Lately I’ve heard too many stories of new coaches who have invested money and time into coach training that did not get them to where they wanted to be.  They paid money for training that didn’t lead them to the professional credentialing that they were seeking.  They were very disappointed to learn they would have to basically start over to obtain the ICF credentialing they desired.

Before I go further, I will say as I often have:  I don’t believe every coach needs ICF credentials.  You need training that will help you fulfill your unique purposes.  You may simply want to gain some coaching skills to enhance your current ministry effectiveness or job performance and you may not need to pursue credentials.  Of course you would want quality training whether or not you plan to pursue credentials – and either way you can find information about great training programs in my book The Complete Guide to Christian Coach Training.   

But if you want professional level training that can lead to industry-recognized credentials, know the following:

  • The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the industry standard accrediting and credentialing organization.
  • If you want to get professional credentials from ICF, you need to know that the training you’ve taken will be considered as part of your application.  Acceptable training can be from an ICF accredited/approved school or from a non-approved school that they determine meets their standards.
  • If you are considering taking training that isn’t ICF accredited or approved and you want to obtain professional credentials, you can do some research in advance of taking your training that will help you know the chances of your credentialing application being approved.
  • If you want to research your chances of your non-ICF-approved training being approved, start by familiarizing yourself with the portfolio application for ACC credentialing at the ICF website.
  • As you consider a training course or program that is not ICF approved, ask the director if students from their school have applied and been approved for ACC or PCC credentials using the courses you are considering.  The directors of non-ICF approved schools should not tell you that “yes,” in fact you will be approved – because they can’t speak for the ICF.  However, if students from their training have a history of being awarded their ACC’s or PCC’s from ICF, then you have evidence to believe that your chances of approval are positive.
  • Be aware that ICF standards for acceptable training include that courses involve 80% “student contact hours.”  Here is a quote from ICF about this:  “Student contact hours – clock hours spent synchronous (real- time) interactions between faculty and students… A minimum of 80% of all training must be delivered in synchronous activities.”  In other words, acceptable training includes predominantly live, real-time interaction between students and instructors.  A small percentage can include independent study (for example by pre-recorded video or audio).

Are there Christian programs and courses accredited and approved that can apply for your ACC or PCC credential with ICF?  Absolutely!  And are there Christian programs and courses that are not approved but have had students use their courses in their applications resulting in obtaining their ACC’s or PCC’s?  Yes, definitely!   Get my book, The Complete Guide to Christian Coach Training to identify which might be options to help you meet your unique purposes and God-give vision.

I do not want you to experience a sad story of money, time and heart spent on coach training that didn’t meet your expected outcomes.  I am passionate about helping you and I offer three resources that can help you find the right training path for your vision.

  • The Complete Guide to Christian Coach TrainingGet my ebook for more on the coaching profession, accreditation and credentialing, Eleven Factors in Decision Making, and two page profiles on 18 top Christian coach training programs.
  • The Explorers Class – Self-paced video and includes a download of The Complete Guide to Christian Coach Training, expands the info and helps you with deciding what training is right for you.
  • Explore Coaching with Linda – Consulting package that includes a 60 minute session with me for personalized help with identifying your next steps toward training and/or a possible career or ministry in coaching.  Access to the Explorers Class and a download of The Complete Guide to Christian Coach Training is included.
  • Get these resources at
Christian Coaching Resources