Tips in Choosing an ICF Coach Certification & Training Provider

How to find the best online ICF Accreditation programme for you.


With so many coach training providers offering ICF Certification how do you go about navigating the various courses to ensure that the one that you choose is right for you? From our experience ICF Coaching Qualifications are slightly different in nature to other types of professional developmental programmes. Here’s a summary of what we have learnt and a few tips from us and previous coach-trainees to help you identify your own journey in becoming a Credentialed Coach.


1. Different ICF Certifications will have Different Content

This is one thing that perhaps we find surprise most coach-trainees. There is no one curriculum that all ICF Coach Training Providers must adhere to. What the ICF Coach Training assessment is based upon are the ICF Competencies (there’s 8 of them that you can read about here.) Therefore the actual course content will vary, as long as it’s in line with these competencies.

Tip 1: Choose an ICF Certification with Course Content that excites you! For example our Diploma covers an integrative approach to coaching, meaning it utilises more than one framework. You’ll learn about humanistic, cognitive-behavioural, acceptance-commitment and solutions-focused ways how to work with coachees.


2. The ICF Website lists out all Accredited Certification Providers: You want to make sure that the course that you want to apply for is accredited by the ICF as it is the largest and most recognised awarding body for professional coaching qualifications. The easiest way to do so is to go to their site here and search for a particular course that you want to enroll yourself on. Make sure it’s on that list!

Tip 2: If you are new to your coach training search, start off on the ICF Website. The site will list out how many approved coach specific hours each school offers together with a short overview of the contents.


3. ICF Qualifications can be Delivered in Multiple Ways: One other aspect to truly consider is how you want to learn. What you will find is that some certification programmes run over 6 months or so (like our Diploma in Integrative Coaching, for example). Others are delivered within a week. Your choice will depend on your learning style, time and availability. For us it’s important for coach-trainees to practice and develop over a period of time. That’s why even our Fast Track option that we run in May is still around 2 months long. Having time to practice what you learn is key to embodying a coaching practice.

Tip 3: Watch out for the Delivery Methods of your Certification. Make sure that you choose one that fits your needs. Ask the provider if they do offer the qualification in a different learning method. Additionally some providers will include Learning Portals with bespoke material you can read, Podcasts you can listen to and videos to watch. If you’re interested in Podcasts you can listen to ours here.


4. Check Mentoring Hours and Support: One requirement that you will need in order to apply for ICF Credentialling is 10 mentoring hours. You will need to show evidence of this together with your Certification to start your ACC application with the ICF. Some coach-training providers include mentoring sessions as part of the course fee; others do not.

Tip 4: Identify mentors who can support your development. Ask about the mentoring, find out who the mentors are and identify ones that can support your own unique coaching skills and practice. Here’s what Steven McCormick, one of our previous coach-trainees and alumni of the Diploma in Integrative Coaching said about our mentoring:

“The mentoring sessions that accompany the coaching sessions were personalised to my needs and interests. Getting the chance to regularly talk about my practice and get advice from somebody who has done it all before was one of the most helpful experiences of my career so far. All of this has resulted in me opening my own coaching business and finding real-life paying clients. It’s so fulfilling and I honestly believe that I would not have had the courage, competence and support to do so if I’d had chosen another course”


5. Discuss your Certification with the ICF Coaching School or attend a free event: Although it can be tempted to simply hit Register and apply, it’s always better when it comes to coach training to have a call with the provider to understand how they work and what they can offer. You will also get a feeling of what they are like, their values and the type of coaching they train in.

Tip 5: Arrange a Call with the ICF Coaching School. Before applying drop the provider and email and ask to arrange a call with them. Alternatively a lot of ICF Training Providers will offer some free coaching workshops. Attend one of those to get some insight on the provider. We run these regular and details about upcoming ones can be found here.


We have also created a Coach Training Toolkit to help you learn more about how to become an accredited coach. It includes documentation and videos to help you identify the ways that you want to develop as a certified coach. You can download it here.

ARticles, videos & Podcasts