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, attending ICF-certified courses and getting ICF certified is a career goal for most aspirants. The demand for ICF courses in India is also on the rise. If you are aspiring to get certified as an ICF coach, and are looking for ICF Coach training 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, information about ICF courses in India, and different factors to consider while you are searching for an ICF accreditation course in India?  ICF programs in India, and how to evaluate which ICF Coaching program is good for my need? How to become an ICF PCC coach?  Is ICF PCC better than ICF ACC credential?

The above-mentioned questions can be starting questions in your search to become an ICF Certified Coach.  The intent of this post is to provide you as much information as possible, based on our interaction with participants looking to become ICF Coaches.

Is an ICF Coach Certification worth it?

Coaching can be a very gratifying and rewarding career as it involves following one’s passion while transforming lives. As one progresses in their professional journey, it only makes sense to upgrade and upskill oneself. Therefore, if you are looking for an ICF certification as an added credential, it’s the right way to go about it. However, you must also know that ICF certifications are priced at a premium tag. Therefore, it is a valid concern to find out if one’s money is worth one’s investment. Asking questions like, ‘Is an ICF certification worth my money?’, ‘What’s the value add of becoming an ICF certified coach?’, ‘What will be my return on investment (ROI) on an ICF certification?’, ‘Is an ICF coaching certification one of the best?’, etc. are quite valid in this connection.  Is it worth it, ‘Absolutely!’

The perquisites of an ICF certification vary from one individual to the next, depending on their distinct situation. The purpose of this article is to address the various aspects of an ICF certification. This will help you make an informed decision based on your unique situation.

The article is divided into two segments – the first segment tackles details on ICF along with the ICF certification and its value; while, the second segment recounts several reasons why ICF certification is the go-to program, for many, and information about the ICF ACC Certified Coach program, and ICF PCC Coach program. Based on this information, you can decide which ICF certification is right for you.


ICF and ICF Coach certification training in India

The International Coach Federation or ICF is the world’s biggest organization of professionally trained coaches. With its global community of coaches, spread across various countries, ICF is today the gold standard in coaching. Through the ICF Credential – the certification for professional coaches – coaches get certified under ICF.

ICF is the regulating body with a mission to ensure professional standards are maintained within the coaching industry. It campaigns for consistency in the coaching industry globally across all its coach training programs through an ICF Training Program Accreditation. This has enabled it to also define curriculum standards for these programs, along with coaching guidelines, ethics, etc. Only those training programs that follow these standards get ICF approval for accreditation. With pre-defined and regulated standards on skills and core competencies, ICF ensures that only the most suitable coaches are certified. It also warrants only those professionals who abide by ICF’s strict code of conduct and ethics.  ICF assessors approve the program after a thorough check (especially the ICF ACSTH and ICF ACTP approved programs leading to ICF ACC and ICF PCC credential) and ensure that the coaching program covers all the aspects set by the ICF.

ICF’s definition of coaching is to partner with clients in a way that’s both thought-provoking and creative, such that it galvanizes them into maximizing their innate potential – both professionally and personally.

With its own credentialing system in place – the ICF Credential – ICF Credential-holders word-wide, make it the most reputed global professional coaching certification.  Hence, ICF programs in India are in great demand, and in other parts of the world as well.  If you are looking for an ICF Coach certification in India, then you don’t have to find an expensive program, there are many programs available that can lead to ICF ACC, and ICF PCC, as any program approved by ICF is applicable worldwide. The ICF Credential, therefore, has globally strengthened the integrity and respect of the coaching profession at large.

The three levels of the ICF Coach Credential are:

  • ACC – Associate Certified Coach
  • PCC – Professional Certified Coach
  • MCC – Master Certified Coach.

These levels are the same across the globe, and if you are looking to become an ICF Coach.  The credential will have the same value wherever you are in the world.

Who is the ICF Coach Credential for? 

At present, coaching is an unregulated market. Hence, to become a coach, a certification is not required presently. What is required is experience and talent. If your clients don’t get the desired results, no number of certifications will help your coaching career. Thus, you must first build a reputation as a coach who can deliver desired outcomes for clients. The word of mouth so generated, will not you get you prospective clients, but also industry-wide repute.

