International Coach Federation (ICF)

The International Coach Federation (ICF) seeks to advance the art, science and practice of professional coaching. It is the world’s largest organization of professionally trained coaches.

ICF offers the only globally recognized, independent credentialing program for coach practitioners. ICF Credentials are awarded to professional coaches who have met stringent education and experience requirements and have demonstrated a thorough understanding of the coaching competencies that set the standard in the profession. Achieving credentials through ICF signifies a coach’s commitment to integrity, understanding and mastery of coaching skills, and dedication to clients.

ICF also accredits programs that deliver coach-specific training. ICF-accredited training programs must complete a rigorous review process and demonstrate that their curriculum aligns with the ICF Core Competencies and Code of Ethics.

Coacharya is accredited by ICF to deliver coach training towards the ACC, PCC and MCC credentials.

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ICF Definition of Coaching

ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.

ICF Coach Credentials

There are three levels of coaching credentials awarded by ICF. Coacharya’s coach training programs are accredited to prepare learners for all three.

PLEASE NOTE: The table below reflects permanent requirements for the various credentials. Due to COVID-19, ICF has made some temporary changes to these requirements. You should consult ICF website directly for most up to date information.

 Associate Certified Coach (ACC)Professional Certified Coach (PCC)Master Certified Coach (MCC)
Classroom training hours required60125200
Coaching experience required100+ hours following the start of training

25 can be pro-bono
500+ hours following the start of training

50 can be pro-bono
2,500+ hours following the start of training

250 can be pro-bono
Other requirementsYou must hold a PCC credential before pursuing your MCC
Coacharya training programCoaching FoundationAdvanced CoachingCoaching Mastery

Please expand the sections below to learn more about specific ICF credentials.

Please note that fees listed are ICF fees. Training program fees are additional. Please contact us if you’re interested in ICF-accredited coach training program with Coacharya.

ACC - Paths to Credentials

If you use non-accredited training or Continuing Coach Education (CCE) as the start of your coach-specific training, you will need to apply via the portfolio path. You can only use a CCE program that has a minimum of 30 hours and is at least 80 percent core competency. If the non-accredited training you submit is not accepted as coach-specific training, you will need to complete additional client coaching hours. These additional hours of coaching experience must begin after the start of your coach specific training.

ACC ACTP Path

ACC ACSTH Path

ACC Portfolio Path

Completion of an entire ICF Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP). At least 60 hours of coach-specific training through an ACTP or ACSTH program.

At least 60 hours of coach-specific training with robust documentation.

Coaching log demonstrating 100 hours (75 paid) of coaching experience with at least 8 clients following the start of your coach-specific training. At least 25 of these hours must occur within 18 months of submitting your credential application.

10 hours of Mentor Coaching to be documented on your online application.

10 hours of Mentor Coaching to be documented on your online application.

Complete the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA). Coaching log demonstrating 100 hours (75 paid) of coaching experience with at least 8 clients following the start of your coach-specific training. At least 25 of these hours must occur within 18 months of submitting your credential application.

Coaching log demonstrating 100 hours (75 paid) of coaching experience with at least 8 clients following the start of your coach-specific training. At least 25 of these hours must occur within 18 months of submitting your credential application.

Complete the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).

Performance evaluation (audio recording and written transcript of coaching session to be uploaded with your application).

Complete the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).

ICF Members: $100 USD
Non-members: $300 USD
ICF Members: $300 USD
Non-members: $500 USD

ICF Members: $400 USD
Non-members: $600 USD

Estimated Timeline for Review: 4 weeks Estimated Timeline for Review4 Weeks Estimated Timeline for Review: 14 weeks

PCC - Paths to Credentials

PCC ACTP Path

PCC ACSTH Path

PCC Portfolio Path

Completion of an entire ICF Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP). At least 125 hours of coach-specific training through an ACTP or ACSTH program.

At least 125 hours of coach-specific training with robust documentation.

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 18 months of submitting your credential application.

10 hours of Mentor Coaching to be documented on your online application.

