AC Certification Definitions & FAQs

Accomplishment Coaching Graduate: A participant who successfully completes all the graduation requirements of the Coaches’ Training Program (CTP).

Accomplishment Coaching Certified Coach: An Accomplishment Coaching (AC) Graduate who has successfully completed all the additional requirements for Certification.

“Co-Coaching Calls” or Recorded Sessions: The process by which a participant has their Mentor Coach listen to, evaluate, and provide written feedback on a coaching session. The co-coaching sessions may be live (e.g., participant, client and Mentor Coach on a 3-way call) or, more typically, submitted via recording. A participant must submit a minimum of four (4) co-coaching  / recorded sessions during their CTP in order to graduate. The co-coaching sessions must take place with a client outside of their CTP (i.e. not another participant or demonstration client) who has hired them (pro-bono or paid) for a coaching session.

PCC/MCC Observed Coaching Sessions: The process by which a Mentor Coach, LIT, or Leader who holds a PCC or MCC credential observes, evaluates, and provides written feedback on a coaching session. Any type of coaching session that is 20min or longer that is observed and evaluated or reviewed by a PCC or MCC credentialed coach can qualify. Possibilities for Observed Coaching Sessions include:

a) live coaching of the demonstration client in the room; b) practice coaching sessions during any weekend; c) the CTP final or practice oral exam; and d) any co-coaching / recorded session as described above.

PCC/MCC Reviewed Session: A session can also qualify as an “Observed Session” as described above through a “review” process. A session may be considered “reviewed” if a PCC or MCC credentialed coach reviews an evaluation performed by another coach who is not credentialed, listens to at least 20min of the session or recording, and ensures that they are in agreement or makes adjustments to ensure that they are in agreement with the evaluation.

ICF Definitions:

ACTP: Accredited Coach Training Program. Coach Training Programs who have gone through a rigorous evaluation process to demonstrate that they meet the ICF’s highest standards for training coaches are awarded ICF Accreditation. ACTPs are authorized to bestow “Certification” upon graduates that meet all the necessary requirements. Once Certified by an ACTP, candidates are able to apply for an ICF credential (ACC, PCC, or MCC) through the ACTP Application Process (rather than the ACSTH or Portfolio route).

ICF Credential: An ICF credential (ACC, PCC, or MCC) is awarded to professional coaches who demonstrate that they meet or exceed specific standards.

ACC: Associate Certified Coach. First level of credentialing for a professional coach. The ACC requires a minimum of 100 client coaching hours.

PCC: Professional Certified Coach. Second level of credentialing for a professional coach. The PCC requires a minimum of 500 client coaching hours.

MCC: Master Certified Coach. Highest level of credentialing for a professional coach. The MCC requires a minimum of 2500 client coaching hours.

(Please see ICF Requirements for a Credential chart for other credentialing requirements.)

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the difference between Graduating, being Accomplishment Coaching Certified, and being ICF Credentialed?

AC Graduation and Certification are administered and granted by Accomplishment Coaching.

A “Graduate” has fulfilled the minimum requirements to complete the Accomplishment Coaching CTP. An “AC Certified Coach” has successfully completed the certification requirements, including demonstrating PCC level coaching to the Accomplishment Coaching Certification Committee or program Leadership Team by passing an oral exam with an average score of 7.0 or above.

ICF Credentials (ACC, PCC, MCC) are administered and granted by the ICF. All coaches who seek an ICF credential must apply to the ICF directly regardless of where they received their coach training.

  1. How does getting Certified by AC relate to obtaining an ICF credential?

AC is an ACTP (Accredited Coach Training Program). This means that AC Certified Coaches may apply for an ICF credential as an “ACTP Applicant.” Certified ACTP applicants do not have to fulfill many of the requirements of other applicants since those requirements were already handled in their training program and the certification process. These include: a) Proving that their Coach-Specific Training meets the ICF standards; b) Working 10 hours with a qualified Mentor Coach; c) Passing the Written Exam; and d) Passing the Oral Exam. In addition, the fees for an ACTP applicant are significantly less than other applicants.

3. What are the benefits of being an AC Certified Coach?

AC certification: a) demonstrates your proficiency as an ontological coach; b) allows you to market yourself as a certified coach which adds to your credibility and professionalism; c) significantly impacts the ease with which you may apply for an ICF Credential (e.g., as noted above, by being AC Certified, you only have to demonstrate your client coaching hours and pass an online, multiple choice Knowledge Assessment Exam to obtain your ACC or PCC.  There are no other written or oral exams.)

  1. What are the benefits of being an ICF-credentialed coach?

There are many. The ICF credential is the most recognized credential in the coaching profession. It is the gold standard for demonstrating competency and credibility. You can find out more about specific benefits at

  1. What is the process to become an Accomplishment Coaching Certified Coach?

Request and/or download the appropriate Certification Application (for Current Participant or Graduate) from the AC Affiliate Site, complete it, and send it to [email protected] The rest of the process is explained in the application.

