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Certified Coach - What's the Difference

The leading world organization for the certification of professional coaches is the International Coaching Federation (ICF)

Coaches certified by the ICF follow the highest professional standards in their work, which is a guarantee for their clients that they will receive quality and effective coaching.

Certification is possible only after passing specialized training for coaches under a program approved by the ICF. This ensures that the coach will have all the needed knowledge and skills to provide their clients with quality service.

The certification process goes through serious exams in which the candidate must prove that he has specific knowledge and practical skills to work as a coach.

After initial certification, according to ICF policy, each coach undergoes subsequent certifications every 3 years.

During the periods between regular certifications, ICF requires coaches to work on further professional development by participating in various events – coaching trainings, mentoring sessions, coaching conferences, forums and others.

The ICF has 3 certification levels for coaches. Each of these levels is associated with evidence of practical experience gained in coaching sessions with clients, as well as exams to demonstrate specific professional skills required by the ICF for each level:

First level – ACC (Accredited Certified Coach)

This is the initial level that every coach starts with. It requires proof of coaching practice for a minimum of 100 hours and an exam to demonstrate basic coaching skills.

Second level – PCC (Professional Certified Coach)

This is a level that requires proof of coaching practice with minimum of 500 hours and an exam to demonstrate in-depth professional skills specific to PCC.

Third level – MCC (Master Certified Coach)

The highest level, which is associated with proof of a minimum of 2500 hours of coaching practice and an exam demonstrating the highest level of coaching skills specific to MCC.

The ICF policy ensures that the certified coaches will provide their clients with the Gold Standard in coaching or in other words professional services of very high value. All this requires serious investments of time and financial resources that a coach makes in a permanent plan for his professional development.

Working with a professional coach certified by the ICF is an investment high level of ROI (Return on Investment).

In Bulgaria, there is still no legal framework regulating the work of professional coaches. This means that anyone can apply to be a coach – regardless of whether they have the necessary qualifications or not.

The best approach when choosing a coach is to find out if he is certified and by whom. It would be best if he is certified by the ICF because this is a guarantee of professionalism. Also, the ICF certification level indicates the accumulated experience and skill level of the coach.

If a coach cannot present a document from a proven international coach certification organization, there is a serious risk that he does not have the needed competencies to provide quality coaching. And this will bring the customer not only disappointment but a waste of time and money.

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