Towards a more inclusive and relevant membership offer


One of the issues to consider at Tuesday’s Meet the Board event is what the membership options of APECS should be to meet the changing needs of all those who have an interest in executive coaching. APECS director Jonathan Males sets out the board’s thinking.

By Jonathan Males

APECS sets high and rigorous accreditation standards that create an attractive membership proposition for experienced coaches and supervisors. Rather than ‘tick boxes’, our approach invites practitioners to provide a portfolio of evidence against a range of professional standards. Based on feedback from members, corporate buyers of coaching and leading coach education bodies, we are confident that these standards and criteria are still leading edge. Yet APECS’ public profile is minimal, our membership remains small, and our long-term financial viability is limited. Strategically, we need to re-examine the key assumptions underpinning APECS membership.

Up to now

In line with setting high standards, since its foundation APECS has focused on attracting the most experienced practitioners who are able to achieve full accreditation. The Associate Practitioner category was framed as a transitional stage for people on their way to full accreditation within a clearly defined time-scale. Professional Affiliate membership was intended to appeal to people working in the field but without an extensive coaching practice. There is no mechanism for retiring or retired members, so each year we lose members who, despite a continued professional interest and capacity to contribute, no longer meet accreditation requirements. We have a Corporate Affiliate category for internal coaches, so far only established within GSK.

The future

We would like to promote a membership structure that is more attractive to a broader range of potential members. This would emphasise that joining APECS via ANY category leads to membership of a community of like-minded professionals. This requires us to make a clearer distinction between being a member of APECS and being accredited by APECS. This is an established distinction amongst other professional bodies. Based on feedback from external stakeholders, we also need to change the names of some categories to make them more attractive and easier to understand. We also need to consider adding new categories (e.g. for retiring or retired members) and we need to show how our professional standards apply to all membership categories and accreditation. These changes must be included in our articles and approved by the membership, so I want to outline them here and invite your comments in advance of formal changes at the AGM.

A detailed matrix that outlines the entry requirements and professional standards, renewal requirements and member benefits is available by emailing me (, but in summary we are proposing the following structure:

  • Corporate Affiliate – Membership for internal coaches whose employer maintains APECS corporate membership and that meets our requirements for coach education, CPPD and supervision.
  • Professional Member (formerly Professional Affiliate) – Membership for people who have at least a PG Certificate level or equivalent of coach education and a limited practice, and who can evidence their commitment to APECS professional standards. This could also be offered to internal coaches who have sufficient training and experience.
  • Practising Executive Coach / Supervisor / Team Coach (formerly Associate Practitioner) – Accreditation for those who meet our full professional standards but whose scale of practice and/or length of experience is less than that that required for full accreditation. Rather than being seen purely as a transitional phase, Practising members may choose to maintain this accreditation because the scale of their practice is unlikely to expand beyond around 20% of a full-time portfolio.
  • Accredited Executive Coach / Supervisor / Team Coach – Accreditation for well-established practitioners; unchanged from the current standards and process including the accreditation dialogue.
  • Retired Member (new category) – Membership for those who have previously held accreditation, but whose practice has reduced in scale or ended.
  • Studying Member (new category) – A membership category for people enrolled in certain educational programmes to give earlier, limited access to APECS, as a precursor to normal or Fast Track membership as above.


We are formalizing agreements with a number of coach education bodies, to recognize that elements of their programmes or entry criteria meet certain requirements for APECS membership or accreditation. This makes it easier for their graduates to join APECS because it reduces the amount of evidence they are required to provide. The working principle is that the Post Graduate Certificate level is equivalent to the requirements for Professional Membership, and that Masters Diploma level is equivalent to the requirement for Practising accreditation. In both cases, applicants will need to meet the same professional standards as those joining through normal routes. The specific details for each institution are being documented in a Memorandum of Understanding that will be reviewed every two years.

What’s your response?

We welcome your views or questions about this direction of travel:

  • Do you agree with our assumptions and these principles?
  • Do you have any concerns?
  • Any suggestions for improvement or clarity?

If you can, please come to the Meet the Board event on 19th April to discuss this proposal and other key questions with the Board and other members. If you can’t make it, there’ll be other opportunities to join the discussion in the coming weeks.

Meet the board, shape the future of APECS
19th April 2016, 6.30–8.30pm
Space in Marylebone, 10 Daventry Street, London NW1 5NX
Members and non-members £12 inc. VAT

Book with Eventbrite.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s