Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP)
An ACTP is a start to finish coach-training program that includes comprehensive instruction around the ICF Core Competencies, Code of Ethics and definition of coaching. ACTPs also include Mentor Coaching, observed coaching sessions, and a comprehensive final exam that evaluates a student’s coaching competency. Graduates of an ACTP may apply for an individual ICF Credential using the ACTP path.
Approved Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH)
ACSTH programs are accredited on an hour-by-hour basis and may or may not be a full coach training program depending on the number of student contact hours. Students who complete all of their training hours through an ACSTH may apply for an ICF Credential via the ACSTH path.
Continuing Coach Education (CCE)
ICF also accredits Continuing Coach Education (CCE), which is intended as advanced training for professional coach practitioners wishing to acquire new learning and/or renew their ICF Credential. One requirement for ICF Credential renewal is completing 40 CCE units. Thousands of ICF-credentialed coaches renew their credential every three years, so getting your training program accredited for CCE units opens your training to more coaches.
Applications are thoroughly reviewed by ICF staff and by specially trained teams of reviewers. The timeline for accreditation will vary based on the complexity of the program, the availability of reviewers and the comprehensiveness of the documentation and audit materials provided by the applicant.
ACTP review normally takes 12–24 weeks.
ACSTH review normally takes 12–24 weeks.
CCE review normally takes 3–4 weeks.
Please plan accordingly when developing program promotional efforts.
For ACTP or ACSTH questions, please contact Emily Williams.
For CCE programs not hosted by an ICF Chapter or Community of Practice (CP), please contact Emily Williams.
For CCE programs hosted by an ICF Chapter, please contact Maria Lester.
For CCE programs hosted by an ICF Community of Practice (CP), please contact Lauren Magee.
Yes, we do. We encourage businesses and organizations with internal coach training programs to pursue ICF accreditation. By choosing ICF to accredit your internal coach training, your organization will benefit from the credibility that comes with partnering with the industry leader in professional coaching, and from the accountability that comes with meeting ICF’s consistently high standards for coach-specific training programs. You’ll also help ensure that your internal coaches enjoy the smoothest, most cost-effective path to an ICF Credential.
You may link directly to CCF from your ICF Chapter’s website. The link should be created so that it opens in a new tab or window. CCF’s URL is: credentialedcoachfinder.com.
CCF will only be available in English.
CCF is free for consumers of coaching to use to find ICF-credentialed coach members.
To edit your profile listing, log in to Coachfederation.org as an ICF Member. After you log in, click Edit Profile and then click on “Edit CCF Listing.” Use the fields to add or edit profile information. Click “SAVE” at the bottom of the page. Make sure your profile is as complete and accurate as possible.
The Enhanced Listing is a nonrefundable $150 USD/year subscription that adds the following extra fields to your CCF listing:
Credentialed Members may purchase the Enhanced Listing directly from the page used to edit your CCF listing. Log in to Coachfederation.org as an ICF Member. After you log in, click “Edit Profile” and then click “Edit CCF Listing.” Scroll down to “Upgrade to an Enhanced Listing” and click “Upgrade Now!” You will then be directed to the shopping cart where you may purchase the Enhanced Listing.
The Enhanced Listing will allow you to showcase additional information about yourself and your coaching practice which will give you more visibility to prospective clients. The Enhanced Listing fields are primarily searched when the potential client is using the keyword field of CCF. If you have a unique coaching specialty or relevant qualifications that are not communicated by the available search filters, you may want to consider purchasing the Enhanced Listing.
Credentialed Members who purchased and Enhanced Listing will be emailed a reminder to renew and offered a 90-day grace period. When the grace period expires, the CCF profile listing will revert back to a basic listing.
You may list other information, including niche specialties, in the “About Me” field in the Enhanced Listing.
Your profile will be removed from CCF and reinstated when you renew your ICF Credential or Membership. If you purchased the Enhanced Listing, it will still be enabled when you renew provided it has not been longer than 1 year since purchase.
The link to your CCF profile listing is not password protected. Therefore you will be able to use it to send via email, share via social media or embed it as a link on a website. Make sure you copy the entire URL in your link.
