Becoming a Coach

Just as there are many types of coaches and coaching, there are also many, many coach training programs. Sifting through them can be mind-boggling! Here is some information you might find helpful:

There are really two types of coach training: Training that focuses on particular specialties and training that focuses on core competencies that can be applied across various specialties.

The International Coach Federation (ICF) has developed a list of eleven Core Competencies. These Core Competencies were developed “to support greater understanding about the skills and approaches used within today's coaching profession.” You can read more about these Core Competencies.

​There are also several types of certification:

Many schools and programs offer certification in their specific curriculum or specialty. These programs and certifications may vary widely in terms of the numbers of hours of schooling and practice required, so it is important to investigate thoroughly what is offered, what is required, and how it fits your needs.

​The ICF has developed three levels of standardized certifications and many coaching programs have become authorized training providers.

  • ​Many (but not all) programs offer Approved Coach Training Hours or Continuing Coach Education hours that can be applied to ICF certification or renewal but do not constitute the full training required for ICF certification.

  • Some programs are Accredited Coach Training Programs that provide a full slate of ICF certification preparation. Graduates of these programs may be not only certified by the training program in its specialty but are also qualified for certification by the ICF.

How to find coach training

  • The coaches of ICF San Francisco Bay Area Coaches are a wealth of information, so reach out to people at our meetings and contact members listed on our website for more information. We love to talk about coaching!

  • Use search engines to look up coach training that meets your criteria for niche, location, training requirements, and location.

  • Talk to coaches about the training they received, what it was like, whether they were satisfied with it, and whether they would select that program again. What kind of certification, if any, did they receive?

  • Visit the ICF website to learn more about certification and credentialing and to search for training programs that meet ICF requirements.

  • Talk to coaching programs and inquire about their requirements and the type of programs and certification they offer


Want to know which coach training program or school is best for you? The following interviews will answer many of your questions. We're not endorsing any specific program. Please check back often – we’ll be providing additional information as new interviews become available.

Coaches Training Institute (CTI)

Interview with Karen Kimsey-House, Co-Founder of Coach Training Instituteand Ricci Victorio, President of ICF-SFBAC

Strozzi Institute

Interview with Richard Strozzi-Hecker, founder of Oakland CA - based Strozzi Institute founder (in 1985) and Sahar Azarabadi, SFBAC Membership Chair