Why do ICF Coach Training Certifications vary in Content and Learning Delivery?

This Article provides you with an exploration as to why ICF Coach Training programmes differ. Essentially as ICF Coaches we focus on the behaviours that we show in our sessions rather than knowledge of models of frameworks. And there are many ways how you can show those behaviours. Read on for more tips about becoming a coach and what you need to consider when making this choice.


Don’t worry if you find the world of becoming an accredited coach confusing. The truth is that it is, but also that the right ICF training provider can simplify it for you and help you progress through the milestones towards your ACC or PCC Credential.

One question that many coach trainees ask when they inquire about our Diploma programmes is in relation to content. You’ve done your research and noticed that different training providers tend to have different course content. It could be models or frameworks that are presented of just styles of coaching – executive, career, life coaching. What is that all about? 

Let’s start with a fundamental truth! Coaching is Coaching. For the most of it. We are not talking about sports coaching or a very specific niche. In general, most coaches will work in similar ways whether they call themselves executive coaches or personal coaches. There is a fundamental practice to coaching that cuts through what we do, such as the ability to listen fully and attentively, build accountability in clients without the coach getting in the way, show empathy and celebration without cheerleading someone on. These are core behaviours and skills that are important in all aspects of coaching. 

That’s why our Diploma and Advanced Diploma are designed to develop you as a Coach, without an overt preoccupation about niche. Our Level 2 Advanced Diploma does include Certificates in specific areas of  Coaching (e.g. Stress and Wellbeing, Leadership and Career Coaching), however the focus is always on a holistic and genuine way of coaching.

As you can see there is a thread that cuts through what we do as coaches and ICF programmes that focus on professional coaching will follow that. Whether you learn GROW, SPACE, COACH or a transformational model of coaching the skill is in your behaviours rather than learning a model. That’s why…

ICF assess you based on behavioural competencies rather than just knowledge. In many ways what is important is how you apply these coaching skills. It’s not about writing a report to show how you would listen to a client. Instead, through recordings and observations we can evidence the way that you are being present and showing the client that you are listening to them. As ICF assessors we are looking for behaviours and examples in your coaching practice that you are meeting core coaching competencies.

Hear from our Alumni

Be inspired by our Alumni who completed our Diploma or Advanced Diploma in Integrative Coaching on your own journey to becoming an Accredited Coach. 

Watch interviews with our trainees who share their experience studying with Become and how our training programmes have helped them excel as coaches and set up their own businesses.

This means that when you are looking for an ICF Coach Training Provider think of:

  • Do I resonate with the content? Does it excite me and do I want to learn about it? For example, our Diploma focuses on psychological ways of working with clients. We don’t hold a model too tightly but instead present you with a range of modalities and approaches to consider whilst developing yourself as a coach. This way you can learn integrating your style of coaching using different approaches. We don’t believe that focusing solely on one model is ethical when working with human beings who are complex!
  • Do I want to do a Level 1 or Level 2 ICF programme? Some providers like Become Coaching give you the choice between doing a complete Level 2 or to do a Level 1 and then do your Level 2 later on. For more information about the Levels of ICF Coach Training read this article by us. Note that as the ICF is a North American awarding body these Levels 1 and 2 are different to UK Levels 1 and 2 and not comparable. If you are looking for a more advanced programme then opt for the Level 2 (that includes the Level 1 as part of it). If you want to start exploring coaching and develop your confidence go for the Level 1.
  • How much practice will I get? Practice is key when it comes to developing your skills. Look into how you will be supported to practice and get feedback on your practice. At Become you’ll get plenty of opportunities to do this in-class, outside of class in Peer Groups we set up and with real clients through our Coaching Pool. 
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