Coaching FAQ from College of Executive Coaching

Coaching Frequently Asked Questions

Key Acronyms

  • CEC: College of Executive Coaching
  • CPC: Certified Professional Coach
  • ICF: International Coach Federation
  • CE: Continuing Education

What is coaching?

Coaching is an ongoing relationship between the professional coach and the client, which focuses on the client taking action toward the realization of their vision, goals or desires. Coaching uses a process of inquiry and personal discovery to build the client's level of awareness and responsibility and provides the client with structure, support and feedback.

Coaching is considered to be distinct from psychotherapy. Most coaches engage in coaching with generally well-functioning individuals. Coaches are helping people succeed with their most important goals - not treating mental disorders. Dr. Auerbach often says that a professional coach is a "thought-partner" who helps his or her client shine a spotlight on their thinking to help make better decisions.

How do I get started in your training program?

Most people begin by registering for one of our intensive (six to seven days) coach training programs or our 100% Distance Learning Program. The six or day programs are efficient if you are planning on becoming certified - you complete more of the courses at one time and therefore have reduced travel expenses, or the 100% Distance Learning Program eliminates all airfare and hotel expenses - a substantial savings.

What are the advantages of being a certified coach?

The public is being educated about the importance of certification as a result of the high level of international media coverage the coaching profession is experiencing. Certification is increasingly becoming a factor when potential clients scrutinize a potential coach's qualifications. Increasingly, employers who hire coaches require them to be certified.

Do I need to be certified or licensed to call myself a coach?

Not generally — there is no specific "license" for coaching. However, most professionals find it ethically important to obtain training and experience as they move into a new field. Becoming certified in coaching tends to increase the professionals skills, confidence and often their credibility and marketability. Beginning in 2008, coaches had to be credentialed by the International Coach Federation (ICF) to become full members of ICF, which is the largest, international, non-profit professional coaching association. Beginning in 2012 coaches have to have at least 60 hours of coach specific training to be even entry-level members of ICF.

What is unique about coach training through CEC?

The College of Executive Coaching has a world-class faculty of successful, Master's and Ph.D. level, often world-renowned, experienced coaches. Your training experience will be greatly affected by the knowledge, experience, facilitation skills and values of the instructor. We are extremely proud of the College of Executive Coaching Faculty. In addition, to completing the certification process, you work one-on-one, for twelve sessions, with one of our faculty in the Individual Learning Labs. This is like having twelve "coaching sessions" and most students use this training, mentoring and coaching experience to help them build their practice.

The peer group within CEC is made up of professionals with graduate degrees. Our students who have taken courses in other training programs before they enrolled in our program consistently report that our students are at a higher level of sophistication than the mix of students they have found elsewhere. When you consider that the other students greatly influence your experience, as you are exposed to the type of questions they ask and practice coaching with them on a regular basis, most professionals factor "who will be the other students" into their decision-making.

We believe that the CEC program is the most content rich of the coach training programs. You receive training in both personal coaching and executive coaching. Most of our students already have years of experience and training in communication and building rapport - so our courses are not similar to paraprofessional counseling skills courses–which is a criticism of many coach-training programs.

In addition, our Niche Marketing: How to Create Your Ideal Practice course, provides systematic guidance to assist students in discovering their unique strengths, formulate a niche coaching practice, and design and implement a strategic marketing plan.

Participants also get practice coaching in all of our courses. Our students have the added benefit of networking with others from around the country–and world–that have similar interests.

Is the field of coaching overcrowded?

No. For example, there are 500,000 mental health professionals in the US, but only about 8,000 significantly trained graduate level professional coaches. Moreover, more people potentially are interested in coaching services than psychotherapy.

CEC Coaching Philosophy and Theoretical Foundation

The College of Executive Coaching curriculum corresponds to a philosophy of a holistic, values-based, action oriented coaching approach. The College of Executive Coaching curriculum is built on a broad foundation of theoretical and evidence-based approaches from executive development, organizational development, positive psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, cognitive psychology, consulting psychology, business strategy and adult development learning theory. CEC's model of coaching was also strongly influenced by the assessment based executive coaching process developed at the Center for Creative Leadership and several College of Executive Coaching faculty were formally faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership. The College of Executive Coaching core faculty that have influenced the curriculum construction include the prominent founding fathers, researchers and early authors of the coaching field such as Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., Randall White, Ph.D., Reldan Nadler, Psy.D., and David Peterson, Ph.D.

Differences between Coaching and Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy generally deals with emotional or behavioral difficulties, and/or past painful situations. Although there are exceptions, as in the case of some humanistic or solution focused psychotherapy practices, psychotherapy usually involves treating DSM-V disorders. The aim in psychotherapy is usually to bring the client to normal functioning. Therapy is usually conducted in-person. Only occasionally is therapy conducted over the telephone.

