March 22

Professional Certified Coach: 5 Best ICF Accredited Programs


The coaching industry is growing, and accreditation from the International Coach Federation (ICF) can help you stand out. This article will explain what it means to be ICF-accredited and why it's essential for your career in coaching. 

Whether you're looking to improve your coaching skills or want to become a professional certified coach, there are programs for you.

What is an Accredited Coach Training Program? 

Enrolling in an International Coaching Federation (ICF) certification program is essentially signing up for in-depth training designed to set you up for a successful coaching career. These courses cover ethical policy, fundamental skills, and, most importantly, the practical implementation of what you learn. 

Certification in an ICF-approved program qualifies you to sit for the ICF test and be a member of this prestigious body, a mark of professionalism and commitment to high ethical standards for the coaching industry. 

Who Can Become a Certified Coach? 

Being a certified coach is attainable by anyone, irrespective of your background. This is the place for you if you want to start a career in coaching or for those who wish to gain coaching abilities in their current job. 

It’s your opportunity to be the one who builds a future where you inspire others to become the best version of themselves. 

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Benefits of ICF Accredited Coach Training Programs 

The International Coach Federation (ICF) Coaching Certification Program is known for its highly established standards and comprehensive training in the coaching community. Such courses have multiple benefits not only for aspiring coaches but also for those they are likely to train later on. 

Global Recognition and Credibility 

An ICF credential is recognized worldwide as a mark of professional coaching excellence. When certified by the ICF, you're seen as a coach whose practice meets the highest international standards. 

By getting this kind of professional certificate, you gain both a client's and an employer's trust, and your skills are more credible compared to others. It highlights that you are using the best programs and tools, and reaching a new level by attaining an ICF certificate is logical. 

So, as you consider taking this step, remember it's not just about the credentials—it's about joining a global community of trusted professionals. Hence, it takes you to be unique and highly credible. 

Skill Improvement Through Coach Training 

ICF-accredited programs are meticulously designed to cover all aspects of coaching, from foundational principles to advanced techniques. They provide in-depth training on the ICF Core Competencies, including active listening, powerful questioning, and direct communication.

This ensures that coaches are well-equipped with the latest methodologies and tools to facilitate practical coaching sessions, ultimately leading to better client outcomes. 

Access to a Professional Network 

An ICF coach certification will also begin the collaboration between the worldwide community of professional coaches. This valuable network includes all the support, learning, and collaboration elements. 

Coaches with ICF accreditation have avenues to communicate with their colleagues, share ideas, and learn together. Furthermore, this community can provide access to the most up-to-date professional development materials, which leads to continuous learning and improvement in the learners. 

More Career Opportunities 

An ICF coach training certification gives access to many coaching assignments, and when this happens, you become more marketable and sought after. 

Clients, whether organizations or individuals, frequently require their coaches to be ICF-certified. This certification is a testament to having undergone comprehensive training and adhering to high ethical standards, which clients highly value. 

It may increase employment chances, increase salary, and increase the capacity to work with different customers. In addition, coaches have their respective niches, such as executive coaching, leadership coaching, personal development, and wellness coaching, with which they liaise.

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Types of Life Coaching

Personal Development Coaching 

Personal development coaching focuses on the expansion and growth of a person on different levels. In this profession, a coach will work with people seeking multiple improvement paths, for example, unlocking their potential, setting and achieving goals, building self-confidence, and managing their time. 

These mindful breathing activities are perfectly suitable for people trying to overcome such obstacles and are involved in some beneficial practices for their whole lives. 

Career Coaching 

Career coaching is all about professional guidance. Whether someone is about to enter the workplace, trying to switch a career, or aiming for a promotion, career coaches will teach the individual the necessary tools and strategies to help them achieve their desired future. 

A career coach assists in making a professional resume and interview preparation, making it easier for people to manage their work and personal lives. 

Spiritual Coaching 

Spiritual coaching delves into the very intimate place in a person's existence: the soul, the purpose, and the spirit. In contrast to most other areas of focus that emphasize external achievement or advancement, spiritual coaching instead discovers the inner areas of an individual's being. 

It gives people chances to make the world meaningful, get a spiritual connection to what they believe in, and live according to their beliefs and values. 

Health and Wellness Coaching 

Health and wellness coaching are the combined psychological-physical support or influence on health. 

This coaching's purpose is to help people who want to be fit by eating right, regularly exercising, handling stress, and having a positive lifestyle. In this sector, a working coach advises health insurance companies so that consumers can make healthy life choices that will be sustainable.

