All About The ICF Credentialing Exam

In this article we will cover the new credentialing standards and the exam all coaches have to take when applying to an ICF accreditation. Check our other article for more information on the updated paths.

Updated Standards for performance evaluation

The ICF performance evaluation

First, what is the performance evaluation the ICF is referring to? Coaches can apply for an ICF accreditation through multiple paths. Some of these paths require the coach to send one or two recorded coaching sessions and its transcript. These sessions are assessed by the ICF against a set of behaviours accreditation expected at the level the coach applies to.

To know exactly when to send a recording, please refer to the ICF website directly.

The current standards

After the ICF updated their competency framework in November 2019, ICF-accredited training providers had about a year to a year and half to update their course materials and reflect these changes in their curriculum. So many coaches who completed an ICF training from 2020/2021 have been trained on the new competency model.

The issue is that the old competency model is still being used to assess the audio recording of the sessions sent by credential applicants. Because there isn’t a lot of difference between the two framework, it is not a big issue, but this discrepancy needed to be fixed. This is what the ICF just announced.

The updated standards (from August 1st, 2022)

From August 1st, 2022, all ICF credential applications will finally be assessed using the new model. On June 1st, the ICF will publish the criteria for ACC and MCC accreditations for all coaches to know what is expected of the recordings they need to submit. The PCC markers are already available here.

Updated Credentialing exam

The current exam

All coaches who apply to an ICF credential for the first time must take the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) during their application process. The CKA is an online multiple-choice questionnaire of 155 items that tests coaches on their understanding of the ICF definition of coaching, Core Competencies and Code of Ethics. Coaches only have to take it once during their first application, and don’t have to take it again for renewal or change in accreditation level.

It is still based on the old competency model. 

The updated exam (from August 1st, 2022)

A few things are changing this summer:

  • The new name of the CKA is the ICF Credentialing Exam.
  • The content will finally be based on the updated model of competencies.
  • The test will include 170 scenario-based questions designed to assess a coach’s knowledge and ability to apply the new competency framework in practice. 


Another important update is that all coaches who have completed the CKA for a previous credential application will need to take the new ICF Credentialing Exam if they want to upgrade their accreditation (apply to PCC after having received an ACC; apply to MCC after having received a PCC). They will not have to retake it for credential renewal.


If you want to hear from us about all things coaching and not miss any new articles, sign up below 👇


International Coaching Federation. (2022). Updated Performance Evaluation Criteria. Link:

International Coaching Federation. (2022). New ICF Credentialing Exam. Link:


Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu on Unsplash

Get the last spot for October

One place was made available at the last minute for our next course starting in 10 days.

Book the last spot now to get started with your coach training immediately!