Have you been wondering if a coaching certification should be the next step in your journey? Today I'm breaking down the changes to the International Coaching Federation's (ICF) credentialing and accreditation process and what it means for you as a coach.
Have you been wondering if a coaching certification should be the next step in your journey?
Today I’m breaking down the changes to the International Coaching Federation’s (ICF) credentialing and accreditation process and what it means for you as a coach.
This episode is an update to Episode 25, where I walked you through everything you need to know about coaching certifications. Now I’m sharing the updates to the ICF process, how it affects the programs and services I offer (it does in a big way!), and the ways I think it will ultimately make it easier for you to develop coaching mastery and obtain your coaching credential.
If you have any questions about whether a coaching certification is the right next step for you, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram (@CoachWithClarity) or by email. I’m happy to be a resource for you!
- Why we’re talking about coaching certifications
- Coaching certifications and credentialing aren’t the right paths for everyone
- The greatest benefit I received from my coaching training
- The move from ICF Coach Training to ICF Coach Education
- Why I’m excited about being an accredited organization through ICF
- Changes to ICF’s accreditation structure
- What these changes mean for you as a coach
- Working through the transition accreditation process
- The intention behind changing the structure of my Certified Clarity Coach program
- Coach with Clarity | Episode 25: Coaching Certifications: What You Need to Know
- Coach with Clarity | Episode 74: Why You Shouldn't Become Certified
- Certified Clarity Coach Training Program Waitlist
- Coach with Clarity Free Quiz | Discover Your Coaching Style!
- Coach with Clarity Collective Waitlist
- Coach with Clarity Podcast Facebook Group
- Connect with Me on Instagram
- Email Me: email@example.com
Now it’s time for you to show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity! Screenshot this episode and tag me on Instagram @coachwithclarity and let me know what you’re more excited to explore in future podcast episodes!
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Well hello my friend! Welcome to the Coach with Clarity Podcast. My name is Lee Chaix McDonough and today we are talking about coaching certifications, or specifically coaching credentials that you can obtain through the International Coaching Federation. So today's episode is going to be a little different for me because in many ways, I am updating a previous episode. So all the way back in Episode 25, I walked you through everything you needed to know about coaching certifications, specifically what to do if you were interested in pursuing a credential from the International Coaching Federation or ICF. Well, there have been some significant changes to the credentialing and accreditation process that ICF uses. So today, I am going to share with you what those updates are, and how that affects the programs and services I offer in Coach with Clarity, because it does in a big way, and in ways that I think will ultimately benefit my programs and make it easier for you to develop your coaching mastery and obtain that coaching credential.
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So today's episode is going to provide more detailed information that accompanies what I talked about in Episode 25. Now, if you have questions about whether or not you need a credential, or whether you should become certified, I definitely recommend you check out Episode 74, which I titled Why You Shouldn't Become Certified. And I know that might seem a little odd coming from someone who runs a certification program. But there are times where having a coaching certification may not serve you. I'm pretty upfront about how I feel regarding the certifications and credentialing. I believe having a coaching credential is one path towards coaching mastery. It's the path I took. It's the path that I support in that I provide coach training programs. And I also understand that it's not necessarily the right path for everyone. My take is that every coach benefits from coaching education, and that may or may not include a formal training program, there is a lot that goes into your decision about whether you need a certification, you'll want to consider your background, your training, your experience, your clients, all of these things matter when it comes to deciding whether or not you need or want a coaching certification. In my case, one of the main reasons I decided I wanted a coaching credential was because I really value education and knowledge. I love learning. I love being on the forefront of new techniques and strategies. And so even with over 15 years experience as a licensed psychotherapist, I wanted that additional training and perspective that a coaching certification program would offer me and to be honest with you, that is the greatest benefit I received from my training. And it's also one of the greatest benefits that my own students report experiencing through the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program. Yes, there are skills and tactics and techniques that we learn and master in that program. But it goes much deeper than that. A robust coach training program helps you see relationships with your clients through a new lens. It allows you to develop both your leadership and your partnership skills, so that you can show up and serve your clients powerfully session after session and remain confident in your ability to serve as the catalyst for your clients change. That's why I love providing this type of training within the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program because it is a blend of coaching, skill development, and relationship building so that we understand the ways in which we are co-creating the relationship and the results with our clients in such a way that always centers their agenda, their goals and their desired outcomes. So if you've got any questions about whether a coaching certification is right for you, definitely check out Episode 74. And also come find me over on Instagram. I'm @CoachWithClarity, and you are welcome to send me a direct message and let me know what thoughts or questions you have about pursuing a coaching certification.
