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Experience Requirements

Applicants for ICF Credentials are required to demonstrate a set number of hours of coaching experience. Specific requirements vary by credential level.

As you review the information below, please ensure that you click on the correct tab for your credentialing path. The text on the tab should turn from teal to gold when you select it.

  • ACC

    ACC candidates are required to complete an attestation of 100 hours (75 paid) of coaching experience with at least eight clients following the start of your coach-specific training*. At least 25 of these hours must occur within the 18 months prior to submitting the application for the credential.

    *For this purpose, ICF defines coach-specific training as any ICF-approved program with at least 30 hours, any CCE program with at least 30 hours (at least 80 percent of which are in Core Competencies), or a non-approved program with at least 30 hours (at least 80 percent of which are in Core Competencies). Please note that all non-approved programs are subject to review by ICF as part of the credential application process on the ACC Portfolio path.

  • PCC

    PCC candidates are required to complete an attestation of 500 hours (450 paid) of coaching experience with at least 25 clients following the start of your coach-specific training*. At least 50 of these hours must occur within the 18 months prior to submitting the application for the credential.

    *For this purpose, ICF defines coach-specific training as any ICF-approved program with at least 30 hours, any CCE program with at least 30 hours (at least 80 percent of which are in Core Competencies), or a non-approved program with at least 30 hours (at least 80 percent of which are in Core Competencies). Please note that all non-approved programs are subject to review by ICF as part of the credential application process on the PCC Portfolio path.

  • MCC

    MCC candidates are required to complete an attestation of 2,500 hours (2,250 paid) of coaching experience with at least 35 clients.

    Beginning July 31, 2018, at 12 Noon (New York), MCC applicants will be required to complete all their 2,500 hours of client coaching experience after the start of coach-specific training*.

    *For this purpose, ICF defines coach-specific training as any ICF-approved program with at least 30 hours, any CCE program with at least 30 hours (at least 80 percent of which are in Core Competencies), or a non-approved program with at least 30 hours (at least 80 percent of which are in Core Competencies). Please note that all non-approved programs are subject to review by ICF as part of the MCC application process.

Verification of Coaching Experience

ICF has recently updated its credential application process to comply with new European regulations for data security and privacy. Effective May 24, 2018, ICF will require applicants to complete an attestation of their coaching experience hours by answering a series of questions within the credential application and providing the applicant’s signature verifying accuracy. This replaces the submission of a coaching log and is intended to help protect the privacy of coaching clients.

As part of this process, ICF conducts regular audits to verify applicants’ coaching experience. Those selected for audit will be required to access the contact information for their clients or, for confidential internal coaching, an individual within the organization authorized to verify their coaching hours. 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. Applicants selected for audit will not submit client logs directly to the ICF.

Applicants for an ICF credential are bound by the ICF Code of Ethics, which requires coaches to accurately identify “coaching qualifications, expertise, experience, training, certifications and ICF Credentials.” As such, applicants found to provide inaccurate or fraudulent information within their credential application will 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.

  • Confidentiality

    Maintaining Client Information

    In keeping with the ICF Code of Ethics, you must obtain consent from each client to list his or her information on a client coaching log. The consent should be documented in compliance with all relevant laws (e.g., EU GDPR). Individuals who do not consent to have their names listed must be left off the log, except in internal or third-party coaching arrangements with organizations that have a confidentiality policy. In those cases, you should obtain a reference letter from the organization verifying the number of coaching hours provided.

     

  • Definitions/Documentation

    As soon as you begin coaching, you should begin logging client coaching hours. A simple spreadsheet is the most effective log (see the sample below). Four types of clients may be included on the coaching log: individual clients, group clients, internal clients, and third-party clients.

    Client Coaching Hours

    A client coaching hour is 60 minutes of actual coaching with a client who has hired the applicant as a coach and not in any other capacity. (Mentor coaching or coaching supervision is not accepted as a client coaching hour.)

    Client coaching sessions of less than 60 minutes will count as partial client coaching hours (for example, 30 minutes of client coaching will count as 0.5 client coaching hours). Coaching must be done in person or by telephone or other voice-to-voice technology.

