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About the ICF Credential

Certification from the International Coach Federation (ICF) is extremely important when considering which coach to hire. It means the coach:

Has received professional training from a program specifically designed to teach coaching skills that align with ICF’s standards and ethics

Has demonstrated a proficient understanding and use of the coaching competencies as outlined by ICF

Has undergone extensive training and testing, similar to that required of candidates in many master’s degree programs, including oral and written exam

Is accountable to the ethics and standards set forth by the ICF


ICF is a consortium of professional coaches and organizations that have joined together under its auspices to shape and govern the profession of coaching. The skills sets, competencies, ethics and standards are a collective agreement between coaches from all over the world who have made the commitment to maintain the very highest standards you would expect from any other profession.

Since coaching is a relatively new profession, and certification and licensure are not yet required in most states in the U.S. or in other countries, there are many individuals who are calling themselves coaches today. Many who call themselves coaches have not been formally trained in specific coaching skills and are transferring skill sets from other professions into their coaching. Often this results in an inadequate or ineffective coaching experience for clients.

In an extensive survey conducted by ICF, 98.5% of surveyed clients indicated they were happy with their coaching experience and felt the process was valuable when coaching with an ICF credentialed coach.

There are three levels of credentials from ICF:

Associate Certified Coach (ACC) - A coach with ICF-approved training plus 100 hours of coaching experience.

Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
- A coach with ICF-approved training plus 750 hours of documented coaching experience.


Master Certified Coach (MCC)
- A coach with extensive ICF-approved training plus 2500 hours of documented coaching experience.

If you are considering hiring a coach, be diligent in asking the coach if they have been specifically trained in coaching skills and currently hold or are in the process of acquiring an ICF Credential. Don’t be misled to think a coach is a competent coach because they have other professional credentials or set high fees.