Selecting the criteria listed on the left side of CCF generally narrows the search results for the consumer because the results display coaches that meet all criteria. Exceptions are ICF Credential level and Standard Rate. When multiple criteria in those filters are selected, it widens the search results.
You may select geographic location(s) under the demographics section.
Once you enter search criteria, you may select up to 5 coaches to compare them using the check boxes on the right side of the results and the “Compare” button at the top right of the results. The CCF listing for those coaches is displayed side-by-side onscreen for comparison.
CCF will send an anonymous message to (only) those coaches who meet the search criteria and have been selected to receive it.
The RFP will include the criteria that were used to narrow down the pool of prospective coaches as well as the number of coaches who will be sent the RFP. It will also include any additional information that the issuer includes to describe what s/he is looking for.
ICF will send an automatically generated email to the address listed confirming the RFP has been sent.
Responses from individual coaches will be sent via email to the address you listed when you issued the RFP. Selected coaches may send up to one follow-up message per RFP after their initial response.
We have limited the number of coaches that can be included in an RFP to 75. Consumers will not be able to send an RFP until their search criteria have reduced the results to below 75.
RFPs will remain active until 11:59 pm (New York) on the last day of the month following the date the RFP was created, unless it has been flagged for early expiration and ICF staff expire it. For example, an RFP created in November will remain active until 11:59 pm (New York) on December 31.
You will receive an automatically generated email with a link to view the RFP you have received. Make sure that the email address in your member profile is current.
If you are included in an RFP, you will be sent an email with a link to the RFP. You can enter and send your response to the issuer via the link. You may send up to one follow-up message per RFP after your initial response.
You will be able to view only the RFPs that were sent to you specifically.
You can use the “Coaching Specialty” search filter on the Training Program Search Service. For recommendations, you may join a Community of Practice in your specialty or find coaches in your specialty through Credentialed Coach Finder.
There are more than 1,000 ICF-accredited programs. Less than half are in the United States and Canada, and most of those are in big cities or near the coasts. If you can’t find a program near you, many are offered via distance or blended learning formats.
The best way to ensure that you meet the requirements for an ICF Credential is to complete ICF-accredited coach-specific training. Non-accredited programs that meet ICF’s definition of coach-specific training are also accepted toward the training requirements for an ICF Credential once ICF has reviewed the course curriculum.
If you are serious about developing your coaching business, an ICF Credential is the best way to set yourself apart by demonstrating your knowledge, skill and commitment to high ethical and professional standards. However, because coaching is not regulated by any country or state, you are not required to get training or credentials.
You would need to submit an application to ICF for approval. The requirements for each level of credential can be found at the following links.
To be a Mentor Coach for credentialing, you must hold a credential at or above the credential level your clients seek. For example, if you are a PCC, you may be a Mentor Coach for ACC and PCC applicants. If you are an ACC, you may only deliver Mentor Coaching to ACC candidates.
You may submit your credential application once you have met all the requirements of the credential for which you are applying.
The estimated timeline for review of a credentialing application depends on which application you are submitting. Estimated timelines are as follows:
ACC ACTP, ACC ACSTH or PCC ACTP: 4 weeks
ACC Portfolio or PCC ACSTH: 14 weeks
PCC Portfolio or MCC: 18 weeks
Yes, you can, as long as coaching is in your job description and you are not coaching employees whom you supervise or who report directly to you. This is considered internal coaching.
Yes. If you are coaching a group you will document that session in your Client Coaching Log by giving ICF one name and email address from one person in the group and providing ICF with the number of people in the group (group coaching can be done with only 15 members or less). You cannot multiply hours times participants in the group. If you coach 15 people for 1 hour, you can only count that as one hour of coaching, not 15 hours.
You can apply for any level credential as long as you meet all requirements for that level. Most applicants start off with the ACC because they do not have the number of coaching hours to go straight to the PCC level.
ICF Credential-holders have a specific logo they may use. For an ICF Credential logo, please contact Sherrie Harvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. ICF logos may only be used by those who obtain prior permission from ICF Headquarters. Without prior authorization, use of an ICF logo, or any other version or likeness of the logo, is in violation of the ICF’s logo usage guidelines and trademark law.