So one other thing I want to share before we really get into the heart of today's episode is that I will be speaking primarily about the International Coaching Federation and their credentialing process today. That is because I am an ICF credentialed coach. My programs are accredited by ICF. And ICF really is the primary professional organization for coaches that focuses on training, education, and ensuring quality coaching across the globe. Now, ICF is by no means the only organization out there that does this. There are other organizations that offer credentials and certifications. I also hold the Board Certified Coach credential through the Center for Credentialing and Education, or CCE, that is another important and valuable organization in the coaching sphere. There's also the International Association of Coaching and there are several European specific organizations as well. So I just want to make that caveat from the beginning that I am aware there are many organizations out there who believe in the power of coaching and who are doing really good work to ensure that the coaching industry operates from a place of integrity, ethics, and solid coaching skills. But for the purposes of today's episode, I will be talking primarily about the International Coaching Federation or ICF. Earlier this year, ICF made some significant changes to their accreditation process and programs. In fact, there are three key changes that I want to share with you today. The first is that they have a new name for the branch of their organization that focuses on accreditation, it used to be called IC F Coach Training, and now it's called ICF Coach Education. And I actually really liked that because to me, education is a broader, more encompassing term. Training feels very specific to me, particularly when we look at how ICF has structured their programs, they talk about initial coach training programs. And so training is just one part of that larger umbrella of coach education. And it's very much in keeping with what I have always believed that every coach needs and benefits from solid education, whether or not they need a training program is another question entirely. So the fact that they've broadened their name to ICF Coach Education really resonates with me. And I think that's a really positive change for this organization moving forward. So that's the first change, that they have a new name for that division of their organization, it's ICF Coach Education. The second key change to their process is what they are accrediting. So previously ICF accredited specific programs or curricula. So as an example, the Coach with Clarity Collective, my membership program is accredited by ICF for Continuing Coach Education, or CCE. The Certified Clarity Coach Program is accredited by ICF for initial training. I had to complete two separate applications for each program in order to have each of them be accredited. Moving forward, however, ICF will be looking at accrediting an entire organization. So that way, the programs and curricula that fall under that organization will be accredited. Now, I'm very excited about that, because it means as a company, Coach with Clarity will be an accredited organization through ICF. Right now I talk about my programs specifically being accredited, but to say that ICF is an accredited provider, that will be huge. And I say it will be because I'm currently in the reaccreditation process, which I'm going to talk a little bit about next. But I do want to share that that's a pretty significant change for ICF to move away from accrediting specific curricula or programs and towards accrediting an entire organization. I'm excited for that change, because I think it just adds a level of robustness and depth to companies and organizations who provide coach education. So, change number one is that name ICF Coach Education, change number two is that we're moving away from accrediting specific programs or curricula, and towards accrediting entire organizations. Now the third change, this is a really big one. And I'm going to take a little bit of time to walk you through this because it can be a little complicated, because the third change is that they have completely updated the accreditation structure. So let me start off by walking you through the old accreditation structure, because that will make it easier when it comes to talking about the new structure. So the old structure for accreditation meant that your program was either an Accredited Coach Training program, or ACTP, for short, or it was an Accredited Coach Specific Training Hours program or ACSTH. And the way they describe that before is that ACTP programs were all encompassing, they provided you with everything you needed to obtain a certain ICF credential. So you received your training, your mentor hours, all sorts of things that you needed, were baked in to that program. So it was really soup to nuts.
