ICF Certification

ICF Certification

Is ICF coaching certification worth it?

The purpose of this article is to help you get clarity on what is ICF Certification, and how ICF certification will benefit you and Is ICF Coaching Certification worth it? whether you are ready to start the process.

Professional coaching is a wonderful and fulfilling career. It is associated with great rewards. And a lot of people are aspiring to take up the profession of coaching.

If you are someone who is interested in ICF Certification, and in enrolling in coach training programs, there is a high probability that you would have come across the term ICF-approved coach training program and thoughts around Is ICF coaching certification worth it?

The ICF-approved coach training programs are usually preferred by individuals who intend to become ICF certified coach. Further, the ICF certification programs are more expensive than those programs which are not recognized by ICF. This often raises few questions in the minds of people, such as ‘Is ICF ACC credential useful?’ ‘Is there any value in becoming an ICF credentialed coach?’ ‘What is the return of investment for an ICF-certified course?’ ‘Why should I pursue the ICF coach program?’ Is ICF coaching certification worth it?

A lot of individuals are curious to know whether the investment in an ICF-approved coach training program is really worth the money or not. So, here is an article to shed some light on the matter.

Please note The answer to the question: ‘Is ICF ACC credential worth it?’ will vary from person to person. The reason being what’s true for one person may not be necessarily true for you in all aspects of your life! The idea is to present a clear picture for you to decide by presenting you with: Why ICF certification, What (What it is), How (How to go about it), and What-ifs (Other caveats) of ICF track.

So, use the recommendations highlighted in this article to find answers that are true to your individual specific situation.

About ICF

The acronym ICF stands for ‘International Coaching Federation’ which is the world’s largest association of professionally trained and qualified coaches.

Over the years, ICF has established itself as a global and vibrant coaching community of several Life Coaches, Business Coaches, Executive Coaches, Leadership Coaches, Empowerment Coaches, etc. Today, ICF has more than 40000+ members worldwide. And the number is growing at a fast speed, especially in India.

The most compelling reason for the growing popularity of ICF Certification in India is that ICF has set the benchmarks and gold standards in the coaching field. The brand ICF is viewed as closely associated with ethics, integrity, and professionalism.

It must be remembered that ICF does not offer any coaching courses. It does not offer any kind of coach training workshops. The ICF only approves training programs via Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) path, and Associate Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) path, as well as a Portfolio path (to become a coach) to offer several professional development opportunities to aspiring and practicing coaches.

What are the benefits of ICF Certification?

ICF mainly offers three things to the coaching fraternity.

First, ICF strives to uplift the status of coaching in the society. It has been making constant efforts to ensure that those who need coaching get a taste of ethical coaching practices, by organizing events via ICF local chapters in different cities.

Secondly, ICF offers continuous learning support to the professionals engaged in coaching services. It has developed its own credentialing system. At present, there are more than 30,000+ ICF credential (Source Wikipedia) holders worldwide, and the number keeps growing.

Lastly, ICF offers a platform to the coaches so that they can exhibit their profile to the potential client, and market their coaching as well as coach training services. Only ICF credentialed coaches, that ICF Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and Master Certified Coach (MCC) can avail the facility of showcasing their profiles on the ICF portal.

About ICF ACC credential

The ICF Credential is the most recognized entry-level (certified coach) professional achievement in the field of coaching, globally.

It speaks of ethics, expertise, and consistency in the delivery of coaching offerings across the globe, and regulates the standards, skills and core competencies for coach training programs.

The ICF ACC credential is valued both nationally in respective countries and internationally. And it would not be wrong to state that the ICF credential reinforces your credibility and competence as a coach.

Who needs ICF ACC coaching certification?

The ICF Certification is not needed. They are wanted by professional coaches so as to demonstrate that they are part of a branded accreditation body, which builds their brand and provides them an edge in the marketplace.

Here is the truth. Coaching at the moment is a very unregulated market. You do not need any course to become a coach. In other words, certification is not a mandatory requirement to start working as a coach at present. So, you do not need to do ICF ACC or ICF PCC or ICF MCC, etc to get started as a coach.

New or existing coaches often intend to earn ICF credentials to brand themselves and differentiate themselves in the market, so that they can say that they don’t belong to the gang of unregulated coaches, who either have no certification, or a 10-dollar certification from online portals.

