ICF Changes Effective on July 27, 2022


Jul 13, 2022

We’ve received a lot of questions about what is changing at ICF and what impact those changes will have on people who are currently in the midst of their training. Here’s an overview of what is happening as well as answers to some of the specific questions we have been asked.

Important note: We, or any other coach training institute, do not have control or influence over ICF requirements and procedures. If you have a specific tricky situation, please reach out to ICF directly with your questions. Everything we write here is based on the ICF website and conversations with ICF representatives, but it’s always best to be safe and confirm your specific situation directly with ICF.

Here’s the TL;DR summary:

  • CKA replaced with new exam for any applications filed after July 27
  • The new Exam is called Credentialing Exam
  • New paths added (old paths still valid)
  • People who haven’t applied yet will have flexibility as to paths for a long time to come so no panic is necessary ????
  • From 1 August 2022 all recordings on all levels assessed by ICF will be with the updated Core Competencies and Markers

What is changing on July 27, 2022

1. New (additional) Credential application paths  

New paths are being added to the mix and will become the primary paths to credentials. If you want to submit your application through one of the old paths, you should do that before July 27, 2022. But even if you don’t, you’ll still be able to do that in the future so don’t worry. You’ll just take a different exam (read on).

The new levels are:

  • Level 1 (formerly ACSTH) is designated as a pathway to the ACC credential. 
  • Level 2 (formerly ACTP)  is designated as a pathway to the PCC credential. 
  • Level 3 (brand-new offering) is designated as a pathway to the MCC credential. 

For levels 1 and 2, your coach training institute will now administer a final evaluation, which includes an evaluation of your coaching. This means that if your institute holds level 1 or level 2 accreditation when you get your completion certificate, you will not have to submit any recordings to ICF. That part will be taken care of by your coach training institute.

So what happens if you’re currently in training and you won’t get your old path certificate before the deadline? You will still be able to use that certificate to apply for your credential. You’ll take the new exam instead of the current CKA, but that’s the only difference. ICF will honor the old paths for a while. We’re told that this may change, but not short-term.

Here’s more information on the paths to ACC, PCC and MCC on ICF website.

2. New evaluation criteria

After the coaching competencies were updated in 2019, the PCC markers were also updated. You can download a PDF version of PCC markers below. These new markers will be used as the basis for the evaluation of any new applicants. The new markers are based on the new competencies, which were created based on the old competencies. The core of the skills a coach should have has not changed so please don’t fret if you don’t know the new markers by heart.

Since the markers are new, the way that coaches will be evaluated has also changed. You can review the behaviors required for ACC, PCC and MCC coaches on the ICF website. You can also download them below. If you apply after July 27, 2022, you will be evaluated based on the new criteria.

3. New exam (so long, CKA – hello, ICF Credentialing Exam)

The short version – don’t stress. If you did the work during your training and you did well on the practice exam, you should be in good shape for the new one.

The new exam is more focused on behaviors instead of knowledge. The new exam is proctored, whereas the old one you took on your own time. Here are more details on the ICF website.

If you apply after July 27, 2022, you’ll have to sit the new exam.

What is changing on January 1, 2023

The new evaluation criteria and exam take full effect, regardless of when you applied.

For example, let’s say you applied before July 27, 2022, which means you’d still take the old CKA. You got your link to take the CKA but you didn’t actually take the CKA right away and now it’s January 1, 2023. You will no longer be allowed to take the old CKA. Instead, you’ll be asked to schedule a time for the new ICF Credentialing Exam.

Download Guide to ICF Coaching Credentials

There’s a lot of information to digest so we’ve put it all in one handy 49-page PDF.

  • Summary of Paths to ICF Credentials
  • Associate Certified Coach (ACC) Credential Paths
  • Professional Certified Coach (PCC) Credential Paths
  • Master Certified Coach (MCC) Credential Paths
  • ICF Core Competencies
  • Minimum Skill Requirements for ACC
  • ICF PCC Markers as of August 1, 2022
  • Minimum Skills Requirements for MCC Credential

Paths to ACC and PCC Coaching Credentials at ICF

Application Fees for ACC, PCC and MCC

All fees below are quoted in USD. These amounts would be directly payable to ICF at the time that you submit your application.

ICF membership fees vary since they are pro-rated depending on when you joined. Here’s a detailed fee table of current ICF membership fees.

ACC PCC MCC application fees for various credential application paths at ICF

How Coacharya Courses Lead to ICF Credentials

Your ICF Questions Answered

Here are some of the questions you’ve emailed us. If you have any others, please comment on this post and we will do our best to answer them.

Since the old paths are still valid, why would apply with the new path?

Applications for the new levels are cheaper than the old levels (scroll up for a fees pricing table) and they will take less time to process. The reason for the speedier turnaround is that under the new system, the accredited institute will be the one doing the detailed evaluations of your recordings, not ICF. Since that part will be done by the time you apply to ICF, that’s a huge chunk of time that’s removed from the process.

I have an ACSTH certificate (or I’m about to get one). Can I exchange that for a Level 1? 

Yes, but you will have to undergo an additional evaluation so that you meet the Level 1 requirements. There will be an extra cost for that. Please contact us if you’re interested.

I have a bunch of CCE units and I was going to apply for ICF credentials via Portfolio path. Are those now wasted?

Nope. You can still apply via portfolio.

Does the new credential exam have a separate fee – separate from the Credentialing fee?

No. Only the application fee applies.

What if I can’t apply by July 27? What will change? 

The only thing that will change is the exam you will take. All the things you learned and practiced in your coach training program still apply so don’t fret. It’s just a different format.

What if I’m eligible to take the old CKA and I fail. Will I have to take the new exam? 

No. If you apply before July 27, 2022, that means you’re eligible to take the current / old CKA. If you fail, you’ll need to pay the additional fee to retake it. If you keep failing, ICF can use their discretion to administer the new exam. Here’s more info on the CKA and a link to a practice CKA (free to all alumni).

I trained on the 11 old coaching competencies. Will I be tested on those or the 8 new ones?

From August 1, 2022 onwards, you will be evaluated based on the 8 new ICF coaching competencies. Don’t fret! They’re based on the old ones so what you learned before is still valid. At no point will you be asked to identify the coaching competencies by number. Here’s a webinar we did outlining what has changed.

I’m applying for ACC and I heard there’s a new thing called Behaviorally Anchored Rating System (BARS). Huh?

You know how ICF always had PCC markers and they updated them when they released the new competencies in 2019? The new BARS are the ACC level equivalent to PCC markers. They’re a set of behaviors that an assessor should look for when evaluating an ACC level coach. Scroll up and download the PDF guide. We’ve included the list there for you.

What questions do you have? Leave them in the comments below. Thank you!

Kiwa S
Kiwa S


Related Reading