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Is there value in being an ICF certified coach vs. not? What are the pros and cons?
I'm signing in for this question as I'm interested in the feedback. I hold several certifications: change management, PMP, and a couple of Myers-Briggs. I how found them incredibly useful for securing specific roles.
I believe there is definitely value. The ICF certification lets your clients know that you are held to a defined code of ethics and provides them confidence in your abilities because in order to be certified you have to have a significant number of hours of training in a specific key competencies and a certain number of paid, coaching hours experience. When I was in corporate HR, I required any coach working with our executives to hold an ICF certification. As a coach now, there are opportunities that I am only able to access because I hold that certification. Coaching has been an industry that has grown up without a lot of regulation and therefore a lot of people are coaches without training beyond their professional experiences. ICF is trying to bring additional credibility to the profession by putting standard requirements in place for their certified coaches. I think that is good for the profession and the future growth of coaching in the leadership development space.
Absolutely! There are many professional and personal development reasons to be part of ICF.
Today, ICF is specifically recognized among coaching professionals worldwide for:
- Developing coaching core competencies
- Establishing a professional code of ethics and standards
- Creating an internationally recognized credentialing program
- Setting guidelines through accreditation for coach-specific training programs
- Providing continuous education through world-class events, Communities of Practice (CPs) and archived learning.
I find certifications of any kind are good credibility- and trust-builders; not necessarily good predictors of actual success in coaching, so as a sales and marketing plus, they’re good to have. Most of my clients are not HR folks, so they often don’t even know (or care) what an ICF certification means or how that’s different from the QLU and other certifications I do have. It may or may not be good for getting your foot in the door, and it’s time intensive and expensive to earn. A colleague of mine swears it changed her approach to management totally and she wishes she had had it before her several executive positions. Other equally successful colleagues have not bothered with it and are doing well. The key to me is which certification (if any) offers me a structure that supports and enhances what I know to be my “style” for success and proves itself by earning me more revenue and higher client satisfaction. In my case, that’s not the ICF certification. My background before my business career was psychology and sociology, so my viewpoint is probably not that typical in terms of things I already knew vs. new learnings, but I just wanted to weigh in.
There are many people who claim to be a coach. ICF Certification is a gold standard with requirements for training, required coaching hours and a review of coaching sessions to demonstrate you possess their core competencies. To be recertified you not only have to provide the necessary CCEUs but must continue to demonstrate core competencies by having coaching sessions evaluated.
These days it is no longer a question but a requisite. The days of being able to get hired at top organizations without ICF credentials have disappeared. Many of my friends with Ph.D's have even come to this realization. It's not even enough to be an ICF Member anymore. To be hired to coach for many organizations and many government contracts you must hold an ICF credential. Many demand the PCC level credential but some will at least let you have the conversation if you have an ACC.
Absolutely! Being ICF certified demonstrates that the professional is committed to the field of coaching and has gained significant training. As stated by other colleagues above, it requires continuing education and there are core competencies that must be maintained as well as ethical standards. As a PCC (Professional Credentialed Coach) which requires more than 500 hours of paid coaching, it demonstrates expertise in this field. It is similar to the difference between someone who says the are an accountant and someone who has a CPA. We know that someone with a CPA has gone through rigorous training. I wrote a blog post about this a few years ago which I will include the link for more on this topic. Thanks for asking us! https://www.vistaglobalcc.com/2017/11/13/why-coaching-credentials-matter/
Great questions! I've been coaching for almost 10 years and I really didn't think I needed my ICF certification- until I got a big fat no for an opportunity that I really wanted specifically because I didn't have it. What a wake up call! (And I truly appreciate the "no" as it was a challenge for me to level up- I got my ACC and reapplied for the opportunity and got it the second time around).
Another reason I suggest to my coach clients that they get certified is that the new process ICF implemented last summer gives you feedback on your recorded coaching session/ transcript and not only that but you find out how your coaching skills/competencies match up against the average coach. For me, that was an invaluable confidence boost- to see I was better than I assessed myself (damn imposter syndrome).
Cons: cost, time, encouraged to also be a ICF member (more $) and a push to the next level instead of recertifying
Overall I find having my certification as a competitive advantage because so few coaches have theirs and the industry is unregulated so it helps with the know like-trust-factor.