Experience Requirements - International Coaching Federation
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Experience Requirements

Applicants for the ICF ACC, PCC and MCC Credentials must meet designated coaching experience requirements for eligibility.  Specific requirements vary by credential level.

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

  • ACC

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

    *For this purpose, ICF defines the start of 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 document at least 500 hours (450 paid) of coaching experience with at least 25 clients following the start of their coach-specific education or training*. At least 50 of these hours (paid or unpaid) must occur within the 18 months prior to submitting the application for the credential.

    *For this purpose, ICF defines the start of coach-specific education or 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 document at least 2,500 hours (2,250 paid) of coaching experience with at least 35 clients following the start of coach-specific education or training*.

    *For this purpose, ICF defines the start of coach-specific education or training as 1) any ICF-approved program with at least 30 hours, 2) any CCE program with at least 30 hours (at least 80 percent of which are in Core Competencies), or 3) 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

To comply with global data security regulations and align with best practices for data security and protection of personally identifiable information, applicants for an ICF Credential are required to complete an attestation to verify their coaching experience as part of the application process. Applicants for an ICF Credential are not required to submit a coaching log with personally identifiable client information to ICF.

ICF will conduct periodic audits to verify applicants’ coaching experience. Coaches selected for audit will be required to access the contact information for their clients or, for confidential internal coaching, an individual within the organization who is authorized to verify their coaching hours. This means that coaches should continue to obtain and document clients’ consent to store their information and document client coaching experience hours.

Coaches selected for audit will be required to access the contact information for their clients or, for confidential internal coaching, an individual within the organization who is authorized to verify their coaching hours. Coaches should 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. However, 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 represent their qualifications, expertise, experience, training, certifications and ICF Credentials. As such, applicants found to provide inaccurate or fraudulent information within their ICF 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 years.

  • Confidentiality

    Maintaining Client Information

    In keeping with the ICF Code of Ethics, you must obtain consent from each client to list their 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 found at the bottom of this page). 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.)

    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 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. A template of the ICF Client Coaching Log may be found at the bottom of this page.

    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

    Students, trainers, supervisors and mentors cannot claim coaching hours within an education or training program unless the coaching is delivered outside the classroom setting with an actual client and the coaching hours are not included in the total training hours or CCEs listed on the training certificate.

    Pro Bono Hours

    Pro bono hours include:

    • Volunteer/donation coaching

    Students, trainers, supervisors and mentors cannot claim coaching hours within a training program unless the coaching is delivered outside the classroom setting with an actual client and the coaching hours are not included in the total training hours or CCEs listed on the training certificate.

    Peer-to-Peer Coaching

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

    Peer-to-peer coaching delivered outside of and education or training program can be claimed as paid or bartered coaching. Peer-to-peer coaching can be claimed as paid coaching hours. Coaching delivered within an education or training program cannot be used toward your client coaching experience unless the coaching is delivered outside the classroom setting with an actual client and the coaching hours are not included in the total training hours or CCEs listed on the training certificate.

    Individual Clients

    For each individual client, you should log:

    • The client’s name
    • The client’s contact information you use to reach them (e.g. 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 and Team Coaching Sessions

    To qualify as group or team 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 or team coaching hours should be done separately on the client coaching log.

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

    • The name and email address of one individual in the group or team (you do not need to provide the names of other individuals in the group or team or the name of the group itself)
    • The start and end date of the coaching engagement
    • The number of paid and pro bono hours that you coached the group or team
    • The number of individuals in the group or team (only groups of 15 or fewer will count, unless a co-coach is present)

    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 delivered 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 client information.

    If there is not an organizational confidentiality policy that prevents you from disclosing client information, you will include them on your client coaching log in the same manner as other individual or group/team clients.

    If there is a confidentiality policy, you should obtain a reference letter from a contact person at the organization who is authorized to verify your coaching hours. 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 or team clients unless there is an organizational confidentiality policy that prevents you from disclosing client information. If there is a confidentiality policy, you must provide a reference letter from a contact person at the organization who is authorized to verify your coaching hours. 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

    Third-party coaching clients that are included in a reference letter do not need to be included on your client coaching log.

ICF Client Coaching Log Template (.xls)

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