CIC, the IRCM CIC is committed to creating and maintaining a single Code of Standards and Ethics for the international coaching and mentoring industry.

This Coaching and Mentoring Code of Industry Standards and Ethics is created within the boundaries of UK Law and takes into consideration other international countries.  It sets out the expectations of best practice for all individuals and organisations working within the Coaching and Mentoring Industry.  This includes all individuals who call themselves a Coach and/or a Mentor; as well as all organisations that provide a service and/or product in the coaching and mentoring industry; professional bodies, support groups, training organisations, commercial organisations who employ/supply coaches and mentors, or products/services of a Coaching and/or Mentoring nature.

Each individual or organisation that ‘registers’ or Professional Body that gains their ‘accreditation’ with the IRCM CIC agrees to abide by this Code, the Industry Core Competencies, the IRCM CICs Disciplinary Procedures, and recognises and acknowledges the Ombudsman Service.

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The purpose of this Coaching and Mentoring Code of Industry Standards and Ethics is to:

Provide clarity to all:

    • consumers of the Coaching and Mentoring services and products.
    • individuals and organisations within the Coaching and Mentoring Industry.

Detail guidelines of best practice for each individual and organisation working within the Coaching and Mentoring Industry; as well as those not necessarily calling themselves a Coach or Mentor but who are using Coaching and/or Mentoring skills in their personal and professional life.

Specify accountability and enforceable standards and ethics for each individual and organisation working within the Coaching and Mentoring Industry; as well as those not necessarily calling themselves a Coach or Mentor but are using Coaching and/or Mentoring skills in their personal and professional life.

Where any individual or organisation falls short of this Coaching and Mentoring Code of Industry Standards and Ethics; this Code will be used as the basis for any Ombudsman Service or Disciplinary Procedure.

Ethical Foundation:

Coaching and Mentoring puts the individuals or organisations using/teaching the skills as a Coach or Mentor in a very privileged position; a position from which each individual or organisation can enrich the life of the ‘client’ but also where care in using these skills is not exercised, harm can be caused.

No less than any other profession, Coaching and Mentoring requires clear behavioural guidelines in order to safeguard each individual, consumer, or organisation.  These behavioural guidelines do not stand on their own and the IRCM CIC endorses the following Core Values as the basis for these behavioural guidelines (in alphabetical order):

    • Accountability
    • Care
    • Confidentiality
    • Excellence
    • Honest
    • Integrity
    • Professionalism
    • Transparency

The Coaching and Mentoring Code of Industry Standards and Ethics is the result of applying these Core Values to the areas of each consumers’ life in which each individual and organisation has a responsibility.

Research shows that when things go wrong in a Coaching or Mentoring relationship it is undoubtedly the result of the lack of a rigour application of the core values to the areas of responsibility.

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, and this Coaching and Mentoring Code of Industry Standards and Ethics, to provide a simple approach to managing consumer expectations, the common understandings of the words used within the industry, are found on the Definitions (Note 1) page.

Personal Conduct:

Personal Conduct relates to every individual calling themselves a Coach, a Mentor, and to every individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation.

Personal Conduct simply refers to the standards and ethics that each person incorporates into their personal and professional life, with respect to the people and situations each person deals within in their everyday personal and professional life.