The ICF Credential stands independent from ICF Membership. This is an important provision of compliance with globally accepted standards for bodies operating individual certification programs. The value of an ICF Credential as an industry-wide marker of an individual’s commitment to ongoing professional development and outstanding professional practice is distinct from the benefits of ICF Membership (e.g., networking and leadership-development opportunities, discounted event attendance, access to archived virtual learning). Although ICF Credential-holders are not required to be ICF Members, they are bound by the ICF Code of Ethics and are required to meet stringent renewal criteria every three years.
No. You may only reference an ICF Credential in your marketing information, website or materials after it has been officially granted by the ICF. Because submission of an application does not guarantee that you will be granted an ICF Credential, referencing an ICF Credential prior to official receipt is misleading and potentially unethical. Making a false claim is a breach of the ICF Code of Ethics.
Your credential expiration date may be found on your ICF Credential certificate provided when your credential was awarded or renewed. ICF Members may access their credential information by logging into the Members section of our website, and clicking on “Manage My Account,” then “Edit Contact Information.”
Participation in at least 40 hours of Continuing Coach Education (CCE), or 40 Continuing Coach Education (CCE) units, completed in the three years since the initial award of your credential or since your last credential renewal, with at least 24 hours/units in Core Competencies. Beginning in 2016, ICF Credential-holders will be required to demonstrate completion of at least three (3) Continuing Coach Education (CCE) units in the area of coaching ethics to be eligible for renewal of their ICF Credentials. This requirement will apply to all coaches whose ICF Credentials are slated to expire on or after December 31, 2016. It will not apply to coaches whose ICF Credentials expire on December 31, 2015. View the ICF Ethics CCE Course. For ACC renewals, an additional 10 hours of Mentor Coaching is also required.
Yes, all ACC-credentialed coaches are required to complete an additional 10 hours of Mentor Coaching in the three years since the initial award of your credential or since your last credential renewal. This requirement is intended to promote your continued growth as a coach and help move you to the next credential level.
Yes, you can serve as another ACC’s mentor for 10 hours, and they in turn can mentor you for another 10 hours.
Continuing Coach Education (CCE) is defined as an activity that promotes your continued growth as a coach. CCE is divided into two categories: Core Competencies and Resource Development. Continuing Coach Education (CCE) units are earned upon completing Continuing Coach Education.
Advanced coach training, published writing, or research directly related to ICF Core Competencies.
Training, writing, research, or self-study outside of the ICF Core Competencies that contributes to the professional development of a coach.
You may submit up to 16 hours/units of self-study Resource Development CCE.
Listening to an Archived Virtual Education session or a recording of an ICF Event are examples of self-study CCE.
Any course taken as self-study is considered Resource Development CCE.
Membership with ICF Global provides a wealth of cost-effective ways to get CCE units. ICF Members receive discounts on a variety of offerings, including conferences and events (both local and global), ICF Credentialing applications, research findings, and other special offers. Members have access to member-only content on Coachfederation.org, including free ICF Virtual Education and Archived Learning that can be completed for CCE units.
You may only submit CCE units completed within the three years since the initial award of your credential or since your last credential renewal.
If your credential was due for renewal less than one (1) year ago, you may still be eligible to renew by submitting additional 1.2 CCE units for each month your credential has lapsed.
If your credential was due for renewal more than one (1) year ago, you are no longer eligible to renew. You will need to begin the credential process again by submitting a new individual credential application.
The organization where you completed your training can provide that information. You may also use our Training Program Search Service (TPSS), and search by the training organization’s name. If the training organization has an accredited program, it will be listed in our TPSS.
You may submit training that has not been accredited in advance by the ICF involving live, voice-to-voice interaction between instructors and students as CCE, but there is no guarantee that it will be accepted as CCE.
Your credential renewal application will remain “in process” to allow you time to complete CCE that meets our credential renewal requirements.
No, the CKA is only required for new individual credential applications.
ICF Membership renewal and ICF Credential renewal are completely separate processes and fees. Membership is renewed annually and is due for renewal March 31 of each year. ICF Credentials are renewed every three years and are due December 31 of the year the credential expires.
