How Important Is Becoming an ICF Associate Certified Coach?

Anyone out there can claim to be a “coach” whether they have the credentials or not.

As part of an $11.2 billion industry, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd.

In an increasingly scrutinized world where one wayward social media post can get people fired from their jobs, what people find out about you may carry more weight in some instances.

On the other hand, we as coaches always tell our clients to be authentic to reach their full potential no matter what society tries to label us.

Having an ICF credential attached to your name doesn’t necessarily have to define your career.

But it can help you gain valuable experience in the field.

Here’s our take on the importance of becoming an ICF Associate Certified Coach (ACC).

Consider Other Professions

When you have a tax professional prepare your taxes, do you want someone who is a licensed CPA?

Similarly, what about seeking the advice of a medical doctor? Lawyer? Chiropractor? Naturopath?

Even other industries and trades have standards. Many manufacturers strive for ISO 9001 standards to get government contracts. Plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, and roofers all have professional organizations that can certify the ability and training hours of tradespeople who perform valuable work.

The same is true for coaching.

Would you want me to hire you? How can you prove to a potential client that you have experience in coaching? Yes, you have satisfied clients that leave reviews. But even those could be bought or faked unless the prospect tries to contact the person.

Showcase Your Commitment to Excellence

Having an ACC credential highlights not just your competency as a coach, but also your dedication to excellence. It’s like getting a college degree. Companies hire people with degrees because they figure if someone can invest two to four years in higher education to earn a degree, that person will stay with the company for a long-term commitment.

The same can be true with organizations that want to hire you as a coach. ACC certification, like a college transcript, is provable. Potential clients can look you up through the ICF website to verify your credentials.

Companies Look for Credentialed Professionals

Companies, nonprofits, and government organizations increasingly look for credentialed professionals to be their coaches. Many won’t even consider you as a coach if you don’t have ACC certification at a minimum.

Imagine you’re an HR manager looking for the right people for a position. You can set your recruiting software to automatically reject those who do not have the right degree for your position. You need to hire someone with a chemistry degree, so you can automatically eliminate someone with a degree in history.

Businesses looking to hire a coach can automatically narrow the field by seeking out qualified, credentialed individuals with ACC credentials.

Companies like Uber, Nasa, Google, and the like don't hire coaches, even if they have more than 10 years of experience if they don't have accreditation by the ICF or EMCC.

Another issue to consider is that just because a company hired you without an ICF credential to start, it doesn’t mean the client will stay with you. When your contract is up, the business may require you to have an ICF certification before they’ll rehire you to coach their teams.

You could be missing out on plenty of opportunities by not becoming an ICF Associate Certified Coach. Larger companies may not even look at you. You might lose business over the years, even though your talents have gotten better as you gain more experience.

Catch Bigger Fish

Without a credential, you may have a harder time landing bigger clients.

Sure, you can start by coaching smaller organizations, entrepreneurs, and individuals while growing your clientele gradually.

But landing one big catch from a larger company looking for a certified coach? That could be worth multiple smaller clients who hired you without any credentials.

Just like having a college degree can land you a bigger salary for entry-level work (which statistically is the case), earning an ACC credential could start your coaching career out on a higher level than without it.

Continuing Education & Professional Development

How do you grow as a coach? Reading books and watching videos may not be enough. Having a fellowship of like-minded, credentialed individuals to talk to and run your ideas past can help you grow as a coach.

Further, ICF has continuing education programs, training, and industry news that can help you stay on top of developments in the coaching field. Regular meetings, conferences, and webinars allow us as ICF credential coaches to talk to each other, bond with each other and learn from each other, all so we can learn to serve our clients to the best of our abilities.

Just like a doctor who went to medical school 20 years ago. Wouldn’t you want to ask if your physician updated his or her education since then?

Yes, we are not on the same level as YMYL. We’re not doctors, accountants, or lawyers.

But don’t our clients deserve the get the best when they entrust us with helping them to realize their full potential as human beings?

Our clients hire us to inspire them to make their own decisions about their lives with confidence and understanding. The right coaching can unlock someone’s career, relationship, family, and life goals because you gave them the tools they needed to overcome what internal challenges they faced.

We Can Help You

CoachWhizz is a coach training academy that can help you by giving you the knowledge you need to take the ICF ACC exam.

We know that having three letters after your name doesn’t define you as a coach, but it does demonstrate the highest level of quality and care that you bring to your clients every day.