ICF Coaching Certification

Become a Globally Recognized Coach with an ICF Certification

Unlock your elite coaching status with our ICF-aligned Certification. Gain essential skills and ethics for a distinguished coaching career. Elevate your practice with ICF recognition

What is the ICF certification?

An ICF coaching certification is a training program designed to teach individuals the skills, techniques, and methodologies required to become a professional coach, in alignment with the standards and guidelines set by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). The ICF is a leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals. The Code of Ethics of the International Coach Federation (ICF) sets the organization apart within the industry. It lays down clear guidelines, ensures accountability, and enforces standards of conduct that all members of the ICF must adhere to.

ICF: Pioneering Global Excellence in Coaching Since 1995

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals. Founded in 1995 by a group of coaches, including Thomas Leonard, the ICF emerged in response to the growing need for formalization and standardization in the coaching industry. Its mission was to establish coaching as a distinct and self-regulating profession, distinguished by a set of core competencies, ethical guidelines, and a commitment to continuous development. Over the years, the ICF has grown exponentially, with thousands of members spanning over 100 countries, and has become synonymous with best practices in coaching. The organization continues to lead the way in research, education, and establishing coaching standards, playing a pivotal role in the professional development of coaches around the world.

How do I become an ICF coach?

Becoming an ICF (International Coaching Federation) certified coach involves a structured process designed to ensure that you meet the high standards of coaching proficiency and ethics set by the ICF. Here’s a step-by-step guide to becoming an ICF-certified coach:

1. Choose Your Certification Level

The ICF offers three levels of certification:

  • LEVEL 1 (at least 60 contact learning hours)
  • LEVEL 2 (at least 125 contact learning hours)
  • LEVEL 3 (at least 75 contact learning hours)

Each level has its own requirements regarding training hours, coaching experience, and assessment.

2. Complete ICF-Accredited Coach Training

Enroll in an ICF-accredited coach training program. Here are two possibilities:

LEVEL 1: The qualification is designed for those who wish to become involved in coaching at an assistant level, and to have responsibility for the delivery of coaching activities under the direct supervision of a more qualified coach. It is an entry point to coaching, depending on the ability and confidence of the learner. Graduates from a Level 1 education and training programs may apply for the Associate Certified Coach (ACC) Credential using the Level 1 application path if they meet the credentialing requirements.

LEVEL 2: A comprehensive program that covers all ICF Core Competencies and includes mentor coaching, observed coaching sessions, and a final exam. LEVEL 2 programs provide a direct path to certification. Graduates from a Level 2 education and training programs may apply for the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) Credential using the Level 2 application path if they meet the credentialing requirements.


Accumulate Coaching Experience Hours

You must complete a certain number of coaching experience hours, depending on the certification level:

  • ACC: 100 hours (at least 75 paid) with at least 8 clients
  • PCC: 500 hours (at least 450 paid) with at least 25 clients
  • MCC: 2,500 hours (at least 2,250 paid) with at least 35 clients


Undertake Mentor Coaching

Receive at least 10 hours of mentoring from an ICF-certified coach over a minimum of three months. This mentoring should focus on developing your coaching skills based on the ICF Core Competencies.

ICF Credentialing Exam

is a high-quality, state-of the-art credentialing exam aligned with the highest standards of certification test development practices and was informed by ICF-credentialed coaches from around the world who served as subject matter expert volunteers in its development.

Apply for Certification

Submit your application for certification to the ICF, including documentation of your completed coach training, coaching experience hours, mentor coaching hours, and the CKA result. Depending on your path (ACTP or ACSTH), you might also need to submit recordings of your coaching sessions for assessment.

Maintain and Renew Your Certification

ICF certifications are valid for three years. To renew, you must demonstrate continued professional development and coaching practice, including at least 40 hours of Continuing Coach Education (CCE) and adherence to the ICF Code of Ethics.
Starting the journey to become an ICF-certified coach requires a commitment to professional development and a dedication to upholding the highest standards of the coaching profession. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a recognized certification that can enhance your coaching career.

How do I choose an ICF program that fits my needs?

As a Coaching School our suggestion, if you want to become a professional coach is that you choose Level 2 that will allow you to perform at a level of a PCC coach (Professional Certified Coach).

Is an ICF Certification legit?

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is recognized as a leading global organization dedicated to the coaching profession. ICF certification is considered legitimate and reputable within the coaching industry. It sets and maintains high standards for coaching through a rigorous certification process, requiring its members to adhere to a strict code of ethics and to demonstrate a proficient level of coaching competency.

The ICF offers several levels of certification programs, including LEVEL 1, LEVEL 2 and LEVEL 3. All these programs are in line with the ICF Competencies and Standards. Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and Master Certified Coach (MCC) are the Credential levels that the ICF accredits coaches depending on their training and practice hours.

Achieving ICF certification can be beneficial for coaches as it:

  • Provides Credibility: Being certified by a globally recognized organization can enhance a coach’s credibility and professionalism in the eyes of clients and employers.
  • Ensures Quality: The ICF’s stringent certification requirements ensure that certified coaches have met a high standard of coaching practice.
  • Supports Continuous Learning: The certification process encourages coaches to continually develop their skills and stay updated with the latest coaching techniques and practices.
    Facilitates Networking: Being part of the ICF community provides opportunities for networking, collaboration, and access to resources within the global coaching community.

    However, it’s important to note that while ICF certification is highly regarded, it is not the only pathway to becoming a successful coach. There are other coaching associations and certifications available, and the best choice depends on an individual’s specific career goals, coaching style, and the needs of their potential clients.
ICF Certification Level 2

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