If you want to become a successful coach, you must know how to coach people to get the results they want. You should know the tools and techniques used in the process of coaching a client. And you should know the do’s and don’ts and scenarios for efficient application of those coaching tools and techniques. Only then you will be able to help your clients accomplish the desired results.

People analyze your success as a professional coach on the fact of whether or not your clients in the past have got the results they desired. However, perception equals reality, and ICF credential helps to build that perception of quality, trust, and helps coaches to build a brand, while they continue to strive to learn.

Nobody will hire you as a coach only because you have a fancy certificate. Your prospective clients will hire you only when they can trust your abilities and capabilities as a coach. In other words, you must have a reputation of delivering outcomes if you want to be hired as a coach. Credentials come handy only to get started. However, in the big picture, the experience matters the most. And therefore, the word of mouth buzz often brings you most of the potential clients. So bottom line is while you are working towards getting ICF credential, and even after getting one, you must strive to learn coaching skills, build on them, practice more, explore more knowledge areas, and keep on improving so that your clients are happy, and your name is recognized as the influencer in Coaching space.

Is ICF coaching certification worth investing in?

The 2 factors which determine whether you really need ICF credentials or not are

  • Where you are in your career
  • What your specific professional objectives are

To make an informed decision whether you need ICF ACC credentials or not, you must keep the above-mentioned factors in mind and act accordingly. Further, weigh the potential benefits you will get from pursuing the ICF certification vis-a-vis the commitment involved. If you’re not sure, consult someone who is already an established and successful coach in the industry. Look for real evidence of how the coach training has benefited him or her in the coaching career.

The below-mentioned guidelines will help you identify whether you need ICF certification or not.

You need an ICF certification if:

  • You are someone who wants to work as a professional coach with corporate clients.

Often experienced Executive Coaches, Leadership Coaches, Sales Coaches, Business Coaches, Life Coaches, Success Coaches, etc pursue ICF certification because it helps them in finding clients incorporates, easily. Becoming an ICF Certified Coach helps them in their business objective of getting more corporate clients or building a pipeline of corporate clientele.

Thus, if you want to find more clients in Leadership and Executive Coaching space, you must go for ICF Coaching credentials.

  • If the competitors hold ICF credentials

In case your competitors are leveraging ICF branding and getting an edge over you in securing corporate clients, then you should also aspire to become an ICF credentialed coach.

ICF brand will bestow extra credibility on your brand and your coaching deliverables. So, if you are getting anywhere with respect to finding clients (especially corporate clients), then maybe you need an ICF certification.

  • If ICF credentials are a mandatory criterion for coaching in your target market segment.

ICF credentials and certification are seen as an important (often mandatory) criteria in some coaching sectors. For example, some Fortune 500 companies want their team to be coached only by the best. And hence they allow only ICF credentialed coaches to list themselves as a vendor for offering organizational coaching services to their clients.

You do not need an ICF certification if:

  • You are someone who is not going to work with companies as a professional coach

In closed circles, people often connect with coaches when they have heard good word of mouth referrals and recommendations about them. They do not approach coaches on the basis of membership with any association. Simply put, they do prefer professionally trained coaches, however, ICF credentials may not be their major criteria for shortlisting a competent life coach. So, in such cases where holding ICF credentials does not bring about much difference to the client’s decision of hiring you.

  • You already have a good network to get clients, and are satisfied with the scale.

If you are someone who is confident of your abilities and networking skills, and you choose to rely on your skills and network to find coaching clients (especially B2C market), then maybe you do not need to become an ICF Certified Coach.  However, if you are ambitious to grow you might want to rethink about getting an ICF certification.

Note: Considering the market place is becoming competitive in B2C segment as well, and due to rise of digital media, and search engines, end client (an individual) is also aware of accreditations and having an ICF Certification might be an edge.

How to become an ICF certified coach? 

The path to becoming an ICF certified coach takes time, but it is worthwhile if you really want to see yourself as an established coach in the future.

Listed below are the steps you need to take for ICF ACC credentials through the Associate Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) path.  We are focusing on ICF ACC from ICF Certification perspective as that is the entry-level credential, and is more than enough to get started as an ICF Certified coach.

  • Completion of the ICF ACSTH Training

You are required to complete at least 60 hours of coach-specific training along with a minimum 10 hours of mentor coaching. Once you fulfil these criteria, only then you become eligible to fill the online application for ICF ACC credentials.

