Certification and Accreditation in any industry can be confusing until you learn the terminology and pathways. In this Webinar we addressed the key questions we regularly get and give an overview of the certification and credential pathways.
[00:00:04] Definitions of Accreditation, Certification and Credential
Welcome to the become a certified coach webinar. I’ve put everything on this one summary slide here and I’m going to talk to this for a little bit just to get the terms clear to begin with. Accreditation is the first thing you hear talked about.
Accreditation is something that’s issued by a peak body or a government authority in whichever country you’re in. It normally pertains to programs or schools or organizations, and it’s very much about quality assurance and compliance driven.
In coaching, the peak body is the International Coach Federation, and there’s a very rigorous process that schools and programs have to go through to get accredited. They have to demonstrate that their curriculum is mapped against a certain set of competencies that the ICF has. They need demonstrate the quality of their faculty, and it can take some time to get accredited. So that’s what accreditation is.
Certification is issued by training organizations or schools. It’s usually created around a group of competencies or skills. If you’re wanting to run a hospitality course, you would look at what the industry standard is, what the skills are that people need to learn in that industry and create a program around that.
In the case of ICA, our program is created around the competencies set by their crediting body, which is the ICF, not necessarily regulated. Anyone can just set up a school and issue a certificate. But that’s why it’s quite important to look for schools that are regulated in some way that do have accreditation from an authority or an authoritative body.
Credential is something that’s issued by the peak body or the government authorities. Normally that’s something that’s earned or awarded. Doctors, for example, in Australia, after the Gazillion years of training, they do, they combine that with their experience and apply to the AMA, the Australian Medical Association, and then they get a credential from that they have earned through their training and through their experience. And it’s awarded by that peak body. It normally requires a combination of education and practice.
[00:02:50] Achievable Coaching Goals
The way I normally would approach this, and I know the way we approach this as a school, is to look at what’s your plan and start with the end in mind and then work backwards. That’s a really good way to do it.
People come to coaching for all sorts of different reasons. One of the reasons is to become a certified coach. Working backwards, you might want to take the skills you’ve got now and use those to create a new career as a certified coach. You might want to make a difference in people’s lives. That’s often a motivation for choosing this profession. Or you might want a job with freedom and flexibility, which is also one of the reasons people choose coaching to become a certified coach. Or you might want to add value to what you already do with a coach approach. Maybe you’re a manager or a teacher or a leader of some sort, and you want to just bring a new way of managing or a new way of leading into your workplace. Often people use coaching or add coaching skills to what they do to get better results or to create better organizational cultures or better workplace cultures. And as our students say, they also use our coaching skills to create better family cultures – Coaching skills can be used anywhere.
[00:03:58] What You Need to be a Certified Coach
What do you need to be a certified coach? I’ve really tried to make this as simple as possible. You need education, so you need a coach specific program that is aligned with the ICF core competencies. And ideally, that program is from an accredited coach training school. You need experience and you need a certain amount number of coaching hours, which we also run in our program through our peer coaching program.
Then there’s a performance evaluation – at the end of your training, you submit a recording of your coaching, and our assessors will assess that against the ICF standards.
[00:04:46] Three Levels of Coach Credential
There are three levels of Credential that are awarded by the International Coach Federation. The first one is the ACC, and for that you need a Level One or Level Two certification with an accredited program. Plus, you need 100 hours coaching. Often that’s the first path for people to take.
The second level is the PCC, which requires a level two certification from an accredited program, and it requires 500 hours of coaching.
The third level is MCC, and requires a Level Three certification and 2500 hours of coaching. Most people new to coaching or looking at coach training are looking at either a Level One or Level Two program. It’s actually a requirement of Level Three that you already have your PCC, so there’s nobody stepping straight into that. It’s unlikely to be the place you begin your training at.
[00:05:52] Coach Education
The two programs that people will be looking for or looking at are those that are accredited as ACSTH or ACTP.
ACSTH is a minimum of 60 hours training, which includes within that 60 hours, 10 hours of Mental Coaching and 5 hours of Observed Coaching. There’s an Oral Exam, which you need to pass and to be graded at an ACC level.
The ACTP program is a minimum of 125 hours, which also includes the Mental Coaching and 6 hours of Observe Coaching, and an Oral Exam, which must be graded at PCC level. And the ICF has guidelines for grading the same competency demonstrated at slightly different levels.
