Coaches with the ICF (International Coach Federation) certification demonstrate to potential clients their commitment to the coaching profession and to the client’s well-being. ICF is the gold standard by which all coaching programs are measured. Becoming an ICF certified coach will instantly build your credibility and give you a significant advantage within the industry.
According to the ICF:

• 84% of clients value certification as a professional standard of quality assurance.
• Certified coaches have higher income than non-certified coaches.
• Clients who work with certified coaches report better satisfaction and are more likely to recommend their coach to others.

Through setting ethical coaching standards, skills, and core competencies, and by setting a regulated organizational path, the ICF validates that their industry coaches are experienced, professional, and reliable.

There are three levels of ICF coaching certification: ACC, PCC, and MCC, which are covered below.

What Is the ICF?

Certification organizations know their credentialing is only as good as the exacting standards they set. ICF is the world’s largest professional coaching association providing unprejudiced and objective validation of training programs, such as Aim Higher, looking to enter the coaching industry. The ICF:

• Was founded in 1995 and now has more than 30,000 members in 145 countries.
• Offers global diversification and coaching opportunities, with more members outside the United States than in it.
• Is the gold standard of coaching through setting and maintaining the highest standards.
• Is impartial and without connections to any individual school or methodology.
• Is accommodating, with local chapters and learning opportunities throughout the world.
• Sets rigorous standards so that professionals demonstrate excellence in the coaching industry.

Why Become ICF Certified?

“84 percent of adult consumers who had experienced a coaching relationship reported that it was important for coaches to hold a credential,” according to the 2010 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study. Whether you are researching how to become a professional coach, or have already completed your training, obtaining an ICF certification sets you apart from other industry-specific coaches.

The ICF does not offer training programs but certifies programs such as Aim Higher. As an accredited program, Aim Higher has gone through a rigorous review process and demonstrated that its curriculum aligns with the ICF definition of coaching, Core Competencies and Code of Ethics. You can be confident that you are getting high-quality training. Keep in mind that only an ICF-accredited coach training will help you meet the requirements for ICF membership and credentialing. Why is this important to you? Consider:

• “77% of coach practitioners agreed that clients expect them to be certified or credentialed.” – 2016 ICF Global Coaching Study
• “83% of consumers who experienced a coaching relationship reported that it was important for coaches to hold a credential.” – 2017 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study

Why Join the ICF?

The International Coach Federation is the world’s largest organization of professionally trained coaches. To apply for membership, individuals must complete at least 60 hours of coach-specific training that meets ICF standards. ICF members gain instant credibility through association with the world’s largest community of professionally trained coaches. ICF also offers local and global networking opportunities, innovative business development and marketing education, and industry-specific research and resources to help you excel in your coaching field. With more than 25,000 members, ICF coaches represent the best in the coaching industry.

The ICF Credential is the only globally recognized professional coaching certification. Clients seeing an ICF credentialed coach are assured that same coach meets the rigorous standards of knowledge, skill, and commitment to high ethical and professional standards set out by the ICF.

“Consumers are more likely to recommend a coach who holds a credential than a coach who does not.” – 2017 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study

case studyICF Certified Coach Case Study

Peter wanted to obtain her ICF professional coach certification. When she approached Presland Coaching Institute, she noted that other managers, co-workers, relatives, and friends had sought his advice for years. He felt he had a natural gift to help people.
However, Peter was looking for an effective and efficient way to help people accomplish their personal and professional goals. As a graduate of Presland Coaching Institute, he learned that coaching wasn’t counseling, advice giving, or consulting. Instead, coaching is one of the most efficient ways to help people identify what is important to them, what is holding them back, and how to move forward.

As an ICF certified professional coach, Peter knows he is now qualified to provide the coaching necessary to create awareness and action in people’s lives. He is now implementing coach training within his workplace and feels he has found a major component to fulfilling his life’s purpose.
Steps to Becoming an ICF Certified Professional Coach

A professional coach certification begins with understanding the requirements. Your participation in an ICF certified program will enable you to do the following:

• Fulfill your ICF coach training-specific hours
• Record your required coaching conference hours
• Receive one-on-one ICF mentoring and coaching
• Become a member of an organization with coaches who value the ICF core competencies

You will develop skills that help you to see beyond a client’s present situation to help them discover their true potential and assist in determining their best possibilities. A popular proverb states, “Plans are established by wise counsel.” As an ICF credentialed professional coach, you help your clients to “establish their plans.”

ICF Certification Requirements

ICF certified coaching programs are created to help you achieve the level of proficiency you desire. ICF coach levels and associated training hours include:

• ICF Associate Certified Coach (ACC) Requires 60 hours of training plus 100 hours of coaching experience. In addition, 10 hours of mentoring with an ICF certified coach are also required.
• ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC) requires 125 hours of training plus 500 hours of coaching experience.
• ICF Masters Certified Coach (MCC) requires 200 hours of training plus 2500 hours of coaching experience.
• Completion of online CKA (Coaching Knowledge Assessment) test conducted through ICF Website (multiple choice answers, 70 percent to pass)

Coach Specific Training Hours

When you attend an ICF approved coach training program, you will learn valuable knowledge, training, skills, and understanding that will give you confidence in your coaching abilities. Training will focus on the ICF 11 core competencies. You will receive the training needed to meet ICF’s gold standard of professionalism, giving you a solid foundation for your coaching skills.

Choose Your NicheYour Niche

While focusing on your training, you will also determine the specific niche you wish to coach in. These include life purpose, relationships, health and wellness, business development, leadership—in fact, you can specialize in whatever area you are passionate about.

ICF Mentor Coaching and Practicum Hours

For those who apply for the ACC certification, you are also required to have a minimum of 10 mentoring hours. These hours are your chance to learn from an experienced coach and ask questions concerning anything to do with coaching, training, the ICF, and more. Mentoring can take place one-on-one or in groups in which you gain greater confidence, deeper wisdom, and develop your unique skillset. You will build on the tools and methodology from your coach specific training. Mentoring allows you to see coaching through the eyes of an experienced coach as well as other mentors. Practicum hours—hours spent in coaching sessions during and after your training—will afford you the opportunity to develop your coaching skills in a safe environment with solid feedback.

Here is a great mantra for a coach to remember: Encourage one another and build each other up. As an ICF certified professional coach, that is exactly what you will be doing.