How to choose a coach series part 4

Education and Credentials

In my last post, I shared my thoughts on the importance of a coach’s background. In this post, we’ll explore the importance of coaching education and credentials.

Coach Education

Why is formal coach education necessary? Coaching is about supporting intentional growth and change in people. Science informs good coach education – behavioral science, neuroscience, change management, psychology. Good coach education packages this science into useable knowledge, adoptable practices, and tools for the coach. This provides the coach with more choices on how to work with a client. Without formal coach education, coaching may not be as effective and sustainable.

Where did the coach receive their coaching education? There are many good coaching schools now. You might ask the coach: why did the coach choose this particular school? Does the school have accreditation?  Is it approved by a professional governing body? Does the school have an operating philosophy? What do the alumni say about their experience? 

How does their education shape their approach to their coaching? What parts of their education are reflected within the coaching session? How does their education provide context for a holistic approach to the client?  When a session gets difficult, what resources does the coach pull from?


Why is certification important? Coaching certification can be compared to professional certifications in other fields; it may not be required but can be a sign of increased commitment. Certification requirements hold coaches to a defined set of competencies, requires regular continuing education, and renewal every few years. Certification bodies also offer advanced levels that many coaches pursue. Some of the global certification governing bodies include: ICF, IAC, EMCC, CCE.
Does certification imply better quality coaching? Not necessarily. But it does imply commitment to on-going learning, adherence to standards, and to progressing in the field.

Continuing Education

How does the coach stay relevant? A coach needs to continually grow and develop. Ask: what formal continuing education does the coach pursue? What practices does the coach have to help themselves to be a good coach?