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When I started coaching in early 1999, coaching was still relatively unheard of in Canada. Although there was a strong and active ICF chapter in Vancouver where I reside, and there were other chapters around the country, most people, including therapists, still associated the word ‘coach’ with the sports profession. Like many places in the world, the coaching profession has rapidly caught on here in the past few years.
Coaching in Canada looks much the same as it does in the US, although there are a few differences that Canadian coaches experience. One of the challenges Canadian coaches continue to face is the cost of US training programs, given the low value of the Canadian dollar. There are only a handful of training programs in Canada and only one that is ICF certified at this time. Most Canadian coaches still choose to do their training in the US often because the programs have been in existence longer and have a proven track record.
Unlike the US, Canadian therapists do not have the issues of the US managed care system that have prompted some to enter the coaching profession. Most therapist-turned-coaches choose the profession as they see it as a more positive way to work with people or they want to add diversity to their practices.
Many Canadian coaches are increasingly concerned about their inability to acquire liability insurance. The ICF does not have an insurance package available for Canadians and insurance for coaches is virtually unavailable in Canada.
The coaching profession has a long way to go in terms of gaining the awareness and credibility of the majority of Canadians, and some of the particular challenges mentioned above will surely be resolved in the process. One thing is for certain: Coaching in Canada is here to stay.
This article appeared in the newsletter of Tomorrow’s Life Coach, the newsletter of the The Institute for Life Coach Training. Volume 2, Issue #5, May, 2003
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