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Accrediting Coach Training Schools and Programs

Accreditation is a system whereby an external, "arms-length" organization or agency reviews and assesses a school or program to determine its value or achievement on a number of clearly specified criteria or standards. The most common and well-known form of accreditation in North America is the multi-agency system used to accredit colleges, universities and graduate schools. In theory the main purpose of accreditation is to inform the public and potential consumers of the school as to whether the school is legitimate, sound, genuine, and integrous. Accreditation often "levels the playing field" and provides a common set of criteria so potential students (employers and other educational institutions) can make appropriate comparisons. In contemporary terms, a lack of accreditation can serve as a warning about "diploma mills," a phrase typically associated with schools that charge fees, but provide very little substance. In addition accreditation can provide standards and guidelines for any individual school to help them create a foundation for the successful delivery of their educational program or assist their graduates to secure licensing, certification, or credentialling from a professional association or legal entity.

In the last 25 years, hundreds of new schools, colleges and universities delivering educational services through non-traditional methods have been created. While many of these newly created organizations have sought and attained accredited status from traditional accrediting agencies, a large number have rejected such accreditation as out-of-date, inappropriate, and irrelevant. At the same time some non-traditional schools, worried about government intervention in their affairs, have formed loose networks or associations and have established their own accrediting standards.

The proliferation of coaching schools and programs over the last 10 years is a case in point. Most of these schools have been created to focus exclusively on coaching and they typically deliver their educational or training program through a combination of intensive learning workshops, individual supervision, and telecourses. Two agencies have emerged to wade through the various aspects of each school and accredit the school's program: The International Coach Federation (ICF) and the North American Coaching Schools Accreditation Agency (NACSAA). For details regarding how the ICF makes its accreditation decisions, consult their website at www.coachfederation.org.

This agency reviews coaching schools and programs throughout the world to determine their suitability, validity, foundation, and value. The agency gathers data from several sources:

NACSAA uses the information from these six sources to assess each individual school. The school is rated on a scale from 0 to 10 on each of fourteen categories listed below. The maximum number of accreditation points is 140. To receive accredited status, a school must achieve a point total minimum of 90 points.

NACSAA uses the following 14 criteria to determine its accreditation ratings:

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