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The Importance of ICF Credentials for a Coach

Coaching is a profession that helps people move behind the boxes and labels set up by society so why should a coach, who preaches being authentic to oneself, have a need for certification? Well, the answer is simple… would you take the help of a doctor or a lawyer who hasn’t earned their credentials from a verified institute? You don’t necessarily need an ICF certification to be a coach but it sure does help both you and your clients. Also, organizations these days need coaches to hold at least an ACC certification from ICF to employ them.

The ICF Credential provides coaches with immediate recognition as coaching professionals who have participated in accredited training, coaching hours, assessment, and compliance with standards of practice, so clients and communities can trust that they are working with a qualified coach. But, who is ICF and why are they the standard for coaching?

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) was founded in 1995 with the purpose of giving credibility to an emerging profession as well as giving coaches a stage to network with one another. Now, ICF has grown to be the world’s largest organization of professionally trained coaches as well as the leading voice for the global coaching community. The organization is the “main accrediting and credentialing body for both training programs and coaches” and is “dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals.” ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaches that hold the ICF credentials are a part of a self-policed, elite group that provides accountability to the profession of coaching as well as to individual clients. To become an ICF- certified coach, the participants go through a rigorous syllabus consisting of both practical and theoretical training that provides them with undisputed legitimacy in their profession. ICF offers three credentials which are the de facto standard certifications in coaching:

- ACC: Associate Certified Coach

- PCC: Professional Certified Coach

- MCC: Master Certified Coach

The ICF bases its ethics on the core values of Integrity, Excellence, Collaboration and Respect. Actions by the organization are focused on these values and ICF-accredited coaches should aim to meet, if not exceed, these guiding principles in their interactions with clients.


An ICF credential is “an industry-wide marker of an individual’s commitment to ongoing professional development and outstanding professional practice.” The 2020 ICF Global Survey concluded that almost every practitioner and manager who make use of coaches agree that coaches should be accredited. And since ICF is the gold standard of excellence for coaching, an ICF accreditation not only opens up countless professional opportunities, it also helps coaches develop personally. Here are a few ways in which an ICF accreditation can help you on your journey of coaching:

  • An ICF certification gives coaches access to the best practices and ethical standards. ICF has been constantly striving to propagate the highest standards of coaching in the industry and that every coach understands their moral obligations to society as well as the coaching fraternity. The coaching field is not formally or centrally regulated and due to this, the ICF credential is proof that the coach is committed to upholding the best practices in the industry.

  • The ICF certification process is a trouble-free but intensive process that ensures that the coaches who are accredited are competent and skilled. While much of the work in coaching is done with innate skills that the individual possesses, the ICF training equips coaches with key information and tools that will help both the coaches and their clients. The coach’s core competencies and knowledge are developed in this process and an ICF certification validates these skills and knowledge.

  • Earning your certification is a great achievement as a coaching professional. Your clients and prospects will feel more comfortable knowing you are a professional who knows the inner workings of the coaching business because you have a certification to support your claims. The ICF accreditation helps you gain more credibility in the market especially while building and developing your coaching career.

  • Coaches who are ICF accredited have lifelong support and networking opportunities from the ICF community, which consists of accredited coaches around the globe. As a graduate of the program, you will have the opportunity to network with other coaches and members of the coaching community all over the world. These connections and tools will be of great value to anyone interested in a coaching career.

  • Finally, coaches who have an ICF accreditation has a much higher income than coaches who are not. The more objective proof you can provide of your expertise, the more you will be able to charge your clients. This allows for more trust between you and your clients and clients are often willing to pay for a greater degree of trust.

Coaching certifications endorsed by the International Coach Federation (ICF) are recognized as being of the highest quality in the coaching industry. Along with the credibility, income and networking opportunities, coaches who are ICF accredited are exposed to a variety of benefits and advantages. With our ICF accreditation programs, you will learn from instructors who are the best at what they do, receive sound business education, and work with fellow students motivated to give rise to a better and optimistic future, together.


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