ICF Changes To Impact Credentialing Requirements

Magda Walczak  •  Feb 20, 2018  •  7 min read

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ICF Changes To Impact Credentialing Requirements

If you are planning to apply for your MCC, do it before July 31, 2018. ICF rules are getting stricter.

ICF has announced changes to enhance quality of coaching credentials. While the changes are welcome and will contribute positively to reputation of credentialed coaches, there are consequences to those who have thought about Mastery credentials, but haven’t gotten the ball rolling. That is, for those of you considering pursuing MCC in the future, this will require more work, effective July 31, 2018.

There are were also other changes announced, all of which are on the lower half of this post. Since the biggest impact, in Coacharya’s opinion, is on prospective MCC coaches, that is what this blog is focusing on.

Summary of changes ICF is making for prospective MCC coaches

  • Effective 28 February 28, 2019 — MCC credential will require the coach to already hold a PCC credential before starting their MCC training.
  • Effective July 31, 2018 — MCC credential will require 2500 coaching hours from the start of approved/accredited training. Currently, coaches may count their lifetime hours, not just those completed while training.

Implication: Anyone with 2500 lifetime hours coaching experience, regardless of whether you have a current ICF credential or not, your deadline to apply for MCC under the current rules is July 31, 2018.

Requirements for MCC – current and future side-by-side comparison

Current After July 31, 2018 After February 28, 2019

Credential required to apply for MCC

None None


Number of coaching hours required

2500 2500


Timeline for acquiring coaching hours Lifetime – from whenever you started coaching From the point that you start your ICF accredited coach training program

From the point that you start your ICF accredited coach training program

What happens if you miss the July 31, 2018 deadline?

You may still apply for MCC in the future, but your coaching hours will start counting only from the time that you started your original ICF accredited coach training program and you would have to have your PCC credential already. You will have to complete 2500 coaching hours before you can apply. This means that it will take you much longer (likely years) to become a Master Coach than it does before July 31, 2018.

Alternatively, you can pursue equivalent credentials with EMCC and CCE. Coacharya’s ACTP is accredited by both those institutions and our Mastery training qualifies you to apply for their credentials.

Accelerated training program for anyone with ~2500 coaching hours

To help you take advantage of current regulations, Coacharya is putting together a special accelerated cohorts for those with 2500 lifetime coaching hours, depending on your current credentials. Please contact us to complete your training and apply for your MCC before the new, stricter regulations go into effect.

Our accelerated program includes:

  • Additional training hours you need towards the 200 required for MCC, delivered between March and July 2018
  • Mentoring and feedback on coaching recordings
  • Virtual / online program with sessions held via Zoom
  • Up to 200 hours of training offered between March 15 and July 15, giving you enough time to apply for your MCC

Please contact us to express your interest in joining.

Full list of ICF changes in 2018

Here is the full list of ICF changes taking effect, as communicated to ACTP providers by ICF.
The following change to ICF’s Credential Renewal policy is effective immediately for Associate Certified Coaches whose ICF Credentials expire December 31, 2018, or later:
  • The 10 hours of Mentor Coaching required of Associate Certified Coach renewal applicants can now be applied toward the 40 hours of Continuing Coach Education required for Associate Certified Coach renewal. This means that Associate Certified Coach renewal applicants will be required to complete:
    • 10 hours of Mentor Coaching
    • At least 30 hours of Continuing Coach Education (with at least 11 hours in Core Competencies and at least 3 hours in coaching ethics)

It is important to note that no more than 10 hours of Mentor Coaching may be counted toward required Continuing Coach Education in a renewal cycle.

The following changes to ICF’s Credential Renewal policy are effective immediately for any coach whose ICF Credentials expire December 31, 2018, or later:

  • No more than 10 hours of Mentor Coaching (delivering and/or receiving) may be counted toward Continuing Coach Education requirements. This means that if you’re an Associate Certified Coach serving as a Mentor Coach, none of the hours you spent delivering Mentor Coaching may be counted toward your Continuing Coach Education requirements. (This is because all 10 hours have been fulfilled by receiving Mentor Coaching.) If you’re a Professional Certified Coach or Master Certified Coach who has delivered 10 or more hours of Mentor Coaching, only the first 10 hours will count toward your requirement, and no hours that you spent receiving Mentor Coaching can be counted.
  • No more than 10 hours of Coaching Supervision (delivering and/or receiving) may be counted toward Continuing Coach Education requirements.

As part of a self-regulating industry, ICF is committed to helping coaches provide consistent value to their clients. To ensure excellence among ICF Credential-holders, we encourage them to participate in a wide array of continuing professional development activities. This policy helps encourage that diversity.

The following changes will go into effect on July 31, 2018, at 12 Noon (New York):

  • Associate Certified Coaches will need to complete at least one full cycle of their credential (through renewal) before they can serve as a Mentor Coach. This policy demonstrates our commitment to advancing high standards for Mentor Coaches like you and ensuring that you’re well-prepared to support other coaches on their professional journeys.
  • Coaches applying for their initial credential (Associate Certified Coach or Professional Certified Coach credential) via the Portfolio path will be required to demonstrate that they completed a comprehensive training program that includes the ICF definition of coaching, Code of Ethics and Core Competencies, and is organized in a scope and sequence that encourages the growth of the coach. This means that coaches will no longer be able to submit a random compilation of non-approved training hours and/or Continuing Coach Education units in fulfillment of their initial training requirements. We believe it should be easy for current and prospective coaches to find and choose the appropriate type of training for their stage of professional development, and this change is a further step in reframing Continuing Coach Education as the first choice for advanced training for already-credentialed coaches.
  • Master Certified Coach applicants will be required to complete all their 2,500 hours of client coaching experience after the start of coach-specific training. Previously, ICF revised Associate and Professional Certified Coach policies to require that all coaching experience hours be completed after the start of coach-specific training. This change positively impacted credential-holders and the profession by ensuring that every hour of experience was delivered in the context of coach-specific training aligned with ICF’s high standards. We expect a similarly positive impact from this change.
  • Coaches applying for the Associate Certified Coach credential via the ACSTH path will once again be required to submit a recording and transcript of a live coaching session. The performance evaluation is currently a requirement for Professional Certified Coach candidates on the ACSTH path, so this change will ensure greater consistency across credential levels.

The following change will go into effect on February 28, 2019, at 12 Noon (New York):

  • Coaches will be required to hold a Professional Certified Coach credential before they can apply for the Master Certified Coach credential. Applying for a Master Certified Coach credential requires a significant investment of time and money. We want to increase the likelihood of success. Data from ICF’s Credentialing department shows that Master Certified Coach candidates who hold a Professional Certified Coach credential are more successful in the application process than candidates with no prior ICF Credential. Clearly, earning the Professional Certified Coach designation is an important step in a coach’s journey, and this policy change will encourage that.

Finally, I want to share with you one additional piece of news from recent Board meetings:

  • As a Mentor Coach, you know that when it comes to enhancing performance, meaningful feedback matters. This is why we are redesigning the feedback report for Master Certified Coach candidates to increase clarity around assessment measures and provide concrete recommendations for next steps and further professional development.

Magda Walczak


Magda Walczak is CEO of Coacharya and looks after strategy, technology, marketing, and customer experience. She's also the author of Saylor's tale, a children's book.


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