No. Coaching Supervision and Mentor Coaching are distinct activities from coaching. Therefore, Coaching Supervision and Mentor Coaching hours may not be used toward the client coaching experience hours required for ICF credentialing.
Up to 10 hours of Coaching Supervision and Mentor Coaching hours (receiving or delivering), however, may be used to meet the Continuing Coach Education (CCE) requirements for credential renewal.
Not at this time. Given Coaching Supervision’s broader focus to include supporting the coach and sharing wisdom as compared to Mentor Coaching’s focus on a coach’s skill in the ICF Core Competencies, only Mentor Coaching is accepted to meet the Mentor Coaching requirements for an ICF Credential.
The three members of the Alliance are signatories to the Professional Charter for Coaching and Mentoring which has been accepted on the European Union’s dedicated website for self-regulated professions.
The Professional Charter gives the following high-level description of coaching and mentoring, stressing that this is not intended as a definitive statement:
“Coaching and mentoring are activities within the area of professional and personal development with focus on individuals and teams and relying on the client’s own resources to help them to see and test alternative ways for improvement of competence, decision making and enhancement of quality of life. Thus, a professional coach/mentor can be described as an expert in establishing a relationship with people in a series of conversations with the purpose of serving the clients to improve their performance or enhance their personal development or both, choosing their own goals and ways of doing it.”
Definitions of coaching are also available on each of our respective websites.
Only the time spent in interactive dialogue and delivery of feedback with the Mentor Coaching client may count toward the 10 hours of Mentor Coaching required for a credential. Time spent listening to a recording and preparing for a Mentor Coaching session may not be counted toward the 10-hour requirement.
ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.
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.
Sports Coaching: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
To be the collective voice of professional bodies that clarifies, educates and strengthens awareness about our common ground for effective practice
To facilitate exchange and distribute information for all industry stakeholders about shared good practice
To focus attention on the wider impact of coaching and mentoring on society
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.
ICF does not currently have requirements for Coaching Supervisor qualifications, nor do we currently offer a directory of Coaching Supervisors. One way to find Coaching Supervisors, however is to search for “supervisor” in the Name/Keyword field on the ICF Credentialed Coach Finder.
Currently, ICF does not offer a Coaching Supervision training program accreditation, primarily because of a lack of Coaching Supervision competencies upon which such programs can be reviewed and accredited. While ICF has accredited several Coaching Supervision training programs, the accreditation has focused on the programs’ coverage of the ICF Core Competencies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ICF-credentialed coaches may count up to 10 hours of Coaching Supervision (either receiving or delivering) as Core Competency credits toward the Continuing Coach Education (CCE) requirements for credential renewal. Coaching Supervision does not have to be delivered in a certain format (e.g., group or individual) in order to be accepted for CCE units for credential renewal.
Coaching Supervision is not a requirement for an initial ICF Credential at this time. A credentialed coach may use up to 10 hours of Coaching Supervision (receiving or delivering) to meet the Continuing Coach Education (CCE) requirements for credential renewal.
In the online credential application, you will be asked to list the name of each Mentor Coach, their email address, their ICF Credential, the start and end date of each mentoring relationship, and the number of hours of Mentor Coaching with each mentor. You are not required to provide documentation from your mentor coach, but your Mentor Coach must be able to confirm that the Mentor Coaching took place.
The formation of the GCMA was in direct response to our membership asking for clarification about the confusion being created in the mentoring and coaching industry relating to professional practice. EMCC is keen therefore to represent its total membership where both mentors and coaches work within a framework of generic professional standards. See also the Professional Charter for Mentoring and Coaching.
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.
No. Credentialed coaches may submit up to 10 hours of Coaching Supervision (either receiving or delivering) for Core Competency credits toward the 40 Continuing Coach Education (CCE) units required for credential renewal.
ICF-credentialed coaches may count up to 10 hours of Coaching Supervision (either receiving or delivering) as Core Competency credits toward the Continuing Coach Education (CCE) requirements for credential renewal.
To claim Coaching Supervision hours toward the Continuing Coach Education (CCE) requirements for credential renewal, a candidate will simply provide the coach supervisor’s name and email address, the total number of hours of supervision provided, and the start and end date of the supervision.
Yes. A coach may submit up to 10 hours of Coaching Supervision (receiving or delivering) toward the Core Competency Continuing Coach Education requirements for credential renewal.
Applicants for the ACC and PCC Credentials may only count coaching experience hours taking place after the start of their coach-specific training. Beginning July 31, 2018, at 12 Noon (New York), MCC applicants will be subject to the same requirement.
The following qualifies as coach-specific training:
Please note that ACC and PCC applicants who completed their coach-specific training via a CCE program or non-approved program must apply via the Portfolio path.
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.
The intention, over time, is to invite other global professional coaching bodies to be a part of the GCMA as we do recognize the importance of having other representatives, and different viewpoints. This would be looked at, after a bedding-in phase with the three organizations involved, and clear criteria will be set around how this can occur to best support the aims and scope of the GCMA.
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:
To be successful, coaching asks certain things, all of which begin with intention. Additionally, clients should:
Focus on one’s self, the tough questions, the hard truths and one’s success.
Observe the behaviors and communications of others.
Listen to one’s intuition, assumptions, judgments, and to the way one sounds when one speaks.
Challenge existing attitudes, beliefs and behaviors and develop new ones that serve one’s goals in a superior way.
Leverage personal strengths and overcome limitations to develop a winning style.
