Becoming a Professional Coach
The Development Path

As the three leading professional associations for coaching in the UK, Association for Coaching (AC), European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) and International Coach Federation (ICF) share a mission to drive the highest standards.

Coaching has grown exponentially in uptake and credibility over two decades and is now a highly sought after option for personal and professional development. The number of individuals training as coaches*, whether to work independently or within organisations, continues to rise. Buyers seek out quality practitioners operating best practice; employers desire consistent standards of in-house coaching.

Our associations clearly define the route to professionalism. We require our individual members to commit to working ethically, maintain their fitness to practise and fulfil relevant statutory duties. The journey for a professional practitioner commences with quality training, and AC, ICF and EMCC provide quality recognition to training providers whose courses meet rigorous standards of best practice.

Following training it is essential for individuals to continue to develop their competence through practical experience, further learning (Continuous Professional Development (CPD)) and reflective practice. These are the elements required to become accredited or credentialed by one of our independent professional bodies. We support the many professional practitioners who wish to do so, to evidence their fitness to practise and to establish their credibility and stand out in a busy marketplace. 

Accreditation and credentialing are offered at different levels depending on the applicant’s level of skills and experience. This recognition is a renewable process, dependent on supervision or mentor coaching and ongoing CPD, so coaches continuously develop their skills and knowledge. 

Our schemes are similar, but our approach and requirements differ slightly. Find out more here:

Association for Coaching
European Mentoring & Coaching Council
International Coach Federation

Or for a comparison of our different accreditation/credentialing processes click here to see which would suit you best.

* For the EMCC this journey also includes progressing towards accreditation as a mentor