They described the ACSTH approach as being more à la carte, because you could get your training from that program. But perhaps you might want to get your mentor hours and other requirements elsewhere. So it was more of a buffet style with the ACSTH programs. Those were the two accreditations for training programs. And then in addition, they had the CCE or Continued Coach Education path. And that is for your continuing education programs like the membership. So a quick summary ACTP was your all inclusive program, ACSTH was your à la carte program, and CCE was your continuing education. So that CCE piece that is still there, that piece hasn't changed. But now instead of looking at ACTP, and ACSTH, we can get rid of the alphabet soup and we can look at levels. Because now the new structure has three levels, level one, level two and level three, it doesn't get much simpler than that. A level one program is the designated pathway to obtain your Associate Certified Coach credential or your ACC through ICF. Level one is essentially replacing the old ACSTH structure. So a level one program has anywhere from 60 to 124 hours of training. And now it also includes those 10 hours of mentor coaching. Now those 10 hours of mentor coaching have always been required for a credential. But they didn't necessarily have to be provided by your training organization. Now they do. So a level one program will prepare someone for their first level of credentialing through ICF; the Associate Certified Coach credential. Level two, as you might guess, is the designated pathway for your Professional Certified Coach credential or your PCC. That's the second level of credentialing in ICF. So level two programs are essentially replacing ACTP programs. Level two programs include at least 125 hours of training. And they also include the 10 hours of mentor coaching, just like the ACTP programs did before. So actually, there's not a whole lot different between an ACTP program and the level two program. The big differences are between that level one and ACSTH. But here's the most important question. What does all of this mean for you, as someone who might be considering a coaching credential through ICF? Well, first and foremost, it means that you will want to consider what level of credentialing you're interested in, because some programs may be better suited for that Associate Certified Coach level, whereas others are better suited for the Professional Certified Coach level. And that brings up the question, well, do I need the PCC or is having my ACC enough? And that also brings up the question, do I even need a certification to begin with? So again, head back to Episode 74, for more information about that, but in terms of ACC versus PCC, it really depends on your professional goals and on who you want to serve. There are some companies and organizations who only hire coaches that have the PCC or above credential. And then there are other companies and platforms that require an ICF credential at any level. So in that case, the ACC credential would be sufficient. So based on your professional goals, and how you see yourself working, moving forward, you may decide nope, I really do need that PCC or you may decide you know what the ACC is enough just having an ICF credential is going to be enough for me. Now, I mentioned that there was a level three and that's a little different. Level three is the pathway to become a Master Certified Coach or MCC. Now very few people, I think less than 10% of all ICF credentialed coaches have their Master Certified Coach credential, because it takes a long time to get that it requires a minimum of 2500 coaching hours. So you have to have a lot of experience. And it requires additional advanced training. And so that is what level three programs are designed to do. They provide a minimum of 75 training hours that are on advanced topics for coaching. So this would be a program that someone who already has their PCC would take in order to get the additional training hours they need for their MCC. So this is a very specific, very niche program. For most people who are looking at getting their first credential, we're really looking at level one or level two programs. So as a consumer, it's really important that you understand the difference between those two levels, so that you can choose a program that's going to help you meet your overall needs as a coach. So I know that's a lot. So I'm just going to do a quick recap, there are three key changes to ICF’s process. Number one is the name change, it's now ICF Coach Education. Number two is that it's an entirely new way of accrediting that's moving away from programs and curricula and towards accrediting organizations. And then the third change is that we are moving away from the old structure of an Accredited Coach Training program ACTP or Accredited Coach Specific Training Hours ACSTH. And we're moving towards a three level structure. Level one is the designated path to get your Associate Certified Coach credential. Level two is your designated path for the Professional Certified Coach credential. And level three is the additional training one needs in order to obtain their Master Certified Coach credential. My understanding is that ICF is phasing out that old track, so the ACTP, the ACSTH, eventually that will be going away. However, if you are a graduate of an ACTP, or an ACSTH program, those hours are still valid. So if you've completed one of those programs, for example, if you're a graduate of the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program, you will be legacy in to the new system. But moving forward, new programs will be accredited using this three level structure. Now, what about programs that are already accredited using the previous system? Like my program, the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program is an ACSTH program that offers 125 hours of training. Where does that leave that program? Well, here's the good news. ICF is working with every single accredited training program throughout 2022 to help us transition into this new structure. So there is a transition accreditation process that I am currently working through in order to ensure that my program is fully in alignment with the new accreditation structure. And let me tell you, there is a lot that goes into this reaccreditation transition process. And although it's a lot of work, I'm actually really excited about the changes that they are introducing into this structural process, because it's requiring programs to be really clear about their mission and their vision for being a coach education provider, and the learning philosophy that underpins their programs, that has to be explicitly stated. As well as having clear policies around disability, discrimination, and diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. There has to be clear complaint and grievance policies, policies around payment fees, refunds, partial completion. All of this needs to be documented and submitted for ICF. And I think that's really important because it ensures that every single Coach Training Program has clear operating procedures that can be and should be communicated to their students. I know that if I'm going to invest $8, $12, $20,000 in a coach training program, I want to be really clear around well what happens if I only get partway through? What if I can't complete it? Do I lose credit? Can I transfer credit? What are your refund policies? These are all really important concepts that need to be thought through and documented in advance. And now this new structure is requiring programs to do so. So I think this is a really strong change that will benefit students and consumers and make for stronger programs.
