ICF approved courses in India

ICF Programs in India

From the origin of the term ‘coach’ in the 1830s—first used at Oxford—to its widespread development and spread through the Human Potential Movement of the 1960s, coaching as a profession has come a long way since. Not only has the profession turned into a global industry, but the past few years have also witnessed an exponential increase in the number of people opting for coaching as a profession, and the search for ICF programs in India has seen a surge as well. It is at a time like this that the accreditation bodies like the International Coach Federation (ICF), are playing a vital role in streamlining this fast-growing coaching industry. In fact, due to its high-quality standards of coaching, ICF is considered the gold standard in coaching. For these reasons, getting ICF certified is a career goal for most aspirants. If you are aspiring to get ICF certified as a coach, and are looking for ICF courses in India then you have come to the right place.

This article is your step-by-step guide about How to become an ICF Certified Coach. What are ICF ACC certification requirements, information about the ICF Certification process, ICF Certification criteria, and information about ICF courses in India, and different factors to consider while you are searching for an ICF accreditation course in India.

Remember, ICF credentials are mandated for a periodical renewal, in keeping up with the needs of the times. However, this process of ICF Certification renewal is beyond the scope of this article. Use this article only as a guide to deepen your understanding of the ICF Certification criteria, ICF Certification process, and ICF ACC Certification requirements for becoming an ICF certified coach.

To become an ICF ACC certified coach (ICF ACC Certification through ICF ACSTH path) you need the following:

Step 1. Attend an ICF approved coach training program with an institute (ICF coach training provider ~ program approved by ICF)

Step 2. Complete a minimum of 100+ hours of coaching log,10 hours of mentor coaching with an ICF mentor coach

Step 3. Submit your ICF application with ICF (ICF approved training hours completion letter, coaching file for ICF review, confirm coaching experience of 100 hours)

Step 4. Clear the ICF exam

ICF Credentials

ICF credentials are the highest standard of globally recognized professional certifications, hence, how to become an ICF Certified Coach, and ICF programs in India is the talk of the town in the corporates, especially amongst Leadership Development teams/HR Community/Trainer community. ICF offers them in three hierarchical tiers:

  • Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
  • Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
  • Master Certified Coach (MCC)

The eligibility criteria to get certified in each of these coaching credentials is based on:

  • The overall coaching experience, and
  • The duration of coaching training undertaken for developing professional coaching competence.

These are crucial because the minimum number of hours of coaching training and the total hours of coaching-practice experience are the key determinants of a coach’s professional competency, as defined by ICF.

We will start with the ICF ACC level, and focus on ICF ACC Certification requirements as that is the entry-level credential to get started as a Coach with ICF accreditation, keeping in mind that certification is just one of the parameters for success as a coach.  Here are the minimum eligibility criteria for ICF Associate Certified Coach (ACC) level:

  • 60+ hours of coach training (ACSTH ~ basic one)
  • 100+ hours of practice with coaching clients
  • 10 hours mentoring by ICF mentor

In addition to these minimum requirements, in order to qualify as an ICF ACC, all aspirants must establish their coaching competency through the coach knowledge assessment (CKA), and that is one of the most important part for someone who is looking to understand how to become an ICF Certified coach, and are looking for ICF programs in India. The coach acknowledgment assessment (CKA) is a meticulous examination conducted by ICF in order to evaluate and assess the level of coaching expertise of an aspirant.

Step 1:Attend an ICF approved coach training program with a coach training institute 

The first and foremost step in your journey of how to become an ICF Certified Coach is shortlisting the right training program with the best ICF Coach Provider Academy in the industry, during your search for ICF programs in India. This is because an ICF Coach Certification provider institution of repute will have a lot to speak for itself—reviews/testimonials, credibility, authentic resources, best training tools and techniques, and best industry professionals (ICF Mentor Coaches) to coach and mentor you. All these elements will serve as a great return on investment in building a successful career as a coach, and in your search for ICF programs in India.

Since there are several ICF approved certification courses available, follow these steps for due diligence before you enroll in a program:

  • Find out about the structure of the program such as the number of days of in-classroom training and the modules of the program that are offline. Also, procure details on the program content such as the topics that will be covered during the training.

This is imperative to ascertain if training programs are extensive advanced level programs or just normal introductory programs that are not very helpful. Things to look for in the training program content:

  • Behaviour-change based framework

This is one of the most vital aspects of an ICF certified coach-training program. Therefore, ensure that the training program that you choose for yourself is a behavior-change-based framework, in its length and breadth. Attending a program that has a framework fully integrated with behavior-change, is what will equip you with the right tools to kickstart your own coaching business.

Among the most popular behavior-based coaching concepts are Results based Coaching – Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Meta-Coaching (Neuro-Semantics), Emotional Intelligence, and Coaching using NeuroScience.

Again, choose a coaching program that is focused on one methodology. This ensures you acquire in-depth knowledge on the given subject. Thus, your grasp of the behavior-based methodology will also enable you to work on deep-rooted and sub-conscious level changes. This is generally rated as the number 1 criteria by people who are looking for how to become an ICF Certified Coach, and if you are looking for ICF programs in India.

Those coaching programs that are not supported by an effective methodology, do not lend the much-needed flexibility to a coach to be fully engaged with their client. Those coaching programs that combine various methodologies, often lead to only superficial knowledge on each subject.

