The International Coaching Federation is one of the big boys on the block when it comes to life coach accreditation.
However, that doesn’t mean those are the only standards which insure professional level training.
Options for Life Coaching Certification
The Association for Coaching is another oversight and credentialing agency.
If you find a life coach training program that seems like an ideal fit for your needs and they are not accredited by the ICF don’t despair! Just because ICF is one of the bigger and most well-known authorities in coaching credentials does not mean they are the only ones!
Some programs train coaches to walk with clients through deeper emotional, spiritual, physical and mental wellness. These go beyond the ICF guidelines because they blur the line between counselor and coach. IFC is dedicated to keeping that line very clear in part because it benefits the coaching community as a whole to be completely and ethically differentiated from counseling.
The goal of the ICF is to promote coaching as an effective, professional, viable model for creating change for people who do not need the services of a therapist. Keeping coaching and counseling clearly separate is vital to their goal.
This is partially a move to develop the field of coaching as viable in its own right, separate from counseling, in the minds of potential clients. That’s a good position for the coaching field as a whole, but what if you want to practice a more integrated model of holistic wellness?
There are programs that are highly credible and well known which do just that, like the Integrative Wellness Academy, or IWA.
IWA awards a Master Practitioner in Integrated Life Coaching that is not accountable to any national or global accreditation association. They teach coaching while integrating diverse healing modalities. IWA includes some aspects of therapeutic treatment which blurs the line between coach and therapist in a way that does not fit with ICF guidelines.
That does not make them a less credible or valuable program. In fact it may be a perfect fit for anyone who wants to go deeper with clients, to heal core issues beneath the surface that drive unwanted behaviors.
It just means you won’t have the most commonly recognized credentials.
Honestly, unless your clientele is high end professionals in business, sports or entertainment, they aren’t terribly likely to know the difference between various types of credentials and won’t ask about yours. Even some high paying clients don’t ask!