Coaching helps an already successful, generally well-functioning person to reach a higher level of success. Coaches also help client's leverage their strengths and develop themselves in ways that bring greater success and satisfaction in their career or in their personal life. Coaching is often conducted in-person or over the telephone. The aim of coaching is generally to achieve excellence and greater success.

I have a MBA. I notice some of your marketing seems to be directed towards psychologists who are interested in transitioning into coaching. Do you think the program is appropriate for me?

You clearly meet our admission requirement of having a graduate level degree. We do market our program to psychologists (amongst other professionals) as some psychologists are very interested in this type of career transition.

However, we actively seek and encourage MBAs, Organizational Development and Human Relations specialists, attorneys, medical professionals, clergy and educators in our program. MBAs typically have business experience that psychologists lack so MBAs enrich our student population in an important manner. Similarly, psychologists often have particular communication and assessment skills that business people often benefit from being exposed to so it is a good peer-learning environment. About fifty percent of our students are professionals in a field other than psychology.

Of most interest to you though, would be the content of our programs - we have a much more content rich curriculum than other training programs.

Also, our Program Advisors, would be happy to assist you at (805) 904-6569.

How do I apply for the certification program?

We recommend that you take some of our in-person courses. You will get to meet some of our faculty and we will be able to meet you. Then you would complete a brief two-page application. Our certification is for mature, self-directed adults who hold a graduate degree or are enrolled in a graduate degree program. Applicants need strong interpersonal relationship skills and communication skills.

Ideal applicants will have had significant professional experience. The ability to process complex information and "think on one's feet" is essential. As space can be limited in our program early application is advised. Most, but not all, applicants who meet our educational requirements, will be accepted into our certification program. Occasionally, and only in unusual circumstances, a student has attended our program, but has not demonstrated a typical level of professionalism that characterizes our student body. In a case such as that our education committee would meet to discuss the student's observed performance in our program, and the student may receive a recommendation that another program would be a better fit. In that case, the student would not be able to continue in our program, no tuition paid would be refunded for classes already completed, but the courses completed would still count towards certification with the International Coach Federation Portfolio Certification Application.

Once accepted into the program, a transcript file will be opened in our office for you.

A more in-depth description of our 72-hour and 128-hour certification program are available. Please call or email to request additional information on required and elective courses. We can mail, fax or e-mail that to you.

Can someone without a graduate degree take your courses?

Yes, some of our in-person courses are "open enrollment" which means you may be able to enroll in them without a graduate degree (a B.A. or B.S. is required) if you have appropriate professional experience. You will need to contact us for individual permission, which usually is granted. However, our certification program, our teleconference courses, and our Individual Learning Labs are open only to students who possess a graduate degree or are enrolled in a graduate degree program.

I'm interested in becoming certified in coaching - I have many years of experience in my field and have used coaching in my professional role many times. Do you provide certification in coaching to individuals who do not have a graduate degree?

The 72-hour Certified Coach certificate and the 128-hour ICF Accredited Coach Training Program Certificate Program (Advanced Certified Personal and Executive Coach) does require a graduate degree. However, all our in-person courses can be used for the International Coach Federation's (ICF's) certification portfolio application process. Hence, sometimes a student may take some courses from our program, even if they do not have a graduate degree, and use their course credit for seeking a certification through ICF. If this is your situation, please contact us and we will assist you by explaining how to proceed.

I am currently enrolled in a Master's degree program. Can I apply for your certification programs?

Yes. You may be currently enrolled in a graduate program and still apply for the certification. However, you will not be issued your certificate until you have completed your graduate program.

Do you anticipate coaching will require a license?

There is no state legislation pending at this time. Furthermore, there is an overwhelming movement to not create more government regulation. We do not anticipate coaching will require a license any time in the near future. The International Coach Federation, with an international elected board of directors, an ethics committee, an accreditation of training program arm, a certification process, and over 164 chapters in 49 countries around the world is extremely effective in maintaining a self-regulating profession. However, coaching certification by the International Coach Federation is becoming more important to purchasers of coaching services.

I live in London. Is there an alternative to attending your in-person program?

Many members of our student body are from outside the USA. In addition, yes, we have several of our live workshops recorded on DVD. The DVD programs come with the written materials, a short quiz, and can earn six hours of CE credit each. We recommend you attend the courses in-person to meet first hand with other students and ask questions of the faculty. However, if it is not possible to participate in-person, the DVD programs are a great way to go - plus you save on travel costs. Completing the DVD programs will also prepare you for our Teleconference courses, like Intermediate Coaching Skills or Niche Marketing: Creating Your Ideal Practice. The DVD programs are copyrighted material and are for the sole individual use of the individual purchaser.

Do you offer an ICF Accredited Coach Training Program that is all distance learning?