In addition, this transition reaccreditation process requires a clear statement regarding ethics, integrity and transparency. It requires each program to have clear processes in place around professional development, and how they support their instructors. So I literally have an Air Table document with six different tabs and about 50 different things that I need to complete as part of this transition reaccreditation process. It is a lot. And yet it is also something I am more than willing to do, because I know it will strengthen my programs and make it a much better experience for my students. And it's also strengthening the coaching profession. So I have set aside all of quarter 2 – April, May and June, to focus on this reaccreditation process. And once this process is done, and I've been approved, then I plan to launch the next cohort of the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program. Now, to be honest, I don't have to wait, I could launch it now as an ACSTH program, and trust that all of my students would be legacied into this new structure. ICF has already said that that's possible. But I really want to slow things down. And I want to go through this transition reaccreditation process to ensure everything that I am teaching moving forward, and the ways in which I'm teaching it are fully consistent with ICF’s new standards. I believe my students deserve that. And I believe the industry deserves that.
All of this means that there will be some significant changes coming to the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program. And I'm still working through some of those changes. But I'll give you kind of a behind the scenes sneak peek at what I think is coming. So as I mentioned before, the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program is a 125 hour coach training program. So all of my previous graduates have 125 hours of approved coach training that they can apply towards their credential application. But the feedback that I heard from graduates and from potential students was that 125 hours is a lot, that is a significant investment of time and energy, and yes, finances to make, especially early on in your coaching career. And that makes total sense to me. So moving forward, I will be converting the single 125 hour training program into a three phase program, where there will be a 30 hour foundations course, a 30 hour intermediate course, and a 65 hour advanced course, give or take, we may find that the foundations course is 32 hours, the intermediate course is 35. We may play a little bit with those numbers, but you get the idea. I'm moving away from an all encompassing program into a phased approach. So that way you as the student can decide how much training you need and when you need it. So if you want to start off with a foundations course, just to get the basics, the fundamentals of coaching under your belt, then maybe all you need is that first phase of the program. If you want to pursue the Associate Certified Coach credential, then maybe you'll want to take phase one and phase two together to get those 60 hours. So you can see how structuring the program like this will allow for more choice and put you in control of what you need and when you need it. My intention is that everyone who graduates from the first two phases of my program, so that foundations course and that intermediate course, not only will they be eligible for the ACC credential through ICF, they will also receive the Certified Clarity Coach designation. So right now all of my graduates are able to call themselves Certified Clarity Coaches, that is their coaching certification that they have, regardless of whether they pursue an ICF credential. And they can use that certification and the badging on their websites and in their marketing and it's just a way to distinguish themselves from other coaches in the profession. If one of my students elects to take all three phases, so they have all 125 hours, they will receive the Master Certified Clarity Coach designation. Now my ultimate goal is to work with ICF so that anyone who completes all three phases of my program will meet the requirements for a level two program. But that's a little tricky, because right now, my current accreditation sets me up to meet the level one standards, not necessarily the level two ones. So I'm currently in talks with ICF, to figure that piece out. So that part is pending. And I will definitely keep you informed as I continue to work with ICF over the next several months to complete this transition reaccreditation process.
