In Life Coaching

How to get an ICF Life Coaching Credential

Life Coach Certification is important. The International Coach Federation (AKA ICF) does a great job of setting a high standard of life coach training, and I’m proud to get my company, Academic Life Coaching, approved by the ICF.

The process of getting your ICF credential can be confusing. Based, on the number of questions I’ve received about the qualifications, additional requirements, and process of getting your ICF credential, so I decided to make it easy to wade through the alphabet soup of acronyms with this series of blog posts outlining the whole process.

All you really need to know about getting an ICF credential

No matter whatever program you take – or what level of certification you are trying to achieve – you’re going to need these FIVE pieces of an application, regardless of whatever program you enroll in:

  1. Life Coach Specific Training Hours
  2. Recorded Performance Overviews
  3. 100 hours of client coaching experience
  4. 10 hours of working with a qualified ICF Mentor Coach
  5. Written Performance Overview

In the coming week, I’ll be putting together other posts describing each of these elements. But in terms of ICF certification, those five parts are it.

The difference comes down to ONE thing, and ONE thing only: what organization do you give each piece of the application to. And there are only TWO choices: 

Option A: To Your Life Coach Training and Certification Provider

Option B: Directly to the ICF

That’s it. It’s not that hard, but the way the ICF describes it, it might as well be a spaghetti mess of alphabet soup. 

Now let’s break it down so that this whole spaghetti mess one piece at a time. Let’s start with the first level of life coach certification, the ICF’s Associate Certified Coach or ACC.

ACC from the ICF: Part 1 of 5, the Coach Training Hours

Coach Specific Training Hours

You need to get at least 48 synchronous hours (and how awesome is the person in the ICF who came up with using the word synchronous?!?) and 12 hours of studying on your own to make up the 60 hours for the ACC. 

Synchronous is a fancy-pants word meaning in-person, live-webinar, or tele-conference. No matter what kind of program you take, you’ve got to log at least 48 beautiful hours of human-to-human interaction in a life training program or at least a program that says they do at least 60 life coaching specific hours. 

Let’s say you’ve done that. 

Now it’s time to look at what you do depending on the life coach training and certification program you’ve chosen. 

Choice 1: An ACTP (don’t worry about what exactly ACTP means. It’s part of the mystery of the ICF)

What you have to do: Your training program will take care of tracking the hours for you. You simply must let the ICF know that you worked with your life coach training and certification organization

Choice 2: An ACSTH program (again, those mysterious acronyms!)

What you have to do: same as above.

Choice 3: A program not affiliate with the ICF

What you have to do: submit a portfolio application. You have to document your life coach training hours, determine which of the 5 core concepts those hours corresponded with and keep track of 60 of those hours on a spreadsheet. A fair bit of work and there is still no guarantee that the ICF is going to accept it.

Next Up: The Recorded Performance Hours for your ACC

Stay tuned for more goodness on the ICF and the other four parts of the application.

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