Someone wants to become a coach (why wouldn’t they, it’s awesome).
They want to give back and be in service to those striving to develop themselves and live their dreams. It may be within an organisation, but the majority, way over 50%, want to start an independent coaching business. Something of their own.
But what does it takes to become a qualified coach?

There are various routes on how a coach can become qualified. This is the one that we see most often and is familiar to us. We did it ourselves.


1. Why should a coach be qualified or accredited?


The biggest reason is that in anything that we buy or sell, we expect that the people delivering it to have the expertise to do so. Coaching is no different. In fact, maybe even more important when we’re looking for at a service that impact our business.


The data from the leading industry report, Ridler, states over 80% of those looking to employ a coach expect them to have a qualification.


If you want to have a coaching business. Best to have a qualification.


2. Who provides the qualification?


The coaching industry is still maturing and still without regulation. Coaching standards and ethics are in the main set out by coaching bodies.


The leading coaching bodies EMCC (European Mentor & Coaching Council), ICF (International Coaching Federation) & Association for Coaching.


It is the accreditations, credentials and memberships issued by these organisations that are seen as the benchmark for quality and standards to those employing coaches.


3. How do coaches start to become qualified?


So there are different areas of coaching – life, executive, business to name a few. As a whole, they will have a similar methodology. Presence, listening, empathising and utilising models to develop awareness.


It’s in the style and purpose of the people you desire to coach that may influence the accreditation path.


Many think that they need to understand if they are a good enough coach first before we can decide who we want to coach. Interestingly, understanding the type of coaching and client you want to coach should be clear before you start your accreditation journey.


4. How do coaches decide which qualification to take?


Once they know who they’re ideal client wuld be, it’s research.

Which practice of coaching is right for them and what standards do they want to practice within.

The EMCC and AOC have recently joined forces through their Global standards initiative. The ICF still have their own. All still outline different qualification requirements and gear towards a specific style of coaching.


For example, the ICF qualifications focus more on the volume of coaching hours practised to evidence competency. The EMCC requires fewer coaching hours but demands reflective practice and self-assessments.


Each qualifying body offers a Foundation ‘entry level’ accreditation. Like a martial art, there are then different levels all the way up to Master coach. Each requires separate training programme and requirements.


5. What’s next?


The normal path to a coaching accreditation is through a coaching school or training organisation.


These organisations apply to the coaching body to become an approved training provider.

Approved by one (or maybe more) of the coaching bodies, they will deliver a training programme to meet the criteria for an accreditation. This training is usually undertaken through classroom workshops, 121 tutoring and video conference calls.


6. How do they choose a coaching school or training organisation?


This will again come down to the chosen qualification path. They identify schools and training organisations that are approved to deliver the chosen accreditation. They are normally listed on the coaching bodies website. From there they can be shortlisted by preference e.g. geography or programme schedule.


Many hold open days to give aspiring coaches an opportunity to hear about the course in more detail. It is normal to have a 121 meeting or call with a programme tutor ahead of making a final decision.


7. How long does it take to achieve a coaching qualification?


Once you have successfully completed all elements of the training programme, you will be submitted for assessment. The assessment is usually an observed coaching session in the presence of the coaching body. Depending on the qualification chosen, there may also be written elements that will need to be submitted before the formal qualification is issued.


It is recommended that this process is completed within 12 months from starting the course.


8. Will the training and accreditation make them a good coach?


The training should provide all the knowledge and skills that are required to be a good coach.


On achieving a qualification they will be recognised for practising coaching in the manner expected by the accrediting coaching body. The standards also include continuous professional development and coaching supervision.


Does that make a good coach? Practice, practice, practice. Like achieving any qualification, the application and commitment to maintaining these standards and the feedback and recommendations from customers would answer this.


9. How much does it cost to get qualified?


Although the cost of an entry-level practitioner assessment fee is around £200 – the cost of the training is around £4 to £5k.


10. What is the time investment?


A coaching qualification involves a lot of time outside of the training workshops. In order to practice and accrue training hours, time has to be invested into obtaining clients, scheduling and completing coaching sessions.


Each session will require an element of documentation. Most qualifications also demand a written portfolio or self-assessment. Like anything extra curricular, it can cause challenges when to juggling day to day life.


In this case, the investment will be it well worth it!


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