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Advantages Of Becoming An ICF Certified Coaching Practitioner

The career of a professional coach is both rewarding and enjoyable. A proper certification can help you build your career as a coach. And ICF coach certification is renowned all over the world. Besides, to become a certified executive coach, leadership coach, team coach, or group coach for corporate coaching engagements, an ICF Coach certification is essential.

Advantages of Becoming an ICF Certified Coaching Practitioner ICF Certified Coaching Practitioner

Those looking for ICF coach certification programs may already know that they tend to be expensive. People are often inclined to ask whether the money involved is worth it. This is why in this article, we will discuss ICF certification in detail so that you can understand the advantages of becoming an ICF-certified coaching practitioner. 

In Brief : Advantages Of Becoming An ICF Certified Coaching Practitioner

10 Advantages Of Becoming An ICF Certified Coaching Practitioner

  • Gain Access To Top-Of-Line Resources – By following the ICF framework, coaches guarantee effective coaching sessions and good results.
  • Helps Expand Clientele – ICF accreditation increases client trust in a coach’s commitment to ethics, leading to an expanded clientele.
  • Increases Credibility – Achieving ICF certification enhances credibility, enthusiasm, and confidence in both coaches and clients.
  • Access To ICF Member Resources – ICF certification provides access to a community of coaching professionals and resources, expanding opportunities for growth.
  • Creates Networking Opportunities – Training with ICF creates networking opportunities and opens doors to coaching contracts with corporations.
  • Better Client Interaction And Trust – ICF certification builds trust and authority among clients, improving client interaction and career prospects.
  • Enhances Impact Of Coaching – The impact of coaching is enhanced through additional training and certification, leading to increased credibility and client attraction.
  • Escalates Earnings – Coaches with ICF certification can escalate their earnings by marketing their abilities effectively and attracting more clients.
  • Improves Confidence – ICF credentialing improves confidence by providing education, training, and guidance in implementing best practices.
  • Understand And Develop Your Own Style – ICF certification allows coaches to understand and develop their own coaching style through training and practical experience, marking them as more competent professionals.

How To Become Certified As An ICF Coach?

  • Step 1: Complete An ICF Certified Coaching Course – Attend an ICF-accredited coaching program to complete the first step toward earning an ACC credential, ensuring your training meets ICF standards.
  • Step 2: Obtain The Required Coaching Experience Hours – Gain coaching experience by working with at least eight clients and completing 100 coaching hours, with 25 hours within the 18 months preceding your credential application.
  • Step 3: Mentor Coaching – Seek mentor coaching from an ICF-certified mentor over at least three months to enhance your coaching skills and receive valuable feedback.
  • Step 4: Performance Evaluation – Seek mentor coaching from an ICF-certified mentor over at least three months to enhance your coaching skills and receive valuable feedback.
  • Step 5: Exam (CKA) – Pass the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) exam, demonstrating your understanding of coaching principles, competencies, and ethics, to complete the certification process and receive your ICF credential.

What Are The Different Levels Of Certification, And What Does Each Entail?

  • Associate Certified Coach, ACC – Complete a minimum of 60 hours of coaching training from an approved program, undergo 10 hours of Mentor Coaching, accumulate at least 100 coaching hours (70 paid), with 25 within the last 24 months, and pass a performance evaluation.
  • Professional Certified Coach, PCC – Fulfill requirements including 125 hours of training, 10 hours of Mentor Coaching, at least 500 coaching hours (440 paid) with 25 clients, submit two audio recordings and transcripts, and pass a performance evaluation along with the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) exam.
  • Master Certified Coach, MCC – Achieve 200 hours of training, undergo 10 hours of Mentor Coaching, accumulate 2,500 coaching hours (2,200 paid) with 35 clients, submit written transcripts and two audio recordings, hold a PCC credential, and pass performance evaluation and CKA exam.

What is an ICF-certified coaching practitioner?

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the largest association of professionally trained coaches with different levels of accreditation. ICF has set the gold standard for coaches. It is necessary to point out that the ICF does not offer coach training programs. The organization does not train individuals to become coaches. It offers certification programs via ACTP, ACSTH, and Portfolio paths and provides numerous professional development opportunities. In a word, ICF just provides you with a certification depending on your training program. The certification is a recognization of your coach training. 

ICF Certification costs are more than some other coach training programs, ensuring consistency globally. The ICF accredits and approves training programs that follow its curriculum standards. In order to achieve this, various coach training programs are defined by specific curriculum standards.

ICF ensures that the coaches are experienced and reliable professionals adhering to a strict code of ethics by regulating standards, skills, and core competencies for coach training programs. ICF certification ensures that coaching programs and certification have wider acceptance. ICF-certified coaches are in high demand for corporate coaching, which is why they are in high demand.