    Coaching Log Template

    ICF recommends that you use the ICF Client Coaching Log (.xls) to track and document your client coaching experience. Using this excel form will make the credentialing process easier and more efficient.

    Paid Hours

    Paid hours include:

    • Hours of coaching for which the coach receives payment from the client (payment may be in any amount, or barter of goods or services, including coaching in exchange for coaching)
    • Internal coaching that meets the definition below
    • Third-party coaching that meets the definition below

    Coaching hours within a training program cannot be used toward your client coaching experience.

    Pro Bono Hours

    Pro bono hours include:

    • Volunteer/Donation Coaching
    • Trainers, Supervisors or Mentors cannot claim coaching hours within a training program

    Peer to Peer Coaching

    Peer to peer coaching is the exchange of coaching between two individuals.

    Peer to peer coaching (outside of training program) can be claimed as paid or bartered coaching. Peer to peer coaching (within Reciprocal Peer Coaching) can be claimed as paid hours. Coaching hours within a training program cannot be used toward your client coaching experience.

    Individual Clients

    For each individual client, you must log:

    • The client’s name and email address or phone number
    • The start and end date of the coaching relationship
    • The number of paid and pro bono hours that you coached the client

    Individual clients who do not consent to have their names listed must be left off of the log. The consent should be documented in compliance with all relevant laws (e.g., GDPR).

    Group Coaching Sessions

    To qualify as group coaching, participants must set the agenda, and the session must be interactive (synchronous interaction between the coach and participants). Documenting individual client coaching hours and group coaching hours need to be done separately on the client coaching log.

    For group coaching sessions, document the following on your coaching log:

    • The name and email address of one individual in the group (you do not need to provide the names of other individuals in the group or the name of the group itself)
    • The start and end date of the coaching relationship
    • The number of paid and pro bono hours that you coached the group
    • The number of individuals in the group (only groups of 15 or fewer will count)

    You cannot multiply hours times participants in the group. If you coach 15 people for one hour, you can only count that as one hour of coaching, not 15 hours.

    Each individual in a group counts as a client for the purpose of meeting the total number of clients required. (Training/teaching, mentor coaching, facilitating workshops, etc. cannot be claimed as client coaching.)

    Internal Coaching

    Internal coaching is coaching done as part of the applicant’s employment. Coaching of direct reports (employees for whom the coach is an immediate supervisor) does not count as client coaching hours. Internal clients should be logged the same as other individual or group clients unless there is an organizational confidentiality policy that prevents you from disclosing the client’s information.

    If there is not an organizational confidentiality policy that prevents you from disclosing the client’s information, you need to provide the following information on your client coaching log:

    • The client’s name and email address or phone number
    • The start and end date of the coaching relationship
    • The number of paid and pro bono hours that you coached the client

    If there is a confidentiality policy, you should obtain a reference letter from a contact person at the organization who is familiar with your work. The reference letter must be signed on company letterhead and include:

    • Your name
    • The name and contact information for the contact person
    • A description of the role of the contact person in the organization
    • A description of your role in the organization
    • Confirmation of the organization’s confidentiality policy
    • Confirmation of the number of hours coached, the number of clients coached and the time period the coaching took place

    For internal confidential clients that will be included in a reference letter, you do not need to include those clients on your client coaching log.

    Third-Party Coaching

    Third-party coaching is coaching in which the coach receives payment from an organization specifically for coaching the client. Payment may be in any amount or barter of goods or services. Third-party clients should be logged the same as other individual or group clients unless there is an organizational confidentiality policy that prevents you from disclosing the client’s information. If there is a confidentiality policy, you must provide a reference letter from a contact person at the organization who is familiar with your work. The reference letter must be signed on company letterhead and include:

    • Your name
    • The name and contact information for the contact person
    • A description of the role of the contact person in the organization
    • A description of your role in the organization
    • Confirmation of the organization’s confidentiality policy
    • Confirmation of the number of hours coached, the number of clients coached and the time period the coaching took place

    For third-party confidential clients that will be included in a reference letter, you do not need to include those clients on your client coaching log.

ICF Client Coaching Log Template (.xls)

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