Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? Check out many of the common questions our Academic Advisors have been asked.

Frequently Asked Questions2018-11-27T09:51:32-05:00
Why are PCCI core courses offered only by telephone rather than by video?2019-09-09T07:13:11-05:00

PCCI intentionally designed its most important and fundamental courses (The Essentials of Life Coaching and The Essentials of Leadership Coaching) for audio training only for several reasons:

  1. Isolate a student’s sense of hearing to potentially strengthen and refine the ability to listen deeply.
  2. Challenge students to become aware of and learn how to manage the myriad distractions that reduce the quality of listening.
  3. Become aware of the fact that so much of listening has become an exercise of “tuning out” and learn what and how to tune in appropriately in a coaching context.
  4. Increase stamina for listening only conversations since such a high percentage of communication occurs by the phone and in coaching 80-90% of coaching is by phone.
Are there any special requirements for international students?2019-09-09T07:13:17-05:00

We have more than 20 different countries represented in our student community at PCCI. All of our courses are taught in English and all class participation in coaching exercises will require students to coach in English. All oral assessments are given only in English.

International students (including Canada) need to purchase a paid Skype account or other VoIP service that allows the user to dial in to any US telephone number. Skype is reasonably inexpensive at $2.99/month (annual subscription.) We have a free VoIP service as a backup service should the phone/Skype service not be working, but it will only dial in to the class bridge line. It does not have the ability to dial in to the archive of class recordings.

Only the audio version is needed when using Skype. Simply dial in using the Skype software you will download to your computer. The sound will come through your speakers and most computers include a built-in microphone that will pick up your voice. Some students prefer to use earbuds or a headset to prevent feedback and echo.

What technology is required in order to take classes from PCCI?2019-09-09T07:13:27-05:00

The technology requirements in order to take PCCI classes are very minimal.

At the very least students need a telephone (either landline or cell phone), and access to a computer with Internet in order to access our Student Center, the hub where students can view and print all course documents, listen to required course audios, obtain bridge line information for classes, and access other essential resources.

Additionally, if students do NOT want to use a landline or cell phone to call into classes, a Skype PAID account is an option that many of our students use. Please click here for current rate information.

If using a Skype paid account, our recommendation for minimum Internet speed is 1 mbps upload and 1 mbps download. Please contact your Internet provider to see if your current Internet service plan meets this recommendation.

Finally, if using a Skype paid account, we recommend that all users utilize a headset or earbuds with a built-in microphone to reduce feedback.

What is the process for becoming certified through the International Coach Federation (ICF)?2018-11-27T09:45:52-05:00

The International Coach Federation (ICF) is a non-profit professional association and the largest organization of coaches in the world. They are the primary interface for professional-grade coaching with the media and with private & public corporations throughout the world, and they serve advocatory as well as regulatory functions to benefit both coaches and consumers.

Since the mid-1990’s, the ICF has established and modified a set of professional practice standards (the 11 Core Competencies) and a professional Code of Ethics. At PCCI, we ascribe to these standards and ethics and have developed all of our courses in alignment with them.

All of our instructors are ICF-certified, and all of our courses are approved by the ICF as ASCTH (Approved Coach Specific Training Hours).

Because of this, the road to ICF certification at the ACC level (Associate Certified Coach) through our school takes less than a year, and even the PCC (Professional Certified Coach) designation can be secured within 2 to 3 years depending on the growth of your client caseload.

All that is required for the ACC designation in terms of training is completion of the first two of our Core Courses (The Essentials of Coaching and Coaching Skills Development).

Additionally, the ICF requires that you provide proof of having done 100 or more hours of private coaching with clientele (20% of which can be pro bono service), that you complete 10 or more hours of mentor coaching with an ICF-certified coach, and submit an audio recording and written transcript of a coaching session. (The focus of your mentor coaching is on supervision of your client caseload — tweaking your skills and strengthening your application of the Core Competencies.)

After meeting these criteria, you can apply directly to the ICF from their website using their online “ACSTH Path” application form. They require payment of an application fee along with a passing score on their written exam, the Coach Knowledge Assessment.

Advanced certifications through the ICF — PCC (Professional Certified Coach) and MCC (Master Certified Coach) — can also be secured using our courses.

These advanced certifications take a minimum of 2 – 3 years and often more due to the number of additional required hours of coach training and of professional coaching services rendered, and they serve as a true measure of skill and professionalism in coaching. Full details of ICF certification can be found on their website,

Note: Professional Christian Coaching Institute (PCCI) is a separate and distinct entity from the International Coach Federation (ICF) and, while we align our training with their standards and have been awarded ACSTH status and our entire core faculty is ICF-certified, we do not have any direct influence on the ICF and cannot speak for them. The most up-to-date and accurate information about their certification process should be obtained only through the ICF website.

