What Is ICF Certification?

One quick search on the internet for ICF certification will yield a variety of different results. For example, you might come across terms like ‘Associate Certified Coach’ (ACC), ‘Professional Certified Coach’ (PCC), ‘Master Certified Coach’ (MCC), and maybe even ‘executive coach ICF certification.’ But all of these raise the same question–what exactly is ICF certification? 


A credential from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) holds you to high ethical standards. It attests to your skills and your ability to coach others professionally. There are various credentials that can be obtained, depending on whether you want to be a Certified Life Coach, who helps individuals find balance in their lives, or a Certified Executive Coach, who assists corporate executives. But before you start asking what an executive coach does, let’s hone in a little deeper on ICF certification. 


How Do You Become ICF-Certified?  


There are three levels of ICF credentials that an individual can work towards and apply for. The first level is Associate Certified Coach (ACC), followed by Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and finally, Master Certified Coach (MCC). 


To receive an ACC credential, individuals must complete sixty hours of training through an accredited program of their choosing, ten hours of mentoring with a certified PCC or MCC coach, and one hundred hours of coaching with eight clients, of which seventy hours are paid for by the clients. 


Now, suppose an individual wishes to advance to PCC certification. In that case, they will need to complete 125 hours of training and an additional ten hours of mentoring from a certified coach. Unlike the prerequisite for an ACC credential, individuals pursuing their PCC certification will need to satisfy 500 hours of coaching with twenty-five clients, of which 440 hours are paid for by the clients. 


Last but not least, it should be no surprise that the requirements for a Master Certified Coach will be more demanding. After all, this credential depicts a level of mastery in coaching. To advance to an MCC, individuals are required to complete 200 hours of training, along with another ten hours of mentoring and 2,500 hours of coaching with thirty-five clients, of which 2,200 are paid for by the clients. 


As you can see, the more senior the level of certification, the more extensive the requirements. With all of this in mind, you might be asking yourself how long it takes to get a coaching certificate. While completing these requirements might take some time, the application process itself is relatively straightforward. 


Once you have completed the core preconditions, it is time to apply through the ICF. You will need to submit proof that you have met your hours and will be asked to take a multiple-choice assessment. While the idea of taking an exam might be anxiety-inducing, do not let it get to you. Know that it is simply there to measure your knowledge and understanding of the concepts you will learn during training and put into practice through your coaching. 


Why Should You Become Certified? 


You might feel great warmth from helping others find peace and joy in their everyday lives–this is most likely why you found yourself wanting to be a life coach. And while there is no rule requiring you to be certified, it is essential to understand the benefits of adding three letters to the end of your name. 


It is no secret that clients want to trust their coaches. Some clients might feel vulnerable sharing intimate details of their lives with their coaches; they might want reassurance that their coaches are skilled, knowledgeable, and can provide effective support. In today’s world, where advice is being thrown at people left and right, having your credentials might make you stand out from the crowd.


Receiving your ICF certification will not only establish your credibility, but it will instill the confidence your clients need. In addition, it will reassure them that you are dedicated to your practice, uphold yourself to the highest standards, and put their best interests first. When you’re ready to begin your path toward this certification, Symbiosis Coaching has the perfect training programs available to guide you every step of the way.

Class Schedule
ProgramStart DateClass TimesClass Schedule
Certified Life CoachWednesday, January 11th8:00pm ET
8:00pm PT
8:00pm IST (9:30am ET)
Once a week, 2-hours, for 24-weeks
Certified Organizational
Development Coach
Monday, December 12th8:00pm ET
8:00pm IST (9:30am ET)
Once a week, 2-hours, for 25-weeks
Certified Executive
Thursday, February 23rd8:00pm ET
8:00pm IST (9:30am ET)
Once a week, 2-hours, for 8-weeks
Certified NLP Coach
Tuesday, December
8:00pm ET
8:00pm IST (9:30am ET)
Once a week, 2-hours, for 25-weeks
Platinum - ACC/PCC
Friday, January 27th8:00pm ET
8:00pm IST (9:30am ET)
Once a week, 1-hour
for 6-sessions PLUS 4 one-on-
one sessions with mentor