ICF Continuing Coach Education Credits (CCE’s): How To Maintain Your Coaching Credentials
11/01/2021

Corry
Robertson

Woman thinking about continuing coach education

The coaching industry has been inundated with individuals who claim to provide coaching services. Of course, anyone can dole out advice, but coaching is not about giving advice – it is a profession that requires extensive ethical training and skill development in the 8 core coaching competencies.

These days, it’s more important than ever to achieve and maintain your coaching credentials. This sets you apart from the crowd of other “coaches” and proves your legitimacy to prospective clients. Plus, the accreditation process facilitates your own professional development as you join an elite team of well-rounded coaching professionals.

What is ICF CCE

As per the International Coach Federation (ICF) policy, an ICF credentialed coach must renew their credentials every 3 years. The ICF Continuing Coach Education (or CCE) is not a specific program, but instead a pathway to renew your credentials (or to obtain your credentials if you are using the portfolio pathway to achieve your ACC, PCC or MCC credentials). 

ICF credentialled coaches must renew their credentials every three years by obtaining 40 units of supplemental and advanced coach education, as well as additional requirements, depending on your credential (see below). These 40 units must be acquired from an ICF CCE approved training institute.

Many people who took a coach training course years ago still claim to offer coaching services so the letters ACC, PCC and MCC demonstrate an ongoing commitment to investing in coach-specific training and development.

Continuing coach education

The Importance of Continuing Coach Education (CCE)

A coach’s professional development is never done. As you hone your skills, your approach to your clients’ development becomes more refined. To continue to serve as a coach and well-rounded guide, you must stay ahead of emerging trends in professional development. 

For example, if you aim to become an executive coach or a leadership coach, you’ll need to master your active listening and powerful questioning skills. These skills take time and effort to refine, so continuing your professional education through earning CCEU’s (Continuing Coach Education Units) makes sense.

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) regulates coaching credentials by setting clear standards for coaches’ primary competencies. If your credential expires, prospective clients have no indication that you’re up-to-date on the latest skills, research and tools behind coaching — or that you’ve continued your own development. 

By participating in Continuing Coach Education (CCE), you can progressively excel in your role and confidently provide clients with expert coaching services.

What are CCE units?

CCE units (CCEUs) are the credits earned through continuing education that can be applied toward your ICF credential renewal. Programs vary, but generally, you’ll earn CCEUs for specific training activities, such as courses, webinars or seminars, and for developing materials such as research papers and presentations. 

There are also virtual courses for coaching ethics, tools, frameworks, etc. as well as complimentary knowledge such as writing, business skills, and productivity. With such an amazing variety, you can find the perfect mix of events and classes for your coaching type.

Book with letters flying out

Types of Continuing Coach Education Units (CCEUs)

As per the ICF website, Continuing Coach Education (CCE) units are earned upon completing Continuing Coach Education. CCE units are awarded in two categories:

Core Competencies: Build upon the ICF Core Competencies that earned you your credentials. Examples include coaching techniques, systemic coaching workshops, ethics, communication skills, creating awareness in others, and helping people grow, to name a few.

Resource Development: Training in skills that contribute to your professional development (e.g., personal development, coaching tools or assessments, business building, or other material that falls outside the ICF Core Competencies).

CCEUs may count toward either the Core Competencies or Resource Development areas. As mentioned above, the requirement for renewal is generally 40 total CCEUs, 24 in Core Competencies and 16 in Resource Development. Mentor coaching will count toward Core Competencies if your mentor is ICF-qualified.

You may also conduct self-study to earn CCEUs toward the Resource Development aspect of your CCE program. The ICF grants one unit per hour of presentation time.

Each CCE program is different, so be sure to check which type of CCEUs your selected events or classes provide: Core Competencies or Resource Development.

Where to Get ICF CCE Units

The ICF offers its own CCE opportunities, including a free online ethics class (3 credit hours) and their Learning Portal which collects hundreds of archived CCE webinars, presentations, and other materials.

There are also many independent coaching organizations that host webinars, online courses, conferences, and other ways to earn credits.

Here’s where to look:

  •       Check out your local ICF Chapter to see which events they offer.
  •       Find a coaching academy that includes a broad range of ICF-qualified CCE courses and events

You can also read books, white papers, and other written materials that have been recognized by ICF. You’ll earn 1 self-study CCEU for each one.

Finger pointing to bowl making choices

How do I maintain my ICF credentials?

Credentials do expire and depending on how much time has elapsed, you may need to earn additional CCEUs. The ICF generally requires 40 CCEUs (24 in Core Competencies) to renew a credential. 

The requirements vary depending on whether you are renewing your Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC) or your Master Certified Coach (MCC).  You can view the complete requirements here, but in a nutshell, the required CCEUs for renewal are:

  • Participation in at least 40 hours of CCEUs
  • At least 24 of the 40 hours must be in Core Competencies (up to 10 in mentor coaching count here)
  • At least 3 of the 24 Core Competency hours must be in Coaching Ethics
  • The remaining 16 hours can be in Resource Development (including self-study hours)

However, try not to only focus on counting your credits. CCE is ultimately about empowering your coaching career. Take this as an opportunity to have fun, grow your knowledge, and develop your unique coaching style! If you’re eager to learn, you’ll find it easy to rack up your CCEUs before you know it.

Choosing Your Continuing Coach Education Programs

Aim for a diverse blend of training types and focus areas. For example, theoretical and practical topics typically count toward Core Competencies, while self-reflection workshops and business/marketing courses go toward Resource Development. 

Many people find it valuable to mix scheduled events (webinars, live presentations), practical workshops, mentor or group coaching, and self-study to allow flexibility in their schedules. It’s worth noting that as self-awareness is a huge part of the coaching paradigm, personal development activities are always good to add to your mix.

Creating your own materials is also invaluable for your overall professional development. These may include research articles or white papers you write as well as coaching workshops, worksheets, and presentations that you develop. Depending on your CCE program, you may work on these projects as part of a course or through self-study.

Most one-off events provide 1 CCEU per hour. There are also plenty of multi-week programs available. Be sure to document your participation and claim your credits in a timely manner!

Wrapping Up

Coach Credentialing and Continuing Coach Education are crucial to your success as a certified coach. CCE programs are not only required for renewing your certification but also provide valuable opportunities for networking and professional development. 

The key benefit of Continuing Coach Education is that it empowers you to expand and refine your coaching skills and complementary knowledge. From productivity theory to dialogue-building to group coaching techniques, there’s a vast field of exciting new opportunities as you build your coaching career.

Because of the amazing variety of topics, course types, and creative projects, you can curate the best mix for your learning style and coaching approach.

The Coaching Academy for Leaders offers a wide range of ICF-qualified opportunities to earn CCE units, achieve your credential renewal, and boost your professional development. 

Everyone’s needs are different, so feel free to book a call with us to discuss which programs will best empower your continued coaching education.

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Author:  Corry Robertson

Sought-after coaching culture expert, Corry Robertson has been helping leaders uplevel employee retention and performance for over 20 years.

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