What distinguishes PCCI from all other coach training schools?2019-09-09T07:13:37-05:00

PCCI provides all live training, via telebridge, enabling real-time feedback, Q&A, role play demonstrations, case presentations, and supervision of your practice-coaching.

Our classes are taught on a high-definition telephone bridge line, so you can literally attend from anywhere in the world – even from a remote mission field, via Skype.

PCCI training is at the college/graduate level, honoring and integrating your Christian worldview and involving core texts and skills that are foundational in professional coaching.

All of our courses are pre-approved (ACSTH — Approved Coach Specific Training Hours) by the International Coach Federation (ICF), the highest standard of training in this profession.

Our instruction is based upon a European model of adult education with no written papers or tests, and no grades given. You will read several of the classic texts in this field followed by live discussion and lecture on the material in class, supervised and unsupervised practice-coaching in a telebridge lab setting, private journaling exercises to personalize the material, and live coaching demonstrations.

From a Learning Theory perspective, this is an extremely holistic approach to instruction – reading, journaling, lecture, Q&A, role play, case presentation, peer labs using a structured ICF observation form, and live supervision of practice in class.

Such a comprehensive style has been proven to train in a whole-person manner, incorporating both hemispheres of the brain and dramatically increasing comprehension & integration.

You will experience a transformational process within your ‘being’, as well as in your skills for ‘doing’.

PCCI integrates a distinctly Christian worldview throughout, as presented in our foundational text, Christian Coaching: Helping Others Turn Potential Into Reality, by Dr. Gary Collins.

All of our instructors are strong in the Faith and take a mainline, non-denominational approach to the Truth of Scripture and the importance of Christian values & morality in all areas of life.

We honor and incorporate your faith – training Christians to become professional coaches, not training ‘coaches who happen to be Christians’.

A passage that beautifully expresses our view of the role of a Christian coach is Proverbs 20:5, “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.

We equip you to draw out the deep waters of purpose from people’s hearts, serving both Christian & non-Christian clientele, without imposing your worldviews or agendas upon them.

We firmly believe that the real learning of anything begins when you start doing it, so our training encourages a tremendous amount of hands-on learning from the beginning. We encourage new coaches to start taking on clients within their first few months of training and, as a result, better than 50% of our students secure paying clients before completion of our introductory courses, The Essentials of Life Coaching or The Essentials of Leadership Coaching.

This enables you to grow your private practice and increase your income while taking additional coursework over time in an ‘a la carte’ fashion.

At PCCI, your training costs are truly an investment – many students recoup their entire tuition costs by securing private clients before their coursework is even completed.

All of our course tuitions are moderately priced and have extended payment plans available.

We offer business development & marketing classes to get you earning a solid income – fast. Our highly-acclaimed course, The Successful Coach, has been privately contracted by entire denominations and teams of coaches because of its strength in launching successful coaching practices.

Marketing Made Easy will equip you to mine the connections you already have while opening up new worlds of prospects through informed use of the Web.

The International Coach Federation (ICF) demonstrated in 2007 through their PricewaterhouseCoopers survey that full-time coaches were averaging an income of $82,000/year. Our business model trains you to meet and exceed that average. Honestly.

We also provide ongoing business support through The Christian Coaches’ Power Lunch, our free bi-weekly live telebridge community and private online discussion group. We are firmly committed to the financial & business success of our PCCI family.

PCCI provides a wide range of advanced specialty classes, enabling you to brand & niche yourself in the marketplace.

Advanced courses include some of the hottest niches in coaching, such as Leadership Coaching, Career Coaching, Group Coaching, Missionary Coaching, Coaching Work Teams, and Coaching for Spiritual Formation, with new courses added every year.

PCCI offers certification (CPLC) only after true competence has been demonstrated – no ‘rubber stamps’ here. Many training programs offer ‘certifications’ of highly questionable value, requiring little to no supervised practice or evaluated skill.

Our Certified Professional Life Coaches (CPLC) and Certified Professional Leadership Coaching (CPLC) have demonstrated proficiency in four core courses – either The Essentials of Life Coaching OR The Essentials of Leadership Coaching (40 hrs.), Coaching Skills Development (27 hrs.), Coaching Skills Mastery (27 hrs.), and Ethical Practice & Liability Risk Management (10 hrs.)

