The Gold Standard in Coaching | ICF - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Can Coaching Supervision or Mentor Coaching be counted toward client coaching hours for ICF credentialing?

    No. Coaching Supervision and Mentor Coaching are distinct activities from coaching. Therefore, Coaching Supervision and Mentor Coaching hours may not be used toward the client coaching experience hours required for ICF credentialing.

    Up to 10 hours of Coaching Supervision and Mentor Coaching hours (receiving or delivering), however, may be used to meet the Continuing Coach Education (CCE) requirements for credential renewal.

  • Can Coaching Supervision take the place of Mentor Coaching for an ICF Credential?

    Not at this time. Given Coaching Supervision’s broader focus to include supporting the coach and sharing wisdom as compared to Mentor Coaching’s focus on a coach’s skill in the ICF Core Competencies, only Mentor Coaching is accepted to meet the Mentor Coaching requirements for an ICF Credential.

  • Can I be a Mentor Coach?

    To be a Mentor Coach for credentialing, you must hold a credential at or above the credential level your clients seek. For example, if you are a PCC, you may be a Mentor Coach for ACC and PCC applicants. If you are an ACC, you may only deliver Mentor Coaching to ACC candidates.

  • Can I count group coaching hours toward my experience requirement?

    Yes. If you are coaching a group you will document that session in your Client Coaching Log by giving ICF one name and email address from one person in the group and providing ICF with the number of people in the group (group coaching can be done with only 15 members or less). You cannot multiply hours times participants in the group. If you coach 15 people for 1 hour, you can only count that as one hour of coaching, not 15 hours.

  • Can I export badges issued through Credly Platform to other badge-storing platforms?

    Yes, you can download your badge from the Share Badge page. Your downloaded badge contains Open Badge Infrastructure (OBI) compliant metadata embedded into the image. This allows you to store your badge on other OBI-compliant badge sites, such as the Mozilla backpack.

  • Can I list my ICF Credential as "Pending" once I've submitted the application?

    No. You may only reference an ICF Credential in your marketing information, website or materials after it has been officially granted by the ICF. Because submission of an application does not guarantee that you will be granted an ICF Credential, referencing an ICF Credential prior to official receipt is misleading and potentially unethical. Making a false claim is a breach of the ICF Code of Ethics.

  • Can I submit a recording in my own language?

    The International Coaching Federation accepts a number of languages for the performance evaluation of a Credentialing application, which are listed for each credentialing level here. If a language is not listed, you may submit recordings in that language for review along with a transcript with the language used in your recording and an English translation of the transcript. You are not permitted to use an interpreter.

  • Do I have to apply for the Associate Certified Coach (ACC) before I apply for the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) or Master Certified Coach (MCC)?

    Candidates can apply for either the ACC or PCC Credential as long as they meet all requirements for the level of Credentialing for which they wish to apply. For the MCC Credential, however, candidates must hold or have held a PCC as a pre-requisite for MCC eligibility. This is to best support candidate success in their pursuit of the MCC Credential.

  • Do I have to attend an ICF-accredited program?

    The best way to ensure that you meet the requirements for an ICF Credential is to complete ICF-accredited coach-specific training. Non-accredited programs that meet ICF’s definition of coach-specific training are also accepted toward the training requirements for an ICF Credential once ICF has reviewed the course curriculum.

  • Do I have to get an ICF Credential?

    If you are serious about developing your coaching business, an ICF Credential is the best way to set yourself apart by demonstrating your knowledge, skill and commitment to high ethical and professional standards. However, because coaching is not regulated by any country or state, you are not required to get training or credentials.

  • For the purposes of logging experience hours, how does the International Coaching Federation (ICF) define the start of coach-specific training?

    Applicants for the ACC and PCC Credentials may only count coaching experience hours taking place after the start of their coach-specific training. Beginning July 31, 2018, at 12 Noon (New York), MCC applicants will be subject to the same requirement.

    The following qualifies as coach-specific training:

    • Any ICF-accredited program with at least 30 hours
    • Any CCE program with at least 30 hours (at least 80 percent in Core Competencies)
    • A non-approved program with at least 30 hours (at least 80 percent in Core Competencies). Please note that all non-approved training is subject to review and approval as part of the credentialing application process.

    Please note that ACC and PCC applicants who completed their coach-specific training via a CCE program or non-approved program must apply via the Portfolio path.

  • How do I find a training program for coaches with my background or in my specialty?

    You can use the “Coaching Specialty” search filter on the Training Program Search Service. For recommendations, you may join a Community of Practice in your specialty or find coaches in your specialty through Credentialed Coach Finder.

  • How do I find information on training program length and costs?

    Once you identify a training program on the Training Program Search Service (TPSS) that you are interested in, please reach out directly to the training program provider for more details about their program.

  • How do I get my credentials through ICF?

    You would need to submit an application to ICF for approval. The requirements for each level of credential can be found at the following links.




  • How does my certification get displayed as a badge?

    We have partnered with Credly to translate the learning outcomes you’ve demonstrated into a badge, issued and managed through the company’s Acclaim Platform. The technology Credly uses on its Acclaim Platform is based on the Open Badge Standards maintained by IMS Global. This enables you to manage, share and verify your competencies digitally.

  • How long will it take for my credentialing application to be reviewed?

    The estimated timeline for review of a credentialing application depends on which application you are submitting. Estimated timelines are as follows:

    ACC ACTP or PCC ACTP: 4 weeks

    ACC ACSTH, ACC Portfolio or PCC ACSTH: 14 weeks

    PCC Portfolio or MCC: 18 weeks

  • How will I know if I’ve earned a badge?

