2 Biggest Takeaways from the ICF Accreditation Process

Dream Big Quote

I have been training people to be coaches since 2009, a little more than 6 years ago, and just this past month I put my coach training programs – Essential Coach Training, Wellness Coach Training, and Academic Life Coaching – through the International Coach Federation’s accreditation process for each of those programs to become an ACTP. (Previously, the programs were only approved at the ACSTH level.) The process to get the programs through the ICF has been a challenge, one of the biggest I’ve faced especially with all of the other projects and all the other moving pieces of running a business. At first I was hesitant and cynical about putting in the work to get the approval. I wasn’t sure that it was worth the extra effort and thought that the ACSTH was just fine. But as I got closer to getting my Master Certified Coach (MCC) as well as wanted to get my programs approved, I knew that I needed to get certified if I wanted to take my programs to that next level of quality and certification.

Two biggest things I learned in the process:

Dream Big (with a deadline).

In the accreditation process, we decided to also expand our program offering to include over 300 hours of coach training. The additions required a complete overhaul of the 2.0 Coach Training Program, as well as a revision of the 1.0 Academic Life Coaching Program, 1.0 Essential Coach Training, and 1.0 Wellness Coach Training. The other new additions, Life Coaching Sport and Group Life Coaching, were also labors of love that I have been planning to do for years.

Having a deadline of needing to go through another accreditation process was extremely useful to make that important project urgent. I remember working through December, thinking that I was ahead of schedule for the January deadline, only to have that deadline seem to loom suddenly ahead. Being able to pull off such a feat of organization, as well as polish the existing materials and create new materials in such a tight timeframe, definitely stretched me and my team.

Now that the accreditation process is completed, we have systems in place and a habit of creativity and productivity that I’m excited to keep up moving forward with the next stages of the company. The combination of a big dream as well as a deadline was so helpful in growing me and my team. For just that alone, I am thankful for the process.

Just Take One More Focused Step.

At times I would try to sprint and get all the pieces together quickly, but in the long run I would find myself at the end of the week without any energy. I just wouldn’t have it, and I would look at this long to-do list ahead of me and just keep plugging away. I made a guideline with myself that as long as I was taking action in that hour, it was a success. I turned my attention to just keep going, to ignore the noise in my head and the internal arguments of whether or not we were going to get approved. The mantra was to just take one more focused step.

I am convinced that anything ever worth accomplishing takes a similar form, with work being put in each day regardless of emotion or motivation or any other obstacle. The focus became an incessant, “Did I move the project forward today?”

The Bottom-line

Being Official is Worth it.

There is a reason why people choose to go with an accredited program over an approved program, and the ICF makes the rules around distinguishing and promoting the two different degrees on your website and other marketing material very clear. The accreditation process I just went through involved a bit of jumping through hoops, just to make sure that I am committed. But on a deeper level, the process and requirements have made me a better coach. Those requirements have made me a better coach trainer and have led to an improved train-the-trainer program.

From an individual standpoint, I had to get my MCC through this process as well. And I know that I learned just as much through that process as I did in my program process. If you are faced with the decision to get your credential from the ICF, I recommend it.

The pain is worth the gain.

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