Client Coaching Hours – what counts and what doesn’t

Magda Walczak  •  Feb 19, 2018  •  7 min read

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Client Coaching Hours – what counts and what doesn’t

As part of your coach credentialing process, you must keep a record of the hours you spend coaching clients. This log is submitted along with your credential application and can be used to verify the time you spent coaching. Coaching hours can be accumulated from paid assignments, internal coaching, group coaching and even some pro bono work.

But how many hours do you need and what constitutes “coaching hours?” Hopefully this blog will help clarify those, and other related questions. The information below focuses on ICF, but we’ve also included relevant information for EMCC and CCE.

Please note that in addition to coaching hours, all credentialing bodies have other requirements as well. We’ve outlined these on our Coaching Organizations page.

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Coaching hours requirements for various credentials

Depending on the coaching organization whose credential you want to pursue as well as the level of credential, the requirements for client coaching hours differ.

For example, with ICF, ACC applicants are required to have coached for 100 hours with a minimum of 75 of those hours for compensation. Your client-coaching log must reflect a list of at least 8 clients.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the requirements.


ICF Coaching Hours Required


  • Coaching log demonstrating 100 hours (75 paid) of coaching experience with at least eight clients following the start of your coach-specific training.
  • At least 25 of these hours must occur within the 18 months prior to submitting the application for the credential.


  • Coaching log demonstrating 500 hours (450 paid) of coaching experience with at least 25 clients following the start of your coach-specific training.
  • At least 50 of these hours must occur within the 18 months prior to submitting the application for the credential.


  • 2500 client coaching hours, 2250 of which must be paid, from a minimum of 35 clients

EMCC Coaching Hours Required

Foundation – 50 client coaching hours from a minimum of 5 clients

Practitioner – 100 client coaching hours from a minimum of 10 clients

Senior Practitioner – 250 client coaching hours from a minimum of 20 clients

Master Practitioner – 500 client coaching hours from a minimum of 40 clients + 5 client feedback forms

CCE Coaching Hours Required

The Board Certified Coach (BCC) credential requires 30 client coaching hours.


What constitutes a client-coaching hour?

  • A client-coaching hour is 60 minutes of actual coaching with someone who has hired you as a coach and not in any other capacity.
  • Paid hours shall be any hours for which any kind or amount of compensation, including barter, is received.
  • Peer coaching is considered paid coaching. Coaching at the workplace is also considered paid coaching.
  • Only 10 percent of the minimum hours needed to qualify for the Credential can be Pro Bono hours, including complimentary sessions.
  • Teaching coaching classes does not count as client-coaching hours.
  • There shall be no limitation of client-coaching hours by specialization or niche.

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Did you know Coacharya holds regular peer coaching hours? There's no fee to participate.

What isn’t a client-coaching hour?

As you can see above, there are a lot of activities that can count towards your quota. The following don’t belong in your log, however:

  • Coaching your direct reports at work
  • Any pro bono hours above 10% of your total
  • Teaching coach training classes
  • Giving casual advice to friends or colleagues
  • Participating in staged / mock coaching sessions

When in doubt as to whether something will count towards your coaching hours requirement, just reach out to your Accredited Coach Training Program trainer – he or she should be able to advise you definitively.


What goes into a coaching log?

Your coaching log may include any of the following:

  • Coaching of individuals
  • Coaching of groups
  • Coaching internally for an organization or paid for by a third party

On your Coaching Log, please include the following information for each client:

  • Client name(s)
  • Contact information
  • Dates of coaching relationship
  • Total hours in coaching relationship, paid and pro-bono

Group Coaching

  • In order to count as client-coaching hours, a coaching group can have no more than 15 clients as participants.
  • Group coaching shall be documented by listing the group name, number of group participants and full contact information for one person, who shall represent the group.
  • One hour of group coaching counts as one client-coaching hour, not the number of hours multiplied by the number of clients in the group.

Internal Coaching with an Organization/Paid for by Third Party 

If coaching is paid for by a third party or done as part of applicant’s employment, it counts as paid coaching. Internal coaching hours count as paid hours toward a Credential when coaching is a designated part of the applicant’s job description. Coaching of a direct report may not be considered in the coaching hours.

If the organization or third party has a confidentiality policy that prevents disclosure of individual names and contact information, applicants should document the hours with the organization as follows:

  1. List the organization/third party name in the log with the total number of coaching hours.
  2. Select one contact person at the organization/third party and list their full name and contact in the log. The contact person should be someone familiar with your work that can verify the number of hours presented in the log is an accurate reflection of your coaching experience with the organization.
  3. The contact person should provide you with a letter of reference testifying to the information in the log, explaining your role with the organization and the organization’s confidentiality policy.
  4. Illustrate your work with individuals the organization by assigning aliases for each individual (For example, you may list each individuals’ initials or assign designation of client A, client B, etc.) and listing the start/end dates and hours spent with each individual.

Coaching Log Sample

Example Client Name Contact Information Start/End Date Paid Hours Pro-Bono Hours
Individual Client 1) Jane Doe 2/03 – 11/03 18 1
Group Coaching 2) ABC Coaching Group

Participants: (5)

Contact: John Smith 1/02 – 2/03 7 1
Internal/Third Party Coaching (If unable to reveal client names) 3) 123 Organization

Client A

Client B

Contact: John Smith*

*Reference letter included 3/04 – 9/04

3/04 – Present





Total Hours Submitted: 100 2


What happens to the information I submit in a coaching log?

In keeping with the ICF Code of Ethics, you must obtain consent from your clients to release their names to ICF and for the ICF to contact them in the event it becomes necessary. Should the ICF deem it necessary to contact clients in order to confirm they were coaching client of the applicant, the ICF does not discuss the specific topics of the coaching. 

Only designated members of the ICF Application Review Committee and ICF Staff view client information submitted with ICF Credentialing applications. Client contact information may be used to verify the information presented by applicants. Client names and contact information are never shared or sold to a third party or used for any purpose other than review of application files for ICF Credentialing.

Download a Coaching Hours Log Template

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Magda Walczak


Magda Walczak is CEO of Coacharya and author of Saylor's tale, a children's book. She's passionate about animal rights, women's equity and living sustainably.


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  1. Hi Magda ,

    Does the peer coaching sessions with coacharya considered as paid hours ?
    Also do reaiprocal peer coaching considered as paid hours ?

  2. Hi Magda!
    I have been an ACC Coach with ICF for 12 years. I want to upgrade to PCC.
    Do the requirements differ because I am already accredited and not a new applicant?

    1. In terms of coaching hours, you need to have logged 500 hours total from the time you started your training. This would include whatever hours you logged for your initial ACC and any coaching you’ve done since then is eligible. The one caveat to keep in mind is that for anyone applying in 2021, you need to have logged at least 50 hours of your coaching experience within the last 24 months (normally it’s within the last 18 months but ICF has changed this for 2021. More info here: Does that answer your question, Pat?