First, what is ICF? ICF (International Coach Federation) is a professional organization for life coaches. Many life coaches think of ICF as the “gold standard” in coach training. If ICF has accredited a training, it says the training covers the needed core-competencies a life coach should have.
For someone to become an Associate Certified Coach (ACC), they must earn 60 ICF-approved training hours, log 100 practice hours, pass a performance review demonstration, take an intensive online test, and get 10 hours of coaching from an ICF-accredited mentor. It is quite a bit to earn all of these things. However, ICF wants to make sure that if they credential a life coach, that coach will have the right coaching skills and training necessary to effectively and ethically help others.
The 3 credential levels – ACC, PCC, and MCC
ACC is the one you earn first. Our Life Coach Training ACC Track is designed around preparing you for the ACC level accreditation. You can earn the required 60 hours during this training. To earn the full 60 hours, you will need to attend at least 48 live sessions (included with your enrollment) and successfully complete the training.
How to obtain your credential
The credentialing process can be quite confusing. To make it simpler, we have developed ICF coaching certification tracks that include ALL the components you need to earn your ICF credentials.
We offer three International Coaching Federation approved training tracks:
1. Our NLP-Integrated Life Coach Certification Track (ACSTH – Level 1) provides 60 coach credit hours, performance reviews, 100 coach practice hours, and 10 hours of ACC level coach mentoring. This meets the requirements to apply for your ACC credential.
2. Our Master Coach Certification Track (ACTP – Level 2) provides 125 coach credit hours, unlimited PCC Mentoring, unlimited practice hours, and performance reviews. This meets the requirements to apply for your ACC and PCC credentials.
3. Our Mental Health Coach Track (ACTP – Level 3) includes everything in the Master Track plus our Mental Health Coach Training.
Do I really need ICF accreditation?
Technically, life coaching is an unregulated field. This means that anyone can call themselves, and practice, as a life coach. Because of this, no accreditation is required to practice as a life coach.
With that being said, earning a credential is definitely one way to feel more legitimate as a coach and to stand apart from the multitude of people who call themselves coaches. You can know that you obtained the training, completed all the coaching practice hours, passed the test, was supervised by an ICF mentor, and were officially awarded the coach credential. The credential is proof that you have put in the hard work.
Additionally, when Life Coaching does become regulated, International Coaching Federation will most likely be the organization that will be in charge of that. Many other life coach accrediting organization already recognize trainings if they are ICF accredited (such as BCC). As well, many companies require their coaches to be ICF accredited or have taken an ICF-accredited training. In fact, it is very difficult to get awarded a coaching contract without an ICF credential.
In general, if you are going to the effort and expense of taking a coach training, you might as well make sure it is ICF approved for at least 60 coach specific training hours. Whether it is your goal now or not to obtain an ICF credential, this allows you to keep your options open for the future. You don’t know where your path will lead and so it is best to be prepared with the training and accreditation that will give you the most coaching opportunities.