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Good morning, good afternoon or good evening, wherever you are

I do hope you are keeping out of Covid’s way and that the vaccine queue you’re in is getting shorter, wherever you are.

Choosing a coach is not as easy as it may have been. Not long ago, anyone could buy a couple of chairs (better still, use the client’s chairs) and put up a sign as a coach. And this is still possible as coaching is largely an unregulated profession. And there are lots of coaches out there. Google estimates that there were approximately 71 000 coach practitioners globally in 2019, and that this figure was a 33% increase on the 2015 number. So, it’s a growing profession too. So who do you choose to support you?

Naturally, the question before that is what kind of coach do you employ? The answer to that is not unsurprisingly that it depends on what you would like support for. You are likely to find fewer Life Coaches who are able to help the leadership team of an international corporate so you would more likely look for someone with more experience in the area you specifically want that help in.

Let’s for the moment assume that you are looking for a sales coach. You are probably likely to find at least the following categories of sales coaches out there – let’s give them names:

  • Meet Jack from the US – he was deep in sales before he got retrenched in 2006 and turned to motivational speaking for sales teams in 2007. He soon became a trusted advisor to the clients he addressed and so decided to call himself a coach.
  • Then there’s Yun Ju from Vietnam (we’re going global here!) – and for current purposes we are going to say that her career mirrored Jack’s except that in 2009 she did some coach training and became a full-time coach after that. She immediately joined the International Coach Federation and became credentialed as an ACC in 2011. (There are apparently about 280 coaching professional bodies in the world, with about four or five “main” ones, of which the ICF is the biggest. I happen to be a credentialed member so will use them because I am familiar with them. All the major bodies seem to have three tiers of credentialing that mirror the ICF’s ACC, PCC and MCC – for now what these acronyms stand for doesn’t matter!)
  • Now meet Ghadah from the Middle East – she has precisely the same background as Yun Ju save that, after applying and getting her ACC in 2011, she successfully obtained her PCC in 2016.
  • And finally, there is Carinna from Sweden who just happens to have everything that Ghadah has, but successfully added her MCC credential in 2019.

Of course, not all coaches were once retrenched and not all sales coaches have followed the same route.

It’s fair to say that there’s a range from great to not so great in each of these levels of coaches but let’s assume that these coaches are the best at their particular level. Who would you choose? I am not going to answer that for you; I’d rather use some analogies: Would you employ an unqualified (albeit experienced) dentist? Or how about, as they are wheeling you in for surgery, you hear one of the nurses say that the anesthetist is not qualified and that surgeon refuses to keep up with his continued professional development as required by the medical council? Or you find out a lawyer you want to use in an important court case hasn’t kept up with the changes in the law? You get the picture?

Credentialed coaches are required by their professional bodies to renew that credential every two or three years (or apply for the higher credential if they qualify for it). A certain and serious level of continued professional development is required in that renewal and for an application at the higher level.

That’s not all though. As you embark on the ladder, each credential tier requires more than just a few more skills or models. Coaching clients all present their coaches with their own particular version of a mixed-up Rubik’s Cube, normally representing some external issue that they are having difficulty resolving. In (very) broad terms, an ACC coach helps their client fix the Rubik’s Cube, while the PCC coach might help them learn the skills they need to fix that Rubik’s Cube. The MCC coach might look at what’s getting in their client’s way? What is preventing them from being able to fix it themselves? This may be an internal barrier – for example, an emotional response to the external issue that eventually leads to frustration and the Rubik’s Cube being chucked out the window in a fit of anger.

Another way of describing these levels is that the ACC coach might coach the (external) issue, the PCC coach might coach for competence, and the MCC coach often coaches the person in a way that enables that client to be able to not only fix that particular Rubik’s Cube but also to resolve cubes with more squares on them, or pyramidal or hexagonal cubes – that is, having helped the client internally, the client is better able to deal with a host of other different issues. If you like, the ACC coach is more of a transactional coach whereas the MCC coach is more transformational, whilst the PCC coach is on a journey between the two.

And so, who do you choose to coach you? Naturally, this will depend on your budget and the nature of your Rubik’s Cube. One thing is for sure, for me anyhow, I wouldn’t want an unqualified dentist poking around my teeth. Also, as humans we tend to tell our story in a way that externalizes the issue – so if the other person would just sort themselves out, the world we live in would be at peace – and so we often don’t see our role in our stuckness. The more a coach can help you with that, the less you will get in your own way (as we all tend to do) when faced with apparent external challenges.

In the end, the choice is yours! I hope I have helped make that choice a little easier.

I’d love to hear your comments of the views and ideas I have shared this week. Please feel free to email me on

If you would like to find out more about how you might achieve, and apply, transcendent leadership so that you are able to consistently rise above current challenges, drop me an email (also at so that we can explore together how my Transcendent Leadership Coaching Programme might help you lead yourself, your team or your organisation in these times.

I look forward to hearing from you.

In the meanwhile, please take wearing your mask, washing your hands and social distancing seriously at this time. Keep safe and keep well!

Warm regards


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