Coach Training Study Options

Portfolio Path


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ACC Portfolio Coach-Specific Training Requirements

ACC Portfolio applicants must have a minimum of 60 hours of coach-specific training.

Of the 60 hours required, at least 48 of the hours must be:

  • Student contact hours – clock hours spent in synchronous (real-time) interactions between faculty and students. This may include time spent in direct instruction (voice-to-voice or in-person training), real-time discussions, observation and feedback of practice coaching sessions, and mentoring students.
  • Coach-specific training developed and delivered based on the ICF Core Competencies (all 11 ICF Core Competencies must be covered).

Of the 60 hours required, no more than 12 of the hours may be:

  • Homework/Independent Study – clock hours spent outside of real-time interaction between faculty and students (asynchronous). These may include outside reading, writing, research, journaling, and various other activities that may occur outside of the synchronous setting. All asynchronous hours must be part of the training program and require some method of validating that the activity was completed by the student.


Training that is accepted as coach-specific training:

  • Training from an Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) or a program that has received the ICF Approved Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) designation
  • Training from a Continuing Coach Education (CCE) Provider, ICF conference, SIG/CP or Chapter event, subject to these limitations:
    • All hours approved in Core Competencies will be accepted
    • A maximum of 12 hours outside of the Core Competencies will be accepted
  • Training that is specifically marketed as teaching coaching skills, that teaches coaching skills or teaches how to apply technical skills in a coach-like manner and teaches coaching skills in accordance with the ICF Core Competencies

Training that is not accepted as coach-specific training:

  • Training that is marketed as teaching other skills, even though the skills can be used by a coach in some manner
  • Personal development courses
  • 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 and from an ICF Core Competencies’ perspective

Teaching coaching classes does not count as coach-specific training unless:

  • The applicant created the class
  • The applicant also taught the class
  • The training otherwise meets the definition of coach-specific training

If all three above apply, then the class may be counted only one time, not each time that the same class was delivered.


On the online credential application, you will provide:

  • The number of hours of coach-specific training that you completed
  • The type of program (ACTP, ACSTH, CCE or non-approved)
  • The name of the organization that operated the program
  • The name of each coach training program that you attended

For coach training programs that have been approved by ICF:

  • You must submit proof of completion in the form of a certificate or signed letter issued by the program indicating the name of the program, dates of attendance, and total hours completed.

For coach training programs that have not been approved by ICF:

  • You must submit proof of completion in the form of a certificate or signed letter issued by the program indicating the name of the program, dates of attendance, and total hours completed.
  • You must list the hours of content that are delivered in a synchronous setting and asynchronously. Note that 80% of all instruction must be synchronous, allowing the opportunity for real-time interaction between instructors and students.
  • You must provide a self-evaluation of the training program that you attended, including a brief narrative statement describing how you believe the training meets each of the ICF Core Competencies. Additionally, you must provide references to relevant supporting documents you will be required to upload with the application.
  • You must provide a concise class outline or syllabus that summarizes the names of classes/modules and the time allowed for presentation.
  • You must provide student materials used to support the content referenced in the self-evaluation of the training you completed. These materials may include a student or instructors’ manual, handouts, power points, or any other documentation that clearly illustrates the detailed curriculum.

For classes that you have taught:

  • You must submit a letter explaining that you created and taught the class.
  • You must submit a description of the class. The description should be detailed enough to show that the training meets the definition of coach-specific training above, including direct interaction with trainers and alignment with the ICF Core Competencies.
  • You must submit a sample of materials that you created for the class. The sample could be a course description, PowerPoint presentation, student handbook, or other document that shows some of the content of the program.


The coach-specific training requirement must be fulfilled prior to submitting your application.


Do not send documentation to ICF Headquarters by mail or email. Only documentation that has been uploaded with your online application will be accepted. ICF does not provide pre-approval for non-approved training programs. All curriculum reviews and approvals are completed as part of the application process.

Coaching is Global. A very high proportion of graduate’s, more than 80%, coach on the phone and some do all their coaching on the phone. What that means is that your market is not just the market where you live, you can coach anyone from anywhere by tightly defining your niche.  Coaching has no boarders or boundary.

