An interesting dispute has been taking place for the past 10 years in the Life Coach profession. Before the ICF, ( international coaching federation) appointed themselves as the "authority" for the coaching profession, Life Coaches helped people make decisions, set and reach goals and handle problems.
For fear of being classified as a therapist without a license, the ICF determined that coaches will not give advice and this will become the distinction between a Life Coach and a therapist.
With the power and funding behind them, the ICF has taken on a monumental task of creating an "authority" over the profession and lay the groundwork for another regulated profession, exactly like the NCTMB did with massage therapy. First the NCTMB lobby states to enact a strict regulation and state licensing and you guessed it, the NCTMB offers the testing for a fee.
The ICF is now doing the same thing, almost step by step. I know coaches who have been coaching for years, have large practices and are not "certified" by the ICF, and they do not follow the ICF regulations.
I remember one time when I had my radio program on WGUN 1010 AM here in Atlanta back in 2003 - 2004, I asked a few local coaches to come on my program. Some said they would not be able to appear on my show, because they are ICF coaches and I "advise" people on the air.
Today Merriam Webster Dictionary announced several new additions to the Collegiate Dictionary and for the first time ever, Life Coach was added. Here is the definition in the new Merriam Webster Dictionary.
Definition of LIFE COACH
: an advisor who helps people make decisions, set and reach goals, or deal with problems
I am not sure how the ICF will officially react to this definition, but I noticed on line several comments from ICF coaches who find fault with the definition of a Life Coach in the new dictionary.
Until such time as the government recognizes the ICF as the "authority" over the profession, I guess we will have to use the definition in the Merriam Webster Dictionary.
Funny thing about the massage therapy profession, in 2007, a new association was formed, the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. They also issue testing which is used for testing purposes.