This blog will chart the path to becoming an ICF-ACC coach.

“What you have achieved holds less significance than ‘how’ you have achieved it”—Regal Unlimited. While the accomplishments are celebrated, all the achievers know that the merit is always in the journey, not the destination. At Regal Unlimited, all three are important, the journey, the destination, and the company that keeps the journey exciting and memorable. “I am a ‘so and so’ coach.”

I am sure this line sounds like music to your ears because becoming a ‘coach’ demonstrates mastery of domain expertise. A standard query is, ‘How can we become an ICF-Coach?’ While the process is quite simple, there is a lack of authentic content to simplify and explain the process.

This blog will chart the path to becoming an ICF-ACC coach. We will keep this blog in Q&A format and answer the most frequently asked questions by beginners and aspiring coaches. Brace yourselves for a simple yet defining #Regal Ride.

What is Coaching?

Coaching is a transformational process and a framework that allows individuals to reach their full potential. It aims at maximizing potential and focuses on personal and professional growth. ICF defines coaching as a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires you to maximize your potential (Credits: It takes you from where you are to where you want to be. It is meant to take the client to a more resourceful state.

It can challenge your self-limiting beliefs, spotlight your strengths, expose your blind spots (and we all have them), and let you shine with the brilliance you deserve. Coaching is the most customer-centric profession where the client is a true hero and, simultaneously, the coach has a detached-attached relationship with the client. You can learn more about it here.

What does a Coach do?

A coach partners with the client in the process, inspiring them to maximize their personal and professional potential. He/She/They ‘ask’ rather than ‘tell’. This allows the client to explore the space for solutions and empowers them to find their answers. Through conversations, a coach holds a mirror for the client so that they can grow professionally and personally.

A professional coach uses the framework of ICF/EMCC, not frameworks based on personal experience. A coach is also a cheerleader, believing in the client’s potential and cheering for him/her/them to accomplish it. (Did we start describing who is a ‘good coach’, well it was deliberate to outline the essentials:)

What is ICF?

We repeated the term “ICF often. You might be wondering what it’s all about. Let us understand. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the gold standard in coaching. ICF is a not-for-profit organization committed to promoting the science, art, and practice of professional coaching. With the world’s largest network of professionally trained coaches, ICF is a leading organization in the coaching field. Thomas Leonard, one of the pioneers in coaching, started ICF in 1995. With the support of volunteers and growing interest, ICF began its efforts to raise the standard of professional coaching.

Why is it necessary to be an ICF-ACC certified coach?

ICF Methodology trains a coach to develop the right attitude, skills, and mindset. The ICF coach training competencies provide an empowering framework for coaches and enhance their credibility. It is more likely for a client to go with a coach with an ICF credential than a non-certified/yet-to-be-certified one. ICF has designed a rigorous and relevant curriculum with a strong focus on the practice of coaching as opposed to a purely theoretical approach. An affiliation with an international brand like ICF gives the coach an edge. ICF members also subscribe to the ICF code of ethics. Coaching is a process; like every process, it must have a clearly defined framework. ICF provides us with a robust framework. Years of research and updates to incorporate international best practices support it. Becoming an ICF coach gives one the confidence to use the framework to be a part of the coaches’ network on a larger scale and beyond. Coaching impacts lives. We consider it the best way to give the best service to the coachee and client. Hence, a well-validated framework ensures the highest quality of coaching for clients. Your client deserves the best; an ICF credential ensures you are the ‘best’ in coaching.

What are the different types of coaching? And do we need separate training?

There are various niches in coaching. It is common to wonder if you need different training for different niches. However, these niches are just extensions of ICF coaching. ICF believes in pure and classical coaching, which has a foundational “How to Coach” framework. It is to train you on the aspects that encompass coaching. Once you master that, you can use it to choose any niche you prefer (based on your preferences).

There is no need for separate certification or training after earning the ICF certification. Selecting a niche is more about targeting your clientele than your ability to coach them. Once you have gained the right nuances, you may change your niche depending on your preference for which segment of the population you want to cater to. You may choose any niche and apply the ICF framework and process. The ICF certification is universally applicable (hence the global brand).

Pure and classical coaching is just learning the art and science of coaching and applying it as it is. The cherry on the cake is that identifying the coaching niche and building a brand around it is an integral part of the ICF curriculum at Regal Unlimited.

What is a Coaching Credential?

Oxford defines “credentials” as a qualification or an achievement primarily used to indicate someone’s eligibility or suitability for something. A coaching credential attests to the ability to coach by a third party who is qualified to do so, in this case, the ICF. ICF provides three levels of credentials. – Associate Certified Coach – ICF ACC – Professional Certified Coach – ICF PCC – Master Certified Coach – ICF MCC

What is the difference between certification and credentialing?

