Deb Dutta

Certification for executive coaching in 2023

Grow your business
Nov 18th 2022

If you're interested in becoming an executive coach, you'll need to follow a few steps. While these are not difficult, they will take some time and effort. Here's how it works:

Becoming an executive coach requires some credentials.

Executive coaching is a hot topic in the world of professional development, but it's important to know what an executive coach is not. An executive coach is not a therapist, mentor, consultant, psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker. They are also not teachers.

So what IS an executive coach? The International Coach Federation defines coaching as “a process that helps a client identify their goals and accelerate their performance by providing focused feedback and support."

What are executive coaches?

Executive coaches are professionals who help leaders make better decisions, grow their careers, and manage their personal lives. They don't focus on therapy or consulting; instead, they develop personal growth plans for executives that help them achieve their goals.

This means that executive coaches have to know how to coach people on a high level—throughout the entire business environment. For example: if you're an executive coach working with CEOs at a major corporation, you should be able to work with your client even if he's in any state (e.g., traveling abroad).

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Why hire an executive coach?

  • To improve performance
  • To improve business results
  • To improve personal development

Who hires executive coaches?

Executive coaches are in demand for several reasons, as you may have guessed from the list of employers above. But there's also a reason why executive coaches are typically hired by corporations, foundations and other large institutions: They can help organizations in need of change find ways to better meet their goals.

Corporate clients ask executive coaches to work with them because they need someone to help them develop and implement new strategies as well as improve morale across departments. The coach addresses this by helping company leaders see potential or opportunities that they may have overlooked before.

Foundations hire executive coaches because they often lack experience working with people who are making decisions about how money should be allocated for charitable causes around the world; these coaches provide those foundations with insight into how best allocate funds based on research data collected from similar organizations across different industries (e-commerce vs retail).

Who can be an executive coach?

If you're thinking about becoming an executive coach, there are many things you should know. First and foremost, you must be a licensed professional in the field of your expertise. In order to practice as an executive coach, you must have at least two years of coaching experience under your belt; however, most executive coaching certification programs require their candidates to have a bachelor's degree.

Other requirements include having master certified coach status or being enrolled in an accredited post-master certificate program (or higher) offered through ICF International or another accredited institution that is approved by ICF International.*

In addition to these general requirements for becoming an executive coach, some organizations offer additional certifications related specifically to helping executives get ahead in their careers

What qualifications do you need to become an executive coach?

  • Pursue certification as a professional coach. To become an executive coach, you must have at least 5 years of experience in the field and pursue certification as a professional coach.
  • Pursue master certified coach certification. If you want to specialize in executive coaching, it's possible to pursue master certified coach certification through the International Coach Federation (ICF). The ICF offers two types of certifications: Master Certified Coach (MCC) and Executive Certified Coach (ECC). Both require 500 hours of training and two years' experience working in the field before applying for either program. They also have different eligibility requirements based on whether or not your employer has purchased their ECC plan from ICF through its membership benefits program called Partners In Leadership (PIL).

What steps do you need to pursue to become a certified executive coach?

You can become a master certified coach (MCC) by completing a three-step certification process:

  • Be an experienced professional coach
  • Get your master certified coach credentials
  • Master the business of executive coaching

Step 1:  Become a Professional Coach. (pursue certification as professional coach)

  • Become a Professional Coach.

A coach, by definition, is someone who helps others to achieve their goals and dreams. A professional coach has knowledge and experience in the coaching profession along with specialized skills to help clients reach their objectives through coaching processes such as goal setting, problem solving, leadership development, talent identification and training needs analysis. In order to become a professional coach you must first:

  • Pursue certification as professional coach (International Coach Federation - ICF)
  • Get your coaching certificate (Global Institute for Coaching Certification - GICC)
  • Get your coaching diploma (Global Institute for Coaching Certification - GICC )
  • Get your coaching degree (Global Institute for Coaching Certification - GICC )

Step 2:  Get Master Certified Coach Credentials. (pursue master certified coach certification)

If you want to be a master certified coach, you'll need to get your MCC (master certified coach) credentials. The requirements are as follows:

  • Minimum 300 hours of coaching experience. This can be completed over a period of time or at once.
  • Minimum 90 hours of personal development courses and activities, such as workshops, trainings and seminars related to coaching, NLP and other related fields (no more than 50% may be counted toward total hours).
  • An additional 20 hours professional development courses related specifically to the MCC credential (no more than 10% may count toward total hours).

Step 3:  Master the Business of the Executive Coaching Role. (examples of courses in this area include "Executive Coaching for Performance," "Build Your Coaching Practice," and "The Art of Business and Executive Coaching.")

We've talked about the need for certification, and we've covered some of the important things to look for in an executive coaching program. But in order to make the most of your certification and your experience as an executive coach, it's also important to understand how you can get even more out of it—and that means learning how to master the business of being a coach.

There are many courses available on this subject matter (examples include "Executive Coaching for Performance," "Build Your Coaching Practice," and "The Art of Business & Executive Coaching"). These courses give you valuable insight into how best practices can be applied within today's fast-evolving workplace environment. They're also taught by experts in their field—so they'll teach you what works best from someone who knows firsthand!

There are several steps to this process, but it is possible for you to get there.

It is possible for you to get there. There are several steps to this process, but it is possible for you to get there. You need the right mindset, you need to be willing to learn and put in the work. The first step towards certification is learning all that you can about executive coaching and then moving on from there. It takes time but if you'll put in the effort, it's a great way for anyone to earn certification as an executive coach!


If you’re interested in becoming an executive coach, it’s important to know that there are several steps involved. Becoming a certified executive coach requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but the journey is worth it. If you have any more questions about this process, please let us know in the comment section below!

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