    1. Accountability
      1. Accountability is the obligation of each person to accept responsibility or to account for their actions as a Coach, a Mentor, or an individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation.
    2. Care
      1. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation has a duty of care towards their consumers and should ensure that in all dealings with their consumers they display the highest standards of personal and professional conduct.
    3. Confidentiality
      1. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will treat all information from other Coaches, Mentors, organisations, consumers, etc. with absolute confidentiality.
      2. Information will only be disclosed where explicitly agreed with:
        • the consumer in writing, and
        • other person/organisation involved, in writing, and
        • where the Coach, Mentor, or individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation believes there is compelling evidence of serious danger to a consumer or other if the information is withheld.
          This information should only be disclosed where agreed with the consumer or other person/organisation; or to the International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring CIC, or relevant government organisation.
      3. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will, throughout their consumer relationship and for the longevity of their business trading, maintain the level of confidentiality agreed at the start of the relationship.
    4. Excellence
      1. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will be aware of the impact of their own belief and values systems and the effect of these may have on their Coaching or Mentoring or communication with a consumer.
      2. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will respect the different approaches to Coaching and Mentoring.
      3. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will demonstrate respect for the different approaches, cultures, languages of all other individuals in the coaching and mentoring industry.
      4. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will demonstrate respect for the different approaches, cultures, languages of all consumers.
      5. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will clearly understand their own levels of Coaching or Mentoring competence (Note 1), experience (Note 1), qualifications (Note 1), and accreditation (Note 1), and will not exaggerate, embellish, misrepresent, or defraud these in any way.
      6. Coaches, Mentors, and individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will work within the limitations of their own competence (Note 1) and will distinguish situations where it may be necessary to refer a consumer either to a more experienced Coach or Mentor, or to seek the help of the IRCM CIC or a more qualified professional or practitioner.
      7. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation have a responsibility to monitor and maintain their fitness to practice at a level that enables them to provide an effective service. If their effectiveness becomes impaired for any reason, including health or personal circumstances, they should stop working and seek advice and support.
      8. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will ensure that they develop and enhance their level of competence (Note 1) and excellence (Note 1) by continuing to participate in relevant training and appropriate Continuing Professional Development (CPD).  A written record will be maintained of all training and CPD.
      9. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will ensure that they are aware of new skills, tools, techniques, technologies, and practices; especially those that are relevant to the Coaching and/or Mentoring industry. A written record will be maintained of their awareness, and all relevant training and CPD.
      10. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will monitor the quality of their work by undertaking their own reflections (Note 2), seeking feedback from consumers, peers, colleagues, and other Coaching and Mentoring professionals, and clearly documenting their reflections, feedback, and actions taken in response.
      11. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will have regular coaching or mentoring sessions with a higher qualified (Note 1), accredited/credentialed (Note 1), and more experienced (Note 1) Coach or Mentor, who can help them reflect on the feedback (point 10 above) and assess their level of competence (Note 1) and support their ongoing growth and development.
        Where the Coach or Mentor wishes to discuss consumer specific details, they are reminded of the confidentiality clauses in this Coaching and Mentoring Industry Code of Standards and Ethics.
