If you're considering a career in coaching, you might have come across the term "ICF coaching credentials." But what exactly are these credentials, and do they make you more employable in the coaching industry?
In this blog post, we'll explore the difference between coach certification and ICF credentials, their significance in the coaching profession, and whether you need them to succeed as a coach.
Let's dive in!
Coach Certification vs. Credentialing
Certification is obtained by completing a life coach training program and meeting the requirements set by the organization that provides the training. It allows you to call yourself a "certified life coach" and signifies that you have completed the necessary requirements of the organization that trained you.
For example, when you graduate from Lumia’s life coach training program, you’ll receive a certificate of completion from us. You are a Lumia certified coach.
Coach credentialing takes this a step farther. It involves undergoing an advanced examination by an external organization, such as the International Coaching Federation, to demonstrate your knowledge and capabilities as a coach.
When you earn a coaching credential, it means that you’ve met additional criteria beyond your initial coach training, such as completing a certain number of coaching hours and passing specific exams.
So Who is the ICF?
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is a professional, non-profit organization dedicated to the field of coaching. It sets global standards to ensure that all the coaching programs they accredit meet a high level of quality. The ICF establishes a consistent definition of coaching, trains exceptional coaches across all specialties, and upholds an ethical code of conduct for life coaches.
What are ICF Coaching Credentials?
ICF offers three coach credentials to reflect your level of training, experience, and mastery of the ICF Core Competencies. Each credential requires a specific amount of training from an accredited coach training program in addition to client coaching experience.
Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
- 60 hours of qualifying education
- 100 hours of client coaching experience
Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
- 125 hours of qualifying education
- 500 hours of client coaching experience
Master Certified Coach (MCC)
- 200 hours of qualifying education
- Hold or have held a PCC Credential
- 2,500 hours of client coaching experience
To find out more about what the process of earning a credentials entails, check out our guide: ICF Credentialing and Exam Updates, Explained
Benefits of ICF Coaching Credentials
Becoming a certified coach through a reputable life coach training program can help you establish credibility in the industry. Many clients are looking for qualified coaches who have undergone rigorous training and have demonstrated their expertise in the field.
The investment in earning your coaching credential will reap benefits over the course of your career. A few of those include:
1. Bigger Impact As A Coach
Pursuing ICF credentials means diving deep into coaching standards, competencies, and ethics. This higher level of training and skill development allows you to better serve your coaching clients, providing them with a more impactful coaching experience.
2. Creating New Opportunities and Opening Doors
ICF credentials hold significant weight in the coaching profession. Many employers and corporate clients specifically seek out coaches with ICF credentials, considering them for coaching roles above other applicants. Having an ICF credential can unlock unique opportunities, especially when working with business clients or within organizations.
3. Personal and Professional Development
The journey toward becoming an ICF-certified coach is not just about gaining professional skills. It is a life-changing experience that influences your relationships, personal growth, and overall well-being. Investing in ICF credentials means investing in your own personal and professional development.
4. Setting Yourself Apart
In an unregulated coaching industry, ICF credentials provide a distinguishing factor. There’s currently just 50,000 ICF credential-holders worldwide, even as more companies are starting to require that coaching job candidates hold an ACC or PCC credential.
As consumers become more discerning about hiring coaches, having ICF credentials can set you apart. It demonstrates your commitment to excellence and differentiates you in a crowded marketplace.
Jobs Available to ICF Credential-Holders
ICF credentials open doors to various coaching opportunities. Many companies and organizations value ICF credentials and require them for coaching roles within their teams. As the coaching industry continues to grow, ICF credential-holders have an advantage in securing coaching positions and contracts.
Want an example? In a recent episode of The Everything Life Coaching podcast, we break down a job posting for an internal corporate coach: Facebook's Hiring A Head of Coaching?!
How about a sample list of companies that regularly hire coaches? Check out our resource guide: Careers in Life Coaching: Exploring Options & Opportunities.
While ICF coaching credentials are not mandatory to work as a coach, they offer numerous benefits that can enhance your career prospects long term.
It provides industry recognition, creates new opportunities, supports personal and professional development, and helps set you apart in the coaching landscape. If you aspire to work with corporate clients or organizations in particular, ICF credentials can significantly boost your employability.
Investing in your professional development as a coach is an investment in your future success. Embrace the power of ICF coaching credentials and discover the possibilities they can unlock.
Ready to Get Started?
Coaching is a rapidly growing field that is continuously evolving. Even for seasoned coaches, there’s always more to discover. If you're looking to step up your game, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training - a program that's every bit as unique as you are. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited coach training features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, business instruction to prepare you for liftoff, and fellow students dedicated to becoming a collective force for good.