If you plan to pursue a career coaching clients, you want to find a reliable, measurable, and provable way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. While they might feel comfortable with your assurance, some professional references, and recommendations, they will undoubtedly have even more confidence in your abilities if you can provide an official ICF (International Coach Federation) credential. Your professional coaching clients might not insist on your certification, but you’ll likely find they appreciate it.
If you need more information to convince you that earning your ICF life coach certificate is essential, let’s take some time to learn more.
What Is an ICF Credential?
An ICF is considered the “gold standard” of the life coach industry. Once you earn your ICF certificate, you instantly gain global recognition and credibility that it would take years to achieve without it. With coach training opportunities worldwide, including top university programs, you can turn your coaching dream into a reality with the certificate to back it up.
What Is the International Coach Federation?
Before pursuing this credential, it’s important to understand what the ICF is and why it’s so important to life coach professionals. Since 1995, the International Coach Federation has served as the standard governing body for life coaches worldwide. In today’s world, clients want proof that coaches have the knowledge, skills, and official training to ensure that they can help them achieve their goals and enjoy success.
The ICF offers high standards based on a set of core values and competencies:
The ICF Code of Ethics
The ICF bases its code of ethics on these core values:
To that end, the organization focuses on the actions that flow from those core values, providing a set of guiding principles that ICF-accredited coaches should seek to meet if not exceed in all interactions with clients.
ICF Core Coaching Competencies
Each ICF-accredited coach must master several core competencies from a list of skills and abilities, including:
- Coaching presence allows coaching professionals to create and nurture a spontaneous relationship with each client through open, flexible, and confident communications.
- Active listening ensures that the coach listens to and hears the client’s questions and concerns, allowing them to respond with a meaningful response and solution.
- Powerful reasoning and questioning when clients share their concerns allow coaches to pause and think critically to search for a meaningful solution.
- Direct communication skills mean that a coach answers and offers insights politely and directly without talking around the subject and causing additional confusion.
- Creating awareness of alternative answers and solutions to those that are most obvious in the moment. A strong life coach will consider other options that might directly impact the client, as opposed to the standard industry solution or their personal response.
How Important is Getting Your ICF Credential?
If you want to pursue life coaching, an ICF credential is crucial to opening a road map to your success. An ICF credential can help you understand how the human mind works and how you can help people from all backgrounds.
As a life coach, consider how you might advise someone as far as the accountant, doctor, or lawyer they might choose. You wouldn’t recommend someone without a college degree, certificate, or another credential. You would want to ensure that any professional you suggest can prove that they have the skills and proper authority to perform such an important trade.
Earning an ICF credential takes the life coaching profession to the next level by placing measurable industry standards and best practices on what you do and how you do it.
5 Reasons Why You Should Get Your ICF Credential
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the life coaching field is still relatively small, with just over 17,500 life coaches in the U.S. as of 2015. However, the field is set to grow rapidly in the coming decade and offers professionals a great deal of personal and professional satisfaction.
If you have already earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from a respected university and know your field, you might wonder why you need to go on to earn an ICF credential. Here are five reasons that might help encourage you to take this next step in advancing your coaching career.
1. Ensure Core Competencies, Best Practices, and Ethical Standards
Much of your work in life coaching will rely on some innate traits and skills you possess, such as empathy and a kind spirit, but you also need to learn some key information and tools to share with your clients and to help guide them in the background. Since the coaching field is not centrally or formally regulated, the ICF credential offers coaches education, training, and guidance to ensure that they have access to and always implement industry best practices.
2. Enhance Leadership Skills
Earning an ICF credential to complement your university degree and any professional experience you have already accrued adds an official, objective, industry-approved layer of validation to your abilities. Because many life coaches work part-time or freelance, finding clients on their own, it is crucial to learn how to serve your clients as a strong leader.
3. Creates Networking Opportunities
Again, as a primarily solitary career choice, coaching professionals benefit from the regimental structure they will find in an ICF certification program. Once you receive your credentials, you will discover that you are among a worldwide team of ICF professionals. You can reach out to your instructors, classmates, and virtual peers for feedback and brainstorming.
4. More Job Opportunities
Any time you enhance your career with additional knowledge, training, and certifications, you open yourself to new professional possibilities. As you gain additional information, you might see new career pathways to explore, or you might make yourself more appealing to prospective employers, whether you are looking for a job or not.
Furthermore, you can attract more clients as you gain more credentials in your field.
5. Higher Earning Potential
The more objective proof of your expertise you can provide, the more you can charge your clients. The importance of providing solid industry credentials from a respected governing body cannot be stressed enough. It allows for greater trust between you and your clients, and they’re often willing to pay for that added degree of trust.
How Do You Get an ICF Credential?
There are three types of ICF credentials you might choose to pursue:
- Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
- Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
- Master Certified Coach (MCC)
Regardless of your chosen ICF certificate, it is an essential step for you to take toward working as a life coach and ensure you can renew contracts or be considered for future client engagements.
Our Organizational Leadership Team at Lewis University can help you figure out how to earn your ICF credential to enjoy a career in life coaching with confidence.
Visit our website to request information about the ICF credential and anything else you’d like to know about studying at Lewis University.