There's one other big change that I want to share with you that I think is really important. So traditionally, ICF has required that 80% of all training hours in their coach training programs be synchronous learning, meaning, we show up, whether in person or on Zoom, but it's live, we are face to face, and I'm teaching and you're learning at the same time. So that's synchronous learning, as opposed to asynchronous learning, which maybe I record a video or an audio track, and you listen and learn on your own time. So that's asynchronous, it happens not at the same time. So 80% of all content had to be delivered in a synchronous format. And then the pandemic hit. And it was increasingly difficult for coach training programs to host in person events, and to have these live synchronous trainings. And so ICF made a temporary measure that said, “Okay, Coach Training programs, you don't have to do 80% synchronous learning, but you need to do at least 50%. And we are going to make that temporary during the pandemic.” Well, a few months ago, they announced that they were making that temporary measure permanent, which means that moving forward, coach training programs must provide 50% of their content synchronously, but the remaining 50% can be asynchronous. I think this is a really exciting development, because it means that we can present and share content in different ways. It doesn't have to be a traditional live lecture format, or live coaching experiences, we can bring in other models, we can do like a video course, or we can do different offline assignments, I think it's going to offer more opportunities, and it's also going to help all kinds of learners. So while I am pursuing this transition reaccreditation process with ICF, I'm also revising my own content within the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program. And I'm looking at how we can deliver it in such a way that will benefit students allow for more flexibility, while keeping a minimum of 50% synchronous content. Now, before 95% of the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program was synchronous, seriously, it was almost entirely live. So that may look a little different moving forward. And I'll be really interested to get feedback from my students on what works for them and what they'd like to see differently.
Wow, that was a lot, wasn't it. This has been a pretty content dense episode. So I appreciate you sticking with me. And I want to do a quick summary of what you need to know about the recent updates to the ICF accreditation process. So there are three key changes. The name of the division within ICF has changed from ICF Coach Training to ICF Coach Education. There is a new way of accrediting that moves away from programs and curricula and towards organizations. And then finally, there is a brand new accreditation structure that is moving towards a leveled approach where level one sets you up for your Associate Certified Coach credential, level two sets you up for your Professional Certified Coach credential. And level three is for those who want to pursue the Master Certified Coach. This new structure means that all coach training programs will be more of that all inclusive style in that in addition to providing the training, they are also providing the mentor coaching and they are providing a final performance evaluation that demonstrates a student meets the minimum skill requirements for the credential they're seeking whether it's the ACC, PCC, or MCC. I think that change will ultimately make it easier for students to then pursue their credential. And I'm really looking forward to it because it means I get to be a part of my students process, both from training but also mentorship, and evaluation. So I'm pretty excited about that. And as I described, there will be some changes coming to the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program. As a result of this new accreditation structure, we'll be moving towards a three phase approach. So a foundations course, an intermediate course, and an advanced course. And rest assured I will be sharing much more about that when the time comes to reopen enrollment for the certification program. And with that, let's head into this week's Clarity in Action moment.
For this week's Clarity in Action moment, I want you to do two things. Number one, I want you to spend some time considering whether a coaching credential through ICF is the next step in your coaching journey. I have several podcast episodes that provide more information about this, so we will be sure to link those in the show notes. And as I mentioned before, if you've got questions about whether a credential is the right next step for you, please reach out. You can DM me over on Instagram @CoachWithClarity or you can send me an email and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to be a resource and help you reach a decision that you feel really good about when it comes to coaching credentials. Okay, so step one is to consider whether a coaching credential is the right next step for you. And step two, if you decide that you're interested in learning more, head on over to coachwithclarity.com/certification and get on the waitlist for the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program. Now my intention is to launch our next cohort, late summer/early fall of 2022. And we will be launching it with this new structure that I shared with you during the episode. So if you want to be one of the first people to know when applications are open for the program, head on over to coachwithclarity.com/certification and click the button to get on the waitlist. Alright, my friend. I know this was a particularly content heavy episode of the Coach with Clarity Podcast. There were a lot of acronyms, a little bit of jargon. And I just want to thank you for sticking with me and I hope that this has been helpful and informative. As always, if you have any questions, reach out through Instagram or email I am more than happy to be a resource for you. And I would love to see you enrolled in the next cohort of the certified clarity Coach Training Program, which is coming in late summer/early fall 2022. I will be back in your feed next week with another episode of the podcast. So until then, my name is Lee Chaix McDonough reminding you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.