ICF does not provide training directly. It has accredited certain coach training institutes to provide the required training hours and the curriculum duly approved by the ICF. Regal Unlimited is one such coach training institute. After completing the training hours and mentoring, the Coach Training Institute certifies the learner-coach as a professional coach.

But ICF credentialing requires two more steps: successfully completing the performance evaluation and the ICF credentialing exam. If only the coach qualifies in these evaluations, ICF issues the credentials. Certification is a precondition for ICF credentials. The ICF offers the Coach Training Institute, which issues certifications and credentials. More on this in the section: Steps to Become an ICF-ACC Coach.

What is ICF-ACC Certification?

Associate Certified Coach or ICF ACC Certification is the process whereby ICF-ACC aspirants go through the accredited training program offered by the ICF Accredited Training Institute(s) (like Regal Unlimited) to get ICF ACC certification. Hence, they become eligible to apply for the credentials of ICF-ACC. ICF-ACC is one of the three credentials offered by ICF. You can also look at some of the FAQs for more information.

Who is an ACC (Associate Certified Coach)?

ICF determines that an ICF-ACC coach finishes 60 hours of coach-specific training through accredited training programs, finishes 10 hours of mentor coaching by an ICF-certified ACC, PCC, or MCC, and 100 hours of client coaching experience. In addition, he/she/they need to qualify the evaluation process conducted to check the understanding of the ICF framework and ethics.

What skills does the ICF-ACC have?

ICF-ACC, being the beginner’s level of coaching, involves certain aspects like Strategic questioning, Action-planning, and the like to support the client in uncovering the knowledge required to find the solution to the problem and planning for the goals accordingly. Although ICF-ACC is skilled in the 8 Core Competencies curated by the ICF, they may not be competent to coach the ‘Who‘ aspect rather than the ‘What‘ aspect. Furthermore, an ICF-ACC can upskill to coach the ‘Who‘ aspect at a PCC Level.

How can I become an ICF-ACC certified coach?

To become an ICF ACC, one requires to fulfil the following-

  1. 60+ Coach Training Hours
  2. 10 Mentoring Hours
  3. 100+ Client Coaching Hours
  4. Successful Completion of the Performance Evaluation
  5. Successful completion of Credentialing Exam

Step 1: Coach Training Hours

It involves 60 hours of coach training, including synchronous (minimum 50%) and asynchronous learning.

Step 2: Mentoring

ICF mandates that the MCC/PCC credential coaches provide a minimum of 10 hours of mentoring as part of the curriculum by the MCC/PCC credential coaches.

Step 3: Coaching Practice

The learner must clock in at least 100 hours of coaching practice to qualify for the required ICF-ACC norms.

Step 4: Successful Completion of Performance Evaluation

It further involves the submission of one of the recordings of the coaching conversations for the performance evaluation. Learner-Coach is expected to demonstrate the application of the concepts and competencies in this recording to qualify for the next step.

Step 5: Successful Completion of the ICF-ACC Credentialing Exam

Lastly, the ICF Credentialing Exam is a psychometric test conducted by the ICF to evaluate the conceptual understanding of the ICF Framework and coaching competencies. Once the learner successfully passes this exam, ICF issues the ACC credential to the learner. However, becoming an ICF ACC involves more than just training and undergoing specific steps in the journey to credentialing. It requires a mindset that gets develops as one explores the process. A brief account of ICF-ACC Credential Pathways Formerly, before 2023, ICF-ACC Credentials could be obtained through 3 Pathways- – ACTP – ACSTH – Portfolio The path used to apply for the ICF-ACC credential was determined by the training provided by the accredited training programs. All three paths had the exact requirements, resulting in the same ACC credential. However, the specifics of each path varied depending on the training or education provided. However, starting in 2023, a level-based system will replace the above paths.

Updated ICF-ACC Credential Pathway (w.e.f. 2023)

ICF unveiled the new accreditation framework for coaching education and training programs in November 2021 to ” set the best standards for coach-specific education in the world.” The ACTP and ACSTH designations are replaced by this new accreditation structure’s level-based system, which aligns with the ICF Credential levels. You can refer here for further questions on ICF Coaching Education’s new Accreditation Structure.

The ICF-ACC Credential can be obtained through education at Level 1. Organizations that provide at least 60 contact hours of learning, 10 hours of mentoring by a qualified mentor coach, and performance evaluations at or above the ICF-ACC level are considered to be at ICF Level 1 (formerly ACSTH).

Why is Regal Unlimited the BEST ICF-ACC Coach Training provider?

We know it looks like a lot of work, but we’ve got your back! We at Regal Unlimited support and handhold you throughout this journey of becoming an ICF coach. We have Master Trainers (MCC) who are qualified and experienced in the ICF methodology. We have trained more than 350+ professional coaches and will be excited to manifest your dream of becoming a professional coach too. Visit Regal Unlimited, or drop in a query to

Click here to download – Beginners’ Guide to ICF Certification.

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