Take decisive actions, however uncomfortable and in spite of personal insecurities, to reach for the extraordinary.
Show compassion for one’s self while learning new behaviors and experiencing setbacks, and to show that compassion for others as they do the same.
Commit to not take one’s self so seriously, using humor to lighten and brighten any situation.
Maintain composure in the face of disappointment and unmet expectations, avoiding emotional reactivity.
Have the courage to reach for more than before while engaging in continual self examination without fear.
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, we do. We encourage businesses, organizations and other institutions 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.
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.
Yes. Published writing pertaining to the ICF Core Competencies can be submitted for consideration as Core Competency credits toward a credential-holder’s renewal. To submit published writing toward a credential renewal, you will submit a summary of the published writing and how it relates to the ICF Core Competencies; a link to the published writing, where it can be viewed or purchased; and the number of hours required to research, prepare and write the piece.
The credential renewal fee is $175 USD for ICF Members and $275 USD for non-members.
You may only reference an ICF Accreditation 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 Accreditation, referencing an ICF Accreditation prior to official receipt is misleading and potentially unethical. Making a false claim is a breach of the ICF Code of Ethics.
As the GCMA is newly formed, it has not gone out to market to get a formal pulse on how it is being perceived, nor what the HR buyers’ hopes or expectations are from it. However from the initial discussions so far, based on input from the three bodies, the feedback has been very positive that such an alliance has been born.
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.
Coaches do not need to hold an ICF Credential to be members, although ICF Credentials are recommended and provide additional benefits.
The Association was formed in 1995. Local ICF Chapters started to form shortly thereafter and continue to open today.
When the GCMA formed, it agreed to the following Guiding Principles:
To use a coach approach in its interactions
Honor and welcome all perspectives
Always consider what is in the interest of the profession first
Be member and market driven in our thinking and progressive in our actions
Engage in dialogue before decision
Synthesize, clarify and communicate
Remember the GCMA is an alliance of professional bodies, not a body in itself
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 your credential application once you have met all the requirements of the credential for which you are applying.
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.
You may list other information, including niche specialties, in the “About Me” field in the Enhanced Listing.
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.
Provides objective assessment and observations that foster the individual’s or team’s self-awareness and awareness of others
Listens closely to fully understand the individual’s or team’s circumstances
Acts as a sounding board in exploring possibilities and implementing thoughtful planning and decision making
Champions opportunities and potential, encouraging stretch and challenge commensurate with personal strengths and aspirations
Fosters shifts in thinking that reveal fresh perspectives
Challenges blind spots to illuminate new possibilities and support the creation of alternative scenarios
Maintains professional boundaries in the coaching relationship, including confidentiality, and adheres to the coaching profession’s code of ethics
Creates the coaching agenda based on personally meaningful coaching goals
Uses assessment and observations to enhance self-awareness and awareness of others
Envisions personal and/or organizational success
Assumes full responsibility for personal decisions and actions
Utilizes the coaching process to promote possibility thinking and fresh perspectives
Takes courageous action in alignment with personal goals and aspirations
Engages big-picture thinking and problem-solving skills
Takes the tools, concepts, models and principles provided by the coach and engages in effective forward actions
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:
Interview more than one coach to determine “what feels right” in terms of the chemistry. Coaches are accustomed to being interviewed, and an introductory conversation of this type is usually free of charge.
Look for stylistic similarities and differences between the coach and you and how these might support your growth as an individual or the growth of your team.
Discuss your goals for coaching within the context of the coach’s specialty or the coach’s preferred way of working with an individual or team.
Talk with the coach about what to do if you ever feel things are not going well; make some agreements up front on how to handle questions or problems.
Remember that coaching is a partnership, so be assertive about talking with the coach about any concerns.
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.
At this time, there is no specific training requirement for a coach to provide mentor coaching. Mentor coaches must have an ICF credential in good standing and may only provide mentor coaching to coaches at the same level of credentialing or lower. For instance, a PCC credentialed mentor coach may only offer mentor coaching services to those pursuing or holding an ACC or PCC. Further, ACC-credentialed coaches must complete a full cycle of their credential through renewal to be eligible to serve as a mentor coach.
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.
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.
According to the 2020 ICF Global Coaching Study, coaches say the No. 1 obstacle for the coaching profession is untrained individuals who call themselves coaches. Digital badging gives ICF Credential-holders a way to share their knowledge, skills and abilities online in a way that is simple and trusted and can be easily verified in real time.
Credentials/accreditations are awarded to professional coaches who have met stringent education and experience requirements, and have demonstrated a thorough understanding and practice of the coaching competencies that set the standard in the industry. Achieving credentials/accreditation signifies a coach’s commitment to integrity, an understanding and practice of coaching skills and a dedication to clients.
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 applies to all coaches whose ICF Credentials are expire on or after December 31, 2016. For ACC renewals, an additional 10 hours of Mentor Coaching is also required.
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.
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.
The International Coaching Federation accepts a number of languages for the performance evaluation of a Credentialing application, which are listed for each credentialing level here. If a language is not listed, you may submit recordings in that language for review along with a transcript with the language used in your recording and an English translation of the transcript. You are not permitted to use an interpreter.
As mentioned, the GCMA is not a professional body, nor does it have a desire to be set up as an organization in its own right. It serves as an alliance made up of professional bodies. There are no plans to merge and become one, but we do continue to strive to find ways to work together that best serve the emerging profession of coaching and mentoring.
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 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.
CCF is free for consumers of coaching to use to find ICF-credentialed coach members.