A brief reflection on what some say about coaching and coaching professionals

Coaching Scam Alert

“Coaching is a scam!”, in the words of Jaime Ferreira da Silva, the president of the Specialty Council of Social Work Psychology and Organizations of the Order of Psychologists, “Coaching is a way that 5 A’s individuals have found to make easy money.”, accordingly to this Psychologist…and what “5 A’s” are those?

  • Appetence to change professions effortlessly
  • Absence of an accredited training in Psychology
  • Audacity
  • Attraction to the stage
  • Absence of scruples

Let’s address, then, each of the A’s:

Appetence to change professions effortlessly

Changing, adapting is what distinguishes us as a species. We have known this for a long, long time. We are also distinguished by our ability to manage our efforts. Moreover, it is this ability to manage effort that has made us get here… where would we be if we hadn’t managed our effort when we ran behind (and ahead) mammoths?…

Perhaps it is equally important to understand that, at least at ICF, no one gets their certification (much less their accreditation), without many hours of training, effort, dedication, supervision, in a training process that is never truly completed, because, at ICF, it is believed that being a Coach is a walk for life… yes, just like in other areas, such as Psychology.

Absence of an accredited training in Psychology

This one’s easy! In fact, it would be the same as saying: you can’t be a rugby coach, because you are not a football coach…

Indeed, both have common traits, they even say that they were born in the same parts, they also have a common goal – to defeat the opposing team – but they also have a universe of things that distinguish them: the type of object in dispute (a ball vs an “egg”); the way in which players can relate to that object (with absolutely different rules); the way you achieve the victory (points vs goals)… and so many others…
Precisely because of these differences, the specific skills needed to be a rugby coach are different from the specific skills needed to be a football coach. It is true that both train groups of athletes, who play as a team to achieve a common goal… But the way the training process unfolds is completely different and requires different skills.
This is also the case between the Coach and the Psychologist – both deal with people, with the common goal of improving themselves, but the process of doing so is different and requires different skills.
Perhaps the biggest difference lies in the fact that a Coach does not make a diagnosis, unlike a Psychologist. In other words, the Coach does not look at the past, the process and the causes, but looks at the desired future.
At this point it will also be important to rest more restless minds (and perhaps less knowledgeable of what coaching is…) that is well typified, by the ICF, when and how to send a client to psychotherapy (or other type of clinical intervention) and that learning this and executing it, if necessary, is part of the skills of a coach…

We can then conclude that, contrary to what is postulated, to be a Coach it is not necessary to be a Psychologist, in exactly the same way that to be a Psychologist it is not necessary to be a Coach.


For this A, two questions: how will it be possible to develop an activity that involves contact with the other, without having the audacity to want to listen to him, the daring to want to interact? Without boldness, will there ever be interaction?

Attraction to the stage

Is it something negative? Should we demonize it? And, if so, will we ever be able to listen to lectures by psychologists? And they exist… Lectures, conferences, seminars… With people listening, with an audience!

Is wanting to convey knowledge to wider groups a bad thing in itself?

Absence of scruples

Maybe this should be the only A…

I would say that, in the face of all that is happening in the world today, in the one that is closest to us (I am writing after the fall of the Portuguese government, due to the lack of scruples of some of its representatives), in the one that is furthest from us – what are the terrible conflicts raging in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip if not a complete demonstration of unscrupulousness? – but also in that world that is virtual (social networks are another way of saying “absence of scruples”); in the face of all this, as I was saying, this is the A… And therefore, surely in coaching, as a human activity, there is the absence of scruples… as in Psychology, Medicine, Law, Literature…

Fortunately, we at ICF have a code of ethics that BINDS us to high standards, which is a prevention from this absence of scruples. Fortunately, my clients, few or many, it doesn’t matter, will always know that I will only exist as a Coach if Ethics is my companion.

No, Coaching is not a scam!

Coaching allows our clients to reflect on what they have not yet reflected on and then make decisions to follow new paths chosen by them, improving themselves.

No, Coaching is not a scam!

Coaching is a noble activity. Exposed to attacks on its noble character? Yes, absolutely. Because it is carried out by people, and people can be flawed in their nobility… but… Is that not the truth of every human activity?

The Author

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