Credentialing Paths2023-12-13T15:13:36+00:00

Students who complete the Aim Higher 60-hour program meet the training hours necessary to apply for an Associate Coach Credential (ACC) through the International Coach Federation. Aim Higher graduates may apply for an ICF credential after receiving coach-specific training. Graduates are encouraged to become ICF members, after receiving coach-specific training hours.

ICF Credentialing Levels & Requirements

Associate Certified Coach (ACC) Credential1:

  • 60 hours of coach-specific training 100 hours of client coaching experience (75 paid and 25 pro-bono)
  • 10 hours of work with a qualified mentor coach
  • Performance evaluation (audio recording and written transcript of a coach session to be uploaded with your application)
  • Completion of Coach Knowledge Assessment
  • ICF Application fee: $300 for ICF members ($500 for non-members)

1 – https://coachingfederation.org/credentials-and-standards/acc-paths

Professional Certified Coach (PCC) Credential2:

  • 125 hours of coach-specific training
  • 500 hours of client coaching experience
  • 10 hours of work with a qualified mentor coach
  • Performance evaluation (two audio recordings and written transcripts of coaching sessions to be uploaded with your application)
  • ICF Application fee: $575 for ICF members

2 – https://coachingfederation.org/credentials-and-standards/pcc-paths

Master Certified Coach (MCC) Credential3:

  • 200 hours of coach-specific training
  • 2500 hours of client coaching experience
  • 10 hours of work with a qualified mentor coach
  • Performance evaluation (two audio recordings and written transcripts of coaching sessions)
  • ICF Application fee: $575

3 – https://coachingfederation.org/credentials-and-standards/mcc-path

​After completing the Aim Higher program, you will be able to define and demonstrate the 8 ICF Core Competencies:

A. Foundation

1. Demonstrates Ethical Practice

Definition: Understands and consistently applies coaching ethics and standards of coaching.

1. Demonstrates personal integrity and honesty in interactions with clients, sponsors and relevant stakeholders

2. Is sensitive to clients’ identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs

3. Uses language appropriate and respectful to clients, sponsors and relevant stakeholders

4. Abides by the ICF Code of Ethics and upholds the Core Values

5. Maintains confidentiality with client information per stakeholder agreements and pertinent laws

6. Maintains the distinctions between coaching, consulting, psychotherapy and other support


7. Refers clients to other support professionals, as appropriate

2. Embodies a Coaching Mindset

Definition: Develops and maintains a mindset that is open, curious, flexible and client-centered.

1. Acknowledges that clients are responsible for their own choices

2. Engages in ongoing learning and development as a coach

3. Develops an ongoing reflective practice to enhance one’s coaching

4. Remains aware of and open to the influence of context and culture on self and others

5. Uses awareness of self and one’s intuition to benefit clients

6. Develops and maintains the ability to regulate one’s emotions

7. Mentally and emotionally prepares for sessions

8. Seeks help from outside sources when necessary

B. Co-Creating the Relationship

3. Establishes and Maintains Agreements

Definition: Partners with the client and relevant stakeholders to create clear agreements about the coaching relationship, process, plans and goals. Establishes agreements for the overall coaching engagement as well as those for each coaching session.

1. Explains what coaching is and is not and describes the process to the client and relevant


2. Reaches agreement about what is and is not appropriate in the relationship, what is and is not

being offered, and the responsibilities of the client and relevant stakeholders

3. Reaches agreement about the guidelines and specific parameters of the coaching relationship

such as logistics, fees, scheduling, duration, termination, confidentiality and inclusion of others

4. Partners with the client and relevant stakeholders to establish an overall coaching plan and goals

5. Partners with the client to determine client-coach compatibility

6. Partners with the client to identify or reconfirm what they want to accomplish in the session

7. Partners with the client to define what the client believes they need to address or resolve to

achieve what they want to accomplish in the session

8. Partners with the client to define or reconfirm measures of success for what the client wants to accomplish in the coaching engagement or individual session

9. Partners with the client to manage the time and focus of the session

10. Continues coaching in the direction of the client’s desired outcome unless the client indicates otherwise

11. Partners with the client to end the coaching relationship in a way that honors the experience

4. Cultivates Trust and Safety

Definition: Partners with the client to create a safe, supportive environment that allows the client to share freely. Maintains a relationship of mutual respect and trust.

1. Seeks to understand the client within their context which may include their identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs

2. Demonstrates respect for the client’s identity, perceptions, style and language and adapts one’s coaching to the client

3. Acknowledges and respects the client’s unique talents, insights and work in the coaching process

4. Shows support, empathy and concern for the client

5. Acknowledges and supports the client’s expression of feelings, perceptions, concerns, beliefs and suggestions

6. Demonstrates openness and transparency as a way to display vulnerability and build trust with the client

5. Maintains Presence

Definition: Is fully conscious and present with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible, grounded and confident.

1. Remains focused, observant, empathetic and responsive to the client

2. Demonstrates curiosity during the coaching process

3. Manages one’s emotions to stay present with the client

4. Demonstrates confidence in working with strong client emotions during the coaching process

5. Is comfortable working in a space of not knowing

6. Creates or allows space for silence, pause or reflection

C. Communicating Effectively

6. Listens Actively

Definition: Focuses on what the client is and is not saying to fully understand what is being

communicated in the context of the client systems and to support client self-expression.