10 hours of Mentor Coaching to be documented on your online application.

Complete the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA). 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 18 months of submitting your credential application.

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 18 months of submitting your credential application.

Performance evaluation (two audio recordings and written transcripts of coaching sessions to be uploaded with your application).

Performance evaluation (two audio recordings and written transcripts of coaching sessions to be uploaded with your application).

Complete the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).

Complete the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).

ICF Members: $300 USD
Non-members: $500 USD
ICF Members: $575 USD
Non-members: $775 USD

ICF Members: $675 USD
Non-members: $875 USD

Estimated Timeline for Review: 4 weeks Estimated Timeline for Review: 14 Weeks Estimated Timeline for Review: 18 weeks

MCC - Path to Credentials

Master Certified Coach (MCC) Application Requirements

200 hours of coach-specific training.
10 hours of Mentor Coaching.
Coaching log demonstrating 2,500 hours (2,250 paid) of coaching experience with at least 35 clients.
Performance evaluation (two audio recordings and written transcripts of coaching sessions).
Complete the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) unless previously passed when applying for ACC or PCC.
ICF Members: $575 USD
Non-members: $775 USD
Estimated Timeline for Review: 18 weeks

ACTP - Train as a Coach

Coacharya's ICF-Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) helps you prepare for ACC, PCC and MCC credentials.

 ICF Core Competencies

The following eleven core coaching competencies were developed to support greater understanding about the skills and approaches used within today’s coaching profession as defined by the International Coach Federation. They will also support you in calibrating the level of alignment between the coach-specific training expected and the training you have experienced. All competencies are covered in the Coach Knowledge Assessment, which all coaches must pass in order to get credentialed.

The Being of the Coach

1. Demonstrates Ethical Practice 

    • Demonstrates integrity 
    • Abides by the ICF Code of Ethics 
    • Respects confidentiality 
    • Maintains distinctions with other support professions

2. Embodies a Coaching Mindset 

    • Engages in ongoing learning and development 
    • Appreciates client autonomy 
    • Develops reflective practice

The Doing of Coaching

3. Establishes and Maintains Agreements 

    • Agreement for coaching relationship 
    • Agreement for overall coaching plan and goals 
    • Agreement for session goals and objectives

4. Cultivates Trust and Safety 

    • Creates a safe, supportive environment 
    • Respects whole person of the client
    • Acknowledges the work of the client in the process

5. Maintains Presence 

    • Maintains full focus on the client 
    • Demonstrates curiosity 
    • Manages emotions 
    • Creates space for reflection

6. Listens Actively 

    • Engages in holistic listening 
    • Reflects back to ensure shared understanding 
    • Integrates understanding of the client to support communication

7. Evokes Awareness 

    • Asks questions to elicit new insights 
    • Shares observations to support new learning 
    • Supports the client in reflection and reframing

8. Facilitates Client Growth 

    • Facilitate learning into action 
    • Respects client autonomy 
    • Celebrates progress 
    • Partners to close session

The coaching competencies are outlined in more detail below.

Foundation

1. Demonstrates Ethical Practice

Definition: Understands and consistently applies coaching ethics and standards of coaching

  1. Demonstrates personal integrity and honesty in interactions with clients, sponsors and relevant stakeholders
  2. Is sensitive to clients’ identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs
  3. Uses language appropriate and respectful to clients, sponsors and relevant stakeholders
  4. Abides by the ICF Code of Ethics and upholds the Core Values
  5. Maintains confidentiality with client information per stakeholder agreements and pertinent laws
  6. Maintains the distinctions between coaching, consulting, psychotherapy and other support professions
  7. Refers clients to other support professionals, as appropriate

2. Embodies a Coaching Mindset

Definition: Develops and maintains a mindset that is open, curious, flexible and client-centered

  1. Acknowledges that clients are responsible for their own choices
  2. Engages in ongoing learning and development as a coach
  3. Develops an ongoing reflective practice to enhance one’s coaching
  4. Remains aware of and open to the influence of context and culture on self and others
  5. Uses awareness of self and one’s intuition to benefit clients
  6. Develops and maintains the ability to regulate one’s emotions
  7. Mentally and emotionally prepares for sessions
  8. Seeks help from outside sources when necessary

Co-Creating the Relationship

3. Establishes and Maintains Agreements

Definition: Partners with the client and relevant stakeholders to create clear agreements about the coaching relationship, process, plans and goals. Establishes agreements for the overall coaching engagement as well as those for each coaching session.

