Aspiring professional coaches: These certifications will level you up

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Life Coach Tony Robbins speaks at DuJour Magazine's Jason Binn and Invicta Watches in the welcoming of Tony Robbins to New York at Catch NYC on November 17, 2014 in New York City.

By U2B Staff 

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Are you an aspiring professional coach? It’s a highly rewarding career if you love helping people realise their potential. 

Coaching carries different meaning to different people, but the International Coach Federation (ICF) –  the world’s leading organisation of professionally trained coaches –  defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential.”

The career is highly versatile – depending on your interests, coaching is a great way to help improve lives, relationships and business performance, notes ICF.

Many coaches have had different professional backgrounds before embarking on a career in the field. 


A growing field

In 2011, the International Coach Federation estimated that there were 53,300 coaches, up from 47,500 part-time and full-time coaches worldwide in 2011. Some 92% of these are active. 

“The US estimated market value for personal coaching was [US]$955 million in 2015 and [US]$1.02 billion in 2016, compared to [US]$707 million in 2011. I expect this market’s value to reach [US]$1.34 billion by 2022 — or a 6.7% average yearly growth rate from 2016 to 2022,” said John LaRose on

A 2016 ICF report found that there is considerable variation in annual revenues earned from coaching, both globally and within each world region.

They found the average annual revenue or income in USD are as follows: 

  • North America $61,900
  • Latin America and the Caribbean $27,100
  • Western Europe $55,300
  • Eastern Europe $18,400
  • Middle East and Africa $35,900
  • Asia $37,800
  • Oceania $73,100

The report also demonstrates the high-value professional coach practitioners place on training and credentialing. 

“Almost all coach practitioners (99%) reported receiving some form of coach-specific training, with a large majority (89%) receiving training that was accredited or approved by a professional coaching organisation,” it said.

“The receipt of coach-specific training was also very high among managers/leaders using coaching skills, with 93% reporting that they have received training. Almost three in four (73%) reported receiving accredited or approved coach-specific training.”

Professional coach credentials 

Coaching certifications are useful if you want to chart a professional career in the field and attract clients. It’ll give you the latest knowledge and tools, in addition to boosting your credibility with those who will engage in your services.

Aspiring professional coaches can develop specialisations across numerous areas, including careers, health and wellness, and leadership, depending on their interests.

There are numerous places where you can get certified as a professional coach, including university programmes or associations.

For instance, the INSEAD Coaching Certificate is designed to build or improve your coaching effectiveness to coach individuals or groups through a blend of professional, personal, and coaching skills development. 

The programme blends practical experience with academic input to produce a profound, directly applicable learning experience focusing on the art and practice of coaching in today’s globalised world, notes its website. 


Meanwhile, ICF offers three credentials: Associate, Professional, and Master Certified Coach. The programme you choose depends on how many hours of coaching experience you have, with prices varying between US$100 and US$775, depending on the programme chosen and whether or not you’re an ICF member. 

The Associate and Professional courses take ABOUT four weeks to complete, and 18 weeks for the MCC.

Whichever path you choose to get certified, the road towards becoming a professional coach will help you gain new skills and widen your depth of capabilities to help others achieve their potential and business goals.