Coaching is not Regulated. It’s not like therapy, psychology or psychiatrist which are regulated in most countries around the world. There is debate in the US about this but coaching is currently not regulated.

Coaching is a relatively new Discipline. It’s been around for a while. ICA has been train coaches for 15 years and its more developed in some countries than in others. It’s established as a field and it’s established as a profession. But in terms of a methodology or discipline it’s quite new and its draws on a range of other philosophies of discipline like emotional intelligence, organizational psychology, appreciative inquiry, cognitive behaviour therapy and some parts of psychology like positive psychology. So it brings in a whole range of thing.

These are the reason we have aligned our coach training with the ICF.

Firstly the ICF is global and growing with chapters all around the world. The ICF had the most robust list of coaching competencies which helps when coaching is not a regulated industry. So it’s very important to be aligned with the biggest industry body which gives some check and balances and to provides some sort of consistency and sign of quality throughout the world.

Coaching is a new discipline and one of the things that is not popular is ICF policies that they don’t recognize prior learning. If you are a therapist or a teacher and you come to the coach training often we find that people want to get some credit for the training they’ve already done in their psychology course in their teaching degree. The ICF is quite adamant on that. You might already be skilled in active listening but your listening within the context of the therapist and so re-learning that within the context of coaching is different.

Do I need to be Certified?

You don't have to be certified to be a coach however being a Certified Coach adds credibility to your coaching practice.  Many organisations such as Ford don't hire coaches unless they are certified and in many countries especially in Asia it is expected that professional coaches be certified.

Why Become a Certified Coach?

The fantastic thing about being a professional coach is that you can actually coach from anywhere. It is the idea job for an expat or for someone wanting to work from home or balance work and home life. As a coach you can coach face to face but many coaches coach over the phone which means your potential client base is global. Choose when to coach so that your work fits in with your life and not the other way around.

Do I Need to Train to Become a Coach?

There is no mandatory requirement to train to be a coach. Anyone can hang up their shingles and call themselves a coach and some organisations offer coach training programs which can be completed in a few days but in our opinion this is not enough to make you a professional coach.  The peak body which represents the coaching profession is The International Coach Federation and their credential is recognised world wide.  If you complete an ICF accredited coach training program and to become a Professional Certified Coach, you will have completed 125 hours of Coach Specific Training in an Accredited Coach Training Program.  This training is based around the core coaching competencies as set out by the ICF.  You will also have completed 10 hours of mentor coaching and have logged 500 hours of coaching with at least 25 clients.  So to answer the question of whether you need to train to be a coach, the answer is the ICF recommends at least 125 hours of coach specific training.

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Not all Coach Training Programs are equal

Some schools offer coaching theory without any practice. Other schools don't include coaching supervision as part of the program which can leave students out of pocket hundreds of dollars if they need to find an accredited coach to undertake their supervision.  Some schools don't offer the required number of coach specific training hours needed for ICF credentialling and some schools require students to pay extra for books, cds and study materials.  So do your home work and enroll in a coach training program that is accredited by the International Coach Federation and one that includes the required number of coach training hours and one where coaching supervision is included as part of the course.

Heather Skomp<br/>Life Coach, UNITED STATES

When I got to meet in person two of my ICA student and friends – one from Germany, and one from Vancouver, We met up in Washington state for a weekend and had the best time ever! The friends I have met in ICA are worth their weight in gold.

Heather Skomp

Can I Start Coaching Whilst Studying?

Yes you can start coaching whilst studying to become a Professional Coach. At International Coach Academy we offer peer coaching where you would firstly get to experience what it is like to be coached and be the client. You can then start coaching your peers and applying the skills and techniques learned in the classes.  When you feel confident enough you can start coaching people outside the ICA community. We suggest coaching clients within your network to start off with and work your way up.

Do I Have to Register With Anyone To Practice Coaching?

The coaching industry is a voluntary self regulated industry.  Coaches should adhere to the the The International Coach Federation code of ethics but there is no legal requirement to do so and no legal requirement to register as a coach.  You can become a member of the ICF by paying an annual fee and once you have met the coach training, supervision and coaching hours set out by the ICF, you can apply for the designation of "Certified Professional Coach".


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