  1. Explains what coaching is and is not and describes the process to the client and relevant stakeholders
  2. Reaches agreement about what is and is not appropriate in the relationship, what is and is not being offered, and the responsibilities of the client and relevant stakeholders
  3. Reaches agreement about the guidelines and specific parameters of the coaching relationship such as logistics, fees, scheduling, duration, termination, confidentiality and inclusion of others
  4. Partners with the client and relevant stakeholders to establish an overall coaching plan and goals
  5. Partners with the client to determine client-coach compatibility
  6. Partners with the client to identify or reconfirm what they want to accomplish in the session
  7. Partners with the client to define what the client believes they need to address or resolve to achieve what they want to accomplish in the session
  8. Partners with the client to define or reconfirm measures of success for what the client wants to accomplish in the coaching engagement or individual session
  9. Partners with the client to manage the time and focus of the session
  10. Continues coaching in the direction of the client’s desired outcome unless the client indicates otherwise
  11. Partners with the client to end the coaching relationship in a way that honors the experience

4. Cultivates Trust and Safety

Definition: Partners with the client to create a safe, supportive environment that allows the client to share freely. Maintains a relationship of mutual respect and trust.

  1. Seeks to understand the client within their context which may include their identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs
  1. Demonstrates respect for the client’s identity, perceptions, style and language and adapts one’s coaching to the client
  2. Acknowledges and respects the client’s unique talents, insights and work in the coaching process
  3. Shows support, empathy and concern for the client
  4. Acknowledges and supports the client’s expression of feelings, perceptions, concerns, beliefs and suggestions
  5. Demonstrates openness and transparency as a way to display vulnerability and build trust with the client

5. Maintains Presence

Definition: Is fully conscious and present with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible, grounded and confident

  1. Remains focused, observant, empathetic and responsive to the client
  2. Demonstrates curiosity during the coaching process
  3. Manages one’s emotions to stay present with the client
  4. Demonstrates confidence in working with strong client emotions during the coaching process
  5. Is comfortable working in a space of not knowing
  6. Creates or allows space for silence, pause or reflection

Communicating Effectively

6. Listens Actively

Definition: Focuses on what the client is and is not saying to fully understand what is being communicated in the context of the client systems and to support client self-expression

  1. Considers the client’s context, identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs to enhance understanding of what the client is communicating
  2. Reflects or summarizes what the client communicated to ensure clarity and understanding
  3. Recognizes and inquires when there is more to what the client is communicating
  4. Notices, acknowledges and explores the client’s emotions, energy shifts, non-verbal cues or other behaviors
  5. Integrates the client’s words, tone of voice and body language to determine the full meaning of what is being communicated
  6. Notices trends in the client’s behaviors and emotions across sessions to discern themes and patterns

7. Evokes Awareness

Definition: Facilitates client insight and learning by using tools and techniques such as powerful questioning, silence, metaphor or analogy

  1. Considers client experience when deciding what might be most useful
  2. Challenges the client as a way to evoke awareness or insight
  3. Asks questions about the client, such as their way of thinking, values, needs, wants and beliefs
  4. Asks questions that help the client explore beyond current thinking
  5. Invites the client to share more about their experience in the moment
  6. Notices what is working to enhance client progress
  7. Adjusts the coaching approach in response to the client’s needs
  8. Helps the client identify factors that influence current and future patterns of behavior, thinking or emotion
  9. Invites the client to generate ideas about how they can move forward and what they are willing or able to do
  10. Supports the client in reframing perspectives
  11. Shares observations, insights and feelings, without attachment, that have the potential to create new learning for the client

Cultivating Learning and Growth

8. Facilitates Client Growth

Definition: Partners with the client to transform learning and insight into action. Promotes client autonomy in the coaching process.