Then as an aside – the ICF have just changed their accreditation framework this year. Everything stays the same, but ACSTH is now called Level One, and ACTP is now called Level Two, which is sort of easier to understand for those new to the field. Those people considering coach training from next year onwards won’t have to worry it, but for those people who are coming into coaching right in the middle of the peak body changing their system there’s the two things you need to know about. They are that Level One training pathways to an ACC Credential and the Level Two training pathways to an ACC or PCC Credential.
[00:07:43] Coaching Experience
Okay, so now we’re up to the experience part. They’re the training hours. To get a credential you also need to have client coaching hours. And a client coaching hour is 60 minutes of actual coaching with a client who has specifically hired you as a coach. There’s a reason it’s language that way. It means you can’t be employed as a consultant and then do some coaching and count the coaching. You need to have been hired specifically as a coach.
The ICF accepts paid hours, pro bono hours and peer coaching hours.
Paid hours are straightforward; anything that you get paid money for, but also it includes payment for goods or barter. Barter of goods and services. You can also participate in peer coaching hours as barter hours. So that is when you and another coach agreed to coach each other and take it in turns.
At ICA, one of the huge benefits of our program is we have a well-established Peer Coaching program that exists alongside of the training, where students hook up and coach each other, and those hours can be counted for your experience. When you graduate from ICA, you’re leaving with a little bit of a leg up. You already have a substantial number of hours that you can count towards any Credential that you might go for with the ICF.
[00:09:32] Performance Evaluation
The Performance Evaluation is included in every accredited program, and I’m including it here just because I think it’s important to know when you’re beginning, when you’re starting out, how will you be assessed. The Performance Evaluation is a recorded coaching session, but you don’t have to worry too much about that because by the time you get to the end of our program, you will have done these many times of Mentor Coaching. You practice coaching and getting feedback throughout our program. Then we have an Observed Coaching program which you take at the end of your course, and that is also you are coaching with feedback around your coaching against the competency. So, you get a lot of practice.
At ICA we have a commitment to success for all our students. For any reason, if something happens and you submit a recording and it doesn’t meet the standards, it’s not a straight-out failure from ICA. We’ll come back to you and give you another opportunity. We will tell you where the gap was between your performance and the competencies and give you an opportunity to rerecord. We also encourage our students to record three or four sessions because really what’s being assessed here is not who you are as a coach in your whole life, but rather that one session. You want to pick your best session.
[00:10:59] ICA PROGRAMS & PATHWAYS
Okay, so that brings me to ICA programs and pathways. The first is our Vocational Program which is 76 program hours and Level One. It also includes nine to twelve months access to our Learnsite, which is where all the materials are. Then we have the Professional Coach Program at 125 program hours. This program pathways to ACC or PCC. Finally the Advanced Coach Program is 150 hours and includes access to FlipIt and additional Business Building courses.
Each of these programs include different things which you can look at on our website. But in general, the choices that people make here is dependent on what their goal is as a coach, why they’re choosing to do coach training, and what they want to get out of it. For example, the Advanced Coach includes group coaching. So, if that’s something that you’re interested in doing, then absolutely the Advanced Coach is the one to do. It also includes our online FlipIt coaching tool, which is a great tool to bring about change for clients. It includes these cards which are perspective changing cards, reframing cards, and it’s a very powerful tool. The Vocational Coach Program on the other hand has more of a focus on coach skills and it’s something that someone might do if they’re in an existing workplace wanting to add some skills. (Although many of those people still choose to do professional in advance because of the pathway to the PCC Credential, which really is an industry standard Credential.)
[00:12:55] ICA Core Competencies
This is a quick slide on the ICF called Competencies, which is what our entire program is based on and what our assessment is also based on. I won't go through all of these because they're also on the ICF website, you can see them anytime.
To close, the main thing I think is that it's good to understand all of this. It's good to know what's the difference between Accreditation, Certification and Credential, but you actually don't need to be a certification expert, because we are. And we have been since 2004, which is a long time. We have been with the ICF pretty much since they began. They only really were established three years earlier, and we were one of the first schools in Australia to be accredited. And we were there for every major strategic change that the ICF has been through, including this one now. It's not anything unusual for us. It's day to day for us.
Our job as a coach training school is to work out where you are now, where you want to be, what type of area you want to coach, and then help you navigate the framework to get the best program and credential for you.