6. Is there an exam? If so, how is it conducted?

Yes, there are written and oral exams that are administered during the CTP. You are required to pass the written exams with a minimum score of 70% and the oral exam with a minimum score of 5 on the ICF rating scale in order to graduate. To be certified, you must pass at least one of the oral exam sessions with a 7 or better score and a minimum score of 5 on both. If all other certification requirements have been met at the time of your final oral exam, this exam may count as your certification exam.

  1. How do I get rated on these exams?

You are rated on: a) your ability to demonstrate coaching within the ICF Core Competencies; and b) your ability to provide value as an ontological coach. All sessions are rated using the ICF Core Competencies Rating Form. For the Certification Exam, the evaluators will be MCCs or PCCs on your Leadership Team or the AC Certification Team.

  1. What is the procedure to get ICF credentialed after being AC certified?

Go to and complete the ACC or PCC ACTP Graduate Application.

You will need to submit your Accomplishment Coaching Certification certificate to satisfy the ACTP requirements. You will also need to complete an online, multiple choice, Knowledge Assessment Exam that will test your knowledge of the ICF Core Competencies, Code of Ethics, and ICF Definition of coaching. The ICF accepts applications throughout the year and offers informational calls about the process.

  1. For those of us who went through AC prior to the program receiving ACTP status by the ICF, what is the procedure to apply for an ICF credential?

Accomplishment Coaching was granted ACTP status as of July 24, 2006. Since the program is considered to be the same now as it was prior to accreditation, if you graduated from the CTP prior to that date, you may apply to Accomplishment Coaching for certification through the normal Graduate process, and then to the ICF for your credential.

  1. Do I have to be an ACC before I can apply for my PCC?

No. You may apply directly for a PCC if you meet all of the requirements. You must, however, be a PCC prior to applying for your MCC credential.

  1. How many clients/hours do I need to be certified by Accomplishment Coaching?

Coach a minimum of 8 clients (during or after the program) with whom you have a signed contract for the purposes of coaching. Attain a minimum of coaching 100 hours during or after beginning the Accomplishment Coaching Coaches’ Training Program with whom you are coaching using Accomplishment Coaching Tools, Distinctions and the ICF Core Competencies.

No more than 20% of those hours may be pro bono arrangements. (Please see the AC Certification Application for more details on what qualifies for a client coaching hour.)

  1. How many clients/hours do I need to apply for my ICF credential?

To apply for an ACC, you need a minimum of 100 client coaching hours. Therefore, your AC certification satisfies this requirement. In addition, you will need to submit a client coaching log with your ACC application that shows that you have coached with a minimum of 8 different clients. To apply for a PCC, you need a minimum of 500 client coaching hours with a minimum of 25 clients.

  1. How many hours of coach-specific training are in our CTP?

The Accomplishment Coaching CTP includes 216 hours of Coach-Specific Training (168 in the live training weekends, 44 mentor coaching hours, and 4 co-coaching call reviews). These hours more than satisfy the training requirements for AC certification and for ICF credentialing (ACC, PCC, MCC).

  1. What is the difference between co-coaching and an observed coaching session?

Co-coaching (or a recorded session), as it relates to the CTP graduation requirement, is when your Mentor Coach listens to you coach one of your own clients and provides you with feedback (see definition above). For graduation, you are required to have a minimum of four co-coaching sessions. Observed Coaching Sessions are any coaching sessions observed and rated by a PCC or MCC (within or outside the CTP). (See definition above.) For certification, you must have a minimum of six observed coaching sessions rated by a PCC or MCC. The four co-coaching sessions that are completed for graduation can count towards the six observed coaching sessions required for certification if your Mentor Coach is a PCC or MCC, or if the evaluation is “Reviewed” by a PCC or MCC credentialed coach. A session can be considered “Reviewed” if a PCC/MCC listens to a minimum of 20min of the session, and reviews the original evaluation to ensure they are in agreement with the feedback.

  1. What do the standards of scoring (5 for Graduation and 7 for Certification) mean?

As an ACTP, the Accomplishment Coaching exams replace the ICF exams (i.e., once you pass ours, you do not have to take the ICF’s exams when you apply). Therefore, the AC rating scale is in alignment with the ICF’s rating scale. Every coach starts out as a beginner and progresses through an intermediate level of skill to become masterful. The Accomplishment Coaching graduation and certification processes are designed to reflect this continuum of growth. The certification program is designed so that coaches who have the appropriate number of coaching hours (500) may apply for their PCC immediately upon AC certification.

For a coach to graduate the CTP, they must demonstrate solid coaching at a minimum level of 5, this corresponds to the ACC level coaching as described by the ICF in their document “Minimum Skill Requirements for ACC.” To be certified by Accomplishment Coaching (as with any other Accredited Coach Training Program), a coach needs to demonstrate coaching at a minimum level of 7, this corresponds to the PCC level of coaching as described in the ICF’s “Minimum Skill Requirements for PCC.”

  1. Why do you charge a fee for certification?

The certification fee covers the time for the certification evaluation committee to review your application, and provide feedback on your oral exam recording(s). Note that the coach who applies to the ICF as an ACTP-certified applicant has a significantly reduced application fee and no exam fee.

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