Lately I’ve heard stories of new coaches who have invested money and time into coach training that did not get them to where they wanted to be.  They paid money for training that didn’t lead them to the professional credentialing that they were seeking.  They were very disappointed to learn they would have to basically start over to obtain the International Coach Federation (ICF) coaching credentials they desired.
Before I go further, I will say as I often have:  I don’t believe every coach needs ICF credentials.  You need training that will help you fulfill your unique purposes.  You may simply want to gain some coaching skills to enhance your current ministry effectiveness or job performance and you may not need to pursue credentials.  Of course, you would want quality training whether or not you plan to pursue coaching credentials.

Industry Recognized Coaching Credentials

But if you want professional level training that can lead to industry-recognized coaching credentials, know the following:

  • The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the industry standard accrediting and credentialing organization.
  • If you want to get professional coaching credentials from ICF, you need to know that the training you’ve taken will be considered as part of your application.  Acceptable training can be from an ICF accredited/approved school or from a non-approved school that they determine meets their standards.
  • If you are considering taking training that isn’t ICF accredited or approvedand you want to obtain professional credentials, you can do some research in advance of taking your training that will help you know the chances of your credentialing application being approved.
  • If you want to research your chances of your non-ICF-approved training being approved, start by familiarizing yourself with the portfolio application for ACC credentialing at the ICF website.
  • As you consider a training course or program that is not ICF approved, ask the director if students from their school have applied and been approved for ACC or PCC credentials using the courses you are considering.  The directors of non-ICF approved schools should not tell you that “yes,” in fact you will be approved – because they can’t speak for the ICF.  However, if students from their training have a history of being awarded their ACC’s or PCC’s from ICF, then you have evidence to believe that your chances of approval are positive.
  • Be aware that ICF standards for acceptable training include that courses involve 80% “student contact hours.”  Here is a quote from ICF about this:  “Student contact hours – clock hours spent synchronous (real- time) interactions between faculty and students… A minimum of 80% of all training must be delivered in synchronous activities.”  In other words, acceptable training includes predominantly live, real-time interaction between students and instructors.  A small percentage can include independent study (for example by pre-recorded video or audio).

Are there Christian programs and courses accredited and approved that can apply for your ACC or PCC credential with ICF?  Absolutely!  And are there Christian programs and courses that are not approved but have had students use their courses in their applications resulting in obtaining their ACC’s or PCC’s?  Yes, definitely!
To identify which options might help you discover your unique purpose and God-given vision, check out Linda’s book, The Complete Guide to Christian Coach Training.

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