The Gold Standard in Coaching | ICF - ICF Credential
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The Gold Standard of Professional Coaching.

Anyone can call themselves a coach. But ICF-credentialed coaches are professionals who have met stringent education and experience requirements, and have demonstrated a thorough understanding of the coaching competencies that set the standard in the profession. Additionally, they adhere to strict ethical guidelines as part of ICF’s mission to protect and serve coaching consumers.

Effective August 2: Updated Credential Application Process

On August 2, ICF Credentials and Standards implemented several exciting changes to the credentialing process. These changes reflect our commitment to ensure that the ICF Credentials meet the highest standards in professional certification practice, and support and elevate ICF Credential-holders.


What is an ICF Credential?

An ICF Credential is a professional certification indicating that you have met specific standards and requirements designed to develop and refine your coaching skills. It is an indication that you are dedicated to upholding strong principles of ethical behavior in coaching.  An ICF Credential shows your clients and peers that you are committed to the coaching industry and to developing yourself as a coaching professional.

Holding a credential – especially an ICF Credential – is extremely important to today’s coaching clients. The 2022 Global Consumer Awareness Study found that 85% of coaching clients say it’s important or very important that their coach holds a certification or credential. Earning an ICF Credential provides you with instant credibility and increased visibility to prospective clients.

ICF offers three credentials, corresponding with the quantity of education and experience required to earn it. The credentials are:

Associate Certified Coach (ACC) – Completed 60 hours of coach specific education and 100 hours of client coaching experience

Professional Certified Coach (PCC) – Completed 125 hours of coach specific education and 500 hours of client coaching experience

Master Certified Coach (MCC) – Hold or have held a PCC Credential, completed 200 hours of coach specific education and 2,500 hours of client coaching experience

What Does it Take to Earn a Credential?

Earning an ICF Credential is a rigorous process that provides legitimacy and credibility to Credential-holders. Each of the credentials (ACC, PCC and MCC) requires the same five key components:

1. Education

Obtain coach-specific education aligned with the ICF definition of coaching, ICF Core Competencies and ICF Code of Ethics. | Find ICF-accredited EducationReview non-accredited Education Requirements

2. Experience

Coaching experience hours must begin after you’ve started a coaching education program.  | Review Experience Requirements

3. Mentor Coaching

Receive mentor coaching to strengthen your skills within the ICF Core Competencies. | Review Mentor Coaching Information

4. Performance Evaluation

Pass a performance evaluation(s) that assess your coaching skills against ICF standards. | Review Performance Evaluation Details

5. Exam

Pass a written exam designed to test your understanding of and ability to apply the ICF definition of coaching, ICF Core Competencies and ICF Code of Ethics.  | Review Exam Information

Not Sure How to Start Your Credential Application?

Visit the How to Apply page to understand the application process. Or, if you are ready to apply for your Credential, get started with your application by completing the Credential Survey.


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