Tips & Coaching

ND Coaching: Certified vs Accredited Differences

The world of neurodiverse coaching and mentoring can be complicated with so many abbreviations and terms out there. This article aims to clear up any questions.

In a world where more and more neurodiversity coaches are popping up every day and up to 20% of the worlds population being neurodivergent, encompassing conditions such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and more, the need for skilled neurodiverse coaching is more pressing than ever​​.

This short article delves into the significance of certifications and accreditations in the field of neurodiverse coaching, underscoring their roles in enhancing the quality of support offered as well as the key differences between the two.

Before we kick off; Are you unsure if you have ADHD? Take our Free Adult Self-report Scale ADHD Assessment to investigate further.

What is Neurodiverse Coaching?

ND coaching as an industry is a specialized approach within the coaching field, designed to support and empower individuals living with neurodiverse struggles. This includes those living with the challenges of Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and other variations in neurological development.

Coaching as a whole acknowledges the distinct strengths and challenges that come with neurodiversity, focusing not on fitting these individuals into a standard mold, but on leveraging their unique talents and perspectives.

Neurodiverse coaches who specialize in this area are often trained to address specific challenges that can come with neurodiversity, such as stress management, developing leadership styles, trauma response, navigating workplace dynamics and anything else you might find challenging in daily life. The goal is to help neurodivergent individuals thrive in their personal and professional lives by creating strategies that work for their unique needs and aspirations.

Accreditations vs Certifications

Accreditation and certification are two essential terms frequently used in professional and educational contexts, each serving a distinct purpose, although sometimes, they are wrongly used interchangeably. Accreditation refers to the evaluation and approval process that educational institutions or programs undergo to ensure they meet specific standards of quality. It is a testament to the institution’s adherence to established educational criteria.

On the other hand, certification is a recognition granted to individuals, indicating their expertise and competence in a particular field or profession. This involves passing examinations or meeting set criteria that validate the individual’s skills and knowledge in their area of specialization.

The bottom line? Accreditations are given by educational institutions such as colleges and universities who are held to strict, nationwide standards. Certification are given by a company and other organisations that don’t have a central body who determines the curriculum – the company does.

Essentially, anyone can start a business today and start to certify people. That includes coaches.

Being certified and being accredited is not the same thing.

What is Accredited Coaching?

Accreditation is primarily concerned with the institutional level, ensuring that the curriculum, faculty, and educational practices of a program or institution align with national or international standards.

Key Aspects of Accreditation

  • Institutional Quality Focus: Accreditation assesses educational institutions, not individuals.
  • Quality Assurance: It involves evaluating curriculum content, faculty qualifications, and the overall effectiveness of the training program.
  • Established Standards: Accreditation ensures that the training meets certain educational criteria.
  • Benefits: It offers assurance about the quality of education and helps students and professionals make informed decisions.

The process of accreditation is conducted by external accrediting bodies and is crucial for ensuring the quality and credibility of educational offerings. Accredited institutions or programs demonstrate a commitment to excellence in education and continuous improvement.

What is Certified Coaching?

Certification or a Certified Coach, in contrast, focuses on individuals, offering a measure of their professional capabilities. It is usually awarded by professional organizations and is an important criterion in many fields for career advancement or even entry.

Key Aspects of Certification

  • Individual Skill Focus: Certification is about the individual coach’s knowledge and competence rather than having a broad knowledge.
  • Standardized Assessment: Passing tests or assessments is essential to certify one’s understanding of neurodiverse coaching expertise and to ensure they have the back to properly support your needs.
  • Ongoing Development: Certified coaches often engage in continuous learning to stay updated with the latest practices.
  • Benefits: Certification enhances a coach’s credibility and assures clients of a standard level of competency with a higher level of prestige over an accreditation..

Certified ADHD and Autism coaches generally have proven their abilities and knowledge in their specific field, often through rigorous assessments, and are considered qualified for certain roles and responsibilities but its important to remember that you shouldn’t take things at face value.

There are lots of certified coaches around, but, there are only a few certifications that are worth entertaining. Interesting in finding out which ones are the best? Find out the only coaching certifications you should be looking for when hiring a coach.

If it’s not on our list, then its a pop up company who decided to start making money by certifying coaches. Be careful!

Differences between Accredited and Certified Coaches

The choice between an accredited coach (one who has completed a program from an accredited institution) and a certified coach (one who has passed specific skill assessments) isn’t straightforward.

Considerations in Making a Choice

  • Depth of Training vs. Individual Mastery: Accredited programs ensure comprehensive training, while certification demonstrates mastery of specific skills.
  • Specialization and Experience: The coach’s area of specialization and practical experience play crucial roles.
  • Personal Compatibility: The relationship between the coach and client is vital.
  • Ongoing Development: A coach’s commitment to continuous learning is essential.

When selecting a neurodiverse coach, understanding the difference between an accredited and a certified coach is vital.

An accredited coach, trained in an accredited program, brings the assurance of a comprehensive educational background.

In contrast, a certified coach demonstrates individual competency in specific skills and knowledge areas. The choice depends on the specific needs of the neurodivergent individual and the kind of support they require.

Problems in the Coaching Industry [2024]

One important thing to note is generally, certified coaches do not need an educated background to take any course, there is no vetting process when they sign up. That means, you could in theory, wake up tomorrow, take a certification course in neurodiverse coaching, prove your ability and then get certified.

Anyone can become a coach. A little bit worrying really, isn’t it?

This has lead to an industry with people claiming to be ADHD or Autism coaches to the point that the market is currently over-saturated. Its easy to get sucked in by the clever marketing, bright graphics and professional pictures tricking you into thinking they are good at what they do when in fact, they may just push their very narrow experiences of being neurodiverse and charge you a lot of money for it in the process. all without being accredited.

Yes, that means a certified coach can have no background in counselling, psychology, trauma response or even a degree.

Selecting the Right Coach for You

When you set out to get some help, guidance and coaching, I bet you didn’t expect it too be so complicated, right? Us too. Certifications, accreditations, lived experience – its all a bit overwhelming isn’t it?

So, how do you select a coach that is right for you?

If it was us, we would aim to find one that has an accredited background, additional certifications and, if a necessity for you, one with lived experience in your specific challenges. This will enable you to get the most out of your coaching / mentoring sessions in the least amount of time.

Why? you might ask. Well, being accredited ensures the professional you work with has met stringent put in place across the country. A certified coach has the specialised training to help, and, someone with lived experience well, has the experience living with the same challenges you do.

The best coach is one who incorporates all three elements and one that you feel comfortable opening up, speaking too and being around. You should never come away feeling worse than when you went in.

You might also like: Whats the difference between a therapist and a coach?

Andy Cresswell

Andy is the founder at Thruday. His research combined first and third-hand lived experience living with neurodivergent challenges drives us forward. He is passionate about spreading awareness around neurodiversity and developing neuro-friendly technology that is accessible and easy to use.

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