In honor of International Coaching Week, February 6 through 12, I am posting a series of short articles about coaching.
Day 3: The Education of a Coach
Currently, coaching is not a regulated field the way social work, therapy, and counseling are (requiring training and degrees, certification, and even licensure). Anyone can call themselves a coach, and many do so, even if coaching isn’t quite the right term for what they do. There is no required training to be a coach.
The International Coach Federation is a voluntary organization that has established core principles for training, as well as a code of ethics and credentialing levels for coaches. When seeking a professional coach, look for one with at least some training, if not certification and credentialing.
Anyone interested in becoming a coach (or learning how some coaches are trained) should go to the ICF Web site and look for Accredited Coach Training Programs (ACTPs).
To be accredited by the ICF, a coach training program must have a minimum of 125 hours of coach-specific training on the ICF Core Competencies and the ICF Code of Ethics, a minimum of six observed coaching sessions with an experienced coach, and a comprehensive final exam. A tip for clients seeking coaching: look for a coach who has completed some sort of training, preferably an ACTP.
Once a coach has completed an ACTP, he or she becomes eligible for credentialing through the ICF. There are currently three levels of credentials available to coaches: Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and Master Certified Coach (MCC).
For the ACC credential, the coach must graduate from the ACTP, have a minimum of 100 coaching hours and at least 8 clients, get letters of reference from experienced coaches, and more. For PCC, the applicant must have graduated from an ACTP, have 750 coaching hours and at least 25 clients, and more. For MCC, the highest level, the coach has 2,500 coaching hours, at least 35 clients, and more.
I completed an ACTP through Erickson College (The Art and Science of Coaching). When I completed modules 1-4, I earned the title of Certified Professional Coach. I then completed module 5 and earned the title Erickson Certified Professional Coach. I maintain professional membership in the ICF, which means (among other things) that I abide by their Code of Ethics. In April 2010 I applied for and was awarded my ACC credential from the International Coach Federation.
There are also accredited continuing coach education units, which help coaches grow in their skills (and are required for higher levels of credentialing). I have taken a course in Coaching Team Thinking and Innovation (from Erickson) as well as Energy Leadership Training from iPEC and am now a Master Practitioner of the Energy Leadership Index assessment. An early commitment I made to my career was to have regular continuing education so that I can grow as a coach and serve my clients with more tools.
Tomorrow: How Do People Use Coaching?
Questions about coach training? Leave a comment or contact me!