Why Executive Coaching Credentials Matter

With the rise of coaching’s popularity in the last five years, the number of practicing coaches has grown exponentially. When you hire an executive coach without checking their credentials, it’s a little bit of a gamble. You don’t truly know if you’ll be dealing with a professional or someone who knows as much about coaching as you do.

To help you determine what to look for during your search for the right coach, Arden’s team put together a guide to executive coaching credentials, which ones to look for and what to stand clear of. Don’t sign off with a coach before checking them out!

Understanding the Coaching Arena

Part of what makes the coaching landscape unique is that as much as training, teachings, and methodology contribute to one’s coaching ability, so does experience and the other areas that they’ve been through as a person.

The drawback for potential clients is that, unlike a chiropractor or a therapist, coaches technically don’t have to be licensed to practice. You could decide to get a business card printed and call yourself an executive coach right now and not get in trouble for it. So how do you know if a coach you’re looking to hire is legitimate?

About the International Coach Federation

Though there are many different coaching schools that issue their own credentials, there’s only one independent credentialing body in the industry that sets the standard for what coaching is and isn’t: the International Coach Federation (ICF).

People who adhere to the ICF’s credentials can be identified by the letters that come after their name in their job title. Only individuals with the initials ACC, PCC, or MCC are considered certified coaches.

The ICF takes certification seriously. These threshold levels signal hundreds and even thousands of hours of experience, training, and testing accomplished. Additionally, credentials must be maintained year to year, and candidates need to routinely provide documented proof that they’re still actively meeting the ICF’s strict standards. Rigorous review periods are conducted to evaluate those going up for credentialing, which last for four weeks for an ACC all the way up to 18 weeks for an MCC.

Take a Closer Look at an Individual’s Coaching Credentials

Looking at the initials that come after a coach’s name is key to understanding the validity of their training experience and background. The tricky part is, a lot of coaches have initials listed after their names that aren’t ACC, PCC, or MCC.

These initials most likely indicate school degrees where the coach went to get training. Though they’ve taken classes, unlike those who have been tested and certified by the ICF, there’s no way to truly indicate these individuals’ track records. In reality, they may have never even practiced with real clients before, just gotten university credit.

For example, the initial set CPCC looks a lot like PCC, or Professional Certified Coach, but it actually stands for Certified Professional Coactive Coach from the Coaches Training Institute.

Keep an Eye Out for These ICF Credentials

Associate Certified Coach (ACC): What the ICF refers to as the practiced coach, ACCs have at least 60 hours of coach-specific training, 100 hours of coaching experience with at least eight clients, and completed evaluations by the ICF.

Professional Certified Coach (PCC): The proven coach, PCCshave demonstrated 125 hours of coach-specific training and have 750 hours of one-on-one coaching experience with at least 25 clients.

Master Certified Coach (MCC): The ICF calls these seasoned individuals expert coaches. MCC denotes 200 hours of coach-specific training, 2,500 hours of coaching experience with a minimum of 35 clients, and passing the MCC performance evaluation.

What to Look for in an Executive Coach

Partnering with a coaching company that maintains a holistic view of credentialing and experience is key. Look for an organization that values these credentials as well as an extensive coaching experience, different schooling backgrounds, and advanced academic degrees. It’s also important that you seek to partner with a company that’s willing to make recommendations for a coach-to-client partnership but has a process in place for allowing new clients to meet several coaches in order to find the right fit.

Executive coaching is a major investment for your organization, so you want to make sure that you’re doing business with a company that’s looking out for your best interest. At Arden Coaching, we handpick every coach, who come from many different academic and business backgrounds. While many are certified by the ICF, they all have a proven track record for client success.

Get to know our incredible coaches. And for more guidance on how to select the right executive coach for your business, download our eBook that covers our top hiring tips and considerations that will help you supercharge your partnership by clicking below.