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CREDENTIAL UPDATES

Visit this page for periodic updates about ICF’s credentialing services program and ICF Credentials and Standards.

ICF Credentials and Standards to Launch Updated Credentialing Exam in 2022

ICF Credentials and Standards is excited to announce it will launch an updated ICF Credentialing exam. Originally scheduled to launch in late 2021, we have delayed the publication of this new exam to early 2022 due to the continued impacts of the pandemic across our global community.

The new ICF Credentialing exam comes after the completion of a global coaching job analysis, resulting in the first ever updates to the ICF Core Competencies, which serve as the global standard for professional and ethical practice in coaching, released in November 2019.

Exam questions are based on and reflect the updated ICF Core Competencies, including a critical new competency: Embodies a Coaching Mindset. Reflective of its mission “to elevate professional standards in coaching” and to serve as the global Gold Standard in Coach Credentialing, ICF Credentials and Standards has designed a high-quality, state-of-the-art Credentialing exam aligned with the highest standards in psychometric assessment and informed by ICF Credentialed coaches from around the world who served as Subject Matter Expert volunteers.

The updated exam will feature approximately 200 scenario-based, multiple choice questions designed to assess a coach’s knowledge and ability to apply the ICF Core Competencies.

Earning an ICF Credential requires hard work, dedication, and a commitment to excellence in professional and ethical practice. It is our responsibility at ICF Credentials and Standards to honor the efforts of ICF Credential holders by ensuring the Credential you worked so hard to achieve is aligned with the highest standards of certification practice and to maintain and increase the value of ICF Credentials for all who hold them and for the clients they serve.

That’s why the updated ICF Credentialing exam will be offered through a more secure delivery format that increases the credibility and integrity of the exam and meets global standards for professional certification. Candidates will have the option to take the new exam in-person at an authorized testing center or from the convenience of their home or office through live remote proctoring. Both options will be offered through our partnership with Pearson VUE, a global leader in the administration and delivery of professional, high-stakes certification exams.

Candidates applying for an initial ICF Credential or upgrading to a higher-level Credential will be required to complete the new Credentialing exam.

Individuals renewing their ICF Credential will not be required to complete the exam.

With updates to the exam content, candidates can demonstrate they possess the knowledge and skills needed to meet the rising challenges for coach practitioners in today’s world, giving Credentialed coaches the opportunity to SHINE in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace.

Through these improvements, ICF Credentials and Standards is enhancing the quality of the ICF Credentialing process and preserving and increasing the value of ICF Credentials today and for years to come.

If you have any questions about the updated credentialing exam, please email support@coachingfederation.org.

ICF Credential Application Fees with Launch of Updated Exam (all fees in USD)*

Updated Credentialing Exam pricing table

*ICF has proudly maintained its Credentialing fees with no increases since 2015. As ICF Credentials and Standards integrates improvements to strengthen the integrity, security and value of the ICF Credentialing exam and the ICF Credentials, the updated fee structure will support our ability to maintain our high standards in the years to come

Ongoing COVID-19 Response: ICF Credentials and Standards Board Approves Additional Changes

Given the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our communities, countries and world, the ICF Credentials and Standards Board met in August 2020 to evaluate the temporary measures and consider additional steps to support ICF Credential-holders and candidates during these times.

To continue to support coaches on their professional journey while also ensuring the highest standards for the credentialing process, the ICF Credentials and Standards Board approved the following measures to support coaches in 2021.

Temporary Measure Impacting Coaches Whose Credentials Expire December 31, 2020

ICF values ongoing professional development for credentialed coaches, which is why we require ICF-credentialed coaches to renew their credential every three years. We acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic may disrupt access to Continuing Coach Education opportunities, particularly for individuals required to submit additional CCE units to renew a lapsed ICF Credential.

