How to Choose the Best Coaching Education & Certification Path

“The biggest challenge facing coaches today is that untrained and incompetent Coaches are damaging the reputation of the industry. The coaching field is unregulated. No license is required. Consequently, anyone can call themselves a Coach.

The profession is painfully aware that inept coaching makes the field look bad. Currently, there are more than 500 training and “certification” programs worldwide, and many of them will certify you if you simply pay them a fee.”

Umish Venkatesh in his 2019 article on LinkedIn

Do I Need a Certification?

Unlike most professional industries, it is true that no certifications, courses, or training are required to practice coaching. Yet, career counselors and coaches employed as regular employees are typically required to have a master’s degree. It’s quite a disparity.

Many coaches either have an industry certification or a related degree in the niche of coaching they practice.

That being said, there are many courses and training sessions to help build your coaching skills and knowledge. While you may be thinking ‘why bother,’ having a certification or degree will further legitimize your services’ perceived quality.

Coaching Certification

With over 41,000 members, ICF is well known in the coaching industry. ICF was founded in 1995 by Thomas Leonard, the originator of the modern concept of life coaching. Leonard was also the first to develop a code of ethics and credentialing for coaches.

Over the last decade or so, the ICF has become the de facto standard for coaching. As of July 2020, the number of ICF current membership with an ICF certification was over 30,000.

ICF offers Associate, Professional, and Master Certified Coach credentials. To apply for the certification, applicants must have 60 or more training hours and 100 or more hours of coaching experience.

At the professional level, applicants must obtain at least 125 hours of training and at least 500 coaching experience. To apply to the master’s level, applicants must have 200 hours or more of training and at least 2500 of coaching experience.

Coaching Education

If you’re determined to have the education to back up your skills, there is an ever-growing list of colleges, academies, and courses available, to name a few:

The International Association of Professionals (IAP) Career College course covers a wide variety of topics, including how to coach individuals and groups, learning from other coaches, resources, gaining clients, and starting a business.

The Professional Christian Coaching Institute (PCCI) also covers a wide range of coaching classes from the very basics all the way to coaching niche specializations. The institute is accredited with the ICF and has partnered with best-selling authors and provides high-quality courses from experienced and ICF-certified coaches.

Radiant Coaches Academy is an award-wining holistic coach certification program. The curriculum is anecdotally based on cutting-edge science and business education that incorporates neuroscience, business, marketing, and neuropsychology into the curriculum. It is accredited to provide 65 hours of approved coach-specific training hours through ICF.