See what's new with COACHING WORLD

Credentialing Updates

Upcoming Credentialing and Accreditation Policy Changes Announced

During the final quarter of 2017, the ICF Global Board of Directors approved a series of Credentialing and Accreditation policy changes that, once implemented, will promote continued excellence in the coaching profession and make it easier for individuals to navigate the process of becoming a coach and earning an ICF Credential.

First, the ICF Global Board and staff have agreed to change when and how Credentialing and Accreditation policy changes are communicated. Beginning in 2018, ICF is moving to an annual announcement schedule for Credentialing and Accreditation policy changes. All upcoming policy changes will be announced in February of each year.

The following changes will be implemented over the next 13 months:

Effective Immediately

The following changes impact individuals whose ICF Credentials expire on or after December 31, 2018.

  • The 10 hours of Mentor Coaching required of Associate Certified Coach renewal applicants can now be applied toward the 40 hours of Continuing Coach Education required for Associate Certified Coach renewal. This means that Associate Certified Coach renewal applicants will be required to complete:
    • 10 hours of Mentor Coaching
    • At least 30 hours of Continuing Coach Education (with at least 11 hours in Core Competencies and at least 3 hours in coaching ethics)
  • No more than 10 hours of Mentor Coaching (delivering and/or receiving) may be counted toward Continuing Coach Education requirements.
  • No more than 10 hours of Coaching Supervision (delivering and/or receiving) may be counted toward Continuing Coach Education requirements.

As part of a self-regulating industry, ICF is committed to helping coaches provide consistent value to their clients. To ensure excellence among ICF Credential-holders, we encourage them to participate in a wide array of continuing professional development activities. These changes help encourage that diversity.

Effective July 31, 2018, at 12 Noon (New York)

  • Coaches applying for their initial credential (Associate Certified Coach or Professional Certified Coach credential) via the Portfolio path will be required to demonstrate that they completed a comprehensive training program that includes the ICF definition of coaching, Code of Ethics and Core Competencies, and is organized in a scope and sequence that encourages the growth of the coach. This means that coaches will no longer be able to submit a random compilation of non-approved training hours and/or Continuing Coach Education units in fulfillment of their initial training requirements. We believe it should be easy for current and prospective coaches to find and choose the appropriate type of training for their stage of professional development, and this change is a further step in reframing Continuing Coach Education as the first choice for advanced training for already-credentialed coaches.
  • Master Certified Coach applicants will be required to complete all their 2,500 hours of client coaching experience after the start of coach-specific training. Previously, ICF revised Associate and Professional Certified Coach policies to require that all coaching experience hours be completed after the start of coach-specific training. This change positively impacted credential-holders and the profession by ensuring that every hour of experience was delivered in the context of coach-specific training aligned with ICF’s high standards. We expect a similarly positive impact from this change.
  • Coaches applying for the Associate Certified Coach credential via the ACSTH path will once again be required to submit a recording and transcript of a live coaching session. The performance evaluation is currently a requirement for Professional Certified Coach candidates on the ACSTH path, so this change will ensure greater consistency across credential levels.
  • Associate Certified Coaches will need to complete at least one full cycle of their credential (through renewal) before they serve as a Mentor Coach. Mentor Coaches play an important role in new and experienced coaches’ development. By continuing to advance high standards for Mentor Coaches, we’re ensuring that they’re ready to support other coaches on their professional journeys.

Effective February 28, 2019, at 12 Noon (New York)

  • Coaches will be required to hold a Professional Certified Coach credential before they can apply for the Master Certified Coach credential. Applying for a Master Certified Coach credential requires a significant investment of time and money. We want to increase the likelihood of success. Data from ICF’s Credentialing department shows that Master Certified Coach candidates who hold a Professional Certified Coach credential are more successful in the application process than candidates with no prior ICF Credential. Clearly, earning the Professional Certified Coach designation is an important step in a coach’s journey, and this policy change will encourage that.

Additional News

  • When it comes to enhancing performance, meaningful feedback matters. This is why we are redesigning the feedback report for Master Certified Coach candidates to increase clarity around assessment measures and provide concrete recommendations for next steps and further professional development.

During April 2018, ICF Headquarters will host calls where you can learn more about these changes and have your questions answered. To be notified when registration for the calls opens, please complete the form below.

If you have immediate questions about how the upcoming policy changes will impact you, please contact ICF’s Credentialing Services team at

ICF Global Board Considers Credentialing Items at October 2017 Board Meeting

During their October 2017 meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, members of the ICF Global Board reviewed a detailed proposal on the continued refinement of the ICF Credentialing program.

Not a member?

Sign up now to become a member and receive all of our wonderful benefits.

Learn more