ICF Credential: You’ve Done the Training. What’s Next?

by Coaching Out of the Box
ICF Credential: You’ve Done the Training. What’s Next?

Practical Tips for Getting Your ICF ACC Credential

We receive many questions about coach certification and the process of obtaining an ICF credential. And really, the number of questions we receive is no surprise. With multiple application paths as well as different and changing requirements, the process can be confusing. Applying for your ICF credential is a big step and you don’t want to miss anything that could delay or jeopardize receiving your credential. That is why I am writing this article. To provide useful tips to those who are currently or will soon be pursuing the ICF ACC credential. Read on to learn more about;

  • Clarifying the requirements
  • Details on meeting the 100 coaching hours requirement
  • Details on meeting the 10 mentor coaching hours requirement
  • Documentation required for your application
  • Application process including specifics on the ACSTH path and Portfolio path for the ICF ACC


A good place to start is with a review of the ICF ACC requirements. Make sure you are clear about what is required BEFORE you submit your ACC application. I’ll focus on the ACSTH Path first and then comment on the Portfolio path and ACTP path.

Note: If you are reading this and you are new to the idea of coach certification or if you are trying to decide which ICF credential is right for you, I suggest you read our Guide to Coach Certification first.

Okay, now back to the requirements. Following are the ICF requirements for the ACC (ACSTH path) credential.

  • Training: At least 60 hours of coach specific accredited training

  • Coaching Hours: Completion and documentation of 100 hours of coaching
    • 75 hours must be paid coaching hours (can be at any rate or even barter)
    • 25 hours can be pro bono
    • The 100 hours must be with at least 8 different clients
    • The 100 hours must occur AFTER starting your coach specific training
    • At least 25 hours (paid or unpaid) of the 100 hours must occur WITHIN 18 months of submitting your application to the ICF

  • Verification of Coaching Experience: ICF now requires applicants for an ICF credential to complete an attestation of their coaching experience. This replaces the submission of a coaching log and is intended to help protect the privacy of coaching clients. To ensure the integrity of this process, ICF will conduct periodic audits to verify applicants’ coaching experience. This means that coaches should continue to obtain and document clients’ consent to store their information, have a policy on how that information will be protected and maintained, and have a system in place for tracking relevant data. For more information on Verification Requirements and to download the ICF coaching log template visit the ACC Experience Requirements page.

  • Mentor Coaching: Completion of 10 hours of mentor coaching over a minimum of three months

  • Performance Evaluation: A new requirement as of July 31, 2018, applicants must submit (upload) audio recording and written transcript of one coaching session with their application.

Note: When you complete the Fast Track to ICF Credential with Coaching Out of the Box® (COTBx) you will have completed 68 hours of approved coach specific training (no additional training hours required) and 7 hours of group mentor coaching (you only need 3 more one on one mentor coaching hours).

In addition to meeting the above ICF requirements, you will also have learned coaching core competencies and gained the confidence to use them through practice and feedback sessions.

Hopefully the requirements for the ACC (ACSTH path) credential are now clear. Next, I’ll cover the steps you need to take prior to submitting your application.


  1. Complete the 60 hours of coach specific accredited training.

  2. Complete the remaining coaching hours to reach the required 100 hours. As you complete your 60 hours of training it is recommended that you simultaneously begin coaching. In doing so you will be well on your way to completing the required 100 coaching hours by the time your training is finished, not to mention the valuable experience you will have gained.

  3. Complete the remaining hours to reach the required 10 Mentor Coaching hours. As a reminder, mentor coaching hours will consist of a Mentor Coach observing you coach and providing you with feedback.

NOTE: To find a mentor coach you can go to the ICF website and find a list of Mentor Coaches. If you are enrolled in the Fast Track you can ask one of your trainers. Mentor Coaches must be an ACC, PCC or MCC in good standing.

  1. Submit Application: Once you have completed the 100 coaching hours, 10 mentor coaching hours and have the coaching session recording and transcript, you are ready to submit the application.

Note: You must meet ALL the requirements (60 hours of training, 100 hours of coaching and 10 hours of mentor coaching, plus 1 coaching session recorded with transcript) BEFORE submitting your application.

  1. Complete the CKA exam: Once you submit your application you will receive a link to the exam (approximately 4 weeks).
  • Upon receiving the link, you will have 60 days to complete the test.
  • The test consists of about 155 questions (subject to change) to be answered in 3 hours.

Tip: You will be well prepared for the CKA exam if you complete the COTBx ICF CKA Prep Class (the final class in the Fast Track to ICF Credential). During the prep class you will be quizzed on questions that are similar in format and content to what you will find in the CKA exam.


Application process if some training is completed outside of COTBx

If you are counting Continuing Coach Education (CCE) units and/or non-approved training toward your training requirements, you are required to follow the ACC Portfolio path. There are some key differences between the ACSTH path and the Portfolio path.

  • The Portfolio Path is a longer and more involved process
  • The ICF requires robust documentation of training and coaching hours for the Portfolio path
  • Review time is 14 weeks (versus 4 for the ACSTH path)
  • The Portfolio path comes with a higher application fee versus the ACSTH path
  • Visit the ICF webpage for more details on the different ACC paths

A few comments about the ACTP Path

If you want to apply using the ACTP path, you must complete an entire ICF Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP). This path also requires the 100 hours of coaching but does not require the 10 hours of mentor coaching.

I hope this information has helped to clarify the requirements and steps needed to apply for the ACC. If you still find that something is unclear or if you have any questions, please get in touch with our Program Advisor or visit our website: www.coachingoutofthebox.com