    5. Honest
      1. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will operate within this Coaching and Mentoring Industry Code of Standards and Ethics, the applicable laws, all relevant rules and regulations (in the country they reside and the country of their consumers), and will not assist, persuade, or collude with others engaged in conduct which does not meet the IRCM CIC’s Core Values, is unprofessional, unlawful or discriminatory in any way.
    6. Integrity
      1. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will not enter into any coaching, mentoring or business agreement where it could create a risk of conflict of interest.
      2. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will continuously demonstrate personal integrity, honesty, and sincerity.
    7. Professionalism
      1. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation agree to abide by this Coaching and Mentoring Code of Industry Standards and Ethics, the Complaints and Disciplinary Procedures, and the Ombudsman process.
      2. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation ensure that any claim of professional Recognition (Note 1), accreditation (Note 1), membership (Note 1), qualification (Note 1), or competence (Note 1) is clear and accurately explained.
      3. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation clearly communicates the distinctions (Note 1) between coaching, mentoring, supervision, consulting, therapy, counselling, psychotherapy, and other support professions and industries.
      4. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will ensure that each and every consumer is fully aware of the nature of the service to be provided (if Coaching is agreed, only Coaching is delivered; if Mentoring is agreed, only Mentoring is delivered; if Training is agreed, only Training is delivered); and is relevant to any other coaching or mentoring product(s) purchased.
      5. Where necessary, Coaches, Mentors and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation refers the consumer to another support professional/organisation if their services/products are not what the consumer requires at that time.
      6. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will respect the consumers learning and development style and needs as defined by the confidential professional relationship.
      7. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will ensure that all promotional materials (adverts, social media, verbal, etc.) are truthful, honest, legal, and compliant with current legislation (in the country they reside and the country of their consumers); and that no false or misleading claims are made or implied.
      8. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will never represent the work or views of someone else as that of their own.  Plagiarism within written representations is not accepted; and where the words, work, or views of someone is to be used; it may only be used in quote form clearly stating the full details of the quote – name and details.
      9. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will ensure that their behaviour can in no way be described as sexual harassment, physical advances, sexual solicitation, or verbal or non-verbal conduct that is sexual in nature.
      10. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will not exploit the consumer in any manner, including but not limited to financial, commercial, time, emotional, sexual (as detailed above), information shared, or any area relevant to the confidential professional relationship.
      11. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will not abuse their consumer’s trust in order to gain any personal or professional advantage – sexual, emotional, or financial.
      12. Coaches, Mentors and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation work supportively within the coaching and mentoring industry to raise the profile, the standards, and the ethics of the Coaching and Mentoring Industry; by conducting their business in keeping with this Coaching and Mentoring Code of Industry Standards and Ethics.
    8. Transparency
      1. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will be diligent in understanding and implementing their own and their consumers legal and other obligations with regards to race, national origin, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, disability, and socioeconomic status, ensuring that they do not participate in or condone unfair discriminatory practices.
      2. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation maintains appropriate records of their work with their consumers and ensures that all such records are accurate with reasonable precautions taken to protect against third party disclosure.  Attention is given to the consumers’ rights under current legislation.

