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The 6 Steps to get a Coaching Certification ? Everything you Need to Know!

Updated: Apr 18

It can be quite overwhelming to know where to start and understand the process.

First of all, well done for starting this journey towards the Coaching Certification!


We will tell you EVERYTHING you need to know to get Certified as a Coach!

✅ How to Become a Coach – Path to ICF credentials

✅ What is Coaching and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming)

✅ How do I get Started? How long does it Take?

✅ And After the Certification?


What is the best Coaching Certification?


There are many life coaching organizations out there with their own certifications, but the International Coach Federation (ICF) is recognised as the best by most individuals in the life coaching industry.


Do I Need a Certification to Work as a Life Coach?


Life coaching is a fast-growing field but isn't regulated. There is no licensing requirement. Anyone who wants to be a life coach can pursue the profession. Certification lets others know you have specific training and are serious about your practice.





Is a Certification worth it? What are the advantages of being Certified?


From the Harvard Business Review survey on "What do Clients look at Before Hiring a Coach", 61% of Clients estimate it is very important for Coaches to have a Clear Methodology and 29% that they have Certification. It will definitely add-on to your credibility as a Coach when reaching out to new clients.




How do I get ICF Certified as a Coach? The 6 Steps to get Your Coaching Certification:


The first level of ICF Certification is ACC (Associate Certified Coach).

There are 6 requirements to get ACC Certified:

  1. You need to complete 60 hours by an ICF-accredited Training such as GoMasterCoach, providing you a completion certificate.

  2. You need to have a minimum of 100 hours of Coaching Experience. See at the bottom for more details on requirements and the help you can get for your 100 hours (for free) through our Peer Coaching Network.

  3. You need to be Mentored for 10 hours. See at the bottom for more details on requirements.

  4. You need to provide what ICF calls a Performance Evaluation, which is an audio recording and written transcript of a complete coaching session (lasting between 20 to 60 minutes) to be uploaded with your application.

  5. Once these 4 steps are done, you can Submit your Application through the ICF website. See application sample here.

  6. Then a few weeks later, when/if your application is validated, you will receive a link for completion of the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA): a 155 multiple-choice test to be done in 3 hours (open book). GoMasterCoach has a 100% success rate to the CKA exam and can provide you with mock exams. We are here to help! Feel free to email at info@gomastercoach.com if you have any questions!




How much does it cost to get a Coaching Certification?


Most Coaching Certifications cost between USD 3,000 and USD 15,000.


With GoMasterCoach, we want to make sure you have the best value for your money you can get out there!


You can either do the Training:



How much does a Certified Coach make?


From the ICF 2016 survey, of the coaches who were surveyed, the hourly rate they were charging ranged from USD 128 per hour to USD 321, with an average of USD 229. On average, these coaches were working 13 hours per week.

  • 0 – 1 year experience: USD 128/hour

  • 1 – 2 years experience: USD 152/hour

  • 3 – 4 years experience: USD 194/hour

  • 5 – 10 years experience: USD 256/hour

  • 10+ years experience: USD 321/hour


How long does it take to get Certified?


On average, it takes 6 to 12 months to become ACC (Associate Certified Coach). It all depends on how fast you want to do your 100 hours of Coaching Experience (which you can start from day 1 of your Training). Start yourTraining today with GoMasterCoach.



What is the difference between ACC, PCC and MCC?


There are three levels in ICF:

  • ACC (Associate Certified Coach),

  • PCC (Professional Certified Coach),

  • MCC (Master Certified Coach).

ACC is the entry level.

Each level has different requirements in terms of number of Training Hours and Coaching Experience (as per graph). All require 10 hours of Mentoring. From PCC, you need to submit 2 Performance Evaluations (versus 1 for ACC).

You can decide to apply directly to PCC.


What is the difference between Coaching and NLP?


We feel NLP is an essential part of a coaching training. Some institutes will not cover NLP. It is not a requirement at all.