If your ICF Credential’s expiration date is December 31, 2020 but you are unable to renew on or before that date, your credential will remain active until February 28, 2021, after which it will be considered lapsed. You may still apply to renew your lapsed credential through December 31, 2021 – your Continuing Coach Education requirement will be capped at 41.2 Continuing Coach Education units (an additional 1.2 instead of the former 1.2 additional units per month of lapse). 24.72 units in Core Competencies is still required for renewal, three (3) of which must be completed in coaching ethics.

Extension of Temporary Measures Impacting Initial Credentialing Applicants

The ICF Credentials and Standards Board extended a pair of temporary measures impacting initial credentialing applicants.

Extending Client Coaching Experience Recency Requirements for ACC and PCC Applicants

If a coach applies for their ACC or PCC by December 31, 2021, their recency requirement for experience hours will be extended from 18 to 24 months. This is an extension of the previously announced temporary measure, which was set to end December 31, 2020.

For ACC applicants, this means that at least 25 hours of coaching experience must have taken place within 24 months of submitting their application.

For PCC applicants, this means that at least 50 hours of coaching experience must have taken place within 24 months of submitting their application.

Increasing Eligible Number of Pro Bono Hours

If a coach applies for their ACC, PCC or MCC by December 31, 2021, they will also be eligible to count a higher proportion of pro bono coaching hours toward their experience requirements. This is an extension of the previously announced temporary measure, which was set to end December 31, 2020.

We are increasing the proportion of eligible pro bono coaching hours by 20%.

This means:

  • ACC applicants can count 30 hours of pro bono coaching toward their experience requirement (up from 25 hours)
  • PCC applicants can count 60 hours of pro bono coaching toward their experience requirement (up from 50 hours)
  • MCC applicants can count 300 hours of pro bono coaching toward their experience requirement (up from 250 hours)

As always, the ICF Credentials and Standards team is happy to answer any questions and support ICF coaches on their professional development journeys. You can contact the team by visiting the ICF Support page.

ICF Celebrates 30,000 Active Credential-holders

June 25, 2020, marked a tremendous milestone for ICF: There are now more than 30,000 ICF Credential-holders worldwide.

In 1998, ICF’s credentialing program launched with 34 coach practitioners receiving the first-ever ICF Credentials. From 34 to 30,000, ICF Credential-holders have demonstrated the importance of high standards in coaching practice and the value of professional coaching in our world. By pursuing, earning and maintaining an ICF Credential, these coaches demonstrate the value and integrity of their services and of the entire coaching profession.

To celebrate this milestone, ICF invites credentialed coaches to share their ICF Credentialing story on social media using the hashtag #CoachesthatCommit.

COVID-19 Response: Temporary Changes to Support ICF Credential Applicants

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to impact how we all live and work, the ICF Credentials and Standards Global Board has approved three temporary measures to support coaches on their professional development journeys while continuing to ensure the highest standards for the credentialing process.

These changes go into effect April 9, 2020, and will remain in place through December 31, 2020.

Capping Continuing Coach Education Requirements for Lapsed Credential-holders

ICF values ongoing professional development for credentialed coaches, which is why we require ICF-credentialed coaches to renew their credential every three years. We acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic may disrupt access to Continuing Coach Education opportunities, particularly for individuals required to submit additional CCE units to renew a lapsed ICF Credential.

For coaches whose ICF Credentials expired December 31, 2019, we are capping the Continuing Coach Education requirement at 41.2 CCE units (at least 24.72 units in Core Competencies). This is the number of CCE units required to renew a credential after a one-month lapse. Coaches will still be required to complete at least three Core Competencies units in coaching ethics. They can obtain these hours by completing ICF’s free online course.

Upon renewal, December 31, 2022, will be the new expiration date for these coaches’ credentials. They will still be required to submit at least 40 Continuing Coach Education units (24 in Core Competencies), completed between December 1, 2020, and December 31, 2022, during their next renewal cycle.

Extending Client Coaching Experience Recency Requirements for ACC and PCC Applicants

We recognize that this crisis has had an enormous impact on coaches’ businesses and, for many, led to the cancellation of scheduled coaching sessions that they had planned to count toward their client coaching experience requirement. By temporarily extending the recency requirement for ACC and PCC applicants, we hope to enable many coaches to stay on track with their anticipated timeline to apply for an ICF Credential.