  1. Works with the client to integrate new awareness, insight or learning into their worldview and behaviors
  2. Partners with the client to design goals, actions and accountability measures that integrate and expand new learning
  3. Acknowledges and supports client autonomy in the design of goals, actions and methods of accountability
  4. Supports the client in identifying potential results or learning from identified action steps
  5. Invites the client to consider how to move forward, including resources, support and potential barriers
  6. Partners with the client to summarize learning and insight within or between sessions
  7. Celebrates the client’s progress and successes
  8. Partners with the client to close the session

Start Your ICF Coach Training

Coacharya is accredited by ICF to deliver ACC, PCC and MCC level training programs. New cohorts start each quarter. Programs are held virtually, online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world.

ICF Code of Ethics

In line with the International Coach Federation core values and ICF definition of coaching, the Code of Ethics is designed to provide appropriate guidelines, accountability and enforceable standards of conduct for all ICF Members and ICF Credential-holders, who commit to abiding by the following ICF Code of Ethics:

Definitions

  • Coaching: Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.
  • ICF Coach: An ICF coach agrees to practice the ICF Core Competencies and pledges accountability to the ICF Code of Ethics.
  • Professional Coaching Relationship: A professional coaching relationship exists when coaching includes an agreement (including contracts) that defines the responsibilities of each party.
  • Roles in the Coaching Relationship: In order to clarify roles in the coaching relationship it is often necessary to distinguish between the client and the sponsor. In most cases, the client and sponsor are the same person and are therefore jointly referred to as the client. For purposes of identification, however, the ICF defines these roles as follows:
  • Client: The “Client/Coachee” is the person(s) being coached.
  • Sponsor: The “sponsor” is the entity (including its representatives) paying for and/or arranging for coaching services to be provided. In all cases, coaching engagement agreements should clearly establish the rights, roles and responsibilities for both the client and sponsor if the client and sponsor are different people.
  • Student: The “student” is someone enrolled in a coach training program or working with a coaching supervisor or coach mentor in order to learn the coaching process or enhance and develop their coaching skills.
  • Conflict of Interest: A situation in which a coach has a private or personal interest sufficient to appear to influence the objective of his or her official duties as a coach and a professional.

Professional conduct at large

As a coach, I:

1) Conduct myself in accordance with the ICF Code of Ethics in all interactions, including coach training, coach mentoring and coach supervisory activities.

2) Commit to take the appropriate action with the coach, trainer, or coach mentor and/or will contact ICF to address any ethics violation or possible breach as soon as I become aware, whether it involves me or others.

3) Communicate and create awareness in others, including organizations, employees, sponsors, coaches and others, who might need to be informed of the responsibilities established by this Code.

4) Refrain from unlawful discrimination in occupational activities, including age, race, gender orientation, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin or disability.

5) Make verbal and written statements that are true and accurate about what I offer as a coach, the coaching profession or ICF.

6) Accurately identify my coaching qualifications, expertise, experience, training, certifications and ICF Credentials.

7) Recognize and honor the efforts and contributions of others and only claim ownership of my own material. I understand that violating this standard may leave me subject to legal remedy by a third party.

8) Strive at all times to recognize my personal issues that may impair, conflict with or interfere with my coaching performance or my professional coaching relationships. I will promptly seek the relevant professional assistance and determine the action to be taken, including whether it is appropriate to suspend or terminate my coaching relationship(s) whenever the facts and circumstances necessitate.

9) Recognize that the Code of Ethics applies to my relationship with coaching clients, coachees, students, mentees and supervisees.

10) Conduct and report research with competence, honesty and within recognized scientific standards and applicable subject guidelines. My research will be carried out with the necessary consent and approval of those involved, and with an approach that will protect participants from any potential harm. All research efforts will be performed in a manner that complies with all the applicable laws of the country in which the research is conducted.

