The International Coach Federation (ICF) was founded in 1995 and has grown to be the most trusted name in life coach certification. ICF has tens of thousands of members, and there is a good chance of finding an ICF chapter near you. Obtaining at least one of the ICF certification levels will help your Christian life coaching business to be more credible. The ICF doesn’t offer any life coaching services, nor does it offer life coach training. As a non-profit, its main goal is to create standards for life coaching as well as credential life coaches. It also certifies and approves life coach training programs.
The 3 ICF Certification Levels
There are 3 ICF certification levels that are offered to the members of ICF: Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and Master Certified Coach (MCC). All of these levels have similar requirements, with the main differences between them being the training hours, the coaching hours, and the credential level of the coach mentoring you. For instance, the ACC level requires 60 training hours and the PCC requires 125, while the MCC necessitates 220 training hours. Also, for you to be certified as an MCC, you will need to have logged at least 2500 life coaching hours as opposed to PCC level, which needs 500 logged life coaching hours, or the ACC that only requires 100 logged hours.
Becoming an ICF Certified Christian Life Coach
Here are the four prerequisite steps that you need to take in order to obtain ICF certification as a Christian life coach.
ICF certification for the ACC level requires a minimum of 60 training hours. ACC certification is the first level, so look for a Christian life coaching website that offers this at a minimum.
Each ICF certification level requires the same number of mentoring hours. Your mentor acts as your coach and should be able to answer any questions you have. As of 2019, the ICF no longer allows the same program to both train and mentor. For level one (ACC), you must have at least 10 mentor hours with a certified ACC. For level two (PCC), you need at least 10 mentor hours with a certified PCC or MCC. For the highest level (MCC), you will have to complete 10 mentor hours with an MCC.
•Coaching Knowledge Assessment
Before becoming certified by the ICF, you will have to complete a mandatory Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) assessment. Be sure to research credible programs that can adequately prepare you for this test. The Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) is used to measure a coach’s understanding of the knowledge and skills necessary in the practice of coaching. The CKA tests coaches on their understanding of the body of knowledge that includes the ICF definition of coaching, Core Competencies, and Code of Ethics. The CKA is required for all three certification levels.
Each of the three ICF certification levels requires a different number of coaching hours. The final step in obtaining the ACC level is to have a minimum of 100 hours (75 paid) of coaching experience with at least eight clients, following the start of your coach-specific training. At least 25 of these hours must occur within the 18 months prior to submitting the application for the credential. For those wanting to obtain the PCC level, a minimum of 500 hours (450 paid) of coaching experience with at least 25 clients following the start of your coach-specific training is required. At least 50 of these hours must occur within the 18 months prior to submitting the application for the credential. Finally, to obtain the PCC level, a minimum of 2,500 hours (2,250 paid) of coaching experience with at least 35 clients, following the start of your coach-specific training is mandatory.
As of this writing, the ICF still requires a performance evaluation (two audio recordings and written transcripts of coaching sessions). However, it is possible this is going away, due to the new European Privacy Standards that have been enacted around the globe. Check the ICF website for more information.
One final note: The ICF has recognized their need to communicate changes in policy to their certified coaches and have sent out this policy change link to address questions posed to the organization.
The Importance of ICF Certification
Their proven track record shows the ICF is the most reputable organization that deals with creating standards for life coaching, as well as accrediting life coaching programs and individual life coaches. Obtaining an ICF certification will increase your level of competence in the eyes of potential clients, and shows that you are committed to offering the best coaching experience. Here are some more reasons why the various ICF certification levels will benefit you:
The ICF regulates skills, standards, and coaching competencies for all life coach training programs. In other words, the ICF ensures that their certified coaches are highly trained, experienced, and reliable professionals who adhere to a laid-down code of ethics. Obtaining an ICF certification is the easiest ways of letting your would-be clients know that you are a credible Christian life coach.
Just like other professions, ICF certified life coaches will earn more than those without ICF certification. Being recognized by the ICF gives you a good base for commanding a higher hourly rate but, even more important, it will inspire your clients to pay more than they would pay a non-certified life coach.
There are over 20,000 registered ICF members. The organization is widespread with chapters in almost every region on the globe. These chapters organize regular regional and national events where you can meet and network with other life coaches. When you get certified with ICF, you join a “life group” from which you can continually learn.
The level system of ICF certification makes the entire process easy for anyone to follow through. For instance, if your goal was to achieve the highest level (MCC), you begin by attaining the first level (ACC) then continue upgrading to the PCC and MCC as you gain more coaching experience. However, only the ACC certification is required to jumpstart your life coaching business. Not all life coaches upgrade their certifications, as this is not mandatory.
Over 85 percent of people prefer working with an ICF certified life coach. Your certification will greatly assist you with first-time visitors to your website, as well as those returning, all of whom you can remind of your certification through your email marketing.
How Does the ICF Certification Fit into Your Christian Life Coaching Business?
The Bible encourages us to take all work we do as a service to God. As Paul tells us:
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
If you think of your Christian life coaching business as something you are doing for the Lord, you will want to put your best foot forward. The more professionally you run your Christian coaching business, the better witness it becomes to the world.
You should always strive to give your clients a good reason to trust your services—and just saying you are a Christian life coach is not enough. Remember, all clients also want professionalism. But even more importantly, it is your Christian duty to offer your clients nothing but the best.
Now that you know the ICF Certification Levels you can become a ICF accredited Christian life coach.
Contact Aim Higher to get started today!