Coaching accreditation courses are popping up all over the place, from online courses to in-person workshops that can take weeks out of your schedule to complete. Is it worth the time, effort, and expense? Whether you’re just getting started as a coach or are an experienced pro, this article will help you determine whether accreditation makes sense in your case.
What is coaching accreditation?
For many, coaching accreditation has become a must-have to differentiate themselves from their competition and gain credibility. But before you drop hundreds of dollars on any coaching accreditation program, let’s look at some of the pros so you can decide if it’s right for you. Are there different types of coaching credentials? The answer is yes!
The International Coach Federation (ICF) is one example. Their certification levels are designed so that anyone with a minimum level of training can do self-study and advance through levels as they feel more comfortable or ready.
(NOTE: If you’ve been asking questions about ICF Certification lately, then you need to watch this video. In the video, I’ll explain how to best get and use this ‘ultimate credibility advantage’. Click HERE now to watch the video.)
Another example is The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). Their leadership development programs are more intensive—the focus is on the practical application and theory around leadership itself.
Either path can lead to an ICF or ASTD credential for professional coaching certification. Other coaching accreditations available to stand out as a coach include the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) and the Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE).
What are the benefits of having coaching accreditation?
Having coaching accreditation is helpful to some but not all. For example, if you plan to run a business as a life coach, it makes sense to get your certification. Being accredited will make you appear more credible and give your clients peace of mind that you are trained in certain areas.
Also, many employers require their coaches to be certified by nationally recognized organizations such as ICF or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). If you want to work with athletes or other professionals who use life coaches regularly, they may have additional requirements for you to meet. Some employers require their coaches to pass tests covering specific topics and know how to deal with specific issues such as addiction or financial management.
Another way having coaching accreditation is beneficial is that it helps build trust between yourself and potential clients.
Do you have to become accredited to start coaching people professionally, or can you just do it without any qualifications or experience at all?
You don’t need to become accredited to start coaching people professionally. Many coaches begin their careers by helping friends and family.
If you work with a company that requires you to have training and accreditation, though, then you will likely have to get certification before being able to coach clients. This is especially true if your company partners with a certification organization or a college that is offering these courses. Regardless of your situation, you must get some formal training before working as a professional coach.
If not coaching certifications, then what are the alternatives?
The best way to get practice as a coach is to participate in your development actively. While there are some good self-study programs, they’re not going to make you an expert by themselves, nor will they provide you with exposure to working coaches who can serve as references and mentors.
If you want to become a professional coach—as opposed to just offering coaching services occasionally—it makes sense that having professional credentials will open more doors for you. These days, many people call themselves coaches; having training shows that you understand coaching isn’t just about talking to people and giving them advice but developing them into better versions of themselves. Coaches help people make better decisions to lead happier, healthier lives.
If you do not have certifications, the best way to learn is by doing. Participate in your personal development by looking at your strengths and weaknesses and making a commitment to keep improving on an ongoing basis. Work with a coach, mentor or other experts who can observe you in action; ask them for feedback on things that you’re not quite sure how you feel about yet.
The key difference between being a coach and just offering coaching services is having had experience working with clients. Demonstrating competence through experience will help develop trust in your skills. In short, coaching certifications are one piece of what it takes to become a professional coach. Still, they’re worth pursuing if you want to start a business as a life or business coach.
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Writer, Coaches Training Blog community
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