How Does Coaching Certification Work?

By August 26, 2016Coaching
coaching-certification

All coaches at Tiggley have been trained by an organization certified by the International Coaching Federation. The ICF is the largest worldwide organization for professional coaches and coaching training programs.

This isn’t a guide for aspiring professional coaches to learn how to get certified. This is for people who want to be coached and want to understand what their Tiggley coaches had to go through to call themselves a coach.

If you are a coach who wants to get certified, check out this guide by the ICF.

What is Professional Coaching?

The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

Coaches Need to be Certified by a Legitimate Coaching Institution

At Tiggley we believe in people’s potential and in coaching as a tool to unleash it. If we’re going to be involved in people’s lives at this level, it makes sense that coaches follow a path to certification.

According to the ICF, “Professional coaches say the No. 1 obstacle to the coaching industry is untrained individuals who call themselves coaches (2012 ICF Global Coaching Study).”

When Thomas Leonard founded the ICF, the vision was to create a place where professional coaches could prove their knowledge and expertise, abiding by an ethics code. This way, clients could be guaranteed to work with a coach who has hundreds of hours of experience and studies, before being considered a professional coach.

How Does a Coach get Certified?

There are two levels of certification a coach can submit to:

  1. Completing an ICF Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP). ❰❰ All Tiggley coaches have this.
  2. Getting an ICF credential. ❰❰ Most Tiggley coaches have this.

Think of the ICF credential as a board certification. It’s just an analogy, but it helps. According to the ICF, a coach with an ICF credential “demonstrate not only knowledge and skill, but also a commitment to high professional standards and a strong code of ethics.

ICF Credentials

The Most Important Factors to Certify a Coach

The ICF looks for two things in any coach who wants to be certified:

  • Training Hours
  • Real Client Experience Hours

There three levels of ICF coaching credentials. Each level requires more hours of training and experience. For example:

  • Associate Certified Coach
    • Completion of an ICF Accredited Coaching Training Program (ACTP) or at least 60 hours of training in an ACTP.
    • At least 100 hours (at least 90% paid) of experience with at least 8 different coaching clients.
    • Pass the Coach Knowledge Assessment.
    • In some cases, 10 hours being mentored by a Coach.
    • In some cases, a Performance Evaluation. The ICF reviews audio recording and written transcripts of two coaching sessions).
  • Professional Certified Coach
    • Completion of an ICF Accredited Coaching Training Program (ACTP) or at least 125 hours of training in an ACTP.
    • At least 750 hours (at least 90% paid) of experience with at least 25 different coaching clients.
    • Pass the Coach Knowledge Assessment.
    • In some cases, 10 hours being mentored by a Coach.
    • In some cases, a Performance Evaluation. The ICF reviews audio recording and written transcripts of two coaching sessions).
  • Master’s Certified Coach
    • Completion of an ICF Accredited Coaching Training Program (ACTP) or at least 200 hours of training in an ACTP.
    • At least 2,500 (at least 90% paid) hours of experience with at least 35 different coaching clients.
    • Pass the Coach Knowledge Assessment.
    • 10 hours with a Mentor Coach.
    • Performance Evaluation. The ICF reviews audio recording and written transcripts of two coaching sessions).

For a more detailed overview of the paths for getting an ICF credential, click here to see a PDF.

Why is there an option to give an ICF credential based on coaching training hours? Why can’t it only be the completion of an ACTP?

There are hundreds of ICF Accredited Coaching Training Programs in the world. Each of these programs have different specializations —life coaching, career coaching, etc.— so it’s important to give options to those who are taking longer accreditation programs.

For example, an ACTP in Thailand may be a 15 hour course on life coaching, but a business coaching program in the US may need 200+ hours to complete. They’re both legitimate coaching programs, accredited by the ICF, but they’re gonna be different based on cultural, economical and even educational factors.

Also, keep in mind that completing an ICF Accredited Coaching Training Program is not enough to be credentialed by the ICF. Coaches who want the ultimate certification need plenty of real life coaching experience first —more than 2,500 hours for the Master Certified Coach—to get their ICF credential. And regardless of the differences in coaching certifications requirements, clients are more likely to work with coaches who understand their culture. Therefore, a coach may have finished a 20 hour ACTP, but you’re unlikely to work with him.

In other words, if you’re in the US, most likely you’ll work with a US coach.

Take the Next Step

Now that you know what a real professional coach is like, why not try working with one? At Tiggley, we believe in people’s unlimited potential and know that coaching is an amazing tool. Get connected to one of our certified coaches right now. Contact us now and get started.