The Gold Standard in Coaching | ICF - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Can I affiliate with more than one International Coach Federation (ICF) Chapter?

    When you join ICF or renew your ICF Membership, you can only select one ICF Chapter to affiliate with. If you wish to join or affiliate with additional ICF Chapters, please contact them directly.

  • Do I have to have an International Coaching Federation (ICF) Credential to be a member?

    Coaches do not need to hold an ICF Credential to be members, although ICF Credentials are recommended and provide additional benefits.

  • How do I file a formal complaint against an International Coaching Federation (ICF) Coach or International Coaching Federation (ICF) approved coach training program?

    To file a formal complaint, you will want to begin on this page. Here, you can access a complaint information packet, a sample Ethical Conduct Review (ECR) form, and the formal complaint form itself. Questions about the process may be directed to


  • How do I find information on training program length and costs?

    Once you identify a training program on the Training Program Search Service (TPSS) that you are interested in, please reach out directly to the training program provider for more details about their program.

  • How does the International Coaching Federation (ICF) define coaching?

    ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.

  • How has coaching grown?

    ICF, the world’s largest coaching organization, remains successful in its core purpose: to advance the coaching profession. According to the ICF 2016 Global Coaching Study, it is estimated that there are approximately 53,300 professional coach practitioners worldwide (bringing cumulative annual revenue $2.3 billion) as compared to 2,100 professional coaches in 1999.

    The same report found that more coaches reported an increase rather than a decrease in fees, hours, clients and revenues over the previous study. Overall, trend indicators point to a growing profession, also evidenced by ICF adding 2,000 new members a year.

  • Is there proof coaching works?

    Yes! The ICF Global Coaching Client Study shows most clients reported improved work performance, better business management, more efficient time management, increased team effectiveness, and more growth and opportunities. The same study found that coaching clients noted greater self-confidence, enhanced relationships, more effective communications skills, better work-and-life balance and an improvement in wellness. Nearly 70 percent of individuals indicated they had at least made back their initial investment. The median suggests that a client who achieved financial benefit from coaching can typically expect a ROI of more than three times the amount spent.

    According to the same report, the vast majority of companies (86 percent) say they at least made their investment back. In fact, almost one-fifth (19 percent) saw a ROI of 50 times their investment, while another 28 percent saw a ROI of 10 to 49 times the investment. Nearly all companies or individuals who hire a coach are satisfied. According to the ICF Global Coaching Client Study, a stunning 99 percent of people who were polled said they were somewhat or very satisfied with the overall coaching experience. For more details, go to the ICF Research Portal, as well as press releases about ICF’s return-on-investment research.

  • My International Coaching Federation (ICF) Membership expired last year. Will I pay $245 USD to renew my membership?

    If your ICF Membership expired in a different year than when you wish to renew, your membership fee will be prorated monthly. Learn more about pricing here.

  • What is the difference between Accrediting and Credentialing?

    At ICF, coaching training programs are Accredited while individuals are Credentialed. ICF’s Accreditation service for coach-training schools defines curriculum standards to ensure consistency in coach-training programs and consistency among coaching professionals. ICF Credentials are awarded to professional coaches who have met stringent education and experience requirements, and have demonstrated mastery of the coaching competencies.

  • What is the value of joining the International Coaching Federation (ICF)?

    ICF Members receive a multitude of benefits, starting with access to educational research, networking opportunities, and globally recognized credentialing and accreditation services. All of ICF’s endeavors are focused on coaching — from informing the public on how coaching works to conducting industry research. ICF builds, supports, and preserves the integrity of the coaching profession through standards and programs. Membership is not only an investment into a coach’s future, but also an investment into the future of coaching.

  • What types of coaches join the International Coaching Federation (ICF)?

    ICF Members specialize in a variety of coaching areas, including Executive Coaching, Life Coaching, Leadership Coaching, Relationship Coaching, Career Coaching and other skilled coaching fields.

  • What year was the International Coaching Federation (ICF) formed?

    The Association was formed in 1995. Local ICF Chapters started to form shortly thereafter and continue to open today.

  • Who is in charge of the International Coaching Federation (ICF)?

    ICF is a nonprofit membership organization led by a member-elected Board of Directors that oversees the organization’s affairs. Paid staff members follow the leadership’s direction and carry out its day-to-day work.

  • Who started the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and why?

    The late Thomas Leonard, a professional coach, founded ICF to create a professional coaching community. The organization was initially geared toward North America but now has members in more than 100 countries.

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