ICF Coaching Certification

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) provides the gold standard in coach certification. Coach Training EDU is an ICF accredited organization, which makes getting your ICF credential a breeze.

About the ICF 

The ICF is a non-profit organization dedicated to “advancing the coaching profession by establishing standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals.” Founded in 1995, the ICF is the oldest and most established credentialing program for life coaching. It has over 20,000 members.

While the ICF is an association dedicated to advancing the coaching profession, they don’t offer any life coaching services or independent coach-training programs. The primary function of the ICF is to establish standards for coaching and provide credentials for individuals seeking coach certification. The ICF also accredits coach-training programs, like us, who can then offer ICF coach certification.

Levels of Life Coach Certification

The ICF offers three levels of life coach certification.

  1. Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
  • Training Hours Needed: 60
  • Coach-Client Overviews: 3
  • Mentor Hours Needed: 10 with ACC or higher
  • Logged Life Coaching Hours: 100
  • Coach Knowledge Assessment: Yes

2. Professional Certified Coach (PCC)

  • Training Hours Needed: 125
  • Coach-Client Overviews: 6
  • Mentor Hours Needed: 10 with PCC or MCC
  • Logged Life Coaching Hours: 500
  • Coach Knowledge Assessment: Yes

3. Master Certified Coach (MCC)

  • Training Hours Needed: 220
  • Coach-Client Overviews: 6
  • Mentor Hours Needed: 10 with an MCC
  • Logged Life Coaching Hours: 2500
  • Coach Knowledge Assessment: Yes

Each of these levels requires the same five elements but differ in the number of training hours, coaching hours, and the credentialed level of your mentor coach.

The ICF also has various paths that coaches can take to earn an ICF credential. Depending on one’s previous experience and current interests, one can pursue an ICF credential via the portfolio, ACSTH, or ACTP path. The way you choose will depend on your desired level of certification or previous coaching experience. To learn more about ICF paths to credentials, visit the ICF’s website.

How to Become a Certified Coach with the ICF

It can be a little overwhelming to look at the ICF’s various requirements and paths for certification. Below is a breakdown of the route and requirements for certification that you would take, based on which training program(s) you have completed with Coach Training EDU.

Any 1.0 Training Program (Plus Group Mentor Coaching)

If you complete any of Coach Training EDU’s 1.0 training programs, you are on your way toward your Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential through the ACSTH path.

  • Training Hours: All of Coach Training EDU’s 1.0 level training programs are officially 62.5 hours of training within an Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP). Alone, they do NOT make up a complete ACTP, but the hours do count toward certification with the ICF.
  • Coach-Client Overviews: As part of your 1.0 training, you will complete three coach-client overviews. This is enough to meet the requirements for the ACC credential with the ICF.
  • Mentor Hours: Your three coach-client overviews, completed as part of your training, count as 3 hours of mentor coaching. You will need an additional 7 hours to meet the requirements for the ACC, and those can be completed in Coach Training EDU’s group mentor coaching option.
  • Logged Coaching Hours: Part of your training will require working with a practice client for ten coaching hours. These hours begin your coaching log. Getting the additional 90 hours for your ACC depends on your ability and availability to work with paying clients. There are no restrictions on who you coach or how much you must charge for coaching sessions. In fact, transactions can happen in the form of bartering.
  • Coach Knowledge Assessment: Your training will prepare you to pass the ICF’s assessment easily.

2.0 Coach Training Program (Plus Group Mentor Coaching)

If you complete the 2.0 Coach Training Program, you are on the path toward your ACC (or PCC, depending on your previous training) credential through the ACSTH path.

  • Training Hours: The 2.0 Coach Training Program is officially 62.5 hours of training within an Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP). Alone, it is NOT a complete ACTP, but the hours do count towards certification with the ICF.
  • Coach-Client Overviews: As part of your 2.0 training, you will complete three coach-client overviews. This is enough to meet the requirements for the ACC credential with the ICF. If you pursue your PCC credential, the additional overviews can be completed within Coach Training EDU’s group mentor coaching.
  • Mentor Hours: Your three coach-client overviews, completed as part of your training, count as 3.5 hours of mentor coaching. You will need an additional 6.5 hours to meet the ACC or PCC requirements, and those can be completed in Coach Training EDU’s group mentor coaching option.
  • Logged Coaching Hours: Part of your training will require working with a practice client for ten coaching hours. These hours can begin your coaching log, or you can add them to a log you already have. Getting the additional hours for either ACC or PCC certification will simply take time, based on your ability and availability to work with clients.
  • Coach Knowledge Assessment: Your training will prepare you to pass the ICF’s assessment easily.

Any 1.0 Training Program + 2.0 Coach Training Program (Plus Group Mentor Coaching)

Any of Coach Training EDU’s 1.0 training programs plus the 2.0 Coach Training Program and group mentor coaching constitute a full Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP). By completing all three of these components, you will have enough training hours to achieve either your ACC or PCC through the ACTP path.

  • Training Hours: Upon completing the 1.0 and 2.0 levels courses, you will have achieved 125 hours of coach training. This is enough training hours for the ACC or PCC levels of certification with the ICF.
  • Coach-Client Overviews: As part of your 1.0 training and 2.0 training, you will complete three coach-client overviews. This is more than the three or six overviews necessary for either ICF certification level (ACC or PCC).
  • Mentor Hours: Your six coach-client overviews, completed as part of your training programs, count as six hours of mentor coaching. You will need an additional four hours to meet the ACC or PCC requirements, and those can be completed in Coach Training EDU’s group mentor coaching option.
  • Logged Coaching Hours: Both your 1.0 level training and the 2.0 Coach Training Program will require you to work with a practice client for 10 hours. These hours begin your coaching log. Getting the additional 80 hours for your ACC or 480 hours for your PCC will simply take time and depend on your ability and availability to work with clients.
  • Coach Knowledge Assessment: Your training will prepare you to pass the ICF’s assessment easily.

Applying for ICF Certification

Once you have completed your coach training and additional mentor coaching hours, the next steps are logging your remaining coach/client hours.

If you have completed all of the requirements for one of Coach Training EDU’s ACTPs (meaning you completed a 1.0 level program, the 2.0 Coach Training Program, and additional mentor coaching), you can easily apply for certification using the ACTP path.

If you have completed a single training program with Coach Training EDU (meaning you only completed a 1.0 level program or the 2.0 Coach Training Program), you can use the ACSTH path to apply for certification.

The timeline from clicking the apply button with the ICF to getting your credential has been about two weeks for our graduates who have taken the ACTP path and approximately one month for those going the ACSTH route. This tends to vary depending on how busy the ICF is with other applications.

1 “ICF, the Gold Standard in Coaching | Read About ICF.” Accessed October 5, 2021. https://coachfederation.org/about.

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