It is not possible to upgrade to a higher credential via the credential renewal application. If you wish to pursue a higher credential, you will need to submit that individual credential application.
In order to prevent a lapse in credentials, we recommend that you apply for the higher credential before your current credential is due for renewal. Please see the suggested timelines below.
|Current Credential||Current Credential
Renewal Due Date
|ACC||December 31, 2017||PCC ACTP||4 weeks||December 3, 2017|
|ACC||December 31, 2017||PCC ACSTH||14 weeks||September 24, 2017|
|ACC||December 31, 2017||PCC Portfolio||18 weeks||August 27, 2017|
|PCC||December 31, 2017||MCC Portfolio||18 weeks||August 27, 2017|
ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:
This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.
To determine whether you or your company could benefit from coaching, start by summarizing what you would expect to accomplish in coaching. When an individual or business has a fairly clear idea of the desired outcome, a coaching partnership can be a useful tool for developing a strategy for how to achieve that outcome with greater ease.
Since coaching is a partnership, ask yourself whether collaboration, other viewpoints, and new perspectives are valued. Also, ask yourself whether you or your business is ready to devote the time and the energy to making real changes. If the answer is yes, then coaching may be a beneficial way to grow and develop.
Professional coaching focuses on setting goals, creating outcomes and managing personal change. Sometimes it’s helpful to understand coaching by distinguishing it from other personal or organizational support professions.
Therapy: Therapy deals with healing pain, dysfunction and conflict within an individual or in relationships. The focus is often on resolving difficulties arising from the past that hamper an individual’s emotional functioning in the present, improving overall psychological functioning, and dealing with the present in more emotionally healthy ways. Coaching, on the other hand, supports personal and professional growth based on self-initiated change in pursuit of specific actionable outcomes. These outcomes are linked to personal or professional success. Coaching is future focused. While positive feelings/emotions may be a natural outcome of coaching, the primary focus is on creating actionable strategies for achieving specific goals in one’s work or personal life. The emphases in a coaching relationship are on action, accountability, and follow through.
Consulting: Individuals or organizations retain consultants for their expertise. While consulting approaches vary widely, the assumption is the consultant will diagnose problems and prescribe and, sometimes, implement solutions. With coaching, the assumption is that individuals or teams are capable of generating their own solutions, with the coach supplying supportive, discovery-based approaches and frameworks.
Mentoring: A mentor is an expert who provides wisdom and guidance based on his or her own experience. Mentoring may include advising, counseling and coaching. The coaching process does not include advising or counseling, and focuses instead on individuals or groups setting and reaching their own objectives.
Training: Training programs are based on objectives set out by the trainer or instructor. Though objectives are clarified in the coaching process, they are set by the individual or team being coached, with guidance provided by the coach. Training also assumes a linear learning path that coincides with an established curriculum. Coaching is less linear without a set curriculum.
Athletic Development: Though sports metaphors are often used, professional coaching is different from sports coaching. The athletic coach is often seen as an expert who guides and directs the behavior of individuals or teams based on his or her greater experience and knowledge. Professional coaches possess these qualities, but their experience and knowledge of the individual or team determines the direction. Additionally, professional coaching, unlike athletic development, does not focus on behaviors that are being executed poorly or incorrectly. Instead, the focus is on identifying opportunity for development based on individual strengths and capabilities.
An individual or team might choose to work with a coach for many reasons, including but not limited to the following:
Coaching has grown significantly for many reasons, among them:
In short, coaching helps individuals and companies focus on what matters most in life and business, and so the industry continues to grow.
Coaching typically begins with a personal interview (either face-to-face or by teleconference call) to assess the individual’s or business’ current opportunities and challenges, define the scope of the relationship, identify priorities for action and establish specific desired outcomes. Subsequent coaching sessions may be conducted in person or over the telephone, with each session lasting a previously established length of time. Between scheduled coaching sessions, the individual may be asked to complete specific actions that support the achievement of one’s personally prioritized goals. The coach may provide additional resources in the form of relevant articles, checklists, assessments or models to support the individual’s or business’ thinking and actions. The duration of the coaching relationship varies depending on needs and preferences.