Professional Conduct:

Professional Conduct relates to every individual calling themselves a Coach, a Mentor, and to every individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation.

Professional Conduct simply refers to the standards and ethics that each person incorporates into their professional life, with respect to the people and situations each person deals within in their everyday professional life.

These clauses are in addition to the clauses found under Personal Conduct.

    1. Public statements
      1. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will ensure that all and any public statements produced by themselves or their agents (verbally or in writing) are true, accurate, and reflect well on the Coaching or Mentoring industry.
    2. Contractual obligations
      Contracts relate to coaching, mentoring, supervision in the coaching/mentoring industry, training in the coaching/mentoring industry, and all other products and services provided within the coaching and mentoring industry.
      1. Before contracting: Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will ensure that there is an effective match between his/her service/product and the consumer requirements.
      2. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will ensure that consumers fully understand the contractual terms and conditions, costs, location, service delivery, product delivery, process, and other relevant details.
      3. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will create absolute clarity for each contract.
        Special attention will be paid to:
        1. Ensuring that the consumer understands the contract, the service/product guidelines, and the specific parameters of the contractual relationship.
        2. Clarity in relation to the details of the service/product, logistics, fees, inclusion of others, scheduling, coach/mentor/organisation responsibilities, product delivery, consumer responsibilities, etc.
        3. Meeting the expectations of the consumer, as well as those of the Coach, Mentor, or each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation.
        4. Creating an environment in which the consumer has the opportunity for Personal and Professional Development through learning.
        5. Creating an environment in which the consumer, Coach, Mentor, or each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation is focused on the end result.
        6. Being clear about the contractual relationship – what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.
        7. Standard legal contractual details. e.g. the terms and conditions, guarantees, confidentiality, intellectual property, notices, governing law, etc.
      4. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will ensure that the contract is completely fulfilled.
      5. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will not prolong a contractual relationship beyond its useful conclusion.
      6. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will encourage a consumer to make a change to, or to terminate the contract, when aware that the consumer is no longer benefiting from the contract.
      7. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will respect the consumers’ right to terminate the contract at any point during the contractual relationship.
      8. Frequently in the coaching and mentoring industry, payment is made at the beginning of the contract.  Where the contract is not fulfilled, appropriate fees to be refunded.
      9. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation understands that the professional responsibilities continue beyond the termination of any contractual relationship, which includes but are not limited to:
        1. Maintaining the confidentiality of all information relating to the consumers.
        2. The exploitation of the former relationship.
        3. Safe and secure storage of all related records, information, and data.
        4. Completion of any follow-up which has been agreed to.
    3. Misleading information
      1. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will not give consumers misleading information or advice or make false claims about the results of, or what a consumer will receive from, the contract.
    4. Respect
      1. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will treat all consumers with honour, dignity, and integrity, fully respecting the consumers’ values, beliefs, and goals (which may differ from their own), being aware of cultural, regional, and linguistic differences.
      2. In every contractual relationship, Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation must establish trust and ongoing mutual respect with their consumer, specifically:
        1. Continuously demonstrating personal and professional integrity, honesty, and sincerity.
        2. Demonstrating respect for the consumers’ view of their world, perceptions, learning style, and personal being.
        3. Showing genuine concern for the consumers self-care, welfare, and future.
        4. Establishing a clear understanding.
        5. Keeping promises.
        6. Providing on-going support for the consumers learning style, values, habit changes, new behaviours, options, and actions.
        7. Being aware of and providing on-going support for the times when the consumers are taking risks or concerned about their fear of failure.
        8. Asking permission when talking about or working in sensitive areas of the consumers’ life.
    5. Contractual Relationships
      1. When working within organisations, Coaches and Mentors will obtain the express consent of the consumer before releasing information such as progress reports and other particulars to the person/organisation who may be employing them.
      2. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will inform consumers of any personal situations or relationships which may have an adverse effect upon the contractual relationship, and together agree what appropriate action should be taken.
      3. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will not diagnose or assess any health issue (mental or physical) but where appropriate, will suggest that the consumer consults with a relevant practitioner.
    6. Contractual Relationship with the International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring CIC
      1. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will ensure that all consumers are aware of the IRCM CICs Coaching and Mentoring Code of Industry Standards and Ethics; Complaints and Disciplinary Process; and Ombudsman Service.
      2. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will only use the IRCM CIC logo (Note 3) as allowed by their status.
      3. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will ensure that they do not use their relationship with the IRCM CIC, any Professional Body, any Training Organisation, or any other organisation within the Coaching and Mentoring industry, in a way that is detrimental to such a body/organisation of the Coaching and Mentoring Industry; or brings that body/organisation into disrepute.
      4. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will not claim to represent the IRCM CIC, any Professional Body, any Training Organisation, or any other organisation without explicit written permission.
      5. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will immediately notify the IRCM CIC if a situation arises which creates conflict, litigation, or bad publicity.
    7. Behaviour of another Coach, Mentor, or individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation
      1. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation that has reason to be concerned by the behaviour or practice of another coach, mentor, or organisation; will firstly raise the matter with the person/organisation concerned; thereafter raise the matter with the IRCM CIC Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure. Such concerns will be treated with the appropriate degree of confidentiality and sensitivity.

