I’m a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and an Associate Certified Coach (ACC). To earn certification, I completed 125 hours of training by an Accredited Coach Training Program, was observed and graded by a mentor coach, passed an exam, and completed hours of experience. To earn a credential, I had to be mentored, observed, pass another exam and complete 100 coaching hours – this time, overseen by an international body called the International Coach Federation.
The process of certification and credentialing is similar to the way a counselor or therapist completes their training. First they earn their Master’s degree, then have to pass an exam and accumulate hours to be licensed. Or how an attorney earns their JD degree, then has to pass the bar. However, not all certified coaches are credentialed, and coaching is unregulated, so neither coaching certification nor an ICF credential are required by law. (You can read more in this article I wrote: Coaching Is Not Mentoring: Underrepresented Employees Need Both.)
However, according to the latest ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study, clients who worked with an ICF credential holder were more likely to be satisfied with their coaching experience and recommend coaching to others, and 83% of coaching clients reported that it was important for coaches to hold a credential. Discerning clients prefer to work with certified and credentialed coaches because of the training and evaluation requirements, the continuing education requirements, and the fact that we are held to the professional standards of the International Coach Federation (ICF) Code of Ethics.
I completed Leadership that Works’ year-long Coaching for Transformation program in 2014. It was an excellent fit for me, since (at the time), it was the only major coach training program that included diversity, equity, and social change in its curriculum and core values. Between classes, study, mentoring, and practice, I invested about 500 hours in my training alone! I earned my ACC credential in 2016 and successfully renewed in 2019.