11) Maintain, store and dispose of any records, including electronic files and communications, created during my coaching engagements in a manner that promotes confidentiality, security and privacy and complies with any applicable laws and agreements.

12) Use ICF Member contact information (email addresses, telephone numbers, and so on) only in the manner and to the extent authorized by the ICF.

Conflicts of interest

13) Seek to be conscious of any conflict or potential conflict of interest, openly disclose any such conflict and offer to remove myself when a conflict arises.

14) Clarify roles for internal coaches, set boundaries and review with stakeholders conflicts of interest that may emerge between coaching and other role functions.

15) Disclose to my client and the sponsor(s) all anticipated compensation from third parties that I may receive for referrals of clients or pay to receive clients.

16) Honor an equitable coach/client relationship, regardless of the form of compensation.

Professional conduct with clients

17) Ethically speak what I know to be true to clients, prospective clients or sponsors about the potential value of the coaching process or of me as a coach.

18) Carefully explain and strive to ensure that, prior to or at the initial meeting, my coaching client and sponsor(s) understand the nature of coaching, the nature and limits of confidentiality, financial arrangements, and any other terms of the coaching agreement.

19) Have a clear coaching service agreement with my clients and sponsor(s) before beginning the coaching relationship and honor this agreement. The agreement shall include the roles, responsibilities and rights of all parties involved.

20) Hold responsibility for being aware of and setting clear, appropriate and culturally sensitive boundaries that govern interactions, physical or otherwise, I may have with my clients or sponsor(s).

21) Avoid any sexual or romantic relationship with current clients or sponsor(s) or students, mentees or supervisees. Further, I will be alert to the possibility of any potential sexual intimacy among the parties including my support staff and/or assistants and will take the appropriate action to address the issue or cancel the engagement in order to provide a safe environment overall.

22) Respect the client’s right to terminate the coaching relationship at any point during the process, subject to the provisions of the agreement. I shall remain alert to indications that there is a shift in the value received from the coaching relationship.

23) Encourage the client or sponsor to make a change if I believe the client or sponsor would be better served by another coach or by another resource and suggest my client seek the services of other professionals when deemed necessary or appropriate.

Confidentiality / Privacy

As a coach, I:

24) Maintain the strictest levels of confidentiality with all client and sponsor information unless release is required by law.

25) Have a clear agreement about how coaching information will be exchanged among coach, client and sponsor.

26) Have a clear agreement when acting as a coach, coach mentor, coaching supervisor or trainer, with both client and sponsor, student, mentee, or supervisee about the conditions under which confidentiality may not be maintained (e.g., illegal activity, pursuant to valid court order or subpoena; imminent or likely risk of danger to self or to others; etc) and make sure both client and sponsor, student, mentee, or supervisee voluntarily and knowingly agree in writing to that limit of confidentiality. Where I reasonably believe that because one of the above circumstances is applicable, I may need to inform appropriate authorities.

27) Require all those who work with me in support of my clients to adhere to the ICF Code of Ethics, Number 26, Section 4, Confidentiality and Privacy Standards, and any other sections of the Code of Ethics that might be applicable.

Continuing development

28) Commit to the need for continued and ongoing development of my professional skills.

The ICF Pledge of Ethics

As an ICF coach, I acknowledge and agree to honor my ethical and legal obligations to my coaching clients and sponsors, colleagues, and to the public at large. I pledge to comply with the ICF Code of Ethics and to practice these standards with those whom I coach, teach, mentor or supervise.

If I breach this Pledge of Ethics or any part of the ICF Code of Ethics, I agree that the ICF in its sole discretion may hold me accountable for so doing. I further agree that my accountability to the ICF for any breach may include sanctions, such as loss of my ICF Membership and/or my ICF Credentials.

For more information on the Ethical Conduct Review Process including links to file a complaint, please click here.

Adopted by the ICF Global Board of Directors June 2015.

Please note: All the information on this page comes directly from International Coach Federation’s website. Please visit ICF for further details, or contact Coacharya to enroll in our ICF-accredited coach training program.