I’m a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and a Professional Certified Coach (PCC). To earn my CPC certificate, I completed 125 hours of training by an Accredited Coach Training Program, was observed and assessed by a mentor coach, passed an exam, and completed over 100 hours of coaching experience. To earn my PCC credential, I had to be mentored, observed, pass another exam and complete 500 coaching hours – this time, overseen by the international coaching accreditation body called the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
The process of certification and credentialing is similar to the way a therapist completes their training, then licensure. 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.
So, not all coaches are certified, and not all certified coaches are credentialed. Coaching is an unregulated profession, so neither coaching certification nor an ICF credential are required by law to be a coach. You can learn more in this article I wrote: All About Coaching: Certified, Credentialed, or Accredited? Oh My! or watch this video.
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 85% 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 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 obtained the more advanced PCC credential in 2022.