Yes! We offer a one hundred percent distance learning 128-Hour ICF Accredited Coach Training Program.

Can I start coaching after taking a six or seven-day program?

Most attendees feel they can begin coaching after one of the in-person programs, however most professionals who are serious about developing a coaching practice will take additional courses through the program, and most will seek certification.

How long does it take to build a coaching practice?

You can begin to develop a modest client base after taking the in-person program if you utilize entrepreneurial qualities and are willing to communicate to others your enthusiasm for coaching. Of course you must operate in an ethical manner and provide professional services within your area of expertise. You will be most successful if you develop a coaching niche (we talk about that in the course). Your success depends on you as an individual. Your energy, continued training, confidence and your commitment are four main factors that we observe as linked to success. Most professionals who are already busy with their professional lives engage in a transitional process, taking one to two years to build a relatively busy coaching practice.

Is your program an International Coach Federation (ICF) accredited program?

Yes, the 128-hour Certified Personal and Executive Coach Program is an ICF Accredited Coach Training Program. All of our 128 hours of coach specific training are congruent with the ICF definition of coaching so they count as coach-specific training by ICF.

However, in the interest of objective background information, only some of the most financially successful coaches that hold graduate degrees have completed an ICF accredited program. In other words, ICF accreditation is frankly not required for success. However, this is changing rapidly. We now find that because many large organizations are now seeking only ICF certified coaches that many coaches, even if they are already established, are now in the process of obtaining certification. For new people entering the field, becoming certified in coaching presents a major competitive advantage over coaches who are not certified.

There are advantages to ICF certification, and completing the full 128-hour ICF accredited track leads to most graduates reporting a greater sense of competence and confidence. However, it is your choice as to whether to complete the 72-hour program or the 128-hour program. A completely viable, practical approach is to complete our 72-hour Certified Professional Coach Certificate Program and then decide if you want to continue on with the ICF Accreditation Track. Our program is a post-graduate institute with admission requirements and we believe provides more advanced training than any of the other ICF accredited programs. We have been told repeatedly by professionals with graduate degrees that after a careful examination of the admission requirements (or lack thereof), course content and the faculty in other training programs, that the College of Executive Coaching Certification program is their first choice.

A new development in the coaching industry is that to be a full member of the International Coach Federation one must be a credentialed coach through ICF. Hence, almost all coaches now enrolled in coach training are planning on becoming ICF credentialed.

Our program's courses count toward International Coach Federation (ICF) credentialing by the student either continuing on to complete the College of Executive Coaching's 128-hour International Coach Federation Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) using ICF's ACTP Application, or if the student does not complete our 128-hour ACTP, courses completed could be combined with other coach specific training when using ICF's Portfolio Application. The International Coach Federation's website can be consulted for additional information and it should be noted that every few years ICF generally updates their requirements for certification. Just like other professions that mature, it is becoming more difficult to become certified by ICF as the years go by so most coaching students are trying to move quickly.

I am a licensed psychologist, so I feel that I already have extensive education, training and experience. Is it sufficient to earn your 72-hour certification, or do you think it is a much better idea to complete your 128-hour certification program and then earn ICF certification?

Certainly, the more training you have, the more you are generally enriched, competent and confident. Historically, many of our students have not had an interest in seeking ICF accreditation, as our certification students must have a graduate degree, which is beyond what the vast majority of ICF certified coaches have.

In the past, many of our Masters level and Doctoral level certificate holders have found that a 72 hour certification program like ours is about right for them and they were not that interested in a 125 plus hour program–which is what ICF certification requires.

However, because ICF is becoming better known many professionals are interested in ICF credentialing and we are finding that 90 percent or more of our students are planning on completing the full 128-hour ICF track–The Advanced Certified Personal and Executive Coach Program.

Can I get certified by ICF by taking coach-training courses at different coach training programs?

Yes. ICF has a certification application called the portfolio application, which allows you to take coach training from one or more various settings and apply those hours toward ICF certification. However, it is a significantly streamlined process to just graduate from a single ICF Accredited Program like the College of Executive Coaching, as opposed to the more complex and time consuming portfolio application. Again, please check with ICF directly as they occasionally revise their rules.

How much time is time spent by students in supervised coaching during your program?

There is coaching practice in our in-person workshops and in our Intermediate Coaching Skills course. Also, we utilize a peer-feedback system where you and your peers are taught a three-step feedback model on your coaching techniques. In the in-person courses, we would not say there is a lot of direct supervision, though, as in a structured supervisor/supervisee relationship. Many of our students (although not all) come from a psychologist, or mental health professional, type of background so they are generally very experienced and have considerable strengths in communication skills.

