LEXINGTON, Ky., Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ — People from all backgrounds and professions become coaches. But where do they begin? If you have decided on coaching as your new career, but don't know where to start, the ICF recommends three important steps to guide you.

First, get trained in coaching skills. "No matter what educational and professional experience you may have or what type of coach you want to become, you should receive coach-specific training," says ICF President Diane Brennan, MBA, MCC(1). "Training distinguishes you from those who merely call themselves coaches."

Start by choosing an ICF approved coach training program. These programs are located all over the world, and many offer distance learning through the Internet or telephone. You can start your search for a program through the ICF Training Program Search Service on ICF's Web site, Coachfederation.org.

Secondly, ICF highly recommends that new coaches contract with a credentialed coach as a mentor and undergo coaching themselves. "Put yourself in the client role first," suggests Brennan. "If you are coached yourself, you can go into the arrangement with as many questions as you want answered and you get to see exactly what coaching is and how it's done. This experience will help you relate to your future clients in a more meaningful and effective way."

Finding a mentor coach is made simple with ICF's complimentary Coach Referral Service (CRS) which assists in matching potential clients with an ICF Credentialed coach. To access the CRS, visit Coachfederation.org and click on the Find a Credentialed Coach link from the home page.

Lastly, one of the most important steps to becoming a professional coach is earning an ICF Credential. "Beyond your initial training, credentialing offers credibility and validity to you as a professional and to the profession of coaching," Brennan says. "ICF Credentials are in their second decade of existence. Many coaching clients expect the coach they hire to be credentialed. As you begin your new career, think seriously about becoming credentialed and how it will impact your future success."

The ICF offers three credentials: Associate Certified Coach (ACC) for the practiced coach, Professional Certified Coach (PCC) for the proven coach, and Master Certified Coach (MCC) for the expert coach.

Additionally, the ICF encourages coaches to join the ICF to network with other professional coaches, take advantage of professional development opportunities, commit to a professional code of ethics and standards, and stay afloat of industry news and movements.

ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching is a distinct service and differs greatly from therapy, consulting, mentoring or training. Individuals who engage in a coaching relationship can expect to experience fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision-making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out their chosen work and life roles.

The International Coach Federation is the leading global organization for coaches, with over 14,000 members in almost 90 countries, dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches. The ICF is the only organization that awards a global credential which is currently held by over 4,200 coaches worldwide. For more information on how to become or find an ICF Credentialed coach, please visit our Web site at http://www.coachfederation.org.

(1) MCC: Master Certified Coach, highest credential awarded by the International Coach Federation.

     ICF HEADQUARTERS CONTACT:      Ann Belcher, +1.859.226.4428, ann.belcher@coachfederation.org  

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SOURCE International Coach Federation