Lots of people claim to be a life or business coach. After reading a few self-help books and watching an online video or two, some actually consider themselves qualified to offer what they perceive as “coaching” advice.
Coaching, which used to be confused with therapy, does not involve teaching, advising or facilitating. While these methods definitely represent ways of helping people cope, adapt, and grow in a particular aspect of life, the tools and focus of coaching differ greatly from all of these modalities.
The coaching process can be learned. But the tools and methodology that cultivate sustainable change are not intrinsic.
This presents a growing challenge for prospective clients as they work through the process of selecting a coach. Not only do they have to discern the best match for their particular needs, they also have to determine if the individuals they’re considering are actually qualified.
Advantage of Coaching Certification
In a recent post I discussed the pathway to becoming an ICF credentialed coach. This is the first step for many people who seek coach training, but it’s not the only way for you to add credibility to your services – especially when you want to provide them as supplementary to another personal service.
Working professionals who already have experience commensurate with the methodologies of coaching may be able to fast track a certification by applying their current experience. This option is available through a Board Certified Coach (BCC) credential.
With so many people now offering coaching services, becoming a Board Certified Coach offers a unique and very specific advantage: instant credibility.
The BCC verification system was designed by the Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE) to establish standards for competency and experience within the coaching profession. BCC certification encompasses an extensive range of coursework related to the practice of coaching, as well as individual trainings that are geared to your unique niche. Board certified coaches must also develop their skills through extensive guidance and feedback provided by a qualified coaching instructor (someone who holds at least a Master Certified Coach credential). But these are just a couple of the general requirements.
A Board Certified Credential (BCC) indicates to prospective clients that you are familiar with and have successfully met standards and requirements for:
- Education and person-to-person training
- Coaching ethics
- Field experience
- Peer review and referral
To certify your knowledge, a BCC credential requires you to pass a psychometrically sound coach-specific examination and commit to further development through continuing education as you progress throughout your career.
Who becomes a Board Certified Coach?
A BCC credential isn’t necessary for everyone. Many coaches find tremendous success through a combination of ICF and WPCC certification. But if you want to incorporate coach training with your personal expertise in a particular field – as a therapist, doctor, social worker, or healing professional for example – a BCC program can help you leverage your academic or work experience into a coaching credential.
Most individuals who pursue this type of coaching certification currently have a background or operate a business that is very similar to coaching, like those mentioned above. But not always.
Many executive coaches have transitioned from a corporate career to their own consultancy or coaching enterprise. A BCC credential allows them to merge their corporate leadership position and business degree with the techniques of coaching, thereby becoming a professional business coach. Their verifiable work experience and resume qualify them to offer coaching services as a true authority in their field. And through independent third-party verification, the BCC coaching credential provides evidence that they have successfully shown how to leverage that experience to the benefit of others.
Board Certified Coach Requirements
There are differences in requirements that may vary from one individual to another. Your requirements for a BCC credential will be governed by your academic history and work experience.
In general, expect to complete a minimum of 30 hours of coach training and as much as 120 hours in some cases. You also have to log 30 hours of coaching experience, in which you work with actual clients, earn a professional endorsement through one of your peers, and pass the BCC exam.
The exam is offered through a system of computer-based testing and made available at sites throughout the world.
But why the difference in requirements?
A gap analysis between coaching competencies and counseling was conducted by subject matter experts. The study revealed significant crossover between the two, as well as varying levels of crossover in certain social sciences, most notably including the practices of social work and psychology.
“The subject matter experts identified overlapping portions and independently verified that NCCs and fully state-licensed counselors have met many competencies through a rigorous measurement and credential verification process,” according to the Center for Credentialing and Education. Their findings went on to highlight “overlapping competencies for other social sciences, such as social work and psychology, if CCE could verify that those competencies were covered in the respective credentialing verification processes.”
To learn more about the process of BCC credentialing for your unique situation, choose the option below that most closely aligns with your background experience:
- National Certified Counselor (NCC) or a full professional counselor license (e.g., LPC, LPCC, LMHC)
- Master’s or Ph.D. in counseling
- Doctoral degree in a social or behavioral science (e.g., social work, education, health, business)
- Master’s degree or higher in social or behavioral sciences (e.g., social work, education, health, business)
- Bachelor’s degree or higher in any field
- Recognized coaching credential and a bachelor’s degree or higher in any field
- At least 2,500 hours of experience over a period of at least five years and a bachelor’s degree or higher in any field
You can download a BCC application by selecting it from the menu on the left side of this page.
The CCE also offers specialty designations to further position yourself as a subject matter expert within specific coaching practices. To pursue this option, you’ll have to complete 30 hours of coaching within the area of your chosen specialty in addition to the standard BCC requirements. You’ll also have to obtain and submit an endorsement that verifies your expertise with the practice you’ve selected, and pay a nominal review fee (around $30).
There are currently four specialty designations available:
- Executive/Corporate/Business/Leadership Coach
- Health and Wellness Coach
- Career Coach
- Personal/Life Coach
Credential Maintenance Requirements
Due in large part to the CCE’s commitment to ongoing training and continuing education, your BCC credential will have to be recertified every five years. This ensures your familiarity with the most up-to-date best practices as well as any changes to the CCE’s policies and procedures.
Within that timeframe, you will also be required to complete 70 hours of continuing education each year to maintain certification. An annual fee of $40 also applies.
BCC Application Assistance
The CCE guidelines can be confusing at times, especially if you aren’t exactly sure which coaching certification path to take. If you need additional guidance in pursuing a BCC credential, we’re here to help.
One of CTW’s certified professional mentor coaches can quickly walk you through the process, answer any questions you might have, and guide you toward your best decisions.
Get ready for the fastest, most efficient BCC certification possible! Contact us today to get started.
* All CTW Coursework Applicable for both ICF and BCC Credentials!