If you're looking to earn your ICF credential, one of the first things you'll need to determine is how many coaching hours you need to accrue.
If you're looking to earn your ICF credential, one of the first things you'll need to determine is how many hours of coaching experience you'll need. The good news is that there are a variety of ways to accrue those coaching hours - whether you're a new or experienced coach. In this blog post, we'll break down the number of hours required for each level of ICF credential and discuss some pathways to get there.
1. Why gaining experience is important for coaches
2. The benefits of becoming ICF certified
3. What ICF credentials are available and what do they require in terms of experience hours
4. How many paid coaching experience hours do you need to qualify for an ICF credential
5. What qualifies as a paid coaching hour
6. How to get started in your coaching career and gain the experience hours you need
As a coach, your primary responsibility is to help your clients achieve their goals. In order to do that effectively, you need to have a solid understanding of the coaching process and be able to apply it in a variety of situations. The best way to develop those skills is through experience.
For those looking to become certified life coaches, gaining experience is just as important as completing their training. Coaching certification programs require a range of coaching experience hours. Coach Training EDU, for example, requires 30 of practice coaching while Martha Beck's Wayfinder Life Coach Training requires 75 hours.
The variation in requirements of coaching programs is one reason to consider pursuing the more standardized path of ICF credentialing.
While accruing experience hours is important for all coaches, it's especially critical if you're looking to earn an ICF credential. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the leading global organization for professional coaches and offers three levels of certification.
Each level of credential has its own set of requirements, but all three require a certain number of paid and unpaid coaching experience hours. In addition, the ICF requires coaches to complete coach-specific training and pass a written exam.
So why go through all the trouble of becoming ICF certified? There are a few key benefits:
As we mentioned, the ICF offers three levels of credential - Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and Master Certified Coach (MCC). The ICF is an organization for the coaching profession. As such, they place an emphasis on accruing paid coaching hours.
Here's a breakdown of the experience hours required for each:
ACC: 100+ hours of coaching experience, 80 must be paid
PCC: 500+ hours of coaching experience, 450 must be paid
MCC: 2500+ hours of coaching experience, 2250 must be paid
It's important for you to track your coaching hours as the ICF will require you to submit each client's name, contact information in the form of an email or phone number, and the timeframe that you worked together.
We recommend using a coaching log so that all necessary information is organized and easily accessible. You can download our free coaching log template below.
A paid coaching hour is defined as an hour of one-on-one coaching, group coaching, or team coaching in which the coach is compensated for their time.
It sounds simple, but the nuances can prove confusing.
Let's start with the "coaching hour" side of the equation. Your time logged should reflect the time spent coaching. Time spent preparing for and debriefing from sessions is not considered coaching. And, unfortunately, group coaching doesn't grant you bonus hours. One hour of group coaching is still one hour.
Now, onto the "paid" part. Compensation can be monetary, but it doesn't have to be. You can also receive paid coaching hours through:
Here are a few suggestions:
By starting early and gaining as much experience as possible, you'll be on your way to success in no time.
To become an ICF-certified coach, you will need to complete a certain number of paid and unpaid coaching hours. But don’t worry – we can help you get started. Gateway Coaching connects you to the coaching hours you need to start your coaching career. With our help, you can begin earning paid coaching hours in no time and work towards becoming certified by the International Coach Federation. Ready to get started? Sign up for Gateway Coaching today!