Over the years that I have worked with Christians who are considering becoming coaches, I’ve witnessed various patterns in peoples’ experiences.  Too often a prospective coach will obtain only very limited information on training options available before hastily committing to a training program.  All too often the prospective coach has gotten a one-size-fits-all answer about whether or not credentialing is important.  Unfortunately these prospective coaches can find themselves frustrated in training that is a mismatch for their goals – after putting their time, money and heart into the effort.

For those considering becoming a coach in 2013 there are many things to consider.   Three of the most important are:

1.  Know your training options.  If you are looking for coach training at the professional level, there are a variety of great Christian coach training programs available.  Some are accredited or approved by the International Coach Federation (ICF).  Several that are not ICF approved provide training aligned with ICF standards and have alumni who have become credentialed via the ICF portfolio application process.

2.  Know accreditation, credentialing and certification.  Unfortunately, navigating to an understanding of accreditation, credentialing and certification can be a journey through murky waters.  The words mean different things to different people which can (and often does) lead to confusion and frustration.  Various types of certification and credentialing are available.  Some certifications reflect light exposure to coaching skills and others involve very rigorous coach training and experience.  Since any person or organization can create and award certifications according to their own definitions and standards, there are substantial differences in the quality of the training, the requirements for the awards and the accomplishments they represent.

If your goal is to obtain professional credentialing through ICF, it is important to be clear that the training you choose will get you there.  Ask the school specific questions about how their training will support your goal.  Learn from the ICF website about their accreditation of schools and credentialing processes.  Do not assume that because a coaching program offers “certification” that the training will automatically then lead to ICF credentials.

3.  Know your vision.  What has God called you to?  What does your coaching vision look like?  The specifics of your unique vision will help you determine what training is right for you and whether credentialing is important to you.  Often people start with the question “do I need to be certified?”  A better place to start is “what is my vision?”  From there, the question about whether you need to be certified will be answered.

There is no one right path to becoming a coach.  There is no one training school that is right for everyone.  For many, obtaining ICF credentialing is very important, and for others it is not.  Work from your unique vision to determine your path.

What resources are available right here at Christian Coaching Resources?

  • For help with training options and definitions of accreditation, credentialing and certification, get The Complete Guide to Christian Coach Training.  The new 2013 edition includes two-page profiles on 19 of the top Christian coach training programs.  Find it here.  www.mychristiancoachtraining.com
  • For a free live presentation with opportunity to ask direct questions, attend “Becoming a Coach:  What You Want to Know,” an event co-sponsored with the Christian Coaches Network, Tuesday, January 22.  Register here.
  • For help from Linda personally, arrange this consulting package to include:  a copy of The Complete Guide to Christian Coach Training 2013 (ebook version), access to the self-directed Explorers Class and a 60 minute personal consultation with Linda go to this link:  Explore Coaching With Linda