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Step 4: Earn an ICF Credential

Achieving an International Coaching Federation (ICF) Credential is a necessity in a growing industry. If you’re ready to take the next step on your journey as a professional coach practitioner, begin your pursuit of an ICF Credential today.

When you’re ready, there’s lots more to learn about the specifics of each ICF Credential and how to earn it. The ICF Credentials and Standards team is standing by to help continue your coaching journey.

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ICF Credential-holders are part of a self-regulating group of elite coaches who provide accountability to clients and to the larger coaching profession. They pursue and complete rigorous education and practice requirements that provide unquestioned legitimacy to their commitment to excellence in coaching.

The ICF Credential is the only globally recognized professional coaching certification. According to the 2020 Global Coaching Study, 62% of study respondents not only are credentialed, but credentialed by ICF.

ICF offers three credentials: Associate (ACC), Professional (PCC) and Master Certified Coach (MCC). To earn one of these credentials, here are the basic steps:

  • Complete coach-specific training that meets ICF’s standards.
  • Achieve a designated number of coaching experience and training hours – this number varies depending on which credential you choose to pursue.
  • Partner with a Mentor Coach.
  • Demonstrate appropriate understanding and mastery of ICF’s definition of coaching, Code of Ethics and Core Competencies.

Being an ICF Credential-holder increases your credibility in the industry and helps build your professional network. You’ll join a global network of approximately 71,000 professional coaches – all with the same passion to change lives and make a difference.

According to the 2020 Global Coaching Study, the number one obstacle to the advancement of coaching is untrained individuals. Although this industry is not regulated by any one governing body, ICF believes in the importance of training and credentialing for a few key reasons:

  • Coach practitioners are increasingly likely to agree that their clients expect coach practitioners to be certified/credentialed.
  • Almost three in four coach practitioners (74%) said they currently hold a credential or certification from a professional coaching organization, up from 70% in the 2016 study.
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