In our Coaching Competency and Feedback Seminar, students are audio taped and videotaped and provided specific feedback with the STAR feedback model. The Coaching Feedback II course is 100% you coaching and receiving feedback and mentoring on your coaching by our ICF credentialed faculty. In our Coaching Support and Consultation Class, 100% of the time is spent discussing you and your class members actual cases with our ICF credentialed faculty. In that course you are required to be actively engaged in coaching at least one client, and bring, on a confidential basis, real life client situations to discuss with the faculty and your peers. If you are completing our 128-hour ICF Accredited Track you will also receive written feedback on six of your coaching sessions.

I am interested in taking your virtual courses. Do I have to be a certification student to enroll in the virtual courses?

Yes. The virtual courses are open to certification students who have completed Coaching Skills and Practice Development and who hold a graduate level degree such as a Master's or a Doctorate.

What types of people take your courses?

Although many people in our program have advanced training in psychology-related fields, other fields include: MBAs, Human Resource Management, Organizational Development, Consulting Attorneys, Physicians, Sociologists, Executives, Clergy, Educators, Medical Doctors and other fields. Our students tend to be mostly mid-life individuals who have advanced education, are already successful in their careers, and who want to help others. Our students are seeking to transition into the coaching field, add coaching to their existing practice or expand an already existing coaching or consulting practice.

What is the number of Continuing Education hours that I will earn for an in-person workshop?

Each workshop day is typically 6 CE hours (usually 9am - 4pm). We also have two dinner/evening courses during our six or seven day programs. Our seven-day Santa Barbara Intensives are 50 CE hours. We also have six-day programs that give 44 CE hours. Please view our schedule for various dates and locations.

You are given a certificate of completion for each course after you sign out at the end of each day. Only our two Marketing Courses, being marketing programs, do not carry CE hours, but do count for coach certification.

What are the workshop hours?

The hours for the in-person workshops are generally 9am - 4pm. Occasionally a program may start or end at a slightly different time but your confirmation of enrollment letter will clearly indicate the course hours. The CCF Seminar is 8:15am - 5:00pm. Occasionally we have dinner programs that run 6pm - 9pm.

I have had some coach training already. Can I skip the workshop Coaching Skills and Practice Development and just take other courses?

The Coaching Skills workshop is the prerequisite to all other courses. A significant percentage of our students have considerable coaching experience, whereas others are newcomers to coaching so we have designed the initial coaching skills course to provide something of value to everyone. The initial Coaching Skills workshop is designed to orient our students to our style and philosophy of coaching, provide an overview of our recommended marketing strategy, as well as serve as a foundation for the entire training program. We strive to make it a powerful, useful course for all experience levels. In addition, if you decide later that you want to pursue certification, Coaching Skills is required.

I read that you can complete the 72-Hour Certification Program in as little as five months but that it should be completed within twenty-four months. Is there some flexibility with that time limit?

You can stretch your training out a little longer than 24 months. However, we do encourage you to take classes as often as possible as the tuition is gradually moving higher and the program may shift slightly over time. More students are now seeking the 128-Hour level certification as interest grows in becoming ICF certified. The 128-Hour program can be completed within a year by an ambitious individual.

What is the estimated tuition of the entire 72-hour certification program?

About $6,400 depending on when you register and which courses you take. Tuition can be lower—see below—or slightly higher if you take additional courses. The initial six-day 44-Hour Intensive In-Person program is only $3,790.

What is the estimated tuition of the entire 128-hour ICF Accredited track leading to the Certified Personal and Executive Coach Certification?

About $10,200 to 10,800 depending on when you register and which courses you take. Tuition can be lower or slightly higher if you take additional courses. If you have five or more participants attending from one organization registering together there is a group discount. Our 100% Distance Learning ICF Accredited 128-Hour Fast Track Program, which can save the participant on travel expenses, has a lower tuition and ranges from $8,490 to $9,490 depending on payment options and early registration.

The earlier that you register, the lower the tuition. There are elective courses you can choose from that differ slightly in tuition.

Many of our students do not sign up for the whole certification program at once, but rather choose to register in modules for the training. They usually begin with a six-day in-person Intensive. Some students choose to only take the six-day program, whereas most continue soon with other courses. Usually the next courses that students take are Intermediate Coaching Skills and Niche Marketing: How to Create Your Ideal Coaching Practice. It is your choice as to which courses you will take and at what pace you will go. Our Program Advisors will gladly map out your curriculum and the tuition for you.

Do these fees include individual coaching or study with one of your faculty members?

Yes, we call the process the Individual Learning Labs, which are a combination of coaching, mentoring and consultation with a CEC faculty member. Most students use this process to help them build their coaching practices and/or get consultation on coaching specific client issues.

If you have additional questions, contact us and we would be happy to answer them or assist you with your registration.

A Member of

  • ACTP: Accredited Coach Training Program
  • APA-approved sponsor
  • BCC: Board Certified Coach
  • PHR, SPHR, GPHR Approved Provider
  • IOC: Institute of Coaching