If a coach applies for their ACC or PCC by December 31, 2020, their recency requirement for experience hours will be extended from 18 to 24 months.

For ACC applicants, this means that at least 25 hours of coaching experience must have taken place within 24 months of submitting their application.

For PCC applicants, this means that at least 50 hours of coaching experience must have taken place within 24 months of submitting their application.

Increasing Eligible Number of Pro Bono Hours

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges to all communities, including the global community of professional coaches. These times are also unprecedented in terms of opportunities for coaches to be in service to their communities, and we know that coaching is now more important than ever.

If a coach applies for their ACC, PCC or MCC by December 31, 2020, they will also be eligible to count a higher proportion of pro bono coaching hours toward their experience requirements.

We are increasing the proportion of eligible pro bono coaching hours by 20%.

This means:

  • ACC applicants can count 30 hours of pro bono coaching toward their experience requirement (up from 25 hours)
  • PCC applicants can count 60 hours of pro bono coaching toward their experience requirement (up from 50 hours)
  • MCC applicants can count 300 hours of pro bono coaching toward their experience requirement (up from 250 hours)

As always, the ICF Credentials and Standards team is happy to answer any questions and support ICF coaches on their professional development journeys. You can contact the team by visiting the ICF Support page.

COVID-19 Response: Free and Lower-cost Professional Development Options for Coaches

ICF Credential-holders who are planning their professional development may be concerned about how to fulfill Continuing Coach Education requirements considering the disruptions impacting the coaching and coach training communities.

We want to help ensure that all ICF Credential-holders remain on track with their professional development goals. We are pleased to offer information about free and lower-cost options for earning Continuing Coach Education units:

  • You can earn three required hours of Continuing Coach Education in coaching ethics by completing ICF’s free online ethics course.
  • Our Education team has curated a collection of virtual resources in the ICF Learning Portal to assist you in supporting your coaching practice as well as supporting your clients through the COVID-19 crisis.
  • ICF Chapters worldwide have scheduled virtual events to provide continuing professional development for coaches throughout this crisis. Many of these events yield Continuing Coach Education units.
  • Communities of Practice (CPs) are virtual groups of coaches interested in a specific topic area. These communities are designed to provide a platform for sharing best practices, emerging trends, tools and tips among ICF Members to advance their professional development. CPs provide a virtual venue for coaches with a shared interest in a specific topic to advance their professional development; deepen their subject-matter expertise; and share best practices, emerging trends, tools and tips. Each CP is steered by volunteer leaders who help facilitate the learning and organize the conversations, ideas, and trends that emerge from the group. CPs are designed to promote active participation from their members: Sharing and discussion is always encouraged.
  • The ICF Learning Portal is an online learning management system (LMS) where you can access live and archived virtual learning content. On the Learning Portal you can track your in-progress and completed professional development; you can also download a transcript that documents CCE units earned toward ICF Credential renewal.

You can also continue to find ICF-approved sources of Continuing Coach Education at a variety of price points by visiting the Events Calendar or the Training Program Search Service.

You can learn more about all accepted sources of Continuing Coach Education, including Mentor Coaching and Coaching Supervision, by following the link below.

Transcript Requirement Changes

ICF is committed to ensuring fairness and integrity in our review process for credentialing performance evaluations. To this end, we are refining our existing transcript format requirements for credentialing candidates on the following pathways:

  • ACC ACSTH
  • ACC Portfolio
  • PCC ACSTH
  • PCC Portfolio
  • MCC

Currently, transcripts submitted for performance evaluations are subject to the following requirements:

  • Your transcript(s) must be a verbatim, written word-for-word record of the coaching session(s) submitted.
  • Your coaching session transcript should include the full word-for-word conversation that took place between you and your client during your coaching session.
  • A reader of the transcript should be able to see who was speaking (the coach or the client) at any given time in the conversation.
  • Transcripts need to be in the same language used in your recording. If ICF does not offer performance evaluations in your language, then an English transcript must be provided.
  • Transcripts must be provided in PDF, MS Word, or a similar format.

