You don’t have to get certified or credentialed but you might want those. Coaching as a professional is not government regulated yet Anyone can hang a shingle and call themselves a Life Coach. Some people do that. It is anticipated though that in the future that coaching will most probably be a regulated profession. The thing to consider however is in your being trained to become a certified life coach and obtain an ICF credential you receive quality training to serve people in the highest way possible. When people come to a life coach they bring everything that is happening in their lives- relationship problems, doubts, fears, chronic patterns that aren’t serving them as well as challenges in many areas of their life (health, career, finances etc.). Extensive training ensures you will be effective and able to help you clients move through their challenges. It also ensures you are not crossing into psychotherapy and counseling. People will open up about their past, about addictions, traumas, depression, anxiety, negative relationship dynamics, and self-defeating behaviors. It’s important to understand where your role as a life coach begins and stops and where you can cross the lines in therapy. Clients also prefer people who obtain some sort of Life Coach Certification and ICF credential. Already corporations, health care facilities, and government agencies are already for the most part when hiring are only hiring those with both a Life Coach Certification and an ICF credential. That trend for hiring practices as well as for clients seeking only a Certified Life Coach and ICF Credentialed Coach continue to grow. Those people with a Credential tend to make a higher salaries or fees more than others that do not have those credentials.
There are various Coach Certifications you can obtain. There is as mentioned Life Coach Certification, and then there are other certifications you can receive as well. You can get obtain a Health and Wellness Coach Certification, Relationship Coach Certification, Career Coach Certification, Spiritual Coach Certification , Life Transition Certification, Executive Coach Certification , Financial Coach Certification and the list goes on. Some Life Coaching schools may provide training in which all of these niches are covered while others cover only a few of these topics. You might want to pick a program that is most suited for you and addresses the specialty area(s) you’d like most like to focus on with your clients. Check out the content of the curriculum of that particular program to make sure the content is what you’d like really like to get trained in.
Not all ICF accredited programs will lead to an ICF credential will. The term Accredited is confusing. A program can be a 10 hour continuing education program and still be considered accredited. What you need to know if that you must attend at least 60 hours of classes to get an ICF Credential. They must also include at least 80% core competencies. John you could include link to ICF pages. What is a Core Competency? They are a set of competencies (key principals and skills)every coach needs to know which provide the framework for coaching( on a professional level). There is also a category none as Resources which is the category many schools offer for their C.E.s-Continuing Education Credits. Only 20% of the Resource Hours can count toward an ICF Credential. Find out then if the school you’re offers at least a 60 hour program and if 80% of the hours offered are Core Competency hours and is a path that will lead you to an ICF credential. The highest quality programs are 125 hours of training to ensure that you will master the coaching skills and effectively coach clients. By taking 125 hours of training you can also qualify for a higher level credential with the ICF. You become a Professional Certified Coach-a P.C.C. Most established coaches who have been successful in the coaching profession possess a P.C.C. Credential. There is yet one more credential the M.C.C. Master Certified Coach which is only possessed by less than 1500 coaches world wide( per ICF August 1, 2021)
Rather than overwhelm yourself by completing an ACTP program you can just get started by taking a 60 hour program. Many Life Coaching Schools insist you must attend a 125 hour program and want to sell you only on their 125 hour program. An easier step is to take a 60 hour program that will still give you the training hours you need to obtain an ICF credential. Some not all Coaching Schools offer a 60 hour program. By taking a 60 hour program you can make sure, clarify, or confirm? that coaching is the career direction you’re committed to or pursuing long term before invest more of your time and resources. Do the research you need to find a program that is 60 hours long.
You might want to attend a program that has live instruction and regular feedback on your coaching skills from a skilled instructor. Many schools only offer recorded sessions and only peer coaching. You’ll need to get regular feedback from an instructor and participate live interactively in a program to really develop your skills and become proficient in coaching. Recordings will not give you the one-on-one support to accomplish that. Check into whether the school you’re considering to see if the class is live, interactive and will give you expert feedback.