Additionally, ICF has developed a credentialing system. The credential is currently the most widely recognized professional coaching certification worldwide. In addition to being the largest certifying body in the world, the ICF has also been growing rapidly.

How to become certified as an ICF coach?

An ICF accreditation is the highest standard for internationally trained coaches. Furthermore, it is the only professionally recognized accreditation in the field.

In addition to setting industry standards, they are also creating a global network of highly qualified coaches and providing independent certification programs. They are the largest organization dedicated to developing the coaching industry. So how to become an ICF-certified coach. Let’s try to understand the steps to becoming a successful coach. 

Step 1: Complete An ICF Certified Coaching Course

You should attend an ICF accredited coach training program to get your ACC credential. ACC stands for an Associate certified coach. This is the first level of ICF certification. There are two other levels, but we will discuss them later in the article. First, try to understand the basic process of achieving the ICF certification. For other levels, there will be few differences. But the basic process is common for all levels of ICF certification. 

In order to apply for entry-level credentials, you must complete a coaching-specific training of 60 hours through an ACTP (Accredited Coaching Training Program) or ACSTH (Approved Coaching Specific Training Hours) program. This is why you must look for ACTP or ACSTH coaching programs before selecting a training. This will help you to apply for the ICF certificate later.

Step 2: Obtain the required coaching experience hours

You must have at least eight clients after your coach-specific training to earn an ACC credential. After completing 100 hours (75 paid) of coaching experience, you can apply for a credential. At least 25 hours must also be completed within 18 months before applying for the credential.

Your 100 hours of coaching is about practicing your skills and being a coach – not about being coached. To prove your coaching experience, you must also submit the ICF’s coaching log. It is important to record the names, emails, and duration of coaching, including start and end dates.

Step 3: Mentor Coaching

Get mentoring support from an experienced professional to strengthen your skills. The mentor must also be ICF certified. The mentoring process should be conducted over a long period (at least three months) to allow the mentor coaching team to listen and provide feedback while providing the mentored individual with time to reflect and practice.

Step 4: Performance Evaluation

To be certified by ICF, applicants must successfully pass a Performance Evaluation during which their coaching abilities will be evaluated based on the ICF Core Competencies. Candidates who wish to apply for the credential must submit recordings and transcripts of coaching sessions to be reviewed by ICF Assessors.

Step 5: Exam (CKA)

Your written exam will measure your understanding of the ICF definition of coaching, your ability to apply the ICF Core Competencies, and your commitment to observing the ICF Code of Ethics. This exam is known as CKA(Coach Knowledge Assessment). When you have completed the application process and applied for a credential, you will receive an email from the ICF with a status update about the next steps. Once your application has been reviewed, you will receive an email inviting you to complete the CKA. To take the test, visit the ICF website using the login information they sent you.

After completing all the procedures, the ICF will provide you with a certificate of being an ICF-certified coach.

What are the different levels of certification, and what does each entail?

The ICF credentialing program members are part of a self-regulatory group of elite coaches who hold each other accountable to their clients and the coaching profession in general. To achieve excellence in coaching, they must meet rigorous education and practice requirements—a total of 30,000 people worldwide who are credential holders of the ICF.

However, many people are not contemplating the process because it sounds like too much effort, so they decide not to participate. Unfortunately, they continue to use the title of coach anyway. 

Coaching certification through ICF reinforces the credibility of the coaching profession nationally and internationally. ICF awards three certification levels for coaches, which include: 

  • ACC Associate Certified Coach, 
  • PCC Professional Certified Coach, and
  • MCC Master Certified Coach.

Associate Certified Coach, ACC

To become an Associate Certified Coach (ACC), you must complete at least 60+ hours of coaching with an approved coach-specific training program such as the Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) or the Approved Coach Specific Training Hours Program (ACSTH). 

Additionally, you must complete 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three months. It is required that the Mentor Coach be a Certified Accredited Coach (ACC) or a Certified Master Coach (MCC). 

During their field placement, the student records coaching sessions with actual clients and sends the recordings to the mentor, who then analyzes them to identify how well the coach demonstrated competencies and how they can improve. 

In order to receive ACC status, coaches must submit a log showing that they have been coaching for at least 100 hours (70 must be paid, which means 30 can be pro bono) after they have begun their coach-specific training. The applicant must have completed 25 of these hours within the last 24 months before applying.

A performance evaluation is also required. In ACTP training programs, your faculty is responsible for evaluating your performance. A Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) is needed to prove that you understand these competencies.

Professional Certified Coach, PCC

 To become a PCC, you must complete an ACTP or ACSTH program with at least 125 hours of training. On your online application, you need to document 10 more hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three months. Your mentor Coach must be a PCC or MCC, certified coach. 

You must have a minimum of 500 hours (440 paid) of coaching experience with at least 25 clients upon completing your coach-specific training. A minimum of 50 hours must be completed within 24 months before applying for certification. You must submit two audio recordings and written transcripts of coaching sessions along with your application for passing the performance evaluation. If you have directly applied for the PCC, you must take a CKA test. 