    You will receive an email notification from the Credly Platform ( with instructions for claiming your badge and setting up your account.

  • I have a question about the Credly Platform. Where can I find support?

    You can find answers to frequently asked questions in the Credly Support pages.

  • If I coach as part of my job, can I count those hours as paid?

    Yes, you can, as long as coaching is in your job description and you are not coaching employees whom you supervise or who report directly to you. This is considered internal coaching.

  • Is Coaching Supervision a requirement for ICF Credentials?

    Coaching Supervision is not a requirement for an initial ICF Credential at this time. A credentialed coach may use up to 10 hours of Coaching Supervision (receiving or delivering) to meet the Continuing Coach Education (CCE) requirements for credential renewal.

  • Is the time a Mentor Coach takes to listen to a recording (e.g., 20 minutes of a recorded coaching session) counted toward the 10 hours of Mentor Coaching?

    Only the time spent in interactive dialogue and delivery of feedback with the Mentor Coaching client may count toward the 10 hours of Mentor Coaching required for a credential. Time spent listening to a recording and preparing for a Mentor Coaching session may not be counted toward the 10-hour requirement.

  • Is there a fee to use Credly?

    No. This is a service we provide to ICF Credential-holders at no additional cost.

  • What are the benefits of a badge?

    Representing your skills as a badge gives you a way to share your abilities online in a way that is simple, trusted and can be easily verified in real time. Badges provide clients, employers and peers concrete evidence of what you had to do to earn your credential and what you’re now capable of.

  • What documents need to be submitted for Mentor Coaching hours?

    In the online credential application, you will be asked to list the name of each Mentor Coach, their email address, their ICF Credential, the start and end date of each mentoring relationship, and the number of hours of Mentor Coaching with each mentor. You are not required to provide documentation from your mentor coach, but your Mentor Coach must be able to confirm that the Mentor Coaching took place.

  • What if I don’t want my badge to be public?

    You can easily configure your privacy settings in the Credly Platform. You’re in complete control of the information about yourself that is made public.

  • What is an open badge?

    Open badges are web-enabled versions of a credential, certification or learning outcome which can be verified in real-time, online.

  • What is digital badging?

    As an ICF coach, you should take pride in what you do and your effort to help others! Digital badging helps ensure that all credentialing and your hard work as a coach is validated. ICF digital badges validate your Associate Certified Coach, Professional Certified Coach and Master Certified Coach levels.

  • What’s to keep someone else from copying my badge and using it?

    While badges are simply digital image files, they are uniquely linked to data hosted on Credly’s Acclaim Platform. This link to verified data makes them more reliable and secure than a paper-based certificate. It also eliminates the possibility of anyone claiming your credential and your associated identity.

  • When can I apply for my credentials through the International Coaching Federation (ICF)?

    You may submit your credential application once you have met all the requirements of the credential for which you are applying.

  • Where and how can I share my badge through the Credly Platform?

    You can share your badge directly from the Credly Platform to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook; over email; embedded in a website or in your email signature.

  • Where can I get my credential logo?

    ICF Credential-holders have a specific logo they may use. For an ICF Credential logo, please email ICF logos may only be used by those who obtain prior permission from ICF Headquarters. Without prior authorization, use of an ICF logo, or any other version or likeness of the logo, is in violation of the ICF’s logo usage guidelines and trademark law.

  • Which training program do I need to take to be a Mentor Coach?

    At this time, there is no specific training requirement for a coach to provide mentor coaching. Mentor coaches must have an ICF credential in good standing and may only provide mentor coaching to coaches at the same level of credentialing or lower. For instance, a PCC credentialed mentor coach may only offer mentor coaching services to those pursuing or holding an ACC or PCC. Further, ACC-credentialed coaches must complete a full cycle of their credential through renewal to be eligible to serve as a mentor coach.

  • Who is Credly?

    Credly is the end-to-end solution for issuing and managing digital credentials. Credly works with credible organizations to provide digital credentials to individuals, worldwide.

  • Why aren't ICF Credential-holders required to be ICF Members?

    The ICF Credential stands independent from ICF Membership. This is an important provision of compliance with globally accepted standards for bodies operating individual certification programs. The value of an ICF Credential as an industry-wide marker of an individual’s commitment to ongoing professional development and outstanding professional practice is distinct from the benefits of ICF Membership (e.g., networking and leadership-development opportunities, discounted event attendance, access to archived virtual learning). Although ICF Credential-holders are not required to be ICF Members, they are bound by the ICF Code of Ethics and are required to meet stringent renewal criteria every three years.

  • Why can’t I find a program in my area?

    There are more than 1,000 ICF-accredited programs. Less than half are in the United States and Canada, and most of those are in big cities or near the coasts. If you can’t find a program near you, many are offered via distance or blended learning formats.

  • Why does Credly need access to my LinkedIn account?

    To share or add a badge to your LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn requires an authorization process, that is required and standard for all third-party programs creating a connection between the two accounts.

    When you connect your Credly and LinkedIn accounts, you will receive a message outlining the permissions you are granting in the process. LinkedIn predetermines this message based on the authorization scope required to share your badge. Credly will not post to LinkedIn without your initiation or permission. Credly will only add badges to your profile or post them to your newsfeed upon request.

    You can disconnect Credly’s access to your social media account after you have successfully shared your badge to your profile or newsfeed. You can also manage Credly’s connection through your privacy settings within your social media account.

  • Why is digital badging important?

    According to the 2020 ICF Global Coaching Study, coaches say the No. 1 obstacle for the coaching profession is untrained individuals who call themselves coaches. Digital badging gives ICF Credential-holders a way to share their knowledge, skills and abilities online in a way that is simple and trusted and can be easily verified in real time.

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