  • NLP is a methodology that deals with identifying, describing and applying successful strategies from one person to another or from one area of ​​life to others. It studies how people react to personal experiences and how they give meaning (internal representations) and importance to experience through language and behavior. As such, NLP applications are interesting in any area of personal development (including coaching). Learn more about NLP here.

  • Coaching is a structured method of communication that allows a client to identify the most important goals, personal values, to define appropriate strategies and supports clients to take action steps to achieve the desired result.


What makes GoMasterCoach Institute different from others?


We truly care about you and want to give you all the keys to succeed:

  • A modern training based on the latest industry research, including NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Techniques, Cognitive Biases and Limiting Beliefs Techniques.

  • Free access to the Coaching Toolbox with 20+ of the top Coaching tools.

  • Get your Certification 100% online or in-class in Singapore.

  • 100% Success at the CKA Exam with mock exams and ready-to-use cheat sheets.

  • Unlimited access to Group Mentoring sessions.

  • A Peer Coaching Network to help you accumulate your Coaching Hours.

  • A support before the Training and well after the Training: Free Support to help you Grow your Business (Branding, Website, Digital Marketing..).

  • A strong alumni network, which offers Business Collaborations opportunities.



How do I get started?


First step is for you to sign up to a ICF-Accredited Training Institute such as GoMasterCoach. Learn more HERE.


Who can I contact if I have any questions?


We are always happy to help you! Feel free to reach out to us:







What about after the Certification?


There is nothing more rewarding than to see our Alumnis flourish! Beyond the Training, we still want to help as much as we can with:

  • Business Collaborations opportunities

  • Branding & Digital Marketing support (Free Mentoring sessions)

  • Website Design support (Free Mentoring sessions)

  • Free Peer Coaching Network to help you accumulate your Coaching Hours.

  • Speaking opportunities to events


What is the difference between Coaching, Mentoring, Consulting and Counselling?


If someone comes to you with a problem, our first reaction is to provide a solution. If someone asks me what they should do with their career, my bias is to tell them "you don't know it but you have to be an entrepreneur!" I am projecting my own subjectivity on to them. I am mentoring / telling them. This is faster but may be less effective than helping the person find their own solution. Even your questions shouldn't be biased with your own subjectivity. This is the number one mistake, by far, from junior coaches. Coaching is about Asking. Mentoring is about Telling.


And between Coaching and Counselling? Coaches focus on setting up and achieving goals, creating a new life path to achieve these goals, helping clients move forward in life. Whereas counsellors focus on specific problems in hand and look into emotional resolutions to past problems to move forward, finding solutions to those specific problems, while making 'healing' as one of the main objectives.


And between Coaching and Consulting? A Consultant holds the answers, while a Coach helps their client find their own answers.


What are the different types of Coaching?


There are many many types of Coaching. The key is to find your own Niche and not be the Coach for everyone / no one. Some of the main types of Coaching are:

  • Executive Coaching: helping executives establish priorities, improve performance (of themselves and their organization), develop leadership skills, manage their staff, and increase productivity to achieve financial goals.

  • Leadership Coaching: focusing on on how to be mindful and inspirational with impactful communications

  • Strategy Coaching: focusing on helping define a clear Strategy

  • Business Coaching: helping entrepreneurs and business owners develop their business

  • Career Coaching: focusing on career development path

  • Organizational Coaching: maximising the benefits for the organization (vs individual for Career Coaching)

  • Team Coaching: focusing on developing the Team's performance

  • Performance Coaching: focusing on improving performance (for athletes, leaders, employees..)

  • Relationship Coaching: focusing on improving the communication and interaction of 2 or more people. It is not limited to romance.

  • Personal Development / Life Coaching: focusing on personal development in the life overall, from relationships to career to finance etc.

  • Confidence Coaching: helping on building confidence, overcoming limiting beliefs, low self-esteem, fears..

