Learn more about the International Coach Federation:
- Why earn an ICF credential? What’s in it for you?
- Why is the International Coach Federation considered the global gold standard for the coaching profession
- How does the ICF rank coaching schools?
- What are the benefits of attending an ACTP program?
Learn More about coaching credentials:
What should be my first (or next best) step?
Whether you plan to serve your chosen niche as a solopreneur or bolster an organization by supporting managers and work groups, an ICF credential gives you the tools and trustworthiness to achieve the outcomes your future clients expect.
Choosing the best coach training program and ICF credential can be tough, especially where finances and time are concerned. Save yourself from stress and uncertainty by connecting with someone who has walked the path.
We can help identify your best path forward and discuss the specific impact an ICF credential can have on your future.
What do the ICF ACC, PCC & MCC stand for?
There are several acronyms used by the ICF, which can make things confusing. Here’s what each means and which one might benefit you the most.
The type of coaching services you plan on offering may impact the level of credential you pursue. Though the three credentials are progressive, from ACC to PCC and then MCC, you may need only the first or second level to serve your clients at your best.
Let’s look at some of the most common differences and who each credential is ideally suited to.
ICF Associate Coach (ACC)
At this level, you complete a full coach training program designated as an ICF Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) or at least 60 hours of coach-specific training from another coaching program. The client coaching experience required at the ACC level is 100 hours with at least eight different clients.
Who chooses this path?
The ACC is a solid stepping-stone for coaches newly entering the profession who aren’t quite ready to become a professional coach. You might compare it to an associate degree in the world of academia.
Requirements are minimal. The training and mentoring provide an introductory exploration of coaching and its foundational skills.
This is a budget-wise option for those who want to sample coaching’s potential. It’s also ideal if you are already working as a coach internally. In fact, organizations frequently require their internal coaches to be credentialed – a trend that has continued to increase nearly every year throughout the past two decades.
ICF Professional Coach
To earn this level, you must complete a full coach training program designated as an ICF Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) or at least 125 hours of coach-specific training from another coaching program. The client coaching experience required at the PCC level is 500 hours with at least 25 clients following the start of coach-specific training.
Who chooses this path?
Whether you intend to start your own business or coach internally within an organization, the PCC level allows you to maximize your impact with professional level training, mentoring, and the resulting credibility.
Most people choose this path for the benefit of the advanced training, including a wide range of customizable tools. You will notice a considerable boost to your confidence and competence as well. This empowers you to feel more comfortable asking for higher fees and more readily able to justify why you are worth them.
Finally, by enhancing your skill level from ACC to PCC, you prove your dedication to the profession and your clients, as well as your desire to facilitate sustainable outcomes.
ICF Master Coach
As a top-tier applicant, you must complete at least 200 hours of coach-specific training from an ICF Accredited Coach Training program or another coaching program. The client coaching experience required at the MCC level is 2,500 hours with at least 35 different coaching clients.
Who chooses this path?
The MCC level is currently the highest credential you can earn as a professional coach. For this reason, it takes considerable time compared to the other two credentials. It also requires that you have been working in the field.
A prestigious credential, the MCC can certainly act as a red carpet for your future as a coach or coach trainer. It paves the way for the creation of your own coaching programs and coaching schools, as well as speaking engagements and the authority to produce a wide range of published materials.
All that said, the MCC takes time, effort, and long-term commitment.