The notion that one needs to get certified in the ICF MCC level to become a sought-after coach, is not accurate. While these credentials/certifications are a great way to get started or upgrade one’s skills as a coach, clients usually hire coaches based on their repute. Therefore, whether the ICF Credential is for you or not, entirely depends on where you’re at in your coaching career and where you’d like to go i.e. to say, what are your long-term objectives. The bottom line, therefore, is, in order to be an effective coach you need to partner with your clients and ensure that your coaching is of top quality, and there is a buzz in the market in terms of your competence and effectiveness as a coach.  This is what will define your success at the end of the day. So, I urge you to make an informed decision.  To get started an ICF ACC is the right first step, and if you are determined and have a clear vision that coaching is the way forward for you then going for ICF PCC is fine.

Below is a summary that can help you do that. These enumerate pointers for those who need an ICF certification and those who don’t.

You need the ICF Credential:

  • For those coaches who’d like to work with corporate clients, applying for the ICF Credential is a good idea. It is because corporate clients look for certifications from an accredited body that renders high credibility to your profile, and what better way than getting one from the gold standard in coaching itself – ICF.

Since an ICF certification allows coaches to get corporate clients, those that seek the ICF Credential include experienced Executive Coaches, Business Coaches, Sales Coaches, Leadership Coaches, Success Coaches, etc.  Consequently, if you want to find clients in any one of these coaching spaces and build a corporate clientele base for yourself, then the ICF Credential is for you.

  • In order to leverage corporate clients against your competitors who also have ICF branding. Since the ICF Credential gives both the coach and her/his coaching service’s brand, trustworthiness, it is seen as a salient and binding criterion in the world of corporate coaching.


You do not need the ICF Credential:

  • If you’re a professional coach (mostly in the B2C market), and your client base is non-corporates, you have low investment capital for your training, then you do not necessarily need the ICF credentials.  You can consider taking an ICF credential to showcase as a differentiator as a coach later.

In non-corporate/business client circles, people often hire coaches based on word-of-mouth referrals and endorsements. They’re looking for professionally trained coaches who are known to deliver the requisite results with or without the ICF Credential. To the layperson an ICF certification is not the prime shortlisting criterion in selecting a prospective coach, it is the guarantee of getting the results they’re looking for.  You can possibly look to invest in a great ICF-approved coaching course (installment-based payment) to get started as a coach and take the credential later.  In short as some point you will need an ICF credential, considering there are many untrained coaches in the market, and it makes sense to become an ICF Coach, even if you don’t want to work with corporates, and your clients are business owners, who do not care whether you are certified or not, however, from a long term perspective it will help to be an ICF Coach.


Why do people enroll in ICF Coach certification courses in India?

Being the highest and most reputable body in the world for its coaching standards, ICF is the choice of certification for most coaches and coaching institutes and agencies. From being a good-to-have certification to now becoming an International Coach Federation (ICF) certified coach, is fast turning into a prerequisite in the coaching industry.  As a result, the more tenured and accomplished coaches have started to consider getting ICF Certified. Hence, the demand for ICF programs in India, and other countries has increased.  Various ICF Coach training courses are available these days.  This serves as a great value add to their profiles as coaches.

   Listed below are some of the most obvious benefits of becoming an ICF credentialed coach:

  • When you get certified with the ICF Credential, the professional certificate you get is acknowledged the world over.
  • ICF has been termed “the main accrediting and credentialing body for both training programs and coaches” and therefore is highly reputed.
  • ICF promotes professionalism and ensures that both the coaches and training institutes are well equipped to do their job, thereby reassuring potential clients. Getting ICF certified means that you are a highly trained and well-practiced coach who meets the global benchmark of coaching.
  • It helps to separate you from the plethora of coaches (some trained, others not so much) that are out there, while also assisting you in getting a head start over your competitors.
  • ICF certifications are a mark of the highest quality standards and the best grade coaching professionals. Thus, the chances of an ICF coach getting hired by a client increase manifold.
  • An ICF certification is synonymous with mastery, dedication, integrity, and commitment in the field of coaching, with respect to one’s clients. This is a big boost for a coach’s brand.
  • An ICF certification is an excellent way for corporates to screen coaches and then sieve out the reliable and authentic ones from the rest. Especially now, when there’s a sprouting of fake and inexperienced coaches, out there.


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.

