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PCC Paths

There are three application paths to choose from for Professional Certified Coach. Review the requirements below to determine which path best fits your training and lifestyle.

  • PCC ACTP Path

    Requirements:

    • Completion of an entire ICF Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP). Check for your program’s approval here.
    • Coaching log demonstrating 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.
    • Completion of the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).

    Pricing:

    • ICF Members: $300 USD
    • Non-members: $500 USD

    Estimated Timeline for Review: 4 weeks

  • PCC ACSTH Path

    Requirements:

    • At least 125 hours of coach-specific training through an ACTP or ACSTH program. Check for your program’s approval here.
    • 10 hours of Mentor Coaching to be documented on your online application.
    • Coaching log demonstrating 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.
    • Performance evaluation (two audio recordings and written transcripts of coaching sessions to be uploaded with your application).
    • Completion of the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).

    Pricing:

    • ICF Members: $575 USD
    • Non-members: $775 USD

    Estimated Timeline for Review: 14 Weeks

  • PCC Portfolio Path

    Requirements:

    • At least 125 hours of coach-specific training with robust documentation.
    • 10 hours of Mentor Coaching to be documented on your online application.
    • Coaching log demonstrating 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.
    • Performance evaluation (two audio recordings and written transcripts of coaching sessions to be uploaded with your application).
    • Completion of the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).

    Pricing:

    • ICF Members: $675 USD
    • Non-members: $875 USD

    Estimated Timeline for Review: 18 weeks

  • PCC Markers

    Assessment markers are the indicators that an assessor is trained to listen for to determine which ICF Core Competencies are in evidence in a recorded coaching conversation, and to what extent. The following markers are the behaviors that should be exhibited in a coaching conversation at the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) level. These markers support a performance evaluation process that is fair, consistent, valid, reliable, repeatable and defensible. Please note these markers are not a tool for coaching, and should not be used as a checklist or formula for passing the performance evaluation.

    Competency 2: Creating the Coaching Agreement

    1. Coach helps the client identify, or reconfirm, what s/he wants to accomplish in the session.
    2. Coach helps the client to define or reconfirm measures of success for what s/he wants to accomplish in the session.
    3. Coach explores what is important or meaningful to the client about what s/he wants to accomplish in the session.
    4. Coach helps the client define what the client believes he/she needs to address or resolve in order to achieve what s/he wants to accomplish in the session.
    5. Coach continues conversation in direction of client’s desired outcome unless client indicates otherwise.

    Competency 3: Creating Trust and Intimacy

    1. Coach acknowledges and respects the client’s work in the coaching process.
    2. Coach expresses support for the client.
    3. Coach encourages and allows the client to fully express him/herself.

    Competency 4: Coaching Presence

    1. Coach acts in response to both the whole person of the client and what the client wants to accomplish in the session.
    2. Coach is observant, empathetic, and responsive.
    3. Coach notices and explores energy shifts in the client.
    4. Coach exhibits curiosity with the intent to learn more.
    5. Coach partners with the client by supporting the client to choose what happens in the session.
    6. Coach partners with the client by inviting the client to respond in any way to the coach’s contributions and accepts the client’s response.
    7. Coach partners with the client by playing back the client’s expressed possibilities for the client to choose from.
    8. Coach partners with the client by encouraging the client to formulate his or her own learning.

    Competency 5: Active Listening

    1. Coach’s questions and observations are customized by using what the coach has learned about who the client is and the client’s situation.
    2. Coach inquires about or explores the client’s use of language.
    3. Coach inquires about or explores the client’s emotions.
    4. Coach inquires about or explores the client’s tone of voice, pace of speech or inflection as appropriate.
    5. Coach inquires about or explores the client’s behaviors.
    6. Coach inquires about or explores how the client perceives his/her world.
    7. Coach is quiet and gives client time to think.

    Competency 6: Powerful Questioning

    1. Coach asks questions about the client; his/her way of thinking, assumptions, beliefs, values, needs, wants, etc.
    2. Coach’s questions help the client explore beyond his/her current thinking to new or expanded ways of thinking about himself/herself.
    3. Coach’s questions help the client explore beyond his/her current thinking to new or expanded ways of thinking about his/her situation.
    4. Coach’s questions help the client explore beyond current thinking towards the outcome s/he desires.
    5. Coach asks clear, direct, primarily open-ended questions, one at a time, at a pace that allows for thinking and reflection by the client.
    6. Coach’s questions use the client’s language and elements of the client’s learning style and frame of reference.
    7. Coach’s questions are not leading, i.e. do not contain a conclusion or direction.

    Competency 7: Direct Communication

    1. Coach shares observations, intuitions, comments, thoughts and feelings to serve the client’s learning or forward movement.
    2. Coach shares observations, intuitions, comments, thoughts and feelings without any attachment to them being right.
    3. Coach uses the client’s language or language that reflects the client’s way of speaking.
    4. Coach’s language is generally clear and concise.
    5. The coach allows the client to do most of the talking.
    6. Coach allows the client to complete speaking without interrupting unless there is a stated coaching purpose to do so.

    Competency 8: Creating Awareness

    1. Coach invites client to state and/or explore his/her learning in the session about her/his situation (the what).
    2. Coach invites client to state and/or explore his/her learning in the session about her-/himself (the who).
    3. Coach shares what s/he is noticing about the client and /or the client’s situation, and seeks the client’s input or exploration.
    4. Coach invites client to consider how s/he will use new learning from the coaching.
    5. Coach’s questions, intuitions and observations have the potential to create new learning for the client.

    Competency 9, 10 and 11: Designing Actions, Planning And Goal Setting, And Managing Progress And Accountability

    1. Coach invites or allows client to explore progress towards what s/he want to accomplish in the session.
    2. Coach assists the client to design what actions/thinking client will do after the session in order for the client to continue moving toward the client’s desired outcomes.
    3. Coach invites or allows client to consider her/his path forward, including, as appropriate, support mechanisms, resources and potential barriers.
    4. Coach assists the client to design the best methods of accountability for her/himself.
    5. Coach partners with the client to close the session.
    6. Coach notices and reflects client’s progress.

    Translated Markers

    Click the appropriate link below to download a PDF of the translated PCC Markers:

    French

    German

    Spanish

    Swedish

  • Experience Requirements

    Confidentiality

    Providing Client Information

    In keeping with the ICF Code of Ethics, you must obtain consent from each client to list his or her information on the client coaching log. The consent may be verbal and does not need to be provided to ICF. Individuals who do not consent to have their names listed must be left off of the log, except in internal or third-party coaching arrangements with organizations that have a confidentiality policy. In those cases, you must provide a reference letter from the organization.

    ICF Use of Client Information

    The information on your client coaching log will be seen only by ICF staff. Client information is never shared or sold to another party or used for any purpose other than the review of your application. Clients listed on your client coaching log may be contacted by ICF to verify the information in your log. If they are contacted, clients will not be asked about coaching topics.

    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 log

    Pro Bono Hours

    • 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 log

    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 may be verbal and does not need to be provided to ICF.

    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 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 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.

  • Submission

    Do not send documentation to ICF Headquarters by mail or email. Only documentation that has been included with your online application will be accepted.

  • Coach Knowledge Assessment

    The Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) is a tool that can be used to measure coaches’ understanding of the knowledge and skills important in the practice of coaching. The CKA tests coaches on their understanding of the body of knowledge that includes the ICF definition of coaching, Core Competencies and Code of Ethics.

  • Contact

    If you have questions or need support regarding the Professional Certified Coach Credential, please email support@coachfederation.org.

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