Additionally, they have been mentor coached at least 5 clock-hours by an ICF-certified coach (PCC or MCC) and have passed oral examination by two of our ICF-certified coaches.

Our certifications carry real weight – you will be CONFIDENT as a coach because you are COMPETENT as a coach.

All PCCI instructors are ICF-certified and our training is aligned with ICF standards & code of ethics, the ‘gold standard’ of this profession.

Students can apply for ICF certification after completing our training (and meeting ICF practice and supervision hours) through the ICF ACSTH Application process.

PCCI’s founder & president, Christopher McCluskey, is a pioneer and thought leader in the field, and has been called by many the ‘Father of Christian Coaching’. He established the world’s first distinctly Christian coach training program accredited by the ICF (through a previous institute) in 2000, and is a founding board member of both the Christian Coaches Network and Christian Coaching Magazine.

A best-selling author and popular keynote speaker, Chris is co-host of the top-rated podcast “Professional Christian Coaching Today” and has been interviewed in numerous books & magazines including Christian Coaching by Dr. Gary Collins, Therapist as Life Coach by Dr. Patrick Williams, Christian Counseling Today magazine, Psychotherapy Networker, Focus on the Family publications, Marriage Partnership,, Ladies Home Journal, Marriage & Family Journal, Psychotherapy Finances, Christian Coaching Magazine, and many others.

His is a prominent voice shaping our profession, serving on several boards and frequently presenting at national and international conferences. Chris has authored or co-authored all PCCI curriculum and has assembled here the largest faculty of ICF-certified Christian coaches in the world.

Dr. Gary Collins states, “More than any other person, Christopher McCluskey introduced me to coaching and has been a prime encourager as I have taken formal training, grown as a coach trainer, and written this book. (Christian Coaching: Helping Others Turn Potential Into Reality, © 2001, 2009, p 246.)

PCCI’s motto is “Raising the Standard”, and we mean it. We are raising the standard of professionalism among coaches who bear the name of Christ and we are raising the ‘royal standard’ of Jesus Christ in the arena of this profession.

Professional Christian Coaching Institute is the school that integrates

  • Sound Christian Faith
  • Strong Coaching Competencies
  • Solid Business Practices
  • Supportive Professional Community
What is the process for becoming certified through PCCI?2018-11-27T09:51:24-05:00

The designation Certified Professional Life Coach (CPLC) or Certified Professional Leadership Coach (CPLC) is awarded to those who meet our high standards of training, experience and proficiency as demonstrated by completion of the following:

Once you have completed all of the above, you may apply here to be awarded our Certified Professional Life Coach (CPLC) credential or our Certified Professional Leadership Coach (CPLC) credential, depending on which Essentials course you completed.


How long does it take to become certified through PCCI?2017-01-09T14:33:34-05:00

A person can expect to meet the requirements for either of our Certified Professional Life Coach OR Certified Professional Leadership Coach (CPLC) designations within 12 – 18 months. This time frame can be shortened based upon the timing of each course offering and on the number of clients the coach is able to secure quickly.

The CPLC is a designation of professional competency in coaching, not a quick ‘rubber-stamp’ to aid in marketing. It provides assurance of training, skill and experience to those interested in hiring a professional coach and is in keeping with the high standards of Professional Christian Coaching Institute.

While we are aware that many coach training schools offer certifications requiring fewer hours of training & experience, not requiring demonstration of proficiency through live supervised coaching with structured feedback and oral examination, or not requiring the experience of mentor coaching, we do not feel this serves the profession, the public, nor the name of Christ well.

PCCI strongly embraces its responsibility to establish a high degree of competency in our students. This is in keeping with our mantra, “Raising the Standard” – a double entendre on raising the standard of professionalism among Christian coaches and raising high the ‘royal standard’ of Christ in the field of coaching.

How much does it cost to become certified through PCCI?2018-11-27T09:40:53-05:00

Aside from the tuition for our four Core Courses and 5 hours of mentor coaching from an ICF-certified coach of your own choosing, there are processing fees involved in becoming a Certified Professional Life Coach (CPLC) or Certified Professional Leadership Coach (CPLC), but there are no periodic renewal fees.

Costs for the four Core Courses are as follows:

TOTAL: $5,000 (Note: various combinations of these courses are available at reduced bundle fees.)

