What are we talking about with “the significance of letters”? As a professional, it’s important to have credentials. This means having letters after your name. In some environments, it almost becomes a necessity. It may be important to list as many letters as you can after your name to demonstrate your education, your expertise, and your skill in what you offer.
What does this have to do with coaching? What are the reasons that people want to earn those letters, the credentials as a coach? Often the biggest reason is credibility. It demonstrates that you have knowledge and a skill. Think about it this way: whatever professional you’re going to hire, do you want to know they’ve been trained, that they have the knowledge? For example, no one is going to a doctor who doesn’t have the MD after their name. Nor hire an attorney who doesn’t have the credentials. It is a very important way of saying, yes, you care about professionalism. It shows you care about learning and enhancing and upgrading your professional skills. It shows you invested the time and effort in the education because you want to provide excellence as a coach. It shows you have the knowledge and skill set to do this kind of work. It is about the credibility!
Another reason the letters are significant to coaches is accountability. Specifically, when through coaching certification you earn the opportunity for membership in ICF, or earn a credential from the ICF, you’re accountable to the code of ethics. It also means you’ve done the coach specific training that teaches the competencies (because there are standards for membership which includes standards for training that you completed to earn membership). It is a clear demonstration of your coach training and that you are accountable to the code of ethics.