ICF Coaching Certification – What You Need to Know


The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is a non-profit organization devoted to professional coaching. It has been called the main accrediting body for coaching training programs. There are many benefits of becoming an ICF certified coach and many paths to earning the credential. To help you make an informed decision, here are some things to consider:

ICF Credentials

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) offers credentialing services for coaching practitioners. The credentialing program is based on the ICF Core Competencies, which describe the knowledge, skills, and approaches required for coaching. There are three levels of certification available: Associate Certified Coach, Professional Certified Coach, and Master Certified Coach. Each level has distinct requirements and benefits.

Applicants must have 125 training hours and 500 hours of experience to earn a PCC or MCC credential. These credentials are earned after completing a training program and passing an ICF review. The program must also adhere to the ICF Core Competencies and Code of Ethics.

Obtaining an ICF credential is not free. Some programs charge several thousand dollars. You may also need to pay membership and exam fees. These fees can add up fast, and some programs require additional mentoring sessions.

Paths to credential

Several different pathways are available for those seeking ICF coaching certification. Each of these has its advantages and disadvantages. In addition, each of them requires a different amount of time and commitment, depending on the type of credential you wish to obtain. ICF has updated its process for credential application to make it easier for coaches to apply.

A coach can take a Portfolio path to earn an ICF credential. This requires a minimum of 60 hours of coach-specific training. In addition, the coach must complete a set of training hours with a mentor. The benefits of the Portfolio path include the flexibility to take courses from different providers and choose a mentor coach. The downside of this path is that the new structure will make this pathway unavailable after 2023.

If the ICF did not accredit your education program, you must apply through the Portfolio route. To apply for an ICF credential, you must complete a credential survey and provide robust documentation. In addition, you must take the ICF Credentialing Exam. If you are interested in applying through this route, download the PDF below.


One of the core values of ICF coaching is effective communication. Coaching professionals use practical communication skills to build trust and rapport with their clients. As a result, clients feel cared for and respected. They develop an awareness of their emotional language, which helps them better understand the thoughts and feelings of others. Additionally, coaches who work with clients over time can develop a deep understanding of their clients’ values and identities.

Coaches are committed to helping clients develop their potential and move forward. Whether a coach is a member of ICF or not, they are committed to the highest level of ethics and professional practice. ICF is the largest association of professionally trained coaches in the world. Additionally, the organization offers the only globally recognized credentialing program for coaches. This credential demonstrates that a coach has met high standards of education and experience and has demonstrated mastery of coaching skills.

Professional coaching from an ICF-certified coach can help employees realize their full potential. One study indicates that professional coaching helps employees improve their performance by as much as 70%. An unhappy workplace can be stressful and lead to employees quitting or hopping from job to job. Professional coaching builds employee self-confidence, teaches them how to deal with the real-life challenges of the office, and helps them maintain a positive attitude.


The cost of ICF coaching certification can vary depending on your chosen program. Some programs cost as little as $1,000, while others can cost several thousand. Additionally, the certification process can involve other fees, such as exam fees, membership to the coaching community, and separately paid mentoring sessions. These costs can add up throughout the program.

You can also save money by becoming an ICF member. This membership is valid for a year and will save you hundreds of dollars. You must upload your Coaching Sample, Certificate, and transcript to apply for membership. Once you’ve completed the application, you will need to submit your transcript and audio recording of the Coaching Sample.

The cost of ICF coaching is about $4330. You can also attend a workshop for free. However, you need to submit documentation that supports the hours of training. The training is self-paced, so you should expect it to take six to eight months to complete. The program offers 60 continuing education credits (CCEs), 25 group coaching sessions per week, and a private Facebook group where you can get support. However, the program does not offer one-on-one coaching sessions, which can be costly.

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