Relationship Coaching 

Relationship coaching addresses the finer details of individuals and work team relationships. Its primary goal is to teach single people or couples effective communication, conflict management, and broadening their emotional connections

Whether you're a newbie in love or a seasoned family member, work colleague, or friend, relationship coaching provides the tools to create and maintain solid and emotional connections. 

Executive Coaching 

Executive coaching caters to senior management and concentrates on raising leadership competencies, strategic thinking, and team leadership. 

Managers and executives derive advantages from executive coaching, such as improved decision-making skills, leadership presence, and the ability to effectively motivate and lead the workforce in highly demanding, complex organizational environments. 

Related Post: 13 Types of Life Coaches: Which One Best Fits You? 

5 Best ICF Life Coach Certifications 

The Coach Training Academy Logo

The Coach Training Academy 

The academy offers a 24-week ICF Professional Coach Training Program, which will be delivered online in weekly live web or teleconference classes. This program is targeted at those looking for an intensive introductory experience in life coaching.

The Coach Training Academy also offers a 2-Day Fast Track Program. The purpose of this life coach training program is to offer quick and intensive training with a ready-to-go certified coaching model. This is perfect for motivated learners looking forward to kickstarting their coaching career immediately.

This acknowledgment of the curriculum and training quality ensures a high standard. Besides, this academy is built on the shoulders of its founders, who have over 25 years of combined coaching experience.

They are also one of the only programs that offer limited partial scholarships with affordable payment plans, starting from $100 to $250 per month, depending on the class level you have chosen.

Co-active Training Institute

Co-active Training Institute (CTI) 

The Co-active Training Institute is famous for its Co-Active Coach Training Program. It directs the clients' focus to the personal growth area through techniques such as experienced coaching. CTI's training programs can be attended both in-person and online, which is convenient for students in different parts of the world. 

After completing the course, they will have all the skills required to help their clients accomplish their objectives. Thus, it will be a good choice for those who want to become professional coaches. 


Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) 

iPEC Institute offers an ICF-accredited coach training program that covers coaching skills and business development, including client growth, market analysis, and professional skills. iPEC's training program is designed to provide students with the skills to launch their coaching business quickly. 

Such institutions' training sessions and coaching hours are customized for working professionals eager to learn and use the latest studies and innovative practices in the coaching field of modern organizations. 

Center for Executive Coaching

Center for Executive Coaching - Executive Coaching Certification 

For professional executives or people in managerial positions who require executive and leadership coaching, the Center for Executive Coaching offers an ICF-accredited certification program that focuses on coaching high-performing individuals and executives.

The program covers concrete and real-time coaching mechanisms that result in the corporate world for strategic executive training, which suits those searching for niches in their field of work.

3 Levels of ICF Credentials 

In the coaching profession, the International Coach Federation (ICF) offers a structured path for professional development through three levels of coaching credentials: Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and Master Certified Coach (MCC). 

Each stage represents the more extensive level of coaching skillfulness, experience, and obligation to the job. 

Associate Certified Coach (ACC 

The Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential is the foundational certification for new coaches. To achieve this credential, candidates must: 

  • Coach-Specific Education: Complete over 60 hours of ICF-accredited coaching education. 
  • Coaching Experience: Undergo 10 hours of mentor coaching with an ICF-credentialed coach. 
  • Mentor Coaching: Accumulate at least 100 hours of coaching experience. 
  • Performance Evaluation: Pass a performance evaluation demonstrating their coaching competency. 
  • ICF Credentialing Exam: Complete the ICF Credentialing Exam, testing knowledge of core competencies and ethical standards. 

Professional Certified Coach (PCC) 

The Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential marks an advanced level of expertise in the coaching profession. To earn it, coaches must meet several essential requirements: 

  • Coach-Specific Education: Complete 125 hours of training through an ICF-accredited program, focusing on core competencies and ethics. 
  • Coaching Experience: Accumulate at least 250 hours of coaching, with at least 150 being paid and spread across at least 25 clients. 
  • Mentor Coaching: Undergo 10 hours of mentor coaching from an ICF-credentialed coach to refine skills and practices. 
  • Performance Evaluation: Successfully pass a performance evaluation, often involving the review of recorded coaching sessions. 
  • ICF Credentialing Exam: Achieve a passing score on the comprehensive exam that assesses knowledge of ICF Core Competencies and ethical standards. 