Organisational Conduct:

Organisational Conduct is reflected through the conduct of every individual employed, either directly or through a contract, by a coaching/mentoring organisation.

Organisational Conduct simply refers to the standards and ethics that each person within the organisation incorporates into their professional life, with respect to the people and situations each person deals within in their everyday professional life.

Therefore, where the organisational conduct is the result of the conduct of a Coach, Mentor, or an individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation, the organisational conduct is governed by the Personal and Professional Conduct clauses as detailed above.

In addition to the conduct of the individuals employed, either directly or through a contract, Organisational Conduct clauses include:

    1. Validation
      1. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will hold the relevant validation (qualification (Note 1), accreditation (Note 1), credential (Note 1)) for the role in which they fulfil.
      2. For all IRCM CIC Registered Individuals and Organisations, who demonstrated their commitment to excellence in the Coaching and Mentoring industry, the IRCM CIC has defined its toolkit (Note 3) to ensure that consistency is demonstrated by the Registered Coaches, Mentors, Formal Education Bodies, Private Commercial Training Organisations, and Support Groups who are Registered with the IRCM CIC.
      3. The IRCM CIC has defined the definition (Note 1) of a number of ‘words’ used within the coaching and mentoring industry to provide Consumers with clarity in the industry, but where Private Commercial Coach Training Companies and Professional Bodies continue to work within their own ‘self-regulating’ rules; the coaching and mentoring industry will continue to struggle to achieve ‘excellence’.
        For all IRCM CIC Registered Individuals and Organisations (including Private Commercial Coach Training Companies), who demonstrated their commitment to excellence in the Coaching and Mentoring industry, the IRCM CIC has defined its toolkit (Note 3).
      4. In its remit, the IRCM CIC endeavours to promote excellence and improve confidence with all Consumers by partnering with the Coaching and Mentoring Professional Bodies (who represent the accredited/credentialed Coaches, Mentors, and Private Commercial Training Organisations) and Formal Education Bodies to raise the standards, come together to define the ethics and core competencies, and promote excellence.
        The IRCM CIC encourages every Professional Body, Coach, Mentor, Formal Education Body, Private Commercial Training Organisations, and Commercial Organisation, to Register and demonstrate their commitment to raising the standards and promoting excellence in the coaching and mentoring industry.
    2. Professional Bodies specifically
      1. To provide the minimum quality of accreditation or credentialing, all coaching and mentoring Professional Bodies agree to abide by the Coaching and Mentoring Code of Industry Standards and Ethics and are registered or accredited with the International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring CIC.
      2. To demonstrate their commitment to excellence and to raise the quality and standards within the coaching and mentoring industry, each Coach, Mentor, Private Commercial Training Organisation, and Commercial Organisation within the industry agrees to gain accreditation/credentialing from a Coaching and Mentoring industry Professional Body.
      3. All data displayed on the Professional Bodies website, promotional material, social media, etc. the Professional Body will ensure that the data is accurate.
      4. In the demonstration of the commitment to excellence, each Professional Body will manage their Coaches, Mentors, and Private Commercial Training Organisations commitment to the accreditation/credential awarded.  It is a requirement that the Professional Body will raise the standards by agreeing to abide by the Industry Definitions, Standards and Ethics, and Core Competencies.  Where a Coach, Mentor, or Private Commercial Training Organisation does not meet the minimum industry requirements, the Professional Body will discipline the Coach, Mentor, or Private Commercial Training Organisation; or raise the issue with the Ombudsman Service.
    3. Training specifically
      1. To provide the minimum quality of training, all Formal Education Bodies, Private Commercial Training Organisations (including Coaches and Mentors who provide training), lecturers, and trainers agree to abide by the Coaching and Mentoring Code of Industry Standards and Ethics and are registered with the International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring CIC.
      2. Additional quality is provided, as follows:
        1. All Formal Education Bodies courses/workshops are accredited (Note 1) by their countries Government Education Department.
        2. All Private Commercial Training Organisation courses/workshops are accredited (Note 1) by one or more IRCM CIC Registered or Accredited Professional Bodies.
        3. All lecturers and trainers are registered with the IRCM CIC and accredited (Note 1) by one or more IRCM CIC Registered or Accredited Professional Bodies.
      3. When accepting a student’s application, Formal Education Bodies and Private Commercial Training Organisations must be aware of a conflict of interest.
      4. Coaches, Mentors, and each individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will use the qualification (Note 1) as determined by the coaching or mentoring organisation.
      5. Where Private Commercial Training Organisations provide training where local or globally accepted certification structures are defined, the Private Commercial Training Organisation is obliged to meet these local or globally accepted certification structures.

Monitoring and Managing:

Each Coach, Mentor, Trainer, and individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation will at all times reflect on their role in the coaching and mentoring industry, as well as of the industry in a positive manner.  Where a Coach, Mentor, individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation, or consumer believes or experiences a Coach, Mentor, or individual working within a coaching/mentoring organisation behaving in a way that is in breach of the IRCM CICs Coaching and Mentoring Code of Industry Standards and Ethics; they will contact the IRCM CIC or raise a complaint through the Ombudsman Service.

The IRCM CIC at all times will monitor this Coaching and Mentoring Code of Industry Standards and Ethics in line with the changes and progress of the Coaching and Mentoring Industry.  Changes to this Coaching and Mentoring Code of Industry Standards and Ethics will be made after a review of the IRCMs Steering Committee, Industry Direction department, Ombudsman Service outcomes, and the Accreditation department.

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© 2012-2020 International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring CIC. All Rights Reserved
Version 4, December 2020

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Notes:

  1. Cross-reference to Definitions.
  2. Cross-reference to Coaching and Mentoring Industry Core Competencies, point 7
  3. Cross-reference to the IRCM Toolkit.