A step by step guide on how to become an ICF accredited coach

In the past decade coaching has come to be seen as a desirable career choice among professionals.  People have started to see Coaching as an integral aide in helping them smoothen their professional life and achieve their goals. Clients seek life or career-related advice from professional coaches who can navigate them using a framework rather than just their own life experience.

The growth in coaching as a profession has also led to mushrooming of coaching programs as well. Some of these provide certification and many do not. This is why if one is seriously considering coaching as a career, it is best to enrol in coaching courses accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF). ICF is a global body that provides coaching accreditation and also enables coaches to stay updated and be recognised globally. ICF accredited coaches are recognized worldwide and can help coaches start coaching executives and other professionals. Accredited coaches can also start a coaching institute, become certified ICF course mentors, or join any organization as a coach. ICF accreditation by Coach To Transformation  is a key to a successful coaching career.

What is the International Coach Federation?

International Coach Federation or ICF is a globally recognized coaching federation. This reputed well-known coaching organization accredits coach training programs which are provided worldwide through various coach training institutes. ICF accreditations are accepted everywhere, and coaches with ICF accreditations gain instant recognition among their clients. ICF accredited coach training programs are sought-after due to their content and reputation. Various institutes provide different ICF accredited coach training programs. It is advisable for coaches, both existing and new, to research thoroughly and choose the pathway that caters to their coaching needs.

Why should one opt to become an ICF accredited Coach?

ICF accredited coach training programs have gained importance in the coaching industry due to their strong core competencies and ethics. ICF accredited coaches are trained to work within ICF guidelines and adhere to high ethical standards.  The credibility of an ICF certified coach far outstrips that of someone who doesn’t carry an accreditation. ICF accredited coach training programs are detailed coach training programs that teach the aspiring coaches everything they need to know to start their professional coaching career. There are various pathways through which coaches get ICF credentials and become successful coaches.

How does one become an ICF accredited coach?

There are many ICF accredited coach training program providers worldwide- both face to face and online. Aspiring coaches should enrol themselves with coach training program providers after researching their experience, checking their ICF badging as well as reading testimonials and feedback. These coach training providers offer different ICF-recognized credential-seeking courses. These courses are known as ‘pathways’. Interested professionals can choose from the courses and opt for the course which serves their purpose the best. There are primarily and most commonly used two coach training pathways for gaining ICF credentials and becoming an ICF accredited coach. They are:

1. Accredited Coaching Training Program (ACTP)

ACTP or Accredited Coaching Training Program is known as the “start to finish” ICF accredited coach training program. This ICF credential application process is considered to be an “all-inclusive” coach training pathway.  Students can apply for ICF credentials after the completion of the ACTP course. Depending on the level of the course they complete, aspirants can apply for an ACC or PCC accreditation. The course is altogether 125 hours long over a few months.

Students who plan to apply only for ACC credentials can apply for the same after completing the 125 hours of training and an experience of minimum 100 coaching hours.  To be eligible for applying for PCC credentials, aspirants should complete 125 hours of training and minimum 500 hours of coaching experience.

ACTP is an evaluative course, where the student’s performance is evaluated at the end of the course session by the training institute. This mentored coaching program has one-on-one mentored hours, peer sessions, and self-study hours. Students have to complete monitored client sessions and assignments to clear the coach training and become eligible for applying individual coaching credentials through ICF.

2. Approved Coaching Specific Training Hours (ACSTH)

One of the most popular ICF credentials providing pathways is ACSTH or approved coach-specific training hours. Once they have completed the ACSTH coach training pathway, students can apply for Associate Certified Coach (ACC) or Professional Certified Coach (PCC).

After completion of 60 hours of coach training, aspirants can apply for ACC credentials and after completion of additional 65 hours of coach training, coaches can apply for PCC credentials. Unlike the ACTP, the ACSTH aspirants are evaluated by an ICF assessor.

3. Continuing Coach Education (CCE)

CCE or Continuing coach education is used by already accredited coaches for renewal of their ICF credentials and for staying up to date with current research and coaching methodology. This pathway is a supplementary pathway in which CCE units are earned on completion of the course.

These are the steps a prospective coach needs to go through to become an ICF accredited Coach.

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