How my Mum’s dead cats became registered professionals

I’ve argued in favour of statutory regulation for counselling and psychotherapy, and for making those professions protected titles. An argument against regulation is that those struck off from the profession would simply give themselves other titles, such “life coach” or “mentor”, which aren’t regulated or protected.

I’ve since discovered that there’s an International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring, which operates as a community interest company. But is it really a regulator?

The IRCM has some impressive blurb on their website.

We lift the veil on the coaching and mentoring industry and provide a register of genuine coaches, mentors, accreditation bodies, trade/professional associations, and course providers; and provide information to the buying public without any bias.

  • The IRCM has a duty of care to the coaching and mentoring buying public.  The IRCM Register does not require the coaches, mentors, accreditation bodies, trade/professional organisations, and training providers to pay to be registered.

  • Accreditation bodies officially approved by governmental or equivalent bodies have a duty of care to their members.

  • Trade and Professional associations have a duty of care to their members.

  • Training Organisations have a duty of care to their students.

On their register, there’s a life coach by the name of “Poppy Thomas”.


Not-at-all-coincidentally, Poppy and Thomas are the names of my dear deceased mother’s equally-deceased cats.

Man, those two cats were awesome. I still miss them.

It took me all of five minutes to set up a register entry and for it to appear on the register. Anyone can do this, free of charge. Once you’ve set up your basic entry, you have the option of paying extra for an enhanced entry that gives more details about the coaching or mentoring work you do, where you’re based, your qualifications and so on.

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Nowhere on the website does it have any details as to how somebody can make a complaint to this regulator against somebody on this register. There is a contact form though, which I used two weeks ago to ask how to make complaints through their regulation system. I never got a reply.

The IRCM may not have information about complaints, but what it does have is lots of disclaimers.

IRCM (International Regulator of Coaching & Mentoring CIC) is not responsible for eventual damages arising from the use of information from this site. IRCM hereby rejects all responsibility for damages as a result of the use of this information or information to which links refer on this site (these sites). The information on this site may be changed without prior warning.

IRCM does not give guarantees with regard to the nature and the content of this site information and is not responsible for the content of this information or for the usage thereof. All responsibility for possible damages due to access to and use of the site is explicitly rejected by IRCM. Moreover, no guarantee is given for the faultless and continuous functioning of the site. References or connections to other sites or sources which are not the property of IRCM are only included as information for the user of this site. IRCM is not responsible for the availability of these sites or sources. IRCM does not accept any responsibility with regard to the content, advertisements, products, or other issues on such sites or sources or availability. IRCM is not responsible for any kind of damage or loss caused by or in connection with the use of, or by relying on the content, products or services offered on such sites or sources.

So, with all these things that they’re “not responsible for”, what exactly are they responsible for? After all, isn’t the point of a regulator that they’re responsible for a profession? Where’s this “duty of care” that they talk so grandly about?

Is this really a regulator? Or just a glorified advertising website?

From browsing around, I’ve found websites for life coaches proudly announcing they’re “registered with the International Regulatory of Coaching and Mentoring”. For example.

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Isn’t that likely to mislead the public into thinking somebody is being regulated when they’re not?

One thought on “How my Mum’s dead cats became registered professionals

  1. This shows how easy it would be to sidestep a statutory register based on protected titles. I’d say that the new system of accredited voluntary registers has the potential to offer the public as much protection as protected titles.

    If the Professional Standards Authority’s Accredited Voluntary Register (AVR) is sufficiently well publicised so that people know to look for the AVR logo, and if public bodies such as the NHS require that the people that provide therapeutic services are on an appropriate accredited register, then the AVR would provide a suitable level of protection. At the moment this isn’t the case so the AVR is pretty toothless, but it’s early days for the register so hopefully it will get there.

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