  • Strengths Coaching: focusing on identifying and leveraging strengths

  • Personality Coaching: focusing on identifying personality traits, including thoughts, feelings and behavioral patterns

  • Social Coaching: focusing on expanding your client's social circle, developing his networking skills, overcoming social anxiety..

  • Life Transition Coaching: helping through life transitions (divorce, relocation, break-up, career transition..)

  • Happiness Coaching: focusing on gaining a better, deeper perspective about life

  • Wellness Coaching: focusing on improving health holistically



What is the difference between ACSTH and ACTP?


To be ACC accredited, you can decide between ACTP (Accredited Coach Training Program) or ACSTH (Approved Coach Specific Training Hours).


The main differences:

  • Training Hours: You need to do 125 hours of Training through ACTP compared to 60 hours through ACSTH. Hence, ACTP programs tend to take longer to complete (typically 6 months - 2 years) compared ACSTH (3-5 months).

  • Mentoring: ACSTH gives you the freedom to select a mentor of your own choice (compared to ACTP).

  • Performance Evaluation: ACTP provider covers Performance Evaluation, whereas with ACSTH, the Performance Evaluation is done by ICF.

  • ICF Fees when you submit your application are USD300 for members / USD100 for non-members for ACTP compared to USD500 for members / USD300 for non-members for ACSTH.

  • The estimated timeline for application review by the ICF is 14 weeks for ACSTH compared to 4 weeks for ACTP, even if in practice, we have seen ACSTH timelines faster than 14 weeks.


Coaching Experience: Tell me more about the 100-hour Coaching Experience Requirements?


You need to have a minimum of 100 hours of Coaching Experience:

  • Counting from the start of your training (the first step mentioned above).

  • With at least 8 clients.

  • At least 25 of these hours must occur within the 24 months prior to submitting your application.

  • A minimum of 70 hours must be paid. For the paid coaching, payment may be in any amount, or barter of goods or services, including coaching in exchange for coaching (peer coaching).


Coaching Experience: How do I do my 100 hours of Coaching, especially as I am just getting started?


We know how tough it can be, especially at the beginning of a Coaching journey, to find clients to practice with. You can join our Peer Coaching Network, where like-minded coaches (beginners or not) will reciprocally practice with you. Totally free.


Coaching Experience: How can I track my Coaching Hours?


When you submit your application, you will have to tick a box to acknowledge that you have done all the required Coaching Hours (100 hours for ACC). ICF can audit you randomly. You will have to provide the list of Client Names: for each Contact Information, if Individual/Group, Number in Group, Start Date, End Date, Paid hours, Pro-bono hours.

You can also track your hours automatically through the GoMasterCoach Toolbox.


Mentoring: Tell me more about the 10-hour Mentoring Requirements?

You need to be Mentored for 10 hours:

  • Over a minimum of 3 months.

  • Your mentor must be an ACC renewed, PCC or MCC.

  • A maximum of 7 hours of the 10 mentoring hours can be done as group mentoring (with less than 10 participants).

  • A minimum of 3 hours of the 10 mentoring hours must be one-on-one coaching with the mentor.


Mentoring: How do I find my Mentor?


Your mentor has to be ACC renewed, PCC or MCC. You can email us on info@gomastercoach.com so that we guide you to some mentors suitable to your needs.



Coaching Tools: How do I access Coaching Tools?


Since coaching can be a specialized industry, it's important to find Coaching Software that will work for you rather than against you. To ease your clients into the coaching process and enhance their experience, we have put together, in one place, 20+ of the top coaching tools to help you make a great first and lasting impression: Personality Tests (Enneagram, DISC, 16-Personality Test), Strengths, Life Map, Values, Limiting Beliefs, Cognitive Biases.. The Coaching Software (Toolbox) is included when you sign up to the Certification.



We truly hope you found this article useful!


Feel free to reach out on info@gomastercoach.com or Whatsapp us +65 9821 4902, if you have any questions. We are here for you!



Geraldine Gauthier & Aurelie Dhellemmes

GoMasterCoach Co-Founders





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