The Gold Standard in Coaching | ICF - ACTP Accreditation

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Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) accreditation is intended for coach training providers who are interested in having their training program accredited by ICF.

ACTP accredited programs are considered “all inclusive” training programs, which offer start to finish coach training. A minimum of 125 student contact hours, Mentor Coaching and a performance evaluation process are required for ACTP approval.

Graduates of an ACTP program may apply for an individual ICF Credential via the ACTP credential application path.

  • Application fees

    125–175 Program Hours

    $100 USD deposit + $1,900 USD review fee + $300 USD** Performance Evaluation process review fee

    176+ Program Hours

    $100 USD deposit + $2,900 USD review fee + $300 USD** Performance Evaluation process review fee

    *ACTP application fees are non-refundable and do not guarantee program accreditation. ACTP accreditation is valid for three calendar years. **Includes review of two performance evaluation recordings. 

  • Contact hours and training

    ACTP programs are required to have at least 125 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 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.

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Structure:
      • Directors must hold an active ICF PCC or MCC credential and subscribe to the ICF definition of coaching, Code of Ethics and Core Competencies.
    • 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.
  • Performance evaluation

    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. Coaching demonstrations by faculty members cannot be submitted for evaluation.
      • 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.
  • Audit materials

    ICF will request the following information to support an ACTP 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 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.

  • Required consent

    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 Regional Development Manager Minji Oh at or 82.10.6778.3017 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 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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