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International Coaching Federation

An ICF credential is recognized world-wide as the gold standard for coaching excellence in training, best practices, and the highest level of ethical professional conduct. The training allows for global standards to be upheld and provides a community of best practices to ensure that ICF coaching ethics and standards are met. Earning credentials from ICF are considered, by most coaches and by industry – and by the Coach Certification Training Academy – as the gold standard and as the training that opens doors to higher wages, larger client bases, large networking tools, continuing education resources. This high standard of training and the global community of coaches also provides you with a solid foundation for your coaching practice. 

In this post we are going to touch on some high level basics of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and provide you with some additional resources for each topic, if you’d like to learn more. 


ICF Coaching Definition 

ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.


ICF Credentials

Credentials/accreditations are awarded to professional coaches who have met stringent education and experience requirements, and have demonstrated a thorough understanding and practice of the coaching competencies that set the standard in the industry. Achieving credentials/accreditation signifies a coach’s commitment to integrity, an understanding and practice of coaching skills and a dedication to clients.


Types of Credentials Offered by ICF

ACC  

What is it?

The Associate Certified Coach (ACC) is the first level in being a credentialed coach. At this level you will be required to learn about the foundational skills of being a coach and the fundamentals provided by ICF. 

What does it mean?

As an ACC credentialed coach you’ll be able to call yourself a Professional Coach and begin a coaching practice that meets ICF standards. You will have meet rigorous standards (see below) 

Requirements

  • Completion of an ICF Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP). At least 60 hours of coach-specific training through an ACTP or ACSTH program. Check for your program’s approval below.
  • A minimum of 100 hours (70 paid*) of coaching experience with at least eight clients following the start of your coach-specific training. At least 25 of these hours must occur within the 24 months prior to submitting the application for the credential.
  • 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three months to be documented on your online application. Your Mentor Coach must be an ICF ACC  Coach (who has completed a full cycle of the credential through renewal), PCC or MCC in good standing.
  • Performance evaluation (audio recording and written transcript of a coach session to be uploaded with your application).
  • Completion of the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).

As of December, 2019 there are a total of 16,338 ACC coaches in the world.


Types of Credentials Offered by ICF

PCC

What it is? 

The Professional Certified Coach (PCC) is the second level of professional coaching. At this level you will need to continue your education and earn more client facing experience than at the ACC level. 

What does it mean?

In order to earn a PCC credential you will have considerable coaching experience and training. This credential represented a dedication in the field of coaching and is sought after in professional coaching space working with senior level leaders in dynamic organizations. 

Requirements

  • At least 125 hours of coach-specific training through an ACTP or ACSTH program. Check for your program’s approval below.
  • 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three months to be documented on your online application. Your Mentor Coach must be a PCC or MCC in good standing.
  • A minimum of 500 hours (440 paid*) of coaching experience with at least 25 clients following the start of your coach-specific training. At least 50 of these hours must occur within the 24 months** prior to submitting the application for the credential.
  • Performance evaluation (two audio recordings and written transcripts of coaching sessions to be uploaded with your application).
  • Completion of the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).

As of December, 2019 there are a total of 9,783 PCC coaches in the world.


Types of Credentials Offered by ICF

MCC

What it is

The Master Certified Coach (MCC) credential is the highest level a coach can obtain through ICF. At this level you have mastered all coaching techniques and have earned a significant amount of continuing education hours and client facing experience. 

What does it mean

The MCC credential is highly regarded in the coaching industry. MCC’s are the best of the best in coaching skills and expertise they sought after in the “C” suite coaching space. 

Requirements

  • 200 hours of coach-specific training.
  • 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three months. Your Mentor Coach must be an MCC in good standing. This cannot be the same Mentor Coaching that was applied toward a previous ICF Credential application.
  • A minimum of 2,500 hours (2,200 paid*) of coaching experience with at least 35 clients, following the start of your coach-specific training.
  • Performance evaluation (two audio recordings and written transcripts of coaching sessions).
  • Currently holds (or previously held) a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) Credential.
  • Complete the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) unless previously passed when applying for ACC or PCC.

As of December, 2019 there are a total of 1,021 MCC coaches in the world.


ICF Core Competencies 

The ICF Core Competencies are governing principles that have been refined over time by coach-leaders and coaches globally who have experience across a wide swath of subject matters and industries. These foundational competencies were developed to provide comprehensive standards for establishing coaching relationships with clients, communicating effectively, and facilitating results. 


ICF Code of Ethics

The ICF offers a comprehensive Code of Conduct and Ethical best practices that are embraced by the organization’s membership, resulting in a stellar reputation of self-governance engagements on an international level. There are 139 countries represented in the overall membership. ICF documents are translated in many languages to be available to a wide audience. ICF does not provide training, they partner with organizations delivering Coaching Related Training Programs that have been reviewed for rigorous standards for content, design, learning objectives and professional facilitation by ICF Credentialed Members.

The instructional ICF Accreditation Code of Ethics exists to articulate the policies and procedures that govern International Coaching Federation programs to ensure ICF affiliated educational offerings convey consistency and utmost quality within the industry. 


Benefits of Being a Member in Good Standing

The ICF engages in a wide variety of research and development to support the Industry at-large and contributes to the professional development of coaches throughout the world. Some examples include: training around business development; assessment tools; personal development and presentation of research or reference materials. As a member in good standing of the ICF, you will have access to its resources. Resources such as, monthly news and updates and annual reports about industry trends, new tools, and, most importantly, valuable Continuing Education Units – many come with your membership and require no additional fees. Members also have the opportunity to network with peers, exchange information, and discuss topics of shared interest. It is truly a “community” of best practices, peer exchange of ideas and methodology, as well as a community of professionals that care about helping people.

October 12, 2021
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