Introducing One ICF | ICF Credentials and Standards
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) has taken a bold step forward into the future of coaching. A refreshed brand identity now reflects ICF’s interests in many areas of the coaching industry, represented by six unique family organizations that make the whole or “One” ICF.
First, ICF’s CEO Magdalena Mook introduced the new brand for the entire ICF ecosystem. Then, Vice President of ICF Professional Coaches Ann Rindone, ACC introduced us to the ICF Professional Coaches family organization.
Now, this seven-part series continues to the ICF Credentials and Standards family organization. Coaching World interviewed ICF Credentials and Standards Vice President Carrie Abner to bring you insights and inspiration as ICF forges ahead and empowers the world through coaching.
Q: Credentialing has always been a key component of ICF – what are a few of the key things your team does?
A: We’ve been awarding and acknowledging the professional achievements of trained, experienced, qualified coach practitioners for nearly 25 years—since the late 1990s–and we’ve served as the global gold standard for independent professional coach certification in the years since. Our primary purpose is to advance professional standards in coaching and to recognize coaches who meet those high standards.
In short, our mission and our goal is to elevate the ICF Credential as the global gold standard, known and respected as the highest standard of practice, based on rigorous research and empirical evidence, while delivered with elegant simplicity and a human touch. In doing so, we really provide an important quality assurance to coaching clients, and we empower ICF Credential-holders to shine. That’s something that we have done for a quarter of a century and we look forward to continuing to do in the years to come under our new structure as ICF Credentials and Standards.
Q: With this brand refresh, tell us about what the new ICF brand identity means for the ICF Credentials and Standards family organization.
A: I’m really excited about the new brand identity for ICF Credentials and Standards. It really reflects who we are as an organization – I think it provides a strong visual brand that conveys the credibility and the integrity of our credentials and those who hold them. I am excited about the clean, simple design that is also forward thinking and forward moving—it’s a bold step to the future. The colors of the ICF Credentials and Standards brand are also richly symbolic, integrating a rich gold representing the ICF gold standard, which reflects the motivation and pride that every ICF Credential-holder carries as they share their ICF Credential with the world.
I think the new visual identity allows ICF Credentials and Standards to demonstrate the unique and important relationship that it has within the larger ICF as an independent certification body, yet integrally connected to and part of this “One” ICF. So, it allows us to proudly share and distinguish the unique services ICF Credentials and Standards offers while also demonstrating how we are connected to and part of the ICF ecosystem.
Q: How has the transition from the original ICF credentialing department affected the work your team is doing? What important things are you still doing to serve ICF Members?
A: We have been providing credentials to well-equipped, trained, experienced professional coaches for almost twenty-five years, and we are continuing to provide that same high-quality service to ICF Credential-holders and candidates. But this transition does allow us to really expand our scope and reach as the global community of coach practitioners grows, and that’s why it’s so exciting.
ICF Credential-holders or credential candidates may not notice any big changes on the surface, but there are so many exciting things that are happening “behind the scenes” that will impact our growth in the years to come
One of the biggest ways we’re able to expand our reach and scope is with the establishment of an independent ICF Credentials and Standards Global Board of Directors. In 2021, that board is chaired by Benita Stafford-Smith, MCC, based in Oman, and it’s supported by a diverse team of directors representing all credential levels, as well as a representative of coaching consumers. I absolutely think that the addition of this board solidifies the direction of how ICF Credentials and Standards is shaping the ICF community. With their vision, leadership and guidance, we are building an important vision for the future of the ICF Credential and for those who hold them or will hold them in the future.
Before this transition, all of ICF’s programs and services were governed by a singular board. By establishing an independent board of directors specific to ICF Credentials and Standards, it allows us to really roll up our sleeves and do that much more targeted and focused work. We’re able to take a deeper dive into the possibilities for the future.
Q: Overall, why is this new brand important and how does it reflect ICF’s work in the coaching industry?
A: I think one of the biggest reasons it’s important and exciting is because it’s a visual representation that honors our past and the 25 years that we have served to support and grow the coaching community and to advance coaches in the world. But it also has such a fresh, new, current, modern look to it. So, it’s really more reflective of the present and future of coaching – which, gosh, the future for coaching is an exciting one. I think it’s really important to honor where we’ve been but also where we are going, and I think this new brand absolutely does that.
Q: For ICF-Credentialed coaches or those seeking to earn an ICF Credential, how do these changes add value to their work?
A: I think it really adds that forward movement and it shows that someone is credentialed by an organization that has both a solid history a strong focus on the future. So, it adds value in that way, but there are so many different ways that this new brand can and will be used, including some of our newest elements of services and offerings at ICF Credentials and Standards – namely the digital badge for those who hold an ICF Credential. What a great way to be able to proudly, easily and securely tell the world that you are an ICF-Credentialed coach, and to do that with a fresh, modern, credible and exciting digital badge reflecting the new brand.
Q: What excites you the most about ICF’s new brand identity, whether that’s a visual element like the digital badging, or just in general, what are you most excited about with this refresh?
A: There are so many things that I’m excited about with this new identity. The digital badging is absolutely at the top of that list, but also I really love, appreciate and value the depth of the brand identity. I love how it distinguishes each of the family organizations and really accurately reflects the unique value that each one, including ICF Credentials and Standards, brings to the stakeholders that they serve, whether that’s individual coach practitioners, credentialed coaches, mentor coaches, coach training providers or consumers of coaching.
It shows how we are able to better serve our stakeholders and the strength of the services that we bring to the entire profession – I just think that it’s really well done.
Q: What do you hope this new brand identity will inspire for ICF coaches and the larger coaching community?
A: I think one of the things that I appreciate so much about the ICF Credentials and Standards visual branding is that it is reflective of that credibility, that integrity, but also the warmth. I love the colors that are integrated into the visual brand – it gives a sense of motivation and pride along with that really important value of credibility. I think this sense of integrity, high quality, motivation and pride will be carried forward and amplified in the way that individual credentialed coaches carry and share this new brand with the world. I think people will be excited to see how modern and clean the brand is and be so proud to put that on their own website and be ambassadors for ICF and the breadth of what this organization does. I hope this visual identity will help inspire and shine a light on the power of coaching. And that’s exactly what it’s all about.