  • Business development skills

Another crucial facet of a good training program is teaching you the business development skills to set up your own coaching practice. If you have completed a coaching course and are still struggling to find coaching clients, to market your coaching brand/services, etc., then sadly, your coaching is still incomplete. It’s because a lot of coach-training programs available right now are not fully equipped to teach you the intricacies of building a successful coaching brand. Only a genuine coaching program will give you growth hacks that will help flourish your coaching practice. Make sure that this element is part of your criteria when you are doing a shortlisting around how to become an ICF Certified Coach.

Therefore, sign up with an ICF coach and an ICF Coach Provider Academy that have been delivering both coaching and coach-training programs. Since the skillsets required for both coaching and coach-training programs, make sure you shortlist your coach, accordingly. Again, certain ICF coach-trainers may not be active coaches and that makes them completely out-of-sync with the contemporary coaching challenges. Therefore, it’s important to make sure your prospective trainer is actively practicing coaching others and is well-versed and up to date with present-day coaching styles and challenges. They must understand the uniqueness of every client and provide an equally unique learning experience to them.

Beware of fake sites and trainers. Here are a few tips on assessing a trainer’s expertise and credibility in the coaching field:

  • Do a background check on the Master Trainer’s profile.

Since the coaching and training programs are all trainer-driven, knowing about your facilitator’s profile is a must. Fancy websites with massive and catchy photo galleries can be deceptive. Checking the profile of the coach facilitating the program, their certifications/qualifications, their mentors, the institute they pursued their training from, etc. is a good hygiene check before commencing on your journey to get trained by one.


  • Participants’ Testimonials

Testimonials by previous program participants is another good way of gauging an institute and its trainers’ credibility and skills. If the testimonials further commend them in different coaching domains like Life coaching, Entrepreneur and Business coaching, Executive coaching, etc., that’s a great sign. Do a deep check about the Trainer not only on just social media sites but on professional sites (Linkedin) as well.  It is easier to get fake recommendations on Social media sites, but it is difficult to hide on Linkedin, and the recommendations that you see from others, you can easier get to know the quality of participants that have been attending the program with the said coach.


Step 2. Complete a minimum of 100+ hours of coaching log & 10 hours of mentor coaching with an ICF mentor coach

In order to be eligible for an ICF Associate Certified Coach (ACC) at least 100 hours of practice coaching along with 10 hours of mentor-coaching is a must.

Your coaching competence and proficiency will grow with practice and coaching clients, over a period of time. However, a skilled ICF mentor coach will guide you on ways to make your coaching process more efficacious and constructive. She/he will help ICF aspirants improve and develop their coaching presence, questioning skills, interpersonal skills, etc. Thereby increasing your own effectiveness and flexibility as a good coach.  If you are searching for How to become an ICF Certified Coach, or ICF programs in India, make sure that you are aware of who is going to mentor you towards ICF accreditation.  The best way to speed up your coaching log is to do a lot of peer coaching with participants from your ICF batch.  This helps you to explore coaching in a relaxed environment.  While you are working towards your ICF log, you can also get to hear some feedback and tips from your peer as well.


Step 3. Submit your ICF application with ICF

Post submission of your application on ICF’s website, it takes between 11/12 weeks for ICF to review your submission. ICF then contacts you on the status update on the next steps in the review process, via email. Once ICF validates your application, a link to the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) exam is emailed.  CKA exam is a multiple-choice questions exam for 3 hours. The exam is mostly scenario-based questions and is based on the Coaching ethics, competencies, and scenarios that a coach can get while coaching.


Step 4. Clear the ICF exam

If you clear the CKA exam, you get certified as an ICF Coach at the ACC level. Remember, the role of a coach is to help their clients be the best version of themselves. A coach-training program enables you to unlock yours as well as your client’s full potential.

Therefore, specialized training and a certification from the best accreditation body in the world—ICF, makes for highly effective coaches. Such coaches are able to stand out from the crowd in the bustling coaching world. This enables them to build a bigger clientele base for themselves, with greater ease than their counterparts.

While becoming a coach is easy, it is in becoming an ICF credentialed coach where the real magic lies. It is because ICF has established itself as the global standard for professional coaches.

ICF has earned itself worldwide acclaim on the basis of representing the highest quality in professional coaching. This has been achieved through maintaining high standards in coaching, and building a global network of ICF Credential coaches, while keeping the procedure to become an ICF certified coach uniform, globally.  This is the very reason that the search for ICF programs in India is on the rise, and how to become an ICF Certified Coach is the go-to search parameter for people looking to get into the coaching industry.

Important note:

Certain coaches on professional platforms like LinkedIn have labeled themselves ICF certified by merely attending an ICF-approved training program. This is highly misleading, as only those who have earned an ICF Credential by actually clearing the ICF exam, are actually ICF Certified. So, refrain from branding yourself ICF certified if you haven’t earned yourself an ICF Credential as that shows badly on your credibility as a coach.

If you are convinced that you want to become a Coach, then the next step of your search of how to become an ICF Certified Coach is to go through the course content.  Visit NLP Coaching Academy, and go through our flagship Integrated NLP Practitioner and ICF Coach program, and take that leap of faith in your coaching career, today.  The integrated ICF Coach based on behavioral framework is rated as one of the best ICF programs in India by coaches who have attended this program.

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