How to Become a Certified Coach


This post outlines the necessary steps you may want to take to achieve a credential of Certified Professional Coach. It also gives you several evidence, including why you need a certification, the credentialing bodies, process to become certified, core coaching competencies, coaching credentials available, and a suggestion regarding an insurance organisation.

What are the Professional Coaching Associations offering Coach Credentialing?

As far as I know there is no Formal Government Body that provides Coach Credentialing. Actually, the coach credentialing are coach industry based. In other words, these are professional coaching associations that offer coach credentialing. There are many professional coaching associations that offer coach credentialing. However, there are three of them that can qualify as the most influential organisations. These are The International Coaching Federation (ICF), The International Association of Coaching (IAC), and The Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC). Just as a disclosure, I hold a Credential of Professional Certified Coach from ICF, and many other coaching credentials from different organisations. If you are interested, please read the section below titled “About the Author”.

Why do You need Coaching Credentials?

You may wonder “What is a Coaching Credential?” Simply stated a coaching credential is a coaching professional certification, awarded by a Coaching Professional Association, like ICF.

You may need to know that not all practicing coaches hold a coaching credential. One of the reasons is that a coach is not obliged to have any coaching credential. In fact, anybody reading a book, an article, a blog post, or visiting a website can suddenly fall in love with this profession and immediately decides to be a coach. Nobody can stop them to do that. However, having a coaching credential will offer One several benefits, including developing and refining their coaching skills, getting instant credibility and increased visibility to potential clients, building a professional network, and being able to buy an insurance policy for their own protection. Talking about building a professional network, ICF states that they have 70, 000 professional coaches. Apart from having a coaching credential, a coach being a member of a coaching professional association, like ICF, have access to coaching resources. Coming back to the benefits of credentialing, ICF outlines that 85% of coaching clients recognised that it is very important for their coaches to have a coaching credential (according to “2022 Global Consumer Awareness Study”). Therefore, I would say, Go for It.

Recommended Action: Read Becoming a Professional Life Coach

What is the Process to Become a Certified Coach?

According to ICF, the process includes the following steps: (1) Get Informed, (2) Find and get Coaching Education, (3) Join a Coaching Professional Association, (4) Earn a Credential, and (5) Get involved in the Professional Coaching Association. Following a process like this you can start practicing coaching without having too many worries, because you will be a real coach.

Recommended Action: Read The Coaching Manual

Get Informed

ICF suggests that you ask yourself certain question, including (1) according to my passion, how can I help my potential clients to resolve their issues, (2) what business skills I need to lead a coaching business, and (3) what can I offer my clients in my niche

Find and get Coaching Education

You can look at ICF-accredited coaching schools’ offers. Please click the following link ESS.

Join a Coaching Professional Association

As I showed above, there are many coaching professional organisations. However, if I re-started now I will still choose ICF (application here).

Earn a Credential

ICF has three credential and paths, including Associate Certified Coach, Professional Certified Coach, and Master Certified Coach. Please click on this Link for a detailed description of credentials and paths.

Get involved in the professional coaching association

To enable you to get involved in the ICF work, ICF developed teams in the organisation in almost each country where ICF is establish as a Coaching Professional Association..

What Core Competencies You Will Need?

ICF just updated their core competencies. Therefore, you will find two sets of competencies, including current and updated competencies. The updated competencies will be applied from approx. mid-2022. So, until then ICF will apply the current core competencies. Please see below a summary of these current and updated competencies:

Current Core Competencies

Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards
Establishing the Coaching Agreement
Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client
Coaching Presence
Active Listening
Powerful Questioning
Direct Communication
Creating Awareness
Designing Actions
Planning and Goal Setting
Managing Progress and Accountability

Updated Core Competencies

Demonstrates Ethical Practice
Embodies a Coaching Mindset
Establishes and Maintains Agreements
Cultivates Trust and Safety
Maintains Presence
Listens Actively
Evokes Awareness
Facilitates Client Growth

Suggestion Regarding Insurance

AON provides insurance for Coaching Services. If you are interested, please call 1800 805 191, or send an email to to get the required information.

Programs & Publications you may want to consult

For further information I recommend you the following Programs and Publications:

Certified Life Coach Program, Coaching for Performance, Coaching – 9 Powerful Laws of Transformational Coaching, Life Coaching – How to Become A Successful Life Coach, and The Coaching Habit.

About the author

James has more than 30-years of work experience, including Coaching, Mentoring, Counselling, Hypnotherapy, NLP, TimeLine Therapy, Thought Field Therapy, and Autogenic Training. Moreover, James holds a wide range of academic qualifications, and certifications, including Doctorate in Clinical Hypnotherapy, Master of Business Coaching, Certified Professional Coach, Diploma of Autogenic Training, Diploma of Stress Management, Diploma of Psychology, and Diploma of Weight Loss.


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