  • Completion of at least 100 hours of practice coaching experience

You are required to demonstrate a minimum of 100 hours of coaching experience as part of the application for ICF ACC credential. Out of these 100 hours, a specific number (usually varies – check on ICF site for the current number) of hours is paid ones with at least 8 clients. And at least some hours must have occurred within the last 18 months duration prior to submitting the application for the ICF ACC credential.  Check the number of hours, and duration on the ICF site, as they keep changing.

  • Completion of the online assessment

You are required to take the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA). In this assessment, your understanding of the knowledge and skills important in the practice of coaching will be measured. You will be tested on your understanding of the ICF definition of coaching, the Code of Ethics, and ICF Core Competencies.

Once you clear the online coach knowledge assessment, you secure the ICF ACC credentials. And you become eligible to apply for the ICF membership.

Why do people enroll in ICF certification courses? 

There are several benefits of becoming an ICF credentialed Coach. Listed below are some points which will give you a better clarity and understanding about how do people benefit from attending ICF approved Coach Training Programs and getting ICF ACC credentials.

  • Upon earning ICF coach credentials, you get a professional certificate that is respected and recognized globally.
  • Your ICF credentials reassure the potential clients that you are an experienced and professional coach who has undergone extensive training and practice requirements to meet the international standards of coaching.
  • The ICF credential helps to build credibility. It provides you a jump start as a coach and get an edge above the other untrained coaches in the market.
  • ICF credential provides a boost to your brand as a coach. They testify your understanding and mastery of core coaching skills, commitment to integrity, and dedication towards clients.

The ICF certification offers an easy way to corporates so they can screen and filter authentic and reliable coaches.

Wrapping Up ~ Is ICF coaching certification worth it?

This article highlighted the most important things you should know about the ICF, ICF ACC credential, and the value of ICF certification, and those wondering Is ICF coaching certification worth it? a perspective on how useful ICF Credential can be.

It gave you specifics on common reasons why people enroll in ICF-approved coach training programs, and how they actually benefit from becoming an ICF credentialed Coach.

As noted above, the International Coaching Federation (ICF) is a globally recognized body. And these days, getting ICF coaching credentials is a growing necessity in the coaching industry.

Having an ICF-recognized credential enhances your credibility and gives you an edge over your competition. Therefore, experienced coaches often consider becoming ICF Certified Coach.

Use this article to decide if the ICF ACC credential is the best choice for you. Become certain about your reasons for becoming an ICF Certified Coach. Identify if you are interested in becoming an ICF Certified Coach.

In case you are interested in becoming an ICF ACC Coach, consider enrolling in an ICF approved training program.

Join a program approved under ICF Associate Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) towards the ICF ACC level. These training programs are globally recognized and highly acclaimed for creating highly qualified coaches. Reason being that the ICF outlines and examines the curriculum of these coach training programs to ensure that the coaches learn to abide by the strict code of ethics in the profession of coaching. Only those coach training programs that comply with the ICF’s guidelines and gold standards are given the seal of ICF’s approval.

Join the ICF approved coaching training program with NLP Coaching Academy

NLP Coaching Academy offers internationally recognized ICF approved coaching certification training programs. The course content of these coach training certification programs is approved by ICF under Associate Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) as well as Continued Coach Education (Continued Coach Education (CCE).

The endeavor of NLP Coaching Academy is to provide you the valuable resources, tools, and techniques that will make your ICF certification and credentialing journey truly worth it. The training programs are run in alignment with the Code of Ethics laid down by the International Coach Federation, and are regarded and valued for producing highly qualified coaches.  The public programs are delivered by the founder of NLP Coaching Academy, Vikram Dhar who is rated as the best NLP Trainer of India. You will also get to understand how can nlp training help in business.

Further, the 7 days classroom based integrated NLP Practitioner and ICF approved program, or 15 days online ICF Certification program (evening classes) at NLP Coaching Academy allows you to choose the combo certificate option that meets your needs the best. Obtaining quality coach training is integral to a coach’s coaching career, So, we have made the path very simple for you.

If you want to continue practice as a coach then consider enrolling in a coaching training course. It does not matter whether you need ICF credentials or not. The powerful curriculum of coach training course will prepare you and support you to become a successful coach in the industry.

To request more details, and help in figuring out whether you need to enroll in an ICF approved coach training program or not, reach out to us on info@nlpcoach.in.

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