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ICF Certification & ICF Credentialing Requirements (Interview With International Coach Federation)

Have you thought about getting
your ICF certification in order to launch or accelerate your journey to a successful
coaching practice? Do you want a coaching certification but don’t
really know where to start or even what training is legitimate? Hey, this is Jeffrey Sooey, founder of Master
Coach University and, and today I am interviewing George Rogers,
the Assistant Executive Director of International Coach Federation that I met at a recent ICF
Conference. George is going to tell us the basics that
you should know about ICF certification and coach credentialing. We’ll discuss… George will also help us understand why it
is important to a coach to get an ICF credential and how does a new coach go about pursuing
getting their ICF credential, what should a coach do to get coaching experience under their belt before they receive an ICF credential, what a new coach should do before they ever think about coaching anyone, including a paying client By the way, if you’re on YouTube and you
want to skip forward to any of these topics, all the time codes are in the description. By the way, before we start, ICF is the world-recognized
standard bearer and governing body for the personal and professional coaching world. They provide internationally accepted standards
for coach credential levels as well as accreditation for coach training organizations such as Master
Coach University. We’re approved to provide training that
fulfills ICF’s requirements for coach credentialing. ICF holds international conferences annually
to bring the coaching world together to collaborate with and learn from each other, and this is
where I had a chance to sit down to talk to George. So let’s start right now. All right, hey, this is Jeffrey Sooey with
Master Coach University, and I have Mr. George Rogers here, the Assistant Executive Director
of ICF, International Coaching Federation or International Coach Federation, and we’re
on the official coaching couch for today, and I wanted to spend this time for a second
to share with coaches a little bit about credentialing, and so why don’t we start off with something
really, really simple. What is coach credentialing? What is it? George Rogers: So the ICF has a credential
or credentials for individuals, and a credential really is a way of having a designation by
an external body that you have been reviewed, you’ve had your education, your experience,
your skill reviewed. So it’s something that is part of professional
development. It’s something that is part of an assurance
for your clients to let them know that you are indeed a trained coach, and it’s something
that more and more, as we know from our research, more and more clients are asking for. Individual clients as well as organizational
clients are asking for their coach to hold a credential. The ICF has actually three credentials; the
associate level, the professional level and the master level, and that’s kind of a path
that we see people get on to continue to grow, to continue to… It can be used to market themselves. But really, it’s an outward sign that you
have been vetted by an independent body that you have knowledge and skill and experience. Jeffrey Sooey: How would you describe the
difference between the ACC, PCC and MCC, the associate level, the professional level and
the master level? What’s your way of defining the distinctions
between those? George Rogers: So at the base, ACC or associate
level requires a certain level of training and a certain level of experience. PCC requires more and MCC requires even more. So there is a progression of experience and
training that you have to have. A lot of people enter the ACC. You start with the ACC as kind of an entry
level credential. They are beginning to develop their coaching
skills, they have coaching, they have knowledge. They’re beginning to develop their coaching
process. So it’s kind of that application, knowledge
and application level. As they move to the PCC, coaching starts to
become more fluid. They start moving away from maybe a formula
and they have a much more confident coaching practice. At the master level, there’s a lot of creativity,
synthesis, a lot more depth of partnership, a lot more cumulative listening, a lot more
things that are happening where a coach doesn’t really have to rely. It’s become almost automatic of the things
that they are doing; they’re so experienced and well trained. Jeffrey Sooey: Wow, yeah, one of the things
I noticed about what seems like the ACC competencies, they seem like they’re more obvious and
direct and just like going on what’s on the surface, whereas when we get to the point
we are at MCC, it’s almost, if not, just more. It’s not just deeper, but it seems like
it’s where a lot of the magic intuition of the co-created coaching conversation really
comes out. George Rogers: It’s kind of like any other
skill that you learn. When you first learn, you rely on some structures
and some formulas maybe, and as you get better at it, you are able to branch away from those
and do things that really work for you and, of course, work for your clients. Jeffrey Sooey: Nice. So you’re free from the formula, but you
still are creating deeper and better results beyond what that basic level would probably
provide. George Rogers: Yeah, that’s the hope. Jeffrey Sooey: Beautiful. So let me ask you this, why is credentialing
important for a coach who has not even really considered getting an ICF credential yet, even
if they’ve had other trainings, other background or other expertise and knowledge where they
can already add value to a client, let’s say, but at least they believe they can, we
hope? What’s important to a coach about getting
that credential? Why should it matter to them? George Rogers: Well, again, I think it’s
