Certification: Determining the Credibility of a Life Coach Training Course

18th April 2019

Whilst it’s perfectly possible to set up as a Life Coach without any kind of certification, you may not be surprised to learn that we at Animas feel there are a number of reasons why professional coach training can give you a significant advantage when you get out there to coach, whether that’s on a full-time or part-time basis. In this article, we explore how you can determine the credibility and strength of any certification you receive when completing a coaching course. This is with a view to helping you decide which course is right for you.

You can read more about our view on the on the advantages of undertaking formal life coach training here. If you do agree, however, and decide to go down the route of training on a course, how do you know that the certificate you receive when you complete a course is genuinely credible? How can you have confidence that this certificate means you’ve completed a course that is rigorous, thorough and gives you the skills you need to get out there and be a genuinely impactful coach? What is it that you should be looking out for? Coaching isn’t a regulated profession and so it can be tricky to determine what courses and what kind of certification actually holds weight.

Below is our view on the key questions you should ask when it comes to determining whether the certification you get from a particular course is credible. It should be noted that this article focuses specifically on accreditation and what to look out for to ensure the credibility of any certificate you receive when completing a course. Now, clearly there are other considerations that go into choosing a life coaching training course that is right for you, and you can read more about that here.

Who is the course accredited by?

The first step to ensuring that you are receiving training and certification that is credible is to ensure that the course you choose is accredited by a credible professional coaching authority. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is a highly reputable body that helps to ensure that effective self-regulation exists in the coaching industry. It does this through membership, accredited training programmes, codes of conduct and regular continuous professional development.

Having a course accredited by the ICF is effectively a “badge of honour” that demonstrates quality. Courses have to go through a rigorous assessment process to obtain accreditation from the ICF, and this can give you confidence that any certificate you receive from an ICF-accredited course is credible.

In addition to the ICF, it’s worth checking whether any other reputable coaching bodies accredit courses you are considering. As well as the ICF, in the UK the most reputable body is probably the Association for Coaching. By choosing a course which is accredited by one, or both, of these bodies you can be assured of the quality of the training you receive.

How many hours is a course accredited for?

After determining whether a course you are considering is accredited by a reputable body such as the ICF, the next question is how many training hours these bodies have accredited the course for. A course could be very extensive with various elements to it, but the number of hours, say the ICF, has accredited tells you how much of the training you are receiving they deem good enough to pass its rigorous assessment process.

It should be said that in itself, the number of accredited hours doesn’t necessarily tell you much. Coaching school A having less accredited hours than Coaching school B doesn’t necessarily mean a poorer quality course. But when you combine this number with other information available about how a life coach training course is delivered, its content, structure, support system, and of course its cost, you have some really useful knowledge at your fingertips to make a much more informed and balanced decision about what is right for you.

Our view is that if you are going to undertake life coach training course, you should be looking for something that provides you with at least 100 hours of accredited training. This helps to ensure that there is both depth and variety in how the course helps you pick up and embed key coaching skills (e.g. classroom training, webinars, supervision, mentoring live practice etc).

The Animas Diploma in Transformational Coaching is accredited by the ICF for 123 hours of “Approved Coaching Specific Training” (ACSTH). This means that the ICF essentially looked at everything Animas delivers in its Diploma (classroom training, mentoring, supervision webinars etc) and through their assessment process determined that they were comfortable saying that 123 hours of the training we provide meets their standards to be accredited.

To find out more about how the ICF accredits courses, feel free to pop over to their accreditation page here.

Is the specific course that you’re looking at accredited?

An obvious point but an important one.

If you’re considering a life coaching course and looking to see if it is accredited, ensure that you double check that the specific course itself is accredited. A training school can easily take accreditation from one course that does hold accreditation, and on their website make it look like all their courses are accredited by putting the accreditation badge on their home page. So do enquire about this specific point!

Does the training provider also get CCE credits for other courses?

This is a slightly separate but related point, and can give you a good sense of how deep a coaching school’s knowledge and skills really are. Most good training schools will have shorter specialist courses for experienced coaches. As with more foundational life coach training courses, these specialist courses can also be accredited by the ICF.

The ICF awards these shorter, specialist courses what it calls “Continuing Coach Education” credits if they meet its requirements on quality and competencies. It’s worth checking out the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme provided by various training schools and checking whether their specialist courses have also been accredited. This will help you to get a sense of the depth and quality of the continuous learning available to you once you finish your main training course.

If you’re an experienced coach and you’d like to explore Animas’ Continuous Professional Development events and courses, you can find out more here!

Does the course provide mentoring and supervision?

This question doesn’t necessarily relate to accreditation itself, but is an important one to consider alongside whether a training course is accredited.

In our view, mentoring and supervision are absolutely pivotal in helping coaches flourish when it comes to building their skills, competence and confidence. It’s difficult to overstate the value that exists in providing a space, whether in an individual or group setting, that allows coaches to reflect on their practice in a supportive, non-judgmental environment; an environment that actively encourages one to recognise both strengths and areas for improvement.

Indeed, it’s considered so important by the ICF that if you do decide to pursue a personal credential with them, they make it a requirement to receive coach mentoring. So we would highly recommend choosing a course that also provides ample mentoring and supervision opportunities.

The Animas Diploma in Transformational Coaching

At Animas, our Diploma in Transformational Coaching is accredited by both the International Coach Federation (for 123 hours) and the Association for Coaching. This is something we are very proud of and that we feel is one of several stamps of approval for the quality of training we provide. On the Diploma, we also place a big emphasis on ensuring you feel supported through a thorough mix of individual mentoring and group supervision.

If you’re thinking about training as a coach and want to see whether we’re the right school for you, you can come along to one of our free Introduction to Transformational Coaching days, where you’ll find out more about the coaching world, Animas and our approach to life coach training. We run our main Diploma in London, Edinburgh and Berlin and run our free introductory days in all three locations as well. Please feel free to book and come along!

Thanks for reading – we hope you found this useful!

Categories: Becoming a coach  

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