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ICF Coaching Certification Levels

ICF Coaching Certification Levels

Aug 10, 2023

Hello everyone,

I'm coming to you today as an ICF Accredited Coaching Education Provider and a proud Master Certified Coach.

I get this question all the time: “Shiny, what is the difference between ICF accreditation levels?” "As a professional coach, why should I care about my ICF accreditation and why should I go from one level to the other, explain to me."

I've been teaching coaching and certifying coaches and practitioners of Neuro-Linguistic Programming since 2011. Based on my 11 years of experience, I want to share with you why you want to get not only your certification as a coach but your ICF accreditation as a coach, and I'll also cover the 3 levels of coaching certifications by the International Coaching Federation.

If you want to learn more about my upcoming online coaching education programs, you can click here.

The Importance of ICF Accreditation for Coaches


If you're considering a career as a coach, it's essential to understand the significance of not only obtaining a certification but also acquiring accreditation from the International Coaching Federation (ICF). In this article, we will explore the three levels of coaching certifications offered by the ICF, highlighting the requirements and benefits of each. So, if you're ready to embark on this journey, let's dive in!


Level 1: Associate Certified Coach (ACC)

The first level of ICF accreditation as a coach is known as the Associate Certified Coach (ACC). To achieve this certification, you must complete a minimum of 60 hours of coach-specific training, approved by the ICF. Additionally, you need to accumulate 100 hours of coaching experience and participate in 10 hours of mentor coaching with a certified ICF credential holder. Furthermore, passing the three-hour knowledge assessment test and submitting a recorded coaching session are required. ACC serves as the initial step towards becoming a certified coach.

Level 2: Professional Certified Coach (PCC)

The Professional Certified Coach (PCC) is the second level of ICF accreditation. To obtain PCC certification, a minimum of 125 hours of coach-specific training is necessary, exceeding the requirements for ACC. In addition to the training, you must have at least 500 hours of coaching experience. Similar to ACC, mentor coaching sessions, passing the test, and an evaluation of a recorded coaching session are prerequisites for PCC certification. Graduating from an ICF-accredited coaching education program is also essential.

Level 3: Master Certified Coach (MCC)

The highest level of ICF accreditation is the Master Certified Coach (MCC). Achieving MCC status demands a minimum of 200 hours of coach-specific training from an ICF-accredited coaching education program. Moreover, a coach must accumulate over 2500 hours of coaching experience, surpassing both ACC and PCC requirements. MCC-certified coaches need to fulfill the mentor coaching sessions, pass the test, and submit a recorded coaching session to demonstrate their coaching skills. MCC accreditation signifies mastery in the field of coaching.


Why ICF Accreditation Matters

Now that we've explored the different levels of ICF accreditation, you may wonder why it is crucial to pursue these certifications. The answer is simple: credibility and competence. Just as you prefer a doctor who has graduated from a reputable institution, clients seek coaches who hold ICF accreditation. It provides assurance that the coach has undergone the necessary training, possesses the required skills and knowledge, and adheres to ethical guidelines set by the ICF.

Coaching, often regarded as the highest form of communication, requires extensive training in various aspects. From mindset and language training to developing listening skills and asking powerful questions, coaching encompasses a range of skills. When you work with a coach, you are essentially working with an invisible neurosurgeon. This analogy emphasizes the depth of understanding and expertise required to navigate the intricacies of the human mind.

A certified and accredited ICF coach understands the neuroscience, psychology, and practical tools necessary to help individuals overcome challenges and achieve their goals. By recognizing patterns, facilitating growth, and providing accountability, a well-trained coach can guide clients toward a more fulfilling life. Unlike therapy, coaching does not delve into past traumas but focuses on empowering individuals as resourceful and complete beings.



In conclusion, obtaining certification and accreditation as a coach is essential for establishing credibility and showcasing expertise. The three levels of ICF accreditation, namely ACC, PCC, and MCC, represent different levels of training, experience, and mastery. By becoming an ICF-accredited coach, you demonstrate your commitment to excellence and your ability to support individuals in achieving their goals. So, if you're considering a career in coaching, investing in ICF accreditation is a valuable step towards a successful and fulfilling journey.



1. What is the International Coaching Federation (ICF)?

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is a globally recognized organization that sets standards for the coaching profession. It provides accreditation, credentials, and a code of ethics for coaches.

2. How can I find an ICF-accredited coaching education program?

To find an ICF-accredited coaching education program, you can visit the ICF website and search for approved training providers in your region.

3. How long does it take to become an ACC-certified coach?

The time it takes to become an ACC-certified coach varies depending on the individual's commitment and availability. On average, it can take several months to complete the required training, gain coaching experience, and pass the necessary assessments.

4. Can I practice coaching without ICF accreditation?

While it is possible to practice coaching without ICF accreditation, obtaining certification and accreditation from the ICF enhances your credibility and demonstrates your commitment to professional standards.

5. Can I upgrade my certification from ACC to PCC or MCC?

Yes, as you gain more coaching experience and fulfill the requirements for higher-level certifications, you can upgrade your certification from ACC to PCC and eventually to MCC. However, each level has its own set of criteria that must be met.


ICF accreditation levels, Coaching, and NLP skills

Suppose you want to know more about ICF accreditation levels, coaching skills, and NLP skills. In that case, I am inviting you to check my Neuro-shine Technology coaching program that ICF International Coaching Federation fully accredits.

I'm here to teach you the ability to combine Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Neuro-science, Heart Science, Positive Psychology, Emotional Intelligence, Quantum Physics, and even Cosmology! You will get a more extensive and deeper understanding of who you are, what you do, and how you can serve others. Please click the link below to learn more about NLP Coaching, or you can contact me anytime if you want to


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