Beginning July 1, 2020, at 12 Noon (New York), transcripts submitted for performance evaluations will be subject to the following requirements:

  • Your transcript(s) must be a verbatim, written word-for-word record of the coaching session(s) submitted.
  • Your transcript must indicate who is speaking—the coach or the client—at any time in the conversation. The transcript must list the coach’s statements and the client’s statements on separate lines.
  • Your transcript must include timestamps at every change in speaker (coach and client).
  • Transcripts need to be in the same language used in your recording. If ICF does not offer a performance evaluation in your language, you will need to submit a transcript with the language used in your recording and with an English translation of the transcript.
  • Your transcript must be provided in .DOC, .DOCX or similar word processing file format. Transcripts provided in PDF format cannot be accepted.

By refining our requirements for session transcripts, we’re demonstrating our continued commitment to positioning the ICF Credential as the gold standard for the coaching profession.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding these changes, please feel free to contact our ICF Credentials and Standards team by visiting the ICF Support page.

Credentialing Stats: July 2020

As of July 1, 2020, there were 30,079 ICF Credential-holders worldwide.

  • ACC: 16,898
  • PCC: 11,946
  • MCC: 1,235

2019 Updates

  • ICF Releases Updated Competency Model

    Since 1998, the ICF Core Competencies have provided a vital foundation for the coaching profession.

    When we first created the Core Competencies and developed the ICF Code of Ethics, we set the standard in the coaching field. The ICF Core Competencies were first identified and articulated by eight pioneers in our profession, all of whom were committed to creating greater understanding about the knowledge and skills needed for effective coaching. The groundbreaking ICF Core Competency model that emerged has provided a strong foundation for our accreditation and credentialing processes ever since.

    In any profession, it is best practice to perform a job analysis regularly to ensure a competency model remains a valid and accurate reflection of professional practice. ICF last conducted a job analysis in 2008, and our profession has since grown and evolved significantly.

    Over the past 24 months, we’ve been engaged in rigorous job analysis research. From start to finish, more than 1,300 coaches—both ICF Members and non-members—from around the globe have participated in this process. These coaches represented a diverse range of coaching disciplines, training backgrounds, coaching styles, and experience and credentialing levels. No other coaching certification body has undertaken this level of research, and we’re incredibly proud of the quality, integrity and validity of our evidence-based approach to credentialing and to the value it brings to ICF credential holders.

    We are pleased to share with you an updated ICF Core Competency model, which reflects the collective insights and wisdom shared with us through this comprehensive research initiative.

    While the empirical data we collected through the job analysis process validated that much of the original ICF Core Competency model remains relevant and reflected in current coaching practice, this new competency model offers a simpler, more streamlined structure and integrates consistent, clear language.

    ICF has already begun the work to translate this updated model into priority languages for our community.

    Ultimately, this updated Core Competency model will serve as the basis for the ICF Credentialing process through the launch of a new credentialing assessment reflecting the revised competencies. ICF anticipates a lengthy transition process, and we are targeting early 2021 for the launch of the new assessment. As we continue this work, we will be sure to keep coaches up to date and informed through regular, detailed and transparent communications.

  • Updated Competency Model Webinar: Recordings, Slides and FAQs Now Available

    On December 10, 2019, the ICF staff shared more about the updated Core Competency model and answered coaches’ questions during two webinars for our global coaching community.

    View Broadcast 1.

    View Broadcast 2.

     

  • New Credentialing Application Platform Now Available

    ICF has launched a new application platform designed to make the ICF Credentialing application and renewal process easier for coaches.

    We aim to deliver a best-in-class credentialing program for professional coaches. We do that through high standards for ethical and professional practice that inform the rigorous requirements for each credential level we offer.

