The Gold Standard in Coaching | ICF ACSTH Accreditation

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Approved Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) program accreditation is intended for coach training providers who are interested in having their training program accredited by ICF Coach Training.

ACSTH accredited programs are considered “al la carte” training programs, which may or may not offer start to finish coach training programs. A minimum of 30 student contact hours are required for ACSTH program accreditation.

Graduates from an ACSTH program may apply for the Associate Certified Coach (ACC) Credential or the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) Credential using the ACSTH application path if they meet the credentialing application requirements.

  • Application fees

    30 – 100 Program Hours

    $100 USD deposit + $1,400 USD review fee

    101 – 175 Program Hours

    $100 USD deposit + $1,900 USD review fee

    176+ Program Hours

    $100 USD deposit + $2,900 USD review fee

    *ACSTH application fees are non-refundable and do not guarantee program accreditation. ACSTH accreditation is valid for three calendar years.

  • Contact hours and training

    ACSTH programs are required to have at least 30 student contact hours. At least 50% of all training must be delivered in synchronous activities and 80% focused on the ICF Core Competencies. The remaining 50% of the training program can be delivered asynchronously and remaining 20% focused on subjects not directly related to the ICF Core Competencies.

    • Student contact hours: Clock hours spent in synchronous (real-time) interactions between faculty and students. This may include time spent in direct instruction, real-time discussions, observation and feedback or practice coaching sessions, and mentoring students.
    • Homework/Independent study: Clock hours spent outside of real-time interaction between faculty and students (asynchronous). These may include outside reading, writing, research, journaling, practice coaching and various other activities that may occur outside of the synchronous setting. All asynchronous hours require some method of validating that the activity was completed by the student.
    • Application requirements: The organization will be asked to document the number of hours that their training program offers and provide a list of all classes being offered.
  • Operational standards

    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 Standards

    • 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.
  • ICF Credentialed instructors and observers

    • 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 that are 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).
    • Application requirements: The training organization will be required to submit a list of all 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.
  • Course list

    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:

    • Title
    • Brief description
    • Hours spent teaching
    • Core Competencies taught
    • Primary delivery method
  • Five (5) observed coaching sessions for each student

    ICF considers observed coaching sessions a vital component of quality coach training. ACSTH programs are required to provide a minimum of five (5) observed coaching sessions for each student. Written feedback must be provided for at least three (3) of the five 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.


    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.

  • Audit materials

    ICF will request the following information to support an ACSTH application:

    • Course outlines
    • Student materials
    • Instructor materials
    • Bibliographies
    • 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 coaching session

    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.

  • Required consent

    Detailed statements of agreement, compliance and limitation, duty to notify and payment agreements are included in the sample application and online ACSTH 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 Regional Development Manager Minji Oh at or 82.10.6778.3017 to purchase ICF Coach Training 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 ACSTH accreditation by ICF.


If you have questions or need support regarding your program accreditation application, please visit the ICF Support page.

Submission Information

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.

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