Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching helps prepare you for ICF coach certification

Posted on August 05,2014 by iamjohndroberts

The GCEC positions graduates for certification by the International Coach Federation (ICF), checking the boxes on a number of important requirements. For coaches who don’t have a clinical or counseling degree, the ICF certification can assure clients that the coach has been trained in theory, practice, and professional standards.

All of the following requirements for ICF Associate Coach Certification or ACC are met during through the GCEC program.


The ICF requires coaches to receive ten hours of mentor coaching. During the GCEC practicum, supervisor coaches and the professor of the practicum provide more than ten hours of mentoring to students.

This experience is so valuable that some of my colleagues seek out mentor coaches at important points in their career. Mentors or supervisors can help you see you blind spots, give special attention to a competency that needs development, or help you expand your range of coaching approaches.

ICF expects you to deliver a mentor log that captures the coach’s name, ICF c
redential, hours of mentoring, and period during which mentoring took place. You may want to start keep a log during the practicum.

Coach specific trainingCertification matters to some clients

ICF requires coaches to complete 60 hours of coaching training. The GCEC meets this requirement.

MSPP is in regular dialogue with accreditation officials at ICF to ensure that the Executive Coaching certificate teaches theory, practice, and professional hardstand aligned with ICF’s eleven core coaching competencies. Because the ICF certification application is designed for people trained at different institutions, you’ll be asked to attest to having studied each of the competencies. For graduates of the GCEC, check yes for all.

Additional requirements

Client coaching hours

ICF requires 100 coaching hours with at least eight clients. Seventy five of 100 hours must be with paid clients. Though this sounds challenging, you’ll begin to coach clients informally almost from the start of the GCEC. These informal hours may be pro-bono. In some cases, in-kind payment or a nominal fee may allow your coaching hours to qualify as paid hours. The professor of the practicum can offer more advice about this. Start logging coaching hours from the start of the program. It’s a valuable exercise and a foundation for habits of a professional coach. Find and download a sample client log at ICF.

I was able to deliver the number of coaching hours ICF requires within a few months after graduation. One of my colleagues reached out to business colleagues and offered them a competitively low fee for coaching and an invitation to help her work toward ICF certification. More than enough of them were eager to help as well as to take advantage of her coaching. She also collected the number of needed hours in a short time after graduation.

Coach Knowledge Assessment

This comprehensive assessment was introduced in April 2014. After submitting the certification application, ICF sends an invitation to complete the 155-question test within 60 days.

The assessment is designed to confirm the coach’s knowledge: knowledge of theory and standards, awareness of common issues, ability to apply the ICF competencies. All of the questions are based on its definition of coaching, the core competencies, and the code of ethics. Though all questions are multiple choice, some require you to identify the best response to “a scenario that requires deeper understanding.”

Emily Williams, ICF Senior Credentialing Coordinator, says, “The purpose of the test is to confirm what coaches know, not to test their ability to second-guess tricky questions. The best way to prepare is to review the coaching definition, code of ethics, and core competencies


In addition to self study, after becoming an ICF member through application for certification, you’ll have access to virtual education calls. There are many recorded session teleseminars, including a more than one on Code of Ethics and Competencies.