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There are three main coaching bodies that provide coaching credentials. These are ICF, EMCC and CCE. All three of these bodies have developed requirements for coach training providers to ensure the curriculum delivered aligns with coaching best practices. These coach training providers obtain their accreditation and must renew it periodically. This is like a business license that’s specific to coach training. 


Most coach training institutes will be very transparent with their accreditation. Look for ICF, EMCC and CCE logos on their websites. If you don’t see that, just ask them. Be sure to verify that they are accredited and in good standing by going to the coaching bodies’ websites. ICF, EMCC and CCE have directories you can search to verify accreditation.

Furthermore, make sure that the program you undertake is one of the coach-specific, accredited programs, not another training offered by the company. 

If your training is not coach-specific, your application will be denied. Therefore, please realistically assess whether your training meets these definitions:


Training from an Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) or a program that has received the ICF Approved Coach-Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) designation. Training that is specially marketed a teaching coaching skills, that teaches coaching skill or teaches how to apply technical skills in a coach-like manner and teaches coaching skills in accordance with ICF Core Coaching Competencies.


Training that is marketing or teaching other skills, even though the skills can be used by a coach in some manner, it doesn’t count as Coach-Specific training

In addition, personal development courses (such as Forum, Landmark, Life spring, Life Training, Science of the Mind, etc.) do not count as Coach-Specific training.


Finally education in other areas such as psychology counseling, NLP, etc., does not count as coach-specific training unless it was actually taught as coach training from an ICF Core Competencies’ perspective.

Make sure you ask for the curriculum of any program before you make a commitment. 

If the program doesn’t have their accreditation, you will not be allowed to apply for a coaching credential upon completion. It’s like going to university, paying for tuition and attending classes just to be told that you don’t get your diploma and you haven’t earned your degree.


Training is accredited according to hours.  Mostly the cost of Coach Training is directly in proportion to the hours you will be credited for.  But make sure of this - some trainings are very expensive when you compare it to the actual accredited hours they have.  And remember - the credentialed hours is not necessarily the same as the time you spend that they advertise.


The aforementioned coaching bodies all awarded coaching credentials. When you consider a coach training program, you should ask whether the trainer(s) you’ll be working with have their coaching credential. Be sure to also ask what credential they have. 

Many coaches will put their credential acronym after their name on their LinkedIn profile. Look for things like ACC, PCC, MCC, SP, BCC. You should ask the person you’re corresponding with about your coach training program to let you know what credential your trainer holds. You can also ask the trainer directly. Once you know what coaching credential they have, you can go to ICF, EMCC and CCE’s websites to verify this information - do this!

For the same reasons why historians teach history at universities and biologists stick to teaching biology. You should have subject matter expertise to teach others on the subject. In the coaching world, that expertise is evidenced by obtaining coaching credentials. To get those, coaches must not only complete training and demonstrate knowledge, but they must also log coaching hours with clients. Experience coaches are worth their weight in gold!

Over and above that, a credentialed trainer has gone through the process that you’re just embarking on. This means they can be a true resource to you because they’ve “been in your shoes.”


As part of your course, will you be provided with a mentor? And if yes, make sure of the extra cost involved - mentoring are often an extra cost on top of the training cost.  It’s important to note that mentoring can be provided only by credentialed coaches.

Individual and/or group mentoring is required as part of applying for many coaching credentials and it can be quite costly.  If the training provider also provide a credentialed mentor - preferably on MCC level - it is a huge bonus, as you know from the start who you are working with.



Are you able to have a conversation with the person (or one of the people) who will be training you? Even if you don’t want to speak to the trainer, is the training institute willing to arrange a call? 

Ask to speak to the actual person doing your training, or to one of the people in cases where multiple trainers work with one group of learners. If the specific trainer is not available, ask to speak to another trainer of the same caliber that you will receive in your training program.

This helps you avoid a “bait and switch.” Sometimes a provider will advertise that they use MCC trainers and when you pay and show up on your first day, you find out it’s someone inexperienced who’s not a coach. 

By the way, depending on the program, it may not be possible to speak to the trainer you will work with. For example, many companies have you work with different people depending on the module. That’s fine. Just be sure that you can connect to someone so you have a point of contact and point of reference for what to expect from that provider in general.


In the end, coach training programs are expensive and an overzealous sales person who isn’t part of the training department may promise you things that sound too good to be true. 

Very quick, unconditional “yes” to all your requests, reluctance to put things in writing, immediate offer of discounted fees, no installment payment options, language like “we can sort that out later,” etc. Also, look for things that sound just way too good to be true. 

For example, they tell you that you can get your PCC credential in 3 months. Well, that’s not possible because ICF requires programs to be spread out over a minimum length of time. 

Or they may tell you that they give you clients for all the coaching hours you need to log. This may be true, but likely based on a hidden fee. 

In any cases like this, just get answers in writing and ask detailed follow-up questions. 

Fortunately, this problem is mostly prevalent at very small training companies with a “anything to get the sale” attitude, or at large companies where salespeople are separate from the training institute. 

Coaching is not a regulated profession so if the program doesn’t deliver, there’s really no recourse for you, the learner. It’s best to be smart, ask lots of questions before you commit. 

Finally - the best reference will always be from alumni - previous students.  Ask for references and talk to them!

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