The ACC ICF Path to a Successful Career in Life Coaching

Do you consider yourself a good life coach and seeking certification to make you an even better coach? If yes, then consider the ACC ICF credential.  It is a great certification for individuals just starting out in the life coaching profession or those who have been in the business for a while.

What is The ACC?

The ACC is the acronym for the Associate Certified Coach credential offered through the International Coach Federation (ICF).  The International Coach Federation is the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals. The ICF offers three credentials: Associate, Professional, and Master Certified Coach. 

The Associate Certified Coach (ACC) is the first and basis credential offered and is ideal for a new coach starting in the profession who already possesses some level of coach training and experience.

Is Certification Necessary to Become a Life Coach?

The answer is No!  You do not need to obtain certification to practice life coaching since the coaching industry is currently unregulated.  There is presently no federal or state oversight for the industry.  However, if you want to be recognized as a professional in your field and achieve a certain level of success, becoming certified, especially as an ICF ACC, Coach is the way to go.  Now that the coaching industry is becoming more recognized worldwide, individuals and organizations seeking life coaching services are requesting coaches to be credentialed. 

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(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.)

Different Paths to Earning an ICF ACC Credential: Requirements

For those seeking to obtain the ACC ICF credential, there are three application paths to choose from ACTP, ACSTH, and the Portfolio Path.

ACTP Path

  • Completion of an entire ICF Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP). 
  • A minimum of 100 hours (70 paid*) of coaching experience with at least eight clients following your coach-specific training. At least 25 of these hours must occur within the 24 months before applying for the credential.
  • Completion of the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).
  • Fees -ICF Members: $100 USD, Non-members: $300 USD.
  • Estimated Timeline for Review: 4 weeks.

ACSTH Path

  • At least 60 hours of coach-specific training through an ACTP or ACSTH program is required.
  • Ten hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three months to be documented on your online application. Your Mentor Coach must be an ACC who has completed a full cycle of the credential through renewal, PCC, or MCC in good standing.
  • A minimum of 100 hours (70 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 24 months prior to submitting the credential application.
  • Performance evaluation (audio recording and written transcript of a coach session to be uploaded with your application).
  • Completion of the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).
  • Fees – ICF Members: $300 USD, Non-members: $500 USD.
  • Estimated Timeline for Review: 14 Weeks.

Portfolio Path

If you are counting Continuing Coach Education (CCE) units and non-approved training toward your training requirements, you must follow the ACC Portfolio path.

  • At least 60 hours of coach-specific training with robust documentation. You will be required to demonstrate that you have completed a comprehensive training program that includes the ICF definition of coaching, Code of Ethics and Core Competencies, and is organized in a scope and sequence that encourages your growth as a coach.
  • Ten hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three months to be documented on your online application. Your Mentor Coach must be an ACC who has completed a full cycle of their credential (through renewal), PCC, or MCC in good standing.
  • A minimum of 100 hours (70 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 24 months prior to applying for the credential.
  • Completion of the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).

According to the ICF, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the proportion of eligible pro bono coaching hours for coaches deciding to apply for the ACC by December 31, 200 have been increased temporarily.  However, starting January 1, 2021, all ACC applicants will document at least 75 hours of paid coaching experience.  More updates and additional information regarding the program can be found on the ICF website.

Regardless of whichever application path you choose, be sure to locate an ICF accredited training provider.  Seek a provider that offers quality training, one that is within your budget, and provides the flexibility and tools you need to get you ready for your career as an ACC ICF credentialed life coach.

To learn more about how to generate an endless wave of high paying coaching clients, get your FREE Instant Access to our “Life Coaching Business Blueprint” video toolkit when you go HERE.

Margaret K. Olubiyi
Life Coach
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community

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

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