When it comes to training to become a professional coach, it’s hard to know exactly what you need to get started.

When comparing certifications, we recommend you consider what is most important in you, your clients, and your capacity to effect change.

The type of coaching you plan to offer isn’t the only thing to consider when comparing coaching credentials. Coaching credentials often pair with additional factors in the following ways:

  • Budget
  • Professionalism
  • Coaching Mastery


If budget is your top priority, we recommend the ICF Associate Certification. The one thing to be aware of is that mentoring completed at the ACC level will need to be repeated at the PCC level if you decide to pursue a PCC in the future. This can add costs down the line.

Coaches who only complete a 60-hour training (regardless of whether that program is an ACTP program or an ACSTH program) are required to apply at the ICF website for their ACC credential via the ACSTH pathway. This means you must submit a recording and transcription for your performance exam in addition to taking the final Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).

The typical turnaround for this process is 16 weeks. You’ll also pay higher fees for the performance exam. However, when you complete a core program, your overall costs will be less.


If you are committed to becoming a professional coach and deepening your capacity to effect change at the more transformative levels (in your life and others), we highly recommend you pursue an ICF Professional credential (PCC).

More than anything else, this allows you to stand out as a professionally trained coach. Plus, you receive training and mentoring that position you to work with the widest variety of people and coaching contexts. Applicable to working with individuals and groups, the insight you gain through a PCC program gives you the tools for dealing with deeply held beliefs, emotional intelligence, and conflict resolution… to name just a few.

Coaching Mastery

Becoming a Master Credentialed Coach puts you at the top tier of the profession. The road you’ll travel isn’t easy. But it can be well worth it, especially if you are devoted to mastering yourself and bringing your absolute best to others.

If this appeals to you, plan ahead. This process typically takes a few years to complete.

Do I have to complete the ACC before the PCC?
No. In fact, most students here at Coach Training World enroll in our ICF Professional Certificate program then earn their ICF Associate credential while completing their requirements for the PCC.

Do I need a credential to coach other people?

No, you don’t. But stop to consider how much a credential can do for you. At Coach Training World, you receive personalized mentoring proven to deepen your learning and maximize your skill development.

Additionally, there is a direct correlation between a professional credential and credibility. This leads to greater income, higher positions (individually and within organizations), and enhanced levels of trust that expedite and improve your outcomes.Beyond credibility, look at what goes into the training process. Here at CTW, you benefit from advanced trainings that equip you to be more effective with your clients. This is backed by our ongoing mentoring and support network that enable you to easily and endlessly up-level your skills and confidence. Doing so maximizes your investment and has the potential to take your training to a whole new level.

Perhaps the better question to ask is this: should a coach be professionally trained and certified? Around here, that’s a non-negotiable “yes!”

Coaching is like many other personal services in that you work with the whole person. For this reason, you need the capacity to work with whatever arises inside the coaching relationship. It’s a specialized practice requiring skills that extend beyond your past experiences and traditional academic pursuits.

Past experience is not enough.

Even the most brilliant among us have blind spots. That’s where the tools of professional coaching can help. Adding communications and relationship building skills is just the first step. You must also be able to differentiate between the “symptoms” and the “underlying factors” that are actually preventing your client’s success. Equally important is the ability to help them see it for themselves versus just telling them.

Take for example the client who comes to you to lose weight. As someone who lost 30 pounds on your own with careful dieting and exercise, you’re baffled by how to motivate them. When you lost weight, you intrinsically knew what to do and simply did it. Your client however is not motivated to head to the gym… or even take a walk. Give up fast food and Frappuccinos? She actually laughs when you suggest that. Why?

The client in this scenario has an underlying stopping block that a skillfully trained coach will sense, gently reveal, and successfully address. When you train to become a coach, you supercharge your wisdom and life experience. You do this by applying your success as an impetus while leaving room for the client to find their own solution.

It’s not enough to rely upon a template of your success. If you hope to achieve sustainable outcomes, your client must be encouraged to walk their own path. As a professionally trained coach, you gain the influencer skills that move your clients through struggle and into their preferred future.

The benefits you become capable of providing are “exponential.” This means they have the power to impact every aspect of your client’s life. As the benefits spread, so too does word about your skills. Before you know it, the cost of your tuition for coach training has been paid. And you’re moving toward success as a business owner.

Coach training benefits you too!

A credential earned through a professional training program also benefits you as the coach. You uncover your own learning opportunities as you serve others.

As a professionally credentialed coach, you leverage more than your experience, your perspective, and your ideas. Make no mistake: these life lessons are critical to establishing your unique niche. But through professional training, you learn to embody the skills that make you a highly specialized human development professional.

You become creative in your approach and learn to adapt based on the individual client and context –key skills garnered along the path to credential.

Learn About Our ICF Accredited Whole Person Coach Training Program

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.

Contact us today to discuss your goals and particular situation.