1. Considers the client’s context, identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs to enhance understanding of what the client is communicating

2. Reflects or summarizes what the client communicated to ensure clarity and understanding

3. Recognizes and inquires when there is more to what the client is communicating

4. Notices, acknowledges and explores the client’s emotions, energy shifts, non-verbal cues or other behaviors

5. Integrates the client’s words, tone of voice and body language to determine the full meaning of what is being communicated

6. Notices trends in the client’s behaviors and emotions across sessions to discern themes and


7. Evokes Awareness

Definition: Facilitates client insight and learning by using tools and techniques such as powerful

questioning, silence, metaphor or analogy.

1. Considers client experience when deciding what might be most useful

2. Challenges the client as a way to evoke awareness or insight

3. Asks questions about the client, such as their way of thinking, values, needs, wants and beliefs

4. Asks questions that help the client explore beyond current thinking

5. Invites the client to share more about their experience in the moment

6. Notices what is working to enhance client progress

7. Adjusts the coaching approach in response to the client’s needs

8. Helps the client identify factors that influence current and future patterns of behavior, thinking or emotion

9. Invites the client to generate ideas about how they can move forward and what they are willing or able to do

10. Supports the client in reframing perspectives

11. Shares observations, insights and feelings, without attachment, that have the potential to create new learning for the client

D. Cultivating Learning and Growth

8. Facilitates Client Growth

Definition: Partners with the client to transform learning and insight into action. Promotes client autonomy in the coaching process.

1. Works with the client to integrate new awareness, insight or learning into their worldview and


2. Partners with the client to design goals, actions and accountability measures that integrate and expand new learning

3. Acknowledges and supports client autonomy in the design of goals, actions and methods of


4. Supports the client in identifying potential results or learning from identified action steps

5. Invites the client to consider how to move forward, including resources, support and potential


6. Partners with the client to summarize learning and insight within or between sessions

7. Celebrates the client’s progress and successes

8. Partners with the client to close the session

Register for Aim Higher Life Coaching Class

Member Benefits Include:

Cutting-edge industry research
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Research Portal
ICF’s Research Portal contains articles, case studies, journals and reports about coaching and related topics.
Global and Local Connections2019-12-04T19:58:57+00:00
Local engagement
Every day, coaches around the world connect with ICF on a local level through an ICF Chapter. At the chapter level, ICF Members can network with peers at chapter events, enjoy valuable virtual and face-to-face education offerings, and help their communities flourish through events like International Coaching Week and pro bono coaching initiatives.
Discounted event registration
Members enjoy discounted registration for ICF Global in-person and virtual events, such as ICF Converge, ICF Advance and the Business Development Series. They also benefit from discounted attendance at local and regional ICF conferences and events, which provide opportunities for networking and professional development.
Staff support
From day one, ICF Members benefit from a global network of staff committed to maximizing their ICF experience, enhancing awareness of coaching and ensuring the integrity of the profession. New Member Onboarding Meetings, held virtually, introduce new ICF Members to one another and to the many resources at their disposal. With support in 11 languages, ICF’s Regional Support team around the world can answer day-to-day questions and help members make the most of ICF Global Membership. Staff also monitor potential and pending regulatory actions, providing regional legislative support as needed.
Leadership opportunities
We encourage members to volunteer in ICF’s governance and oversight. Many opportunities exist at the chapter, regional, and global levels for ICF Members and Credential-holders to become involved with ICF, help shape our organization’s future, and give back to the coaching community.
Lifelong Learning & Professional Development2019-12-04T19:59:11+00:00
Discounted credentialing applications
ICF Members enjoy a significant discount on initial and renewal applications for the ICF Credential. As the only globally recognized independent coaching credential, the ICF Credential signifies a coach’s commitment to outstanding professional practice and sets them apart in a crowded marketplace. Industry research conducted by ICF show that coaches with credentials earn more than non-credentialed coaches, while clients of credentialed coaches report higher satisfaction.
Communities of Practice
ICF’s Communities of Practice (CPs)are virtual groups of coaches interested in a specific topic area. CPs provide a platform for ICF Members to advance their professional development by sharing best practices, emerging trends, tools and tips., which generally meet by teleconference monthly, offer a venue to communicate best practices and new ideas with coaches from around the world who share your professional interests. ICF-credentialed CP participants also earn CCE units toward credential renewal.
Continuing coach education
ICF Members can enhance their professional development and earn Continuing Coach Education (CCE) units by participating in select ICF Chapter events and Communities of Practice. (Visit the ICF Event Calendar for an up-to-date listing of upcoming chapter events, regional conferences and virtual education offerings.) Members can also earn CCE units by accessing virtual library housed on the ICF website.
Reciprocal peer coaching
ICF’s Reciprocal Peer Coaching Program is accessible to all ICF Members and enables ICF Members to receive professional coaching from one colleague in exchange for time spent coaching another peer.
Business Development2019-12-04T19:59:26+00:00
ICF logo and membership certificate
ICF Members can leverage the instant credibility afforded by the ICF Global brand by using the ICF logo on their websites, in email communications and on stationary items. They can also display their membership certificate to let clients know they are ICF members.
ICF partner programs
ICF Media Partners and ICF Business Solutions Partners and ICF Media Partners offer discounts or special pricing to ICF Members on their goods and services. ICF’s Partners offer a wide range of products and services, including insurance, software solutions and magazine subscriptions.
Member toolkit
ICF’s Member Toolkit contains a host of valuable content, including printable marketing collateral, fact sheets, and press release templates and more. Items are regularly updated.
Credentialed Coach Finder directory listings
ICF Members are eligible for inclusion in ICF’s online Member Directory, designed as a tool to find ICF Members and for ICF Members to connect with one another. Members who hold an ICF Credential are also eligible for inclusion in the Credentialed Coach Finder which potential clients may use to find ICF coaches. Members who hold an ICF Credential may also choose to be included in the Mentor Coach Registry.

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