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Enquiries about the ICF requirements for credentials are very common in the trainings we deliver. It is normal not to fully grasp the different criteria for each of the accreditation level. All these abbreviations can be quite obscure at first.

If ACC/PCC/MCC and ACSTH/ACTP/CCE do not mean anything to you, make sure you check these posts for more information before looking at the requirements below.

TRAINING CERTIFICATE ≠ ICF ACCREDITATION

The first thing to understand is that completing a coach training doesn’t equal getting an ICF accreditation. Training and accreditation are in fact two very different things: completing a coach training is one of the requirements for an ICF accreditation. We will cover all the ICF requirements for each of the levels below.

It is essential to grasp this to set the right expectations and avoid disappointment: no training can guarantee that you will get an ICF accreditation. The ICF reviews each credential application without involving the training provider.

It also means that you need to factor the cost of the application for the ICF credential as an additional expense. Getting an ICF accreditation is recommended but not mandatory to practice as a coach. You can reflect on the ratio cost/benefit for you to see if this is something you want to pursue.

For additional information on the different credential criteria, you can refer to the ICF website.

GET CLARITY ON WHICH CREDENTIALING PATH YOU CAN TAKE

You have 3 ways of getting an ACC or a PCC accreditation:

  • The ACTP path
  • The ACSTH path
  • The Portfolio path

You need to know which path you will take for the credentialing process, because they have different requirements. The accreditation “route” is determined by whether the coach training you did was accredited or not, and if so, which accreditation it has. Check the completion certificate you received from the course, as well as the website of the training provider. If you can’t find any information, contact them directly to get the information. You may also check on the ICF website.

ICF REQUIREMENTS FOR ACC

The following criteria need to be met before you apply for an ICF ACC credential:

Ideally, the training should have the “ACSTH” or “ACTP” programme accreditation.

If it is not ICF-accredited, you can still apply to the ICF ACC via the Portfolio path. Be aware that you will need to provide a lot of documentation about the course, including: proof of completion, list of hours delivered synchronously and asynchronously, evidence that the course was comprehensive and included the ICF framework, class outline or syllabus, and student materials (handouts, slides, etc.).

If you are unsure if your course was accredited or not, contact your training provider.

You need to have completed at least 100 hours of coaching with individual clients or in a group/team setting. You should track these hours in a coaching log (an Excel document) where you keep notes of the name and contact details of your clients, as well as the amount of coaching hours you have done with them.

In your log, you should make a distinction between paid coaching and probono (free) coaching. You can do a maximum of 30 hours of probono coaching out of these 100 hours.

You can only count hours from the start of your coach-training course. The coaching you do before your coach training will not count towards your credential. 

If your programme is ACSTH-certified or not certified at all, you will need to do 10 hours of Mentor Coaching with an experienced ACC, PCC or MCC coach, over a period of 3 months. 7 hours maximum can be in a group setting, the rest will need to be individual sessions.

You can find an ICF Mentor Coach on this page.

If you have completed an ACTP-accredited training, you do not need to do Mentor Coaching.

Students who have completed an ACSTH-certified training or didn’t do an approved training will need to submit a recording of a real coaching session and its written transcript. The recording needs to be at ACC level. It should be between 20 minutes and 1 hour.

If you have completed an ACTP-accredited training, you do not need to submit a recording and its transcript.

All coaches, regardless of the programme they attend, need to pass the ICF online assessment.

The Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) is a 155 multiple-choice test items online questionnaire that measures the coach’s coaching knowledge and skills. It revolves around the ICF definition of coaching, core competencies and code of ethics. The passing grade is 70%.

It is the last step to complete as it is only made available to you after you apply to your ICF credential.

To learn more about the CKA, you can check this page.

ICF REQUIREMENTS FOR PCC

In order to apply for the second-level accreditation, ICF PCC, you need to meet the following criterias:

Ideally here as well, the training should have the “ACSTH” or “ACTP” programme accreditation. If you have done an initial coach training of less than 125 hours, it means you will need to complete it with another course.

If it is not ICF-accredited, the same rules apply: you will need to provide a lot of documentation about the course, including proof of completion, list of hours delivered synchronously and asynchronously, evidence that the course was comprehensive and included the ICF framework, class outline or syllabus, and student materials (handouts, slides, etc.).

You need to have completed at least 500 hours of coaching. 60 of these 500 hours can be probono coaching, the other 440 will have to be paid coaching.

If you have your ACC, the coaching hours include the first 100 hours that you already submitted for the first-level accreditation. The counter doesn’t go back to zero.

If your programme is ACSTH-certified or not certified at all, you will need to do 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over a period of 3 months with an experienced PCC or MCC coach (ACC coaches can’t mentor for PCC accreditations). The same criteria apply here: 7 hours maximum can be in a group setting, the rest will need to be individual sessions. 

You need to do Mentor Coaching for PCC even if you have done Mentor Coaching for your ACC.

If you have completed an ACTP-accredited training, you do not need to do Mentor Coaching.

Students who have completed an ACSTH-certified training or didn’t do an approved training will need to submit two session recordings and their written transcript. The recording needs to be at PCC level. It should be between 20 minutes and 1 hour.

If you have completed an ACTP-accredited training, you do not need to submit a recording and its transcript.

 

If you have already passed the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) for your ICF ACC, you do not need to retake it for PCC.

You can apply to the PCC credential without having the ACC accreditation.

ICF REQUIREMENTS FOR MCC

Unlike the PCC accreditation, which can be apply to directly without holding the first level accreditation, the MCC credential requires that you have been granted PCC beforehand.

The training requirement is 200 hours of coach-specific training. This probably means doing another training on top of the course(s) you did for ACC and PCC.

The experience required for MCC is a big step as you need to have completed at least 2,500 hours of coaching. 60 of these 500 hours can be probono coaching, the other 440 will have to be paid coaching.

If you have your ACC, the coaching hours include the first 100 hours that you already submitted for the first-level accreditation. The counter doesn’t go back to zero.

If your programme is ACSTH-certified or not certified at all, you will need to do 10 hours of Mentor Coaching with an experienced MCC coach only.

Mentor Coaching is mandatory for all applicants, whether they did a fully accredited training or not.

You will need to submit two recordings at MCC level as well as their transcript. Understanding the criteria for MCC accreditation will be one of the topics that needs to be discussed with the mentor coach.

The Coach Knowledge Assessment is mandatory at MCC for coaches who have not passed it before.

REFERENCES

International Coaching Federation, https://coachingfederation.org/