The following operational standards must be met by all programs. Should any of the below standards not be met by the training organization, or if ICF determines that there is not sufficient support to determine compliance with any of these standards, the application will be denied and the contact person listed in the application will be notified.
Operational Standard 1: All programs are required to have a publicly accessible website that includes a comprehensive explanation of what the training program offers. The website must include:
- Title of the program
- General program vision and goals
- List of classes/modules/parts
- Number of student contact hours included in program
- Learning goals
- Coaching philosophy/model/approach
- Listing of lead instructors
- Dates and locations of when and where the program is to be delivered
- Language(s) that are used in program delivery
- How the program is delivered (e.g. face-to-face, webinar, telephonic, combination)
- Intended participants
- Requirements students must meet to enter the program
- Policies on payment of tuition and fees
- Policies on withdrawals and refunds
Operational Standard 2: All programs must have been in operation for a minimum of six (6) months as established by the first time the program was delivered to students with curriculum content consistent with the intended program application.
Operational Standard 3: All programs must have at least one graduating class of at least five (5) students, that has completed the full program with curriculum content consistent with the intended program application.
Application requirements: The organization will be asked to provide website information and graduate information.
The organization will be asked to document all of the classes that make up the full intended program. The following details are required for each class:
- Brief description
- Hours spent teaching
- Core Competencies taught
- Primary delivery method
Faculty and staff credentials
Instructors: All instructors who are teaching content based on the ICF definition of coaching, ICF Core Competencies and Code of Ethics must hold one of the three ICF Credentials (ACC, PCC or MCC). Those teaching other optional content not related to the ICF Core Competencies, definition of coaching or the Code of Ethics are not required to hold an ICF Credential.
- Observers: All those serving as observers of student coaching sessions, and those responsible for providing written feedback, must hold one of the three ICF Credentials (ACC, PCC or MCC).
- Mentors: All mentors must hold an ICF Credential at the PCC or MCC level. Mentors must competently understand the ICF Core Competencies and Code of Ethics.
- Performance evaluation reviewers: All performance evaluation reviewers must hold an ICF Credential at the PCC or MCC level. Performance evaluation reviewers must competently understand the ICF Core Competencies and Code of Ethics.
- Application requirements: The training organization will be required to submit a list of all of their faculty members, noting each person’s current ICF Credential level. The organization will also need to describe the processes in place to train instructors and observers, as well as the process to evaluate these faculty members. Please know that if faculty members listed on the application do not hold an ICF Credential there could be a delay in application review or the application could be denied.
MCC Credentialed Director of Training
The Director of Training provides oversight of the curriculum, instructional processes, training of instructors and all observation and examination processes.
- Specific job responsibilities:
- Curriculum and class offerings: ensures the curriculum being taught is the same as the curriculum accredited by ICF as a part of the submitted ACTP application.
- Instructional process: ensures content is delivered by methods noted in the submitted ACTP application (Live interaction instead of self-study.), and also that all time requirements for classes are met.
- Training of instructors: trains program instructors in alignment with the Train the Trainer program outlined in the submitted ACTP application.
- Examination processes: ensures performance evaluation process is being followed exactly as noted in the submitted ACTP application.
- For programs in the United States and Canada: Directors of Training must hold an ICF Credential at the MCC level.
- For programs outside of the United States and Canada: the Director of Training may either hold: 1) an ICF Credential at the MCC level; or 2) subscribe to the ICF definition of coaching, Code of Ethics and Core Competencies. Directors outside of the United States and Canada who do not hold the MCC credential must commit to attaining the credential within three (3) years from the accreditation date of the program’s ACTP application.
- Application requirements:
- The organization will be required to document who the Director of Training is and their current ICF Credential level.
Six (6) observed coaching sessions for each student
ICF considers observed coaching sessions a vital component of quality coach training. ACTP programs are required to provide a minimum of six (6) observed coaching sessions for each student. Written feedback must be provided for at least four (4) of the six sessions.
- Observed coaching session definition: Sessions in which a student is coaching any client, fellow student or another person as a method for practicing their coaching skills.
- Time requirement: ICF does not have a minimum length requirement for observed coaching sessions. Sessions should be long enough for a coaching conversation.
- Structure: Observed coaching sessions are observed by an instructor/observer who is responsible for providing written feedback to the student, noting the student’s use of the ICF Core Competencies in the coaching session. These sessions may be observed live or through a recorded session. Observed coaching sessions count as part of the total instructional hours of the program.