Master Certified Coach, MCC

To become a Master Certified Coach, MCC, you need to demonstrate the following competencies:

You must have to complete coach-specific training of 200 hours. In addition, you must complete mentor coaching over at least three months, about 10 hours. The mentor coach must be an MCC ICF certifies. It is important to remember that mentor Coaching cannot be the same as what was applied to a previous ICF credential. 

After you begin your coach-specific training program, It is required to have 2,500 hours of coaching experience (2,200 paid) with at least 35 clients are required. You must submit a written transcript of each coaching session and two audio recordings of performance evaluation. To apply for MCC, you must hold a PCC credential. You will also need a passing score for performance evaluation and a passing score for a CKA (Coach knowledge assessment)exam.

10 Advantages of Becoming an ICF Certified Coaching Practitioner

There are many advantages to becoming a life coach, and this is why choosing to be a professional life coach is attractive. If you are interested in pursuing a career as a life coach, then you should be aware that it may be difficult to build your reputation as a coach. To get recognization and become successful as a coach, you must build authority and trust among the clients. And ICF certification can help you to bring trust in yourself. Besides, you fulfill extensive requirements to gain the certification that will make you a worthy coach. 

ICF certification makes it simple for you to build your career as a coach. Let’s take advantage of becoming an ICF-certified coaching Practitioner. 

1. Gain access to top-of-line resources 

There is a well-established curriculum established by ICF that you have to maintain to maintain your certification. The system is designed to improve your coaching effectiveness by considering all the demands of the coaching process. Each coaching session is broken down into stages, and the measures to make each step effective are outlined. By following their framework, you’re guaranteed good results.

2. Helps expand clientele 

It is really hard to build a successful career as a coach and get the desired clients. The ICF prides itself on establishing professional codes of ethics and standards for coaches as an essential cornerstone of the coaching process. Credentials from the ICF directly impact a client’s feeling of trust in the coach’s commitment to ethics. As a result, your productivity will increase because your clients will feel secure around you. 

3. Increases credibility 

Credibility is automatically conferred by accreditation. Your clientele list will expand if you have the right accreditation. The accreditation process will enable you to design the right types of coaching sessions for your employees if you are an in-house coach. You will gain more credibility with the organization and participants after receiving accreditation, considered a gold standard. Your enthusiasm will increase even before the first session begins. You can lead the session with a higher level of enthusiasm.

4. Access to ICF member resources 

The process of getting an ICF certificate is dynamic. ICF certificate holders become part of a community, thus gaining access to resources, publications, updates, and news about coaching opportunities, which will help them expand their horizons as professionals or within organizations. Besides, to achieve an ICF certificate, you need a mentor who has also ICF certified. This helps you to expand your knowledge and experience.  

5. Creates networking opportunities 

The training process enables you to become a member of a network of coaching professionals from whom you can learn from your own experience and that of others. Companies and corporations offering to coach their employees also tend to hire coaches with credentials from the ICF. Achieving ICF certification can open the door to coaching contracts for corporate teams.

6. Better client interaction and trust

 There is no doubt that ICF has set a standard in the world for training and development. This course is designed to improve your coaching skills and helps you to become a more effective coach. There is a stage-by-stage coaching method, and measures have to be taken to get an ICF certificate. Hence, people trust a coach who is ICF certified more than others. Utilizing the Certificate, you will be able to build trust and authority among people and your career.

7. Enhances Impact of Coaching 

Enhancing your career with additional training, certification, and knowledge opens up a world of possibilities. You will gain additional information as you learn more about your area and possibly discover new pathways and techniques. To get an ICF certificate, a coach takes his training session seriously and gathers real knowledge about the field. 

Basically, this is what will make them a true coach in their own particular field. Additionally, you can gain more credibility in your field, which will help you attract more clients.

8. Escalates earnings 

As we have mentioned before ICF certificate help to build trust among Clients as a coach. This Certificate helps you develop the right attitude toward marketing your coaching abilities. Globally, it has been proven that people prefer coaches with ICF credentials. Your competence and ICF certification impact credibility and customer satisfaction. You will be able to increase your earnings the more clients you attract. 

9. Improves Confidence 

Due to the absence of formal regulation in the coaching profession, the ICF credential offers coaches education, training, and guidance to ensure they have access to and implement industry best practices.

A significant part of your work in life coaching will be related to your innate and inherent abilities, such as empathy and a kind heart. Just having a coaching certificate is not enough to make a real coach. You need to devote yourself to the work that you do. And having ICF certification will help you gain more confidence in your ability and credibility.