    A robust credentialing process, however, should not mean a complicated application process.

    Over the years, we have requested feedback from credentialing candidates and we take that feedback seriously. That’s why we’ve designed this software to make the credentialing application process clearer, simpler and easier to navigate. With this new platform, candidates are able to:

    • Initiate and access a credential or renewal application through their coachfederation.org profile. Applicants who do not currently have an ICF Membership or Member Profile have the opportunity to complete an online profile as part of the credentialing process.
    • Complete applications over time, instead of all at once.
    • Monitor application review status in real time.

    Another important benefit of this new platform is that ICF Credential-holders can begin logging CCEs toward credential renewal at any time, instead of submitted all documentation once every three years.

    Follow the link below to see examples of the new applications.

    If you have questions regarding the new platform, please contact ICF’s Credentialing Services team by visiting the ICF Support page.

  • ICF Global Board Announces No New Policy Changes for 2019

    Following their January 2019 meeting in Mumbai, India, the ICF Global Board confirmed that there will be no announcement of new credentialing policy changes for 2019.

    On February 28, 2019, ICF implemented the last of several credentialing policy changes announced in February 2018. Coaches are now required to hold or have previously held a Professional Certified Coach credential before they can apply for the Master Certified Coach credential.

2018 Updates

  • ICF Updates Template to Document Portfolio Path Training

    ICF has made several improvements to the training verification form for ACC and PCC candidates on the Portfolio path.

    These changes address feedback we’ve received from coaches since the initial form was released in August 2018. They will help ensure clear and efficient application experience for coaches who pursue an ACC or PCC on the Portfolio path.

    Coaches who apply for the ACC or PCC Credential via the Portfolio path are 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.

    You can download a sample of the updated form below.

  • 2018 Policy Changes Webinar and Slide Deck

    On May 24, 2018, ICF Assistant Executive Director George Rogers and Assistant Director of Credentialing and Accreditation Carrie Abner presented a webinar on 2018 changes to the ICF Credentialing program and processes.

  • Updated Processes to Enhance Data Security

    It is ICF’s policy to set the standard in the coaching world, which translates to us serving our Members, Credential-holders, accredited programs and the coaching profession to the best of our ability. The International Coach Federation (ICF) is committed to protecting the privacy of all personal data that we encounter.

    The forthcoming European Union General Data Privacy Regulation provides an opportunity for us to enhance our data privacy practices to benefit not only coaches who live and work in the EU, but every member of the ICF Global community. To this end, we are updating our credentialing application process to ensure compliance with GDPR and alignment with best practices for promoting data security.

    Beginning May 24, 2018, at 12 Noon (New York), coaches will be required to complete an attestation of coaching experience included in the ICF Credential application. This will replace the submission of a coaching log and is intended to help protect the privacy of coaching clients.

    To ensure the integrity of this updated process, ICF will conduct periodic audits to verify applicants’ coaching experience. This means that coaches should continue to obtain and document clients’ consent to store their information, have a policy on how that information will be protected and maintained, and have a system in place for tracking relevant data. (ICF will continue to provide a downloadable coaching log template on our website.) If an audit reveals that a coach has provided inaccurate or fraudulent information regarding their coaching experience, they may be subject to denial and/or revocation of their ICF Credential and may be prohibited from reapplying for an ICF Credential for up to five (5) years.

    Also beginning May 24, initial and renewal credentialing applications will be amended to include additional fields asking applicants to consent to ICF collecting, storing and using the personal information you provide.

    Finally, beginning this month, we are changing our data retention timeline for ICF Credential application materials. We will only retain your application materials for six (6) months after your application has been processed. At that time, all your application materials will be deleted from our systems.

    Coaches with questions about the impact of GDPR on credentialing can contact the ICF Credentialing Services team by visiting the ICF Support page.

  • 2018 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.

    If you have immediate questions about how the upcoming policy changes will impact you, please contact ICF’s Credentialing Services team by visiting the ICF Support page.

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