Processing Fees for CPLC are as follows:

  • $100: If your Coaching Skills Mastery class  began prior to 01/01/2018
  • $300: If your Skills Mastery class began after 01/01/2018 (you must submit an audio recording of a coaching session for evaluation)
  • $100: For your second certification
What does a person get upon completion of the program?2018-10-23T11:08:16-05:00

You will receive a Certificate of Completion for every course you take, and will be able to download a PCCI icon with the designation “Trained” for use on your website and promotional materials. These identify you as having received training at Professional Christian Coaching Institute and can be utilized later in applying for various certifications within the profession.

Once you complete our 4 Core Courses (The Essentials of Life Coaching or The Essentials of Leadership Coaching, Coaching Skills Development, Coaching Skills Mastery*, and Ethical Practice & Risk Management) and meet the supervision requirement of 5+ hours of mentor coaching and the practice requirement of 50+ hours of coaching clients, you may apply here to be awarded our Certified Professional Life Coach (CPLC) credential or our Certified Professional Leadership Coach (CPLC) credential, depending on which Essentials course you completed.

Your CPLC credential comes with a beautiful hardcopy certificate suitable for framing along with a digital graphic icon for use on your website, signature tag and other promotional materials.

*If your Coaching Skills Mastery course was started after 01/01/2018, you will need to submit a recording of a coaching session along with your application.

Is certification or licensing required to become a life coach?2017-01-09T14:33:34-05:00

There is no certification or licensing required to practice professional coaching in the U.S., just as none is required to practice professional consulting. Several types of certification exist, however, and can be beneficial for establishing credibility in the marketplace.

Most coach training schools provide their own internal certifications affirming competency in coaching, and PCCI provides two such internal designations; the Certified Professional Life Coach and/or Certified Professional Leadership Coach (CPLC).

Additionally, all of our courses are pre-approved by the International Coach Federation (ICF) as ACSTH (Approved Coach Specific Training Hours), enabling you to do “double duty” — securing our own high standard of certification while simultaneously securing the highest standard of credentialing in this field through the ICF.

What type of Mentor Coaching is required for certification through PCCI?2018-10-23T11:27:43-05:00

In order to be awarded our Certified Professional Life Coach credential or our Certified Professional Leadership Coach credential, you must receive 5 hours of one-on-one mentor coaching from an ICF certified coach with the PCC or MCC designation. The coaching must be focused on developing your skills in alignment with the 11 ICF Core Competencies rather than other topics such as business building, marketing, systems, etc.

At the end of your mentor coaching, your coach should provide you with a letter confirming the completion of your coaching and stating that you are coaching at least at the ACC level of competency.

Your mentor coach should also help you choose one of your recordings to be submitted for evaluation as part of the certification process (if your Coaching Skills Mastery course was started after 01/01/2018).

Several PCCI faculty members provide special packages of mentor coaching, however you may secure your mentor coaching from any ICF credentialed PCC or MCC coach.

Are there any prerequisites for becoming a student at PCCI?2019-09-09T07:13:54-05:00

No. The majority of our students have a background in various people-helping roles such as pastor, therapist, lay counselor, 12-step group facilitator, support group leader, etc., but these are not required.

Most of our students are in their 30s to 60s and most have a college degree, with more than half having advanced degrees, but we do not restrict entry to anyone based on education or experience.

If you have a strong desire for training in distinctly Christian coach training and sense that God is leading you in this direction, it is not our place to establish any barriers to your entry. There is no application/screening process.

We do reserve the right to remove anyone from a class and/or the school if, in our opinion, their presence is proving unacceptably disruptive to the learning process for other students.

How does PCCI integrate our Christian faith into professional life coaching?2019-09-09T07:14:00-05:00

Life coaching is about examining the entirety of a person’s life; their core values, sense of life purpose or calling, and the fulfillment of that calling on every plane of their being.

In as much as this includes examination of spirituality and theological beliefs, Christians often prefer to train under facilitators who ascribe to their same core beliefs.

Likewise, many Christians seeking to hire a coach prefer that he or she holds their same convictions and works within a Christian worldview and value system.

Our theological framework is ecumenical, fairly conservative, and evangelical. We do not promote a particular denomination, welcoming Christians of all mainstream Protestant and Catholic backgrounds.

Classes are bathed in prayer, Scripture is cited frequently, and our common Christian worldview shapes all that we teach.

We believe that, despite the great number of denominations throughout the Christian world, we have more in common than in conflict, and we choose to work within that joyful space.

Our faculty are all strong in the Faith and active in their churches and ministries (see our Faculty page), and are of varied denominational perspectives.

We embrace the Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of God, the triune God of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross as payment for our sins and the only means of salvation for mankind.