10. Understand and develop your own style 

The actual interactions between coaches and clients vary depending on their individual characteristics. Coaches must develop a great deal of their ability by applying the principles they learn in the training process individually. For ICF certification as a professional coach, you must complete over one hundred hours of coaching experience. Your coaching style and confidence can be developed by seeking guidance from experienced coaches during this time. The certification of the ICF marks you as a far more competent coach than you were before.

What are the cost and time commitments associated with becoming a certified coach?

The ICF offers two alternate paths to organizations seeking accreditation. For example:

Apply via the ACTP route

The ICF requires a longer program (minimum 125 student contact hours), mentor coaching, and performance evaluations that are run internally. The different price of the course starts from around $3000 depending on the organization and the coach. An ACTP comprises 125 hours of coach-specific training, which covers the ICF Core Competencies, Code of Ethics, and the ICF definition of coaching.

Apply via the ACSTH route 

Even shorter programs can be accredited this way. The ICF runs the performance evaluation, so there is no need to bundle mentor coaching. To attend an ACSTH course, you must invest at least 60 hours of coaching sessions. The ACSTH course may cost you around $4000 depending on the course you choose

ICF Certification Cost 

The time investment varies depending on the credential level and hours spent on training and coaching. There are fees associated with application, review, assessment, and evaluation. These fees range between $100 and $875 for getting ICF certification. ICF members receive a discount on these fees.

How to maintain your certification once you earn it?

You must renew your ICF Credential every three years. The ICF maintains high standards for professional coaches worldwide. If you want to maintain your credential holder status, you must submit your renewal by the expiration date.

Sign in to your ICF profile to find your credential expiration date. Under “My Credentials,” you’ll find your credential information and your renewal application.   

Renewal applications can be submitted up to 10 months before the expiration of your credential. The renewal fee for ICF members is $175, and for non-members, $275. The estimated time of renewal of your Certificate is 6-7 months. 

ACC (Associate certificate Coach) Renewal Requirements

To renew your ACC ICF certificate, you must complete at least 10 hours of mentor coaching within three years of receiving your credential or since your last credential renewal. After the initial award of your credential or since your last credential renewal, you must complete at least 40 hours of Continuing Coach Education (CCE). At least 24 hours must be in Core Competencies. Three (3) of these hours must be in coaching ethics. Mentor Coaching hours can be applied to CCEs in Core Competencies.

PCC (Professional Certified Coach) and MCC (Master Certified Coach) requirements

After receiving your credential or since your certification was last renewed, you must complete at least 40 hours of Continuing Coach Education. A minimum of 24 hours must be devoted to Core Competencies. The coaching ethics component must take up three (3) hours. You can complete the remaining hours in Resource Development.

To follow up with the latest trends, you can follow the official website of the ICF. Besides, A ICF-certified coach can update you with the latest updates and changes. Although there may be minor changes regarding the ICF certification, the Core regulation will stay the same. Besides, you can connect to the ICF members to get the latest trends and updates. So there are a few ways to get updated on the latest trends in becoming ICF certified coaching practitioner

  • ICF official website
  • Your mentor
  • ICF members
  • ICF certified coach


Nowadays, most coaches, managers, and business leaders who use coaching skills agree that coaches must be certified or accredited. ICF credentials elevate your expertise and profile from amateur to professional. You are aligned with an organization known for credibility and results worldwide. ICF certification demonstrates your commitment to coaching excellence. It also proves your competency as a coach. Besides, many other advantages of becoming an ICF-certified coaching practitioner exist. This enhances your reputation. In addition to learning a wide range of coaching techniques, you walk away with something essential for success: confidence.

Frequently asked questions

What is an ICF-certified coaching practitioner?

The highest standard credentials for international coaches is the ICF accreditation. Furthermore, it is the only professionally recognized accreditation in the field.
ICF Credentials are awarded to members of the coaching profession who meet rigorous education and experience requirements and who have demonstrated a thorough understanding of the coaching competencies at the profession’s core. In order to gain an ICF certificate, you must complete an ICF accredited course and other essential requirements.

How to become certified as an ICF coach?

A minimum of 60+ hours of coach-specific training through an ACTP or ACSTH program is required to earn this certification. You must document 10 additional hours of mentor coaching over the next three months on your online application. Your Mentor Coach must be an active PCC or MCC. Besides, you need 100+ hours of coaching experience. With coaching education and training experience, you must pass a CKA exam to obtain an ICF certificate. 

 ICF provides three levels of credentials for the coach. Each level has its own requirements. We have just mentioned the minimum requirements to apply for the ACC (Associate certified coach). For certified professional coach and a Master’s certified course has different requirements.

How to maintain your certification once you earn it?

To maintain your ICF certificate, you must go to your ICF profile and renew it every three years. Renewing your Certificate has different requirements depending on the level of certification you are renewing. For example, you must complete at least 40 hours of Continuing Coach Education (CCE) to renew your Associate coach certificate.


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