The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.
For many, coaching is a life-changing experience that dramatically improves their outlook on work and life while improving leadership skills. Coaching helps people tap into their potential, unlocking sources of creativity and productivity.
Individuals who partner with coaches have reported several benefits, including improved:
At this time, coaching is not regulated by any country or state. However, if you are serious about becoming a professional coach, your first step needs to be obtaining coach-specific training.
Professional coaches say the No. 1 obstacle to the industry is untrained individuals who call themselves coaches. (Source: 2016 ICF Global Coaching Study)
Getting training to become a coach will give you credibility in the industry and help you build your professional network.
Before you invest in training to be a coach, ask yourself the following questions:
Many people research how to become a Life Coach or Business Coach because they’ve been told that they “give great advice.” However, coaches aren’t in the business of giving advice.
Coaching is driven by the client. As a coach, you will be responsible for:
Learning how to coach is the first step in building your career in coaching. Unless you are an internal coach (a professional coach practitioner who is employed within an organization and has specific coaching responsibilities identified in your job description). You will need to identify your coaching niche, develop your personal brand, market your services and build your client base. This material isn’t covered during coach training, so it will be up to you to get the training and skills you need for developing a coaching business.
ICF provides opportunities such as the Business Development Series to assist coaches with marketing and growing their businesses.
Although some coaches build successful businesses based entirely on their coaching services, for a majority coaching is only one source of overall revenue.
According to the 2016 ICF Global Coaching Study, coaches spend an average of just 13.9 hours per week working as coach practitioners and report average annual revenues of $47,900 USD from coaching.
Other common revenue streams cited by coaches include consulting, training, facilitation, mentoring, teaching, counseling, speaking engagements, workshops/webinars and publications.
Another option, especially for new coaches, is to keep your “day job” while coaching part-time as your schedule allows.
Many prospective coaches also find it helpful to work with a professional coach themselves. To find an ICF-credentialed coach, use ICF's Credentialed Coach Finder (CCF).Access the Credentialed Coach FinderText Link
The International Coach Federation accredits programs that deliver coach training. We do not offer training for becoming a coach. (We do offer professional development for practiced coaches.)
Coach training that is accredited by ICF has gone through a rigorous review process and demonstrated that its curriculum aligns with the ICF definition of coaching, Core Competencies and Code of Ethics. By choosing ICF-accredited coach training, you can be confident that you are getting high-quality training.
ICF-accredited coach training will also help you meet the requirements for ICF Membership and Credentialing.
To find an ICF-accredited coach training program, use ICF’s Training Program Search Service.
The International Coach Federation is the world’s largest organization of professionally trained coaches.
To become an ICF Member, you must complete at least 60 hours of coach-specific training that meets ICF standards. The best way to accomplish this is by enrolling in ICF-accredited coach training.
As an ICF Member, you will enjoy instant credibility by identifying yourself as part of the world’s largest community of professionally trained coaches. You’ll also have access to local and global networking opportunities, cutting-edge business development and marketing education, and a variety of research and resources to help you become the best coach you can be.
If you are serious about developing your coaching business, consider pursuing an ICF Credential after your coach training. More than 20,000 coaches hold an ICF Credential. These practitioners represent the best in the coaching industry.
The ICF Credential is the only globally recognized professional coaching certification. With an ICF Credential, coaches demonstrate their knowledge, skill, and commitment to high ethical and professional standards.
An ICF-accredited coach training program will count toward the training requirement for your ICF Credential.
ICF Credential-holders have fulfilled rigorous education and experience requirements and demonstrated their commitment to coaching excellence. To earn an ICF Credential, a coach must: