If you’ve spent any time researching what it takes to become a certified coach, then chances are you’ve come across the following terms: ICF, CCE, and ICF-accredited hours. You’ve probably seen other acronyms, too: ACC, PCC, and MCC. And if you’re anything like many of the coaches we’ve talked to, your head may be spinning!
And although most places don’t require you to be certified in order to work as a coach, we believe that requirement is just around the corner. Switzerland recently passed laws requiring all professional coaches to become certified, and it’s likely only a matter of time before the other countries follow suit. That’s why we believe becoming certified is critical—and why it’s important to know and understand what each of these terms and acronyms mean, and the differences between them.
Below, we’ve listed some important definitions, as well as some explanations to define distinctions between the concepts.
ICF: The International Coach Federation is the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals. ICF 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.
ICF-accredited hours: You’ll seek ICF-accredited hours when you’re first getting certified as a coach. ICF-accredited hours are certification training hours offered by coaching schools and academies that have earned accreditation through the ICF (like Radiant Coaches Academy). Once you’ve completed a certain number of ICF-accredited hours, you’ll be a certified professional coach. THEN, you can choose to go on and pursue a credential through the ICF. These credentials include ACC (Associate Certified Coach), PCC (Professional Certified Coach) and MCC (Master Certified Coach)—more on that below.
Why seek ICF-accredited hours as opposed to training from an organization that hasn’t earned ICF-accreditation? Because the ICF is considered the gold standard in coaching, you can rest assured that programs that have earned its stamp of approval are teaching to the highest standard—which means you’ll learn how to be the best possible coach and build the most successful possible coaching business! Also, chances are that when certification becomes mandatory for coaches to practice (as it already has in Switzerland), the ICF will likely be the association that governs professional coach regulation on state, national, and international levels.
Look for a coach training program or school that has earned ICF accreditation.
CCE: CCE stands for Continuing Coach Education units, and refers to training existing coaches can apply toward the renewal (continuation) of their ICF credentials (ACC, PCC, and MCC).
What you need to know about ICF-accredited hours versus CCEs: ICF-accredited hours are training hours you complete when you set out to become certified, while CCEs are credits you earn to maintain your ICF credentials (you must earn a certain number of CCEs each year to keep your ACC, PCC, or MCC certification current).
ACC: Associate Certified Coaches go through at least 60 hours of training, and must have at least 100 hours of coaching experience.
PCC: Professional Certified Coaches complete at least 125 hours of training, and must have at least 500 hours of coaching experience.
MCC: Master Certified Coaches complete at least 200 hours of training, and must have at least 2500 hours of coaching experience.
What you need to know about the differences between ACC, PCC, and MCC: The distinctions ACC, PCC, and MCC simply identify how much training and experience coaches with these credentials have completed. Remember, once you earn your professional certification through an ICF-accredited coach training school (like Radiant Coaches Academy), you can then choose to pursue an ICF credential—an ACC, PCC, or MCC depending on how many hours of training and experience you complete.
In conclusion …
Pursuing your coaching certification through an ICF-accredited training program is the best choice you can make as you begin your coaching journey. Not only will it ensure you get the highest-quality training, but it will also make you more attractive to potential clients.
To learn more about how to begin your ICF-accredited coaching certification training, visit www.radiantcoachesacademy.com.