Master Certified Coach (MCC) 

The Master Certified Coach (MCC) credential is the highest level of professional certification used in coaching. To achieve this, candidates must fulfill the following criteria: 

  • Coach-Specific Education: Complete over 200 hours of coach-specific education through ICF-accredited programs. 
  • Coaching Experience: Accumulate at least 2,500 hours of coaching experience, with a minimum of 2,250 paid hours across at least 35 clients. 
  • Mentor Coaching: Undergo ten additional hours of mentor coaching with an MCC-credentialed coach over at least three months, distinct from mentor hours used for previous credentials. 
  • Performance Evaluation: Hold or have previously held a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential. 
  • ICF Credentialing Exam: Successfully pass a performance evaluation and the ICF Credentialing Exam. 

How to Choose the Right Coaching Certification Training Program 

Choosing the right coaching certification training program is often a decision that can be instrumental in your effectiveness and success as a coach. From so many choices available, each having its own niche and target area, it is necessary to take time and carefully study your options. 


Getting accredited can be a fundamental milestone in your career journey. Thus, it's recommended that you go through a globally known authority such as the International Coach Federation (ICF). This accredited training is recognized to be of the highest coaching competencies, ethics, and standards. 

This accreditation demonstrates that you are on a quest for perfection and that your coaching services can be relied on. Moreover, there is a further benefit; you can ensure your certification will be honored and taken seriously worldwide. 

Program Focus and Philosophy 

Training procedures may focus on different coaching styles, methodologies, and philosophies. Consider the values that most produce you and match your coaching mission. 

Which coaching style is more familiar: transformative, ontological, or evidence-based? Becoming familiar with a program's philosophical basis will help you choose the one that embraces your thoughts and means of practice. 

Training and Curriculum Content 

Evaluate the curriculum in detail to ensure it covers the essential core competencies regulated by the ICF or other accrediting bodies. 

Choose practical programs that provide a thorough understanding and holistic training experience, thus covering theoretical knowledge and ethical coaching practice. The ideal programs should straddle the foundational coaching knowledge with adequate ethical practice skills. 

Learning Format and Flexibility 

Ensure you consider what kind of learner you are and how much time you can study. Choosing a digital, classroom-based, or combination (hybrid) learning environment can be challenging. 

Some of the courses offer condensed classes within a few days or weeks, while some prefer spanning out the length of the training for several months. Select a format you are sure to follow, giving you the time to explore the subject matter in-depth. 

Faculty Experience and Credentials 

The mentors may be the most significant aspect of your learning experiences. Besides this, find the programs that are taught by veteran instructors who have the highest grades and who also have top accomplishments in the coaching business. 

Coaching professors who have been through it first-hand themselves pose as an inexcusable resource of up-to-date details and live examples. 

Support and Resources 

Check what extra resources and assistance are provided for students and graduates. This could imply mentorship opportunities, access to a professional network, continuing education classes, and career services. 

The intensive post-certification program with tailored support will become one of a kind as you commence and nurture your coaching practice. 

Reviews and Testimonials 

Feedback from former students who have attended the program can be a good evaluation source. 

Testimonials, reviews, and stories of past students show how a training program has proved to be better than their expectations and benefited their careers. More information could be needed, but it is a reliable source to dig into and make informed decisions. 

Cost and Return on Investment 

Evaluate the program's cost as a comparative measure of the value it creates. 

While more costly programs may be equipped with the latest technologies and professional guidance, the budget programs are no less reliable by providing intensive efforts. Measure how a certification can augment your career possibilities and earnings as a coach. 

Become A Professional Certified Coach With The Coach Training Academy! 

If you'd like to take an accredited life coach course, visit these coach training programs and inquire if this is the right path for you. 

View our coach training program scholarships here. 

FAQs About ICF Accreditation 

Can I become a certified coach without ICF accreditation? 

Even though you don't need to be ICF-certified to become a coach, having an ICF-accredited credential gives you more confidence and credibility among other coaches. It provides you with customer assurance, representing your personal and professional potential and ethical welfare. 

How do I know if a coaching program is ICF-accredited? 

You can verify a program's ICF accreditation by going to the website, where you will find a list of all the accredited coach training programs , approved coach-specific training hours  and either Level one, or Level two. 

How often do I need to renew my ICF credential, and what is the process? 

Recertification of ICF credentials should be done after every three years. The renewal process means achieving a prerequisite number of Continuing Coach Education (CCE) units for each level of certification and presenting evidence of sustained professional development and ethical adherence to the ICF Code of Ethics. 


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