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Coach Experience Requirements Revisited

Coaching credentials such as the ICF’s ACC and PCC, and the Center for Credentialing & Education’s BCC have requirements for both coach training hours and coaching experience, and they change periodically. In an attempt to stay current, this post updates previous ones to summarize the requirements for what counts as coaching experience as of September 2021.

All hours that you submit should be coaching hours – not therapy, consulting, mentoring, but coaching hours, working with individuals, groups, or organizations. You’re not healing issues from the past, offering advice, but rather a strength-based approach that focuses primarily on where your client is now and where they would like to go in the future. Additionally, for all credentials, an hour is 60 minutes and sessions less than a full hour should be proportional. An hour of group coaching should be counted by the length of the group time, not based on the number of participants.

CCE Board Certified Coach (BCC)

The BCC requires at least 30 hours of coaching experience, conducted after receiving the applicable undergraduate or graduate degree which qualifies you for the BCC. There is no requirement in terms of whether the coaching was paid or pro-bono. Should you want to pursue one of the 4 Designations, you must have completed 30 hours of additional experience providing that type of coaching.

Experience hours must be verified – for ILCT students, I will work with you to do that once you’ve completed your coach training, or you can ask a supervisor.

ICF Associate Certified Coach (ACC)

ACC applicants are required to complete 100 hours of coaching experience following the start of their coach-specific training. Seventy (70) of these hours should be paid or bartered, with at least eight clients following the start of your coach-specific training. At least 25 of these hours must occur within the 24 months prior to submitting the application for the credential. A coaching agreement should be in place with all clients.

ICF no longer requires applicants to submit the names, contact information (phone or email) of your clients when you apply, but you should still maintain that list using a form like the one available in your ILCT library or the ICF website, in case you are audited.

ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC)

PCC applicants are required to submit 500 hours (440 paid) of coaching experience with at least 25 clients following the start of your coach-specific training. At least 50 of these hours must occur within the 24 months prior to submitting the application for the credential. Again, you should have a coaching agreement in place with each client and maintain a list, in case you are audited.

What About Peer Groups, In-Class and Bartered Coaching?

Coaching you do within the class sessions do not count towards any credential – they are part of the requirements for completing the course. The same is true with the mentor coaching you do in some classes.

While peer coaching is also a course requirement in many of our classes, the BCC allows you to count the time when you are coaching (not being coached or sharing observations) in peer groups to count as experience hours and the ICF will allow those to count towards pro-bono hours.

On the other hand, if you and a classmate, or other coach, decide to coach each other outside of the course requirements, that is considered to be bartered or paid coaching hours since you are each providing a service to the other, and for the ICF, there should be a coaching agreement in place for these to count as paid.

And finally, a number of students have asked about volunteering as a coach with a non-profit organization. Those hours will count as experience hours for the BCC, and as pro-bono hours for the ICF.

Since things change often, always check the most recent requirements on the applicable website.

Hope this helps. If not, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Ellen Neiley Ritter, Ph.D., BCC
Dean of Students, ILCT
888.267.1206 x 101
Direct Dial 330.974.1244