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How to Become an Associate Certified Coach

Associate Certified Coaching Application Requirements via ICF

How to become an associate certified coach is likely a question you’ve been considering as part of your coaching career path, but you may be unsure about where to start or how to get there. You may or may not know that coaching is not regulated by any country or state. However, if you are serious about how to become an associate certified coach (ACC), your first step needs to be obtaining coach-specific training. Getting training from a coaching institute to become an ACC will give you credibility in the industry and help you build your professional network.

Associate Certified Coach Application Steps info GraphicThe ACC is the first level of an ICF Credential. More than 20,000 coaches hold an ICF Credential from the International Coaching Federation. These practitioners represent the best in the coaching industry.  Accredited Certified Coach, Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and Master Certified Coach (MCC) are the only globally recognized professional coaching certifications. With the ICF Credential – ACC, coaches demonstrate their knowledge, skill, and commitment to high ethical and professional standards.

Associate Certified Coach holders have fulfilled rigorous education and experience requirements and demonstrated their commitment to coaching excellence.

To earn your Associate Certified Coach credential, a coach must:

1. Complete coach specific 60 + hours of training that meets ICF’s standards.

The International Coach Federation accredits programs that deliver your Associate Certified Coach credential coach training that meets the ICF’s standards.. ICF does not offer coach training . An ICF-accredited coach training program will count toward the training requirement for your ACC Credential. To find an ICF-accredited coach training program, use ICF’s Training Program.

2. Achieve 100+ of coaching experience hours.

Coaching log demonstrating 100 hours (75 paid) of coaching experience with at least 8 clients following the start of your coach-specific training. At least 25 of these hours must occur within 18 months of submitting your credential application.

3. Partner with a Mentor Coach.

According to ICF, Mentor Coaching “Provides professional services to develop the required coaching skills for an ACC ICF Credential. This consists of coaching and feedback in a collaborative, appreciative and dialogued process based on observation of live or recorded coaching sessions, to increase the coach’s capability and consistent application of ICF Core Competencies in their coaching practice.”

Working with a qualified ICF Mentor Coach provides an Associate Certified Coach the opportunity to share your coaching skills with someone who can provide feedback regarding your use of the ICF Core Competencies. Mentor Coaching should take place over a period of at least three months in a cycle.  The length of this cycle will allow for listening and feedback from the Mentor Coach, and reflection and practice on the part of the individual being mentored. To find a mentor coach, use the Mentor Coach registry.

4. Demonstrate appropriate understanding and mastery of the ICF definition of coaching, Code of Ethics and Core Competencies.

Your Coach Knowledge Assessment:

All ACC credential applicants must complete a Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) consisting of multiple-choice questions. ACC credential holders should be able to demonstrate a clear understanding of the CORE body of knowledge. A broad team of ICF coaches serving as subject-matter experts contributed to the creation of the ICF Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA). The CKA is a tool that can be used to measure this understanding. ICF believes that requiring passage of this exam will help ensure that ACC Credential holders understand the foundational knowledge.   ICF believes that the foundational knowledge is so important for the development of high-quality professional coaches.

The CKA is only required to be completed one time. Once an Associate Certified Coach applicant’s credential application is reviewed, ICF staff will contact the applicant via email with a status update containing the next step in the review process. The steps for a credential application review vary depending on the path in which the applicant applies for the credential.

ICF maintains high standards for professional coaches worldwide.  They require  your ACC Credential to be renewed every three years. Renewal of the credential demonstrates your commitment to the professional standards in the coaching field, and to your own continued growth and education.

Associate Certified ACC Application Requirements via ICF

Associate Certified Coach Renewal Requirements:

  • Submission of the online credential renewal application with appropriate documentation. Upon purchase, a link to the credential renewal application will be emailed to you.
  • Participation in at least 40 hours of Continuing Coach Education
  • At least three (3) Continuing Coach Education (CCE) units in the area of coaching ethics. This applies to all coaches including an Associate Certified Coach whose ICF Credential are slated to expire on or after December 31, 2016.
  • For ACC renewals only, an additional 10 hours of Mentor Coaching above those hours required for your initial credential, completed in the three years since the initial award of your credential or since your last credential renewal. This requirement is intended to promote your continued growth as a coach and help move you to the next credential level.

Continuing Coach Education (CCE):

CCE is divided into two categories: Core Competencies and Resource Development.

  • Core Competencies: Advanced coach training, writing, or research directly related to ICF Core Competencies.
  • Resource Development: Training, writing, research, or self-study outside of the ICF Core Competencies that contributes to the professional development of a coach.

With your ACC Credential, you will demonstrate not only a breadth of knowledge and skill, but also a commitment to a set of high professional standards and a strong code of ethics.   With so many people now offering coaching services, becoming an Associate Certified Coach is an opportunity to position you with a very specific advantage: instant credibility.


Always remember to be great and be your best,

Lisa Patrick

Lisa is the founder of XTRAcredits Group Inc. She is savvy, persistent and determined to continue her success. She attacks every business she is involved in with passion & tenacity to help support businesses & their people to achieve continuing success! She is considered the go-to expert for everything and anything continuing education related.


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