- Application requirements: The organization will be asked to submit one example of a recorded observed coaching session, and the corresponding written feedback for the submitted recording.
- Confidentiality: Organization should only be submitting recordings for which they have received explicit permission from the client/student to submit recording/s of their coaching sessions to be reviewed by ICF staff and performance evaluation assessors for the purposes of assessing the quality and methods of the coaching.
10 hours of Mentor Coaching
ACTP programs are required to provide 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over a three (3) month or longer period of time.
- Mentor Coaching definition: a student being coached on their coaching skills rather than on practice building, life balance or other topics unrelated to the development of a student’s coaching skill. Mentoring is intended to serve as a development process for the student that takes place in a repetitive cycle of receiving feedback regarding student coaching, reflecting on this feedback and practicing new skills. The focus must be on the development of skills using the ICF Core Competencies.
- Structure: Minimum of 10 hours of Mentor Coaching. These 10 hours should be integrated into the total program and occur periodically throughout the course of the training. Group mentoring may count for a maximum of seven (7) hours toward the mentoring requirement. The group being mentored may not consist of more than 10 participants. A minimum of three (3) of the 10 mentoring hours must be one-on-one mentoring. All Mentor Coaching should be completed verbally.
- Application requirements: The organization will be asked to supply a description of the Mentor Coaching process used within the training program.
ACTP programs must administer a final performance evaluation in a formal testing environment. The final performance evaluation must, at a minimum, contain an actual observation of coaching at least one half-hour (30 minutes) in length which is graded as a final performance evaluation.
- Standards: The performance evaluation must be graded at or above the ICF Credential PCC level, which is described in the minimum skill requirements for PCC. Students must receive written feedback/scoring for their performance evaluation that provides information regarding their performance on each of the ICF Core Competencies. Performance evaluation reviewers must hold an ICF Credential at the PCC or MCC level and competently understand the ICF Core Competencies and Code of Ethics.
- Application requirements: The organization will be required to:
- Document the performance evaluation process and grading criteria used for the final performance evaluation;
- Document the start date for a class of students that has completed the program including the performance evaluation process and when they graduated;
- Submit two (2) recordings of an actual student coaching session that was used for the final performance evaluation and received a passing evaluation; and
- Submit the written feedback for these recordings.
- Procedure: Performance Evaluation recordings will be sent to qualified ICF Assessors to be evaluated. This process is to ensure that the recording was assessed at the PCC Credential level within the program. If the recording does not pass at the PCC Credential level, the organization will be able to resubmit new recordings for a fee of $150 USD. This retake process can be completed a total of two (2) times. If the recordings still do not receive passing scores at that time, the training program will not be awarded the ACTP accreditation, but instead, will be awarded the ACSTH accreditation, provided that all other application requirements have been met.
ICF will request the following information to support an ACTP application:
- Course outlines
- Student materials
- Instructor materials
- PowerPoint slides/other graphic handouts
- One (1) recording (MP3, WMA or WAV) of an observed coaching session
- Written feedback and word-for-word transcript of the submitted observed session
- Two (2) recordings (MP3, WMA or WAV) of a performance evaluation in which a student passed at the PCC level
- Written feedback and word-for-word transcript for both performance evaluation recordings submitted
Please know that in total, this application can hold up to one (1) Gigabyte (GB) of data. If you exceed this size limit, the application will not be submitted.
Detailed statements of agreement, compliance and limitation, duty to notify and payment agreements are included in the sample application and online ACTP program application. Applicants must consent to these agreements as part of the application process.
Attention Singaporean Applicants
Due to an issue with ICF’s online payment merchant, applicants in Singapore must contact Member Experience Ambassador Felix Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or +6019 2535407 to purchase ICF Program Accreditation applications.
Accreditation Start Date
Organizations who submit an application for program accreditation will receive an official communication from ICF upon the program’s accreditation. The organization accreditation start date will be the date the application was submitted for review. If the training program has only been held once by the organization, ICF will grandfather the program’s first graduating class into the program’s accreditation. If the organization has held the training program multiple times, ICF will only grandfather the group of students who most recently graduated before the organization submitted the full application for ACTP accreditation by ICF.
If you have questions or need support regarding your program accreditation application, please email email@example.com.
All applications must be submitted using the online application available above. Please allow 12-24 weeks for the review of an application once submitted to ICF.
Code of Conduct
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