How Important Are Coaching Certifications

There are different paths that one can take when launching a coaching career. However, one of the most important factors in determining your success in a coaching career is having the appropriate certifications and credentials.

In this article, we will discuss why coaching certificates and credentials matter to your clients, and how they can help you build a successful coaching career.

Why Get Coaching Certification?

According to the ICF (International Coaching Federation) 2017 Global Consumer Awareness Study:

Among those who are aware of coaching as a profession, an overwhelming majority of consumers in established markets*—79% of consumers to be exact—think it is either “important” or “very important” for a coach to hold certifications/credentials.

*Here, this includes economically developed countries like the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Israel, and many others.

Among those who have participated in a coaching relationship as the person being coached, that number is even higher. 81% of people who have been coached rate the importance of their coach having credentials as “important” or “very important.”

(Only 3% say that it’s “not very important” and 1% say it’s “not important at all.”)

Source: 2017 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study Executive Summary

Interestingly, the generation most likely to perceive coaching credentials as important was Millennials. This is perhaps not surprising, as this generation has been raised with an emphasis on credentialing and certification in many different areas.

And as Millennials age and continue to become a larger and larger part of the coaching market, we can expect this emphasis on coaching certification and credentials to grow.

So, while a coaching certification or credential may not be required in order to become a coach, it is something that is important to the vast majority of people who are seeking out a coach—in the neighborhood of 79-81%.

And, if your coaching niche includes a lot of Millennials—the generation that is most likely to be aware of coaching—having coaching credentials is something that is particularly important to them.

Is Coaching Certification Really Worth It?

What does all this mean for you as a coach? If you’re just starting out as a coach, should you get certified? And if you’re already coaching, is it worth your time and money to get certified?

There are a few key considerations when thinking about whether or not to get certified as a coach:

  • Having coaching credentials can give you a competitive edge. In today’s coaching industry landscape, there are many coaches for consumers to choose from, and the vast majority of clients feel more comfortable working with a coach who has been certified by the ICF or a professional coaching school or organization.
  • Going through the process of getting certified can help you to hone your skills and become a better coach. In order to get certified, you’ll need to complete a certain number of coaching hours, as well as pass an exam. This can be a great way to improve your coaching skills and learn more about the profession.
  • There are certainly no drawbacks to becoming certified, other than the time and money it will take to do so. However, the process is well worth it in the end for anyone who wants to become a successful coach.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to get a coaching certification is up to the individual wanting to start a coaching career.

However, when making your decision, you should factor in that roughly ~80% of people think getting coaching certifications/credentials are important and only 4% of people think they are not important.

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to get certified, why not try taking an online coaching course to see if coaching is right for you? Once you’ve decided that coaching is the career for you, then you can start the process of becoming ICF certified.