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Which ICF credentialing path is best for me?

coach credentials icf coach training nb-hwc coach training trauma-informed trauma-informed coach training May 08, 2023

According to the ICF model for credentialing, there are three levels of coaching that demonstrate your education and coaching expertise. They are ACC, PCC, and MCC. 

  • Level 1 ACC - 60 + hour coach education + 100 hrs of coaching experience
  • Level 2 PCC - 125 + hour coach education + 500 hrs of coaching experience
  • Level 3 MCC - 200 + hour coach education + 2,500 hrs of coaching experience

ICF offers three credentialing paths. Depending upon the level of accreditation the school has achieved will have implications for your ICF application. The three paths are the ATCP Path, ACSTH Path, and the portfolio path. All three paths require you to pass the ICF Credentialing Exam. A primary factor to consider is who assesses the coaching session. 

ATCP Credentialed Schools

  • Coaching school approves performance evaluation

The ATCP path (Accredited Coach Training Programs) acknowledges that the school has built into its programs the education hours, mentor coaching, and performance evaluation required to earn credentialing. 

The ICF completes a rigorous evaluation of ATCP credentialed schools, including verifying that their mentor coaches have the expertise to evaluate coaches at the appropriate coaching level. Completing an ATCP credentialed program demonstrates the coach has already passed the coaching assessment. You do not have to await your coaching session to be assessed by ICF. You will need to acquire the necessary coaching hours for the level you are applying for. Once you apply and the ICF verifies the rest of the requirements, you only have to pass the ICF Certifying Exam. This path is by far the fastest once you have completed your education. 

Mentor Agility has ATCP Level 1 and Level 2 training programs.

ACSTH Credentialed Schools

  • ICF approves performance evaluation

Accredited Coach Specific Training Hours programs focus on providing coach education. Upon application, you will need to provide proof of completing mentor coaching and a recorded coaching session for performance evaluation by the ICF to verify separately that you are coaching at the required level. In addition, you will need to submit the program certificate and coaching experience hours. Once the application review process is completed, then take the ICF Credentialing Exam. Waiting times to have your recorded coaching session evaluated for performance can take several months.

Portfolio Path

  • ICF approves performance evaluation
  • ICF approves curriculum with robust documentation to see if it meets industry coaching standards

The portfolio path allows you to submit a non-ICF-accredited program or continuing education units to meet the required coach-specific education. The program-specific curriculum along with robust documentation are submitted to ensure the education meets the ICF standards. There is no guarantee that the documentation will be accepted. This path also requires mentor coaching and recorded sessions for the performance evaluation to be assessed by ICF assessors. Once the coaching experience hours and the mentor coaching have been reviewed and verified, then the ICF Credentialing Exam will be offered. Waiting times to have your recorded coaching session evaluated for performance can take several months. the ACC level, ICF,/ ACTP, ACSTH and Portfolio. 


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Turning adversity into healing and growth is hidden in theĀ story. Find the secrets here.