What to look for in a coach

So many people out there call themselves coaches. Worse yet, a lot of these people will tell you that there is no governing body that regulates the coaching profession and anyone can actually call themselves a coach. Very scary words to hear and really devastating to the coaching industry. The truth of the matter is, that there is a coaching federation called the International Coach Federation or ICF. They can be found at https://coachfederation.org/. While anyone might call themselves a coach, they don’t necessarily have to get away with it. When you hire a coach, ask what coaching training they went through, then check the ICF website to find out if that program is actually accredited by the ICF. This should be your first step.

Second step: You might ask about their experience. These are the different levels of experience a coach might have

A coach under training: Someone being trained as a coach but has not yet completed their coaching program: This type of coach is constantly looking for clients to practice coaching. This coach will have homework assignments to complete (bless their heart) and they are desperately looking for clients to help them do that. They will coach you for free just to get their homework done, so that is a plus for them. Even though they are still in training, you might get a lot of benefit from a session with them because the tools are so powerful that they can give you a lot of value without having to pay any money. Good deal (and these guys can really use the opportunity to coach.)

A beginning coach: Someone who has completed their coaching training and does not yet have experience. Again these guys might coach you for a low fee or even for free just to start accumulating coaching hours. They have completed their training so they will be able to provide you with the full range of tools and services that they were trained to use. You still might be able to get a lot of benefit from a coaching session with a beginning coach, because some of the coaching programs out there are so powerful and the tools are so well designed that you will get a lot of value from them, and it’s cheap! A beginning coach will have letters next to their name indicating the name of the coaching training they went through, such as CTI (Coactive Training Institute) or ORSC (Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching) and so on.

A certified coach: the fancy letters you might see next to their name could be something like ORSCC (ORSC Certified), CPCC (Certified Professional Coactive Coach). Or ACC (Associate Certified Coach). What this means is that they completed an ICF accredited coaching program and they went on to complete a certification program which required them to coach for 100 hours and submit recordings of some of their coaching session to be supervised by their mentor in the certification program. In addition to that, they would have had to do more in-depth training for one year and take a cumulative exam of some sort. Now, these guys don’t come cheap. They worked very hard and paid a lot of money to go through all that stuff. So they will charge you a good amount of money for their services as they should. They are more experienced and more confident coaches by now and it will show in their coaching.

Professional Certified Coach: A higher level of certification that a coach might achieve is PCC (Professional Certified Coach.) These guys (and gals) would have gone through yet another certification program where they would have completed 500 coaching hours and passed a comprehensive exam. These guys are much more expensive than the previous categories of coaches and are much more experienced and knowledgeable.

Master Certified Coach: The final certification that a coach might have is MCC (Master Certified Coach). These coaches would have to complete 2500 coaching hours among other requirements. The ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC) credential represents the highest level of achievement in coaching and identifies an expert coach. Needless to say, this category of coaches charge a lot of money and the value they bring to their clients is amazing and really hard to describe in words.

As of July 2020, there are 30,079 coaches in 130 countries and territories who hold one of three ICF Credentials: 16,898 Associate Certified Coaches (ACC); 11,946 Professional Certified Coaches (PCC); and 1,235 Master Certified Coaches (MCC).

So now you know what all the fancy letters mean and you might want to hire a coach. Once you have decided that you are happy with your coach’s credentials, you may decide to proceed with the coaching. However, remember that there is always a chemistry factor between humans. You might have to try a couple of coaches until you find the right one for you.

Best of luck on your coaching journey.

Bushra Dudeen

ORSCC, ACC, CTI, MS ECE ( that last one is a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.)