Life Coach Accreditation & Terms: What Do They Mean?

“Do I really need a life coach accreditation?” This is a common question asked by life coaches or those considering a career as a life coach.

Although the simple answer is: it depends on the coach, there are many reasons why obtaining your life coaching credentials is a good idea for your professional growth. Obtaining an accredited certification helps you gain credibility with your clients who most likely want to know they are coached by a skilled professional who has training and experience.

As the coaching industry expands, certification and or licenses will be required to help the public distinguish between professionally trained coaches and those just calling themselves a life coach. Life coaching certifications are now often necessary for work in organizations, corporations, and governments.

If you’re on the fence about getting a life coach accreditation, it’s important that you understand what terms like certification, accreditation, and credentialing mean and which may be required for your practice.

(NOTE: If you’ve been asking questions about ICF Certification lately, then you need to attend this webinar, called “ICF Credentialing & Coach Certification”. During the webinar, I’ll cover how you can gain an ICF Credential in a matter of months. Click HERE now to attend the webinar.)

The Differences Between Life Coach Accreditation, Certification & Credentialing

Life Coach Accreditation – A term you have probably come across as a coach is accreditation. Simply put, coaching programs and training organizations get life coach accreditations, not individuals. For example, if you come across an ICF-accredited program offered by a coaching training institution, it means that the curriculum has been vetted and quality checked by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Before enrolling in any coaching training program, find out if it’s accredited by coaching bodies like the ICF. Doing so protects your investment and ensures you’re getting quality education and training.

Life Coach Certification – Life coaches acquire certifications to demonstrate they’ve been certified through a coaching training organization to provide coaching services. A certificate is awarded when they complete a coaching training or program and attain knowledge in coaching. Pursuing a certification allows you to become a “certified life coach” rather than simply a “life coach”. There’s no single certification for all coaches — certification is offered by the organization you train with, and each has their own standards. To get certified as a life coach, you’ll need to enroll in a coaching program. There are a variety of coaching programs you can choose from. Each has their own different methods of teaching and varies in terms of duration. Some require face-to-face class attendance, while others are offered fully online.

Credentialing – A credential is awarded to life coaches by outside organizations like the ICF when they have completed an advanced, third party examination, undergone rigorous training to prove their proficiency in coaching, and paid an additional fee to the credentialing organization. Having credentials means a coach has undergone an outside professional review to demonstrate their capabilities as a coach. They’re qualified not just because they say they are, but because they underwent formal coaching education through a reputable program, earned a certificate for it, and undertook the additional testing required to attain the credential.

So, if you’re deciding whether to get an accredited certification, just remember, it all comes down to you and what you need to continue moving forward as a successful life coach.

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Jeannie Cotter
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community

FREE Video Course: How to Build a High Paying Coaching Business

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