Your Christian faith will be honored and integrated throughout your training and, on any points in which you find doctrinal disagreement with a fellow student or instructor, you will be encouraged to hold fast to your convictions while being open to the ever-deepening truths the Father reveals to all of us through relationship with those in the Body of Christ. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Prov 27:17)

While we train from a distinctly Christian perspective, we fully support the decision by many of our students to work with both Christian and non-Christian clientele. A coach must always seek to discern and work within the unique value system and worldview of his or her clients without imposing their own or using the coaching relationship to proselytize.

What is the average income for a coach?2017-01-09T14:33:34-05:00

A PricewaterhouseCoopers study commissioned in 2007 by the International Coach Federation found that part-time coaches averaged annual salaries of $26,000 and full-time coaches were averaging $82,000.

Most of the coaches we have trained charge fees in the range of $150/month to $400/month for a package of 3 scheduled sessions per month. A very manageable caseload for a full-time coach is around 25 clients/month.

Gross income projections can therefore be estimated by multiplying the number of clients desired by fees within that range. Twenty-five clients, for example, at $250/month generates $75,000/year. Twenty-five clients at $350/month is $105,000.

Coaches who specialize in executive, corporate and leadership coaching often charge considerably more ($600 to $1,000+/month), but we encourage prospective students to make conservative projections when considering the field.

The financial viability of coaching is very real, and the overhead costs of a business run out of your home (as most coaches do) are quite minimal.

What is coaching?2017-01-09T14:33:34-05:00

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.”

A coach is a collaborative partner, not a hired expert. A coach is not a consultant, mentor, counselor, or adviser because he or she is non-directive. We say that coaching is done “from the inside out” rather than “from the outside in”.

Coaches have no agenda, no personal investment in a client taking one path versus another. Instead, coaches will listen for and focus on the gap between where a client is now and where the client senses God is calling them to be.

Coaching is the art of asking powerful questions that prompt clients to think about things they’ve never considered before, or may have dismissed as impossible.

A really good coach is masterful at “staying in the questions”, prompting clients to listen to and express their hearts & minds, their core values — what Scripture would call “the desires of their hearts.” Coaches then challenge clients to move proactively toward the clarified vision that results from such non-directive exploration.

What is the difference between coaching and counseling?2017-01-09T14:33:34-05:00

Counselors and therapists are, like consultants, hired for their expertise. They have specialized training in such things as healthy communication, good parenting, effective social skills, mental/emotional & spiritual health, and the like. They are skilled in uncovering underlying reasons for dysfunction and debilitating conditions such as depression, anxiety, and other mood and thought disorders.

Coaching is about stability and growth rather than dysfunction and healing. Whereas psychotherapy & counseling are primarily about the past and present, coaching is primarily about the future.

A person in need of healing is not yet ready for coaching and should be referred to a therapist. There are more basic issues to be addressed before they can effectively pursue greater fulfillment.

What is the difference between coaching and consulting/mentoring?2017-01-09T14:33:34-05:00

Consultants are hired because of their expertise in a given area. They provide information and give direction and advice to clients.

By contrast, coaches do not necessarily have expertise in an area in which a client wants to grow. Their role, instead, is to ask powerful, probing questions which enable clients to discover their own answers.

In a sense, coaches help clients to hear themselves more clearly and gain a greater sense of what God is speaking to their spirits. They then help them develop plans and take action to ensure follow-through.

What is the difference between coaching and discipleship?2017-01-09T14:33:34-05:00

As with consultants, counselors, and mentors, a discipler has considerable experience from which to draw in helping persons make desired change. A Christian who disciples is mature in the faith and is able to impart that faith to others – to instruct them in the tenets of our faith, its moral code, spiritual disciplines of the faith, and the like.

Discipleship is tremendously helpful, and coaching in no way replaces it, but the mode and methods of people-helping are dramatically different.

Discipleship is more of an “outside-in” model of people-helping versus the “inside-out” of coaching. Coaching is non-directive, non-advisory, non-instructional. It is inquisitive, exploratory, genuinely curious.

A coach could not possibly be an “expert” on the things around which they coach because no one could be an expert on someone else’s future. No one could know what someone else’s life path should be; what their core values are, their sense of life purpose or calling, their unique giftings, their passions, etc.

Clients are often not aware of these things either, but the assumption of coaching is that the answers they seek are to be found within themselves and their individual walk with God.

Romans 11:29 states “…God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” It doesn’t say we will necessarily discern those gifts and calling, nor fulfill them – it just says they’re inside of us and they’re not going to be taken back. A Christian coach helps client