a great test of yourself. Part of the theme of this conference has been
around you don’t know what you don’t know. So when you subject yourself or when you enter
into a process where other people are going to review your coaching, and that happens
through your training, it happens through mentor coaching that you may receive during your
training, and it also happens through our assessment process, the testing that we do
of credential applications, you have subjected yourself or entered yourself into some external
review, and we think that’s really valuable for your personal growth… for your development. So even if you never used your credential
as a marketing tool or anything else, having put yourself through that process, that testing
process, we think is a valuable thing. We really developed kind of a 3-fold purpose
for the credentialing program. Jeffrey Sooey: Okay. George Rogers: One was to have some kind of
quality assurance, so we want people who experienced coaching to have their very best, so having
a credential is some level of quality assurance. The other one, though, that really we think
is important, is: it is an incentive to grow, it’s an incentive to keep learning, so moving
through that ACC, PCC and MCC process and really beyond that, it doesn’t end at MCC. We want people to continue learning after
that. That’s the other purpose there. Jeffrey Sooey: So you are in a way creating
a reward for us coaches other than just the reward that’s intrinsic to training and
development, and getting better, to say, “Hey, now I have achieved something and I get a
little bit of a carrot or a cookie after all that work.” George Rogers: Right. Now, I think for a lot of people that I have
talked to that whether they’ve even intend to practice very seriously as coach, it’s
nice to have an accomplishment. It’s nice to say, “You know, this is something
else that I have done,” and they feel good about that. So there’s a little bit of feel good, but
most of the people I’ve talked to, the reason they get involved in it is because they want
to become better at what they do. Jeffrey Sooey: Nice. George Rogers: And they see this as a structured
way to do that. Jeffrey Sooey: That make sense. I know that before I had certain levels of
training and certification, that I had questions about my abilities and I had barriers to my
own confidence in what I wasn’t really sure that I could do. So it seems that once a coach has that certain
level of credential, they can lean on that from the perspective of knowing that they
have accomplished something and that they can promise that to someone with even more
confidence and assuredness because of that peer review that we’re talking about. George Rogers: Right. Jeffrey Sooey: Nice. Let me ask you this, if a coach is saying,
“Great, that sounds like what I need, that sounds like a big part of what I need to move
forward with and developing that, get on that credentialing track,” how do they do it? And we know there are steps involved and they
can research that and follow those, but for a new coach who has decided that this is important,
that they want to go ahead and pursue a credential, what advice would you give them? How would you advise that they go ahead and
move forward with that process other than the obvious steps that they can research? George Rogers: Well, I think the really important
thing is that they invest in really good coach training. The ICF accredits and approves training providers,
they’re delivering training that is aligned with the ICF definition of coaching, core
competencies, code of ethics, and having that training base is really what is necessary
to move forward in the credentialing process. Jeffrey Sooey: Nice. George Rogers: Now, along with that, I think
it’s important for them to start developing their practice, getting to the patterns of
contracting with their clients, recording their experience so that at the time when
they submit and refer an application to ICF for credential, they have a client log, they
have training. I would also say it’s important for them
to work with a qualified mentor coach, someone who can listen to them coach and give them feedback. All those are requirements of the ICF credentialing process and really critical elements to them
becoming a coach. Jeffrey Sooey: Nice. Okay, so if I’m listening to this and I’m
thinking, “Well, wait a second, in order to practice that coaching and fill my log,
shouldn’t I have a credential already to kind of have permission or the support to
actually run all those sessions?” What do you say to that and how do you support
somebody who’s thinking, ‘Well, this seems like a bit of a chicken and the egg kind of
issue with “I need to do this in order to get the credential, but I need the credential
in order to do all that?’” George Rogers: So I think it is kind of a
chicken and egg thing, but what I would encourage people to do is get part of their training
going and start thinking about who they can coach and how they can deliver good services
and begin slow and start off by telling their clients that they’re beginning, they’re
learning, they’re in training. Be very transparent and up front about that. That’s a very ethical approach to that. Jeffrey Sooey: Right. George Rogers: But also, it is part of the
learning process. I mean, you’re going to need to get some
experience before you’re just fully qualified, so we think it’s okay once you’ve started
training, and that should really be a part of kind of the homework that comes from a
training program is that we want you to go out and start doing some coaching, start getting
used to interacting with your client, and so that’s the good start. Jeffrey Sooey: Beautiful. It makes sense, so in other words, you can
start slow and just being really up front, and this is one of the things I think I see
with some new coaches is their concern is that they have to put themselves out there
