The Respondent’s coaching course was accredited by a coaching and mentoring Professional Body in June 2019 and remains accredited at the date of publishing this case study.
Therefore, as this course has received an external verification, the Ombudsman Service confirms that the students who have successfully completed this course are fully QUALIFIED. The industry expectation is that the word ‘qualified’ is used and is not confused by using ‘certified’ and ‘graduated’ as well.
The remaining question is ‘are these students ACCREDITED’?
The International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring CICs Unified International Industry of Coaching and Mentoring’s definitions, defined through international research both within and outside the coaching and mentoring industry, clearly state that accreditation is an external validation of competence and is awarded by an external body.
Therefore, the Ombudsman Service deems that there is no commercial value in the accreditations awarded to their students by the Respondent.
In the way in which this course is advertised, the student’s expected that they would gain both a qualification and accreditation. After independent research but before Respondent published their ‘Governance webpage’, the students understood that the industry standards define that accreditation is awarded from an external coaching and mentoring Professional Body. This change of understanding of how accreditations are awarded was based on:
- The confirmation from a senior member of the coaching and mentoring Professional Body team that they are ‘qualified’.
- The students understanding of the word ‘accreditation’ as explained by a senior member of the coaching and mentoring Professional Body team, is that they are not accredited unless they apply for their personal accreditation from the coaching and mentoring Professional Body that accredited the course or another Coaching Professional Body.
- The general use of the word ‘accreditation’ across various industries, including in the coaching and mentoring industry.
- The confusion in Respondents communication and subsequent updates to their website of the definition of ‘accreditation’.
In this complaint, the student’s expectations of the Respondent have partly been met by their ‘qualification’ and have not been met for ‘accreditation’.