ICF ACC Certified Coach ~ ICF Coach training

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 certification path after ICF courses in India

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. If you are looking for ICF Coach Certification in India, then you must go for behavior-based coaching methodology leading to an ICF credential (ICF ACC or ICF PCC or ICF MCC).

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. 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.

ICF PCC Coach 

To become an ICF PCC you need the following:

Step 1. Attend an ICF approved coach training program (ICF ACSTH – 125 hours or ICF ACTP 125 hours) with an institute (ICF coach training provider ~ program approved by ICF)

Step 2. Complete a minimum of 500+ 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 (if ICF ACSTH route), confirm coaching experience of 500+ hours). Note if you are going through the ICF ACTP route, then you don’t have to send coaching files for ICF review.  ICF ACTP is a comprehensive program where the oral assessment is part of the program, and any ICF program approved under ICF ACTP will ensure that your skills are of that level.  Hence, at times people invest in the ICF PCC program via the ICF ACTP route.

Step 4. Clear the ICF exam

Important note (ICF programs in India | ICF Coach training in India):

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. 

If you are convinced that you want to become a Coach, then the next step of your search for 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 (ICF ACSTH – ICF ACC).  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.  If you want to directly go for ICF PCC then along with the NLP Practitioner Coach program, you attend the Emotional Intelligence Coach program, Coaching using Neuroscience, and Coaching Lab, and that is approved under ICF ACTP route to directly become ICF PCC.

Join the ICF coach certification program in India with NLP Coaching Academy (nlpcoach.in)

At NLP Coaching Academy we offer ICF approved coaching certification training programs that are globally recognized. The course content of coach training certification programs at the Academy is approved under the ICF Training Program Accreditation through the ICF Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP),  Associate Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH), as well as Continued Coach Education (Continued Coach Education (CCE). The training programs are aligned with and adhere to the Code of Ethics as laid down by ICF. These programs are among the best in the industry and highly reputed for producing the highest quality coaches.  This post has been updated keeping in mind the changes happening in 2021.

In a fast-paced world that’s changing at a rapid pace, with increasing competition, greater isolation, and the resultant lifestyle changes amongst the wider populace, coaching is coming to a lot of people’s rescue. Coaching is helping address a multitude of areas like fixing a difficult situation such as business problems, aiding in decision making and strategizing, helping achieve maximum work performance, aiding in prioritizing actions and projects, enabling getting ahead of the competition, increasing sales and profitability, improving communication, enhancing thinking skills, building a strong personal foundation, improving self-management and organizational skills, integrating work and family life, improving resilience, and the list goes on.

Owing to all the above, coaching has become a very popular career choice nowadays. Simultaneously, ICF’s renown has made it the default source to substantiate and assess the quality of both coaches and the various coach training programs, across platforms.

For an ICF certified coach program, I’d recommend being fully certain of your decision and then get yourself enrolled. However, if you’re not quite sure yet you can reach out to me at vikram@nlpcoach.in or vikramdhar26@gmail.com. Alternately, you can talk to someone who is a successful coach and see how the person has benefited from coach training.

Since obtaining quality coach training is integral to a coach’s career, I have made the path to certification simple with the 7 days integrated NLP Practitioner and ICF Coach Training program at NLP Coaching Academy (nlpcoach.in), and a 15 days online course (3 hours) to start off with towards your ICF ACC journey. The course allows you to choose from the combo certificate options that meet your needs the best. The curriculum is designed to prepare and support you in becoming an established coach in the industry.  You can choose to directly go for ICF PCC, and you start from the above-mentioned NLP course and then move on to Emotional Intelligence Coach Practitioner | Coaching using Neuroscience (online 10 more days – 3 hours), and Coaching Lab and get towards ICF ACTP 125 hours.

It has everything that I have learned from my mentors.  At NLP Coaching Academy, my endeavor is to provide you with resources that make your ICF certification count.

Please note: The ICF does not conduct coach training programs itself nor does it offer any training for becoming a coach. Being an accreditation agency, it only licenses training programs via the Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) path and the Associate Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) path. 

We at NLP Coaching Academy (nlpcoach.in) have ICF ACSTH route available for ICF ACC, and direct ICF PCC available under ICF ACTP as well.  Reach out to us ~ call or WhatsApp at +91-7506070907 to know more. 

Get an invitation to Free Business of Coaching Live Webinar