like they already know it all, like they already are the master coach for other people, and
just in order to engage versus just going in and saying, “Look, I’m not a master
of this yet. I’m just learning, but let’s go ahead
and move forward,” and that’s okay from the ICF’s perspective, from your perspective
to go ahead and do it as a novice non-credentialed coach to go out there and really attempt to
add value and really make a difference for clients. George Rogers: That’s very true, and then
I think it’s the way that people are going to learn. Again, I think get some of your training under
your belt. Get your clear understanding, especially the
code of ethics, and I think that’s a really important part that you know about before
you ever touch a client. But beyond that, it’s a little bit of learning
by doing. Jeffrey Sooey: Wow. It’s really, really great, so learn by doing
and before they start that process, check out the code of ethics and make sure that
they’re at a minimum abiding by that. George Rogers: Yeah. And that should be a part of the training
program as well that they are advising you on that and talking about how you follow that
and put you in some situations where you would have to kind of understand where you may be
crossing some lines. Jeffrey Sooey: Beautiful. Okay, so now that we have a little bit of
the step by step on this and a coach has not taken any of those steps yet, what’s the
next piece? Should they check out ICF on the internet? Should they talk to a training provider first? What would be the very first piece of thing
that they can do like today if they’re watching this? George Rogers: I think look at the ICF’s Jeffrey Sooey: Okay. George Rogers: There is a wealth of information
there about… Jeffrey Sooey: And what’s the website again? George Rogers: It’s Jeffrey Sooey: Okay, right. George Rogers: And so you can go to that website
and there’s a tab that is about individual credentialing and there’s a lot of information
there about the credentialing process. There’s also on the ICF website a training
program, Search Service, which allows you to go in and search for training providers
that have been approved or accredited by the ICF. Jeffrey Sooey: Nice. George Rogers: And then another great resource
is the staff that we have in the global headquarters. On the website, there are little popups on
the side where you can ask a question. There’s a chat box where you can ask a question
and someone from the staff can answer those, maybe not immediately, but they’ll get an
answer back to you to help you guide you through the credentialing process. Jeffrey Sooey: Fantastic. So I go to, I can check
out the individual credentialing kind of guidance that’s there on that tab. I can also reach out to somebody at ICF personally
through the contact that’s within the same site. George Rogers: That’s correct. Jeffrey Sooey: Very nice. So George, thank you so much for answering
these questions. I know our new coaches and our trainees are
going to be, I hope, motivated and clear now as to not just what the steps are, but what
this is really about for them and the clients they’re going to serve as well, so it’s
really fantastic. Anything else you want to share that you just
think is important for them? George Rogers: I appreciate the work that
you’re doing and if there’s anything we can do to assist your students, we’re really
looking forward to doing that. Jeffrey Sooey: Fantastic. Likewise. Thanks a lot. George Rogers: All right. Jeffrey Sooey: Again, this is Jeffrey Sooey
with and Master Coach University. I hope that you took some great value out
of my interview with ICF (International Coach Federation). So what’s your credentialing level right
now? How important is a credential to you, and
how do you see it helping you in your coaching journey? What do you think about ICF’s take on certification
and credentialing? I’d love to hear your feedback so make sure
that you leave a comment with your thoughts or questions. Thanks for watching this video. Like it if you thought it was cool and subscribe
for even more of these videos. Now, if you want to learn more about the International
Coach Federation, I put a link to their website in the description, and by the way, if you
want my help with your own credentialing coach certification, I’m holding a webinar in
a few days called Credentialing and Coach Certification, imagine that, that you can
attend for free. Just go to the link I gave you here and in
the description. For this webinar, I’m bringing in Master
Coach University’s own credentialing expert. He actually created the coach training standards
for the US government and he’ll help you learn the details about the only internationally-recognized
coach credentials, how they work, and the process to obtain your credential. You can get your questions answers about international
coach credentialing and learn how to get the required training to get your coach credential
in as little as 3-1/2 months. When you sign up for the webinar, you’ll
also get instant access to my credentialing fact sheet so you can easily read through
details to design your master plan for your certification journey. Just go to,
I know that’s a mouthful, but just go there right now to sign up for the webinar, get
your credentialing fact sheet and access lots of other advanced coaching and practice-building
techniques and more. Just go to the link that I just mentioned. I will also give it to you here and in the
description and you can get access to everything all for free, and I’ll see you there.

Reynold King

6 Replies to “ICF Certification & ICF Credentialing Requirements (Interview With International Coach Federation)”


  2. With JTS Core Competency Certification, are all 3 levels – associate, professional, and master coach – covered in the credentialing/certification?

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