Assessments: A variety of assessments are available to support the coaching process, depending upon the needs and circumstances of the individual or business. Assessments provide objective information that can enhance self-awareness, as well as awareness of others and their circumstances; provide a benchmark for creating coaching goals and actionable strategies; and offer a method for evaluating progress.
Concepts, models and principles: A variety of concepts, models and principles drawn from the behavioral sciences, management literature, spiritual traditions and/or the arts and humanities may be incorporated into the coaching conversation to increase self-awareness and awareness of others, foster shifts in perspective, promote fresh insights, provide new frameworks for looking at opportunities and challenges, and energize and inspire forward actions.
Appreciative approach: Coaching incorporates an appreciative approach, grounded in what’s right, what’s working, what’s wanted and what’s needed to get there. Using an appreciative approach, the coach models constructive communication skills and methods to enhance personal communication effectiveness. He or she incorporates discovery-based inquiry, proactive (as opposed to reactive) ways of managing personal opportunities and challenges, constructive framing of observations and feedback to elicit the most positive responses from others, and visions of success as contrasted with focusing on problems. The appreciative approach is simple to understand and employ, and its reach can be profound, opening up new possibilities and spurring action.
The length of a coaching partnership varies depending on the individual’s or team’s needs and preferences. For certain types of focused coaching, three to six months of working may work. For other types of coaching, people may find it beneficial to work with a coach for a longer period. Factors that may impact the length of time include: the types of goals, the ways individuals or teams prefer to work, the frequency of coaching meetings and financial resources available to support coaching.
Overall, be prepared to design the coaching partnership with the coach. For example, think of a strong partnership that you currently have in your work or life. Look at how you built that relationship and what is important to you about partnership. You will want to build those same things into a coaching relationship. Here are a few other tips:
To be successful, coaching asks certain things, all of which begin with intention. Additionally, clients should:
Measurement may be thought of in two distinct ways: external indicators of performance and internal indicators of success. Ideally, both are incorporated.
Examples of external measures include achievement of coaching goals established at the outset of the coaching relationship, increased income/revenue, obtaining a promotion, performance feedback that is obtained from a sample of the individual’s constituents (e.g., direct reports, colleagues, customers, boss, the manager him/herself), personal and/or business performance data (e.g., productivity, efficiency measures). The external measures selected should be things the individual is already measuring and has some ability to directly influence.
Examples of internal measures include self-scoring/self-validating assessments that can be administered initially and at regular intervals in the coaching process, changes in the individual’s self-awareness and awareness of others, shifts in thinking that create more effective actions, and shifts in one’s emotional state that inspire confidence.
Working with a coach requires both a personal commitment of time and energy as well as a financial commitment. Fees charged vary by specialty and by the level of experience of the coach. Individuals should consider both the desired benefits as well as the anticipated length of time to be spent in coaching. Since the coaching relationship is predicated on clear communication, any financial concerns or questions should be voiced in initial conversations before the agreement is made. ICF Credentialed Coach Finder allows you to search for a coach based on a number of qualifications, including fee range.
The purpose of Global Coaching Mentoring Alliance (GCMA) is to professionalize the industry in the field of coaching and mentoring and express a shared view of the practice of professional coaching.
The core objectives are:
The GCMA is not set up as an entity that collects fees, nor is it a membership body that coaches, mentors, organizations or institutions can “join.” But rather, it is an alliance of global, professional coaching and mentoring bodies, currently made up of the Association for Coaching (AC), the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), and the ICF.
To illustrate, think of what the airlines’ alliances do (e.g., Star Alliance). You may join as a member any of the specific airline (e.g. United, Thai, Lufthansa), and by those airlines being a part of the alliance, then this gives greater benefits to their respective members and having a greater joined up approach.
The thinking behind the GCMA is that having some of the leading professional coaching and mentoring bodies, working together in a more collaborative way, will help in professionalizing coaching even further as the industry continues to grow and evolve on a global scale. There was also a “pull” from some coaches and buyers, indicating that the major coaching bodies needed to align and work more closely together in order to bring further clarity and understanding to what we do and what is considered as good practice.
When the GCMA formed, it agreed to the following Guiding Principles: