How to select the ‘right’ coach training program?

Apr, 3, 2018

You’re considering getting trained in coaching and wonder which program you should attend?

NOTE: the following is based on our current understanding of the market of coach certification programs. As it is a highly dynamic industry, we can not guarantee for the accuracy of the information presented here. We will keep updating this page on a regular basis as we gain new insights/information.

Please contact us if you notice any inaccuracies or updates so that we can keep this page up-to-date. Thank you!

When deciding on a coach certification program, first you’ll need to differentiate between certification by any coaching institute and international certification by an independent coach certification body. Generally speaking, coach certificates from the coach training provider tend to have less credibiltiy than coach credentials issued by a renown international coach certification body.

International Coach Certification Bodies

The most well-known coach certification bodies appear to be:

WABC is the only one that focuses purely on business/executive/corporate coaching while ICF, IAC and EMCC certify any kind of coaching.

Requirements to achieve international coach certification:

For WABC, you’ll need to go through a WABC accredited program. Upon successful completion, you’ll be eligible to receive the WABC certificate. They have numerous levels of certification, starting with the ‘Registered Corporate Coach’, etc.

For IAC, they use a different approach in that they don’t really care what kind of program you have attended or how you achieved your coaching mastery, they just want to see that you can coach at a very proficient level. For that you’ll need to complete an online exam followed by submitting two 30 minutes coach recordings (audio) during which you will need to display the 9 coaching masteries as defined by IAC at a highly proficient level. More info

For ICF (the currently most well-known and largest organization), you have 3 ways of getting certified: through the ‘Portfolio’ route if you attended programs that are NOT ICF approved/accredited; through the ACSTH (Accredited Coach Specific Training Hours) route for ICF ACSTH approved programs or through ACTP route for ACTP (Accredited Coach Training Program) accredited programs. More info

We are not very familiar with the EMCC certification process as it is Europe based only (and we’re based in Asia where EMCC is not active). Find out more…

Finding Coach Training Providers

How each coach training provider structures their program is really different case by case.

Here are some options how you could identify coach training providers:

  • Google (use keywords such as “Coach Training” or “Coach Certification” or “Coach Education” etc.)
  • Check any of the above international coach certification bodies, most of them have coach training provider directories
  • Check with other coaches you respect – where have they received their coach training?

Selecting the ‘Right’ Program

In order to come to a conclusion which program you should attend, I suggest to answer the following 10 questions / consider the following points:

  1. How important is International Coach Certification for you?
  2. What kind of coaching do you want to do? As a result, which certification would best support that?
  3. Based on the answers to the above questions, you may or may not focus on the accreditation of the coach training institute. Note that an ICF accreditation of a training program doesn’t guarantee high quality as the ICF accreditation process is quite administrative and not really much quality enhancing, unlike the WABC accreditation which puts a much stronger emphasis on quality control and supports in improving the program. So while accreditation is good, it’s not a guarantee for high quality (Progress-U’s programs are both ICF approved and WABC accredited, so we have experienced both processes).
  4. What is your learning preference? In class, online, gteleclasses, etc?
  5. How convenient is the format / locations for you?
  6. Who are the facilitators? What kind of coaching experience do they have? How long have they been training coaches?
  7. Who are the other likely participants in the program? As you will spend significant time with your peers, that might matter to you.
  8. What value do you get for the money you invest? Don’t compare just prices but check what is all included?
  9. How much flexibiltiy does the provider offer? Can you take different modules at different times, perhaps even in different locations?
  10. What kind of ongoing support would you get (if any) after graduating from the program?

 We hope these questions will help you make a decision.

Details of Progress-U’s Coach Certification Programs

Complimentary Previews (in person and virtual by webinars)


Charlie Lang
Charlie Lang
Founder and Chief Content Architect
Founder and Chief Content Architect – Charlie Lang is a C-Suite coach and a pioneer in the coaching industry in Asia Pacific.


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