Understanding PCC

This article explain what is PCC means, Credential details, PCC certification, meaning of ICF certifications, the importance of credential and the benefits.

In short it gives complete overview on ICF certified coaching.



PCC, or Professional Certified Coach, is a credential offered by the International Coach Federation, or ICF.

The ICF offers 3 levels of credentialing, beginning with the ACC (Associate Certified Coach), followed by the PCC (Professional Certified Coach) and then the MCC (Master Certified Coach).

What is a credential?

A credential is an attestation about the ability made by a third party who is qualified to do so, in this case, the International Coaching Federation, or ICF.

The word credential is also often used to mean the official designation you earn once you are officially certified, such as the ACC, PCC, or MCC you put after your name.

PCC Certification

The ICF itself does not provide training but it does oversee the standards of training programs.

Coach certification training is provided by professional coaching programs or training schools who submit their course to the ICF for approval.

If the course meets the requirements and high standards of the ICF, they will accredit the course

Only the ICF can designate the ACC, PCC and MCC credentials.

The way you can distinguish an actual coach from a person who has merely adopted the title of coach is by the letters after their name.

The letters indicate what credential they have earned.

The first step towards earning credentials is getting coaching qualifications through certification training.

What does it mean to be an ICF certified coach?

A coach who has met the training requirements of their school is considered an ICF Certified Coach

In all of these cases, ‘certified’ means that the ICF has granted the school the right to certify coaches as they prepare themselves for credentialing.

With this certified training, a person can call themselves a coach in all integrity.

How do I go from an ACC credential to a PCC credential?

As I discussed earlier, the ACC credential is where many coaches begin, followed by earning their PCC credential.

The PCC is a level higher than the Associate Certified Coach (ACC) program so it requires additional training and experience.

To obtain PCC Certification, you have to complete at least 125 hours of coach-specific training program.

You also need 10 more hours of Mentor Coaching, on top of the 10 hours required for the ACC.

PCC candidates are required to document at least 500 hours (440 paid) of coaching experience

you will also have to sit the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA), which is required for the ACC.

Additionally, you must submit 2 (two) coach-client audio recordings with their transcripts to demonstrate that you are coaching at the PCC level.


What is PCC level coaching?

As a coach I have been trained to “coach the WHO, not the WHAT”. This means to coach the person, not the problem.

It can take a while to really understand what this means.

For example, ACC level coaching is all about discussing the problem and trying to solve it during the conversation.

PCC level of coaching includes supporting the client to get the results they are looking for but it goes deeper, into more meaningful territory, knowing that the insights and AHA moments often happen after the conversation.

PCC level coaching is more geared towards coaching the person and understanding what is stopping them from finding a solution on their own.

It is powerful because it involves the competencies of evoking client awareness and facilitating client growth.

The coach doesn’t solve problems (the WHAT), but rather observes and offers reflections back to the client around what they see coming up for the client in the moment, or around what keeps coming up over and over again.

A PCC is there to support the client through a transformation from who they are now to who they want to become. This ‘whole person’ approach of the

PCC is enlightening and empowering because the client comes to see ways to resolve their challenge from a whole different perspective.

Why are credentials important?

Completing your ACC, PCC or MCC requirements show that you are a professional who is doing the work necessary to be great at what you do!

Earning your credentials is an accomplishment that shows that you are dedicated to delivering the best possible experience to your clients.

Having an ACC, PCC or MCC credential means that your clients can trust your integrity because you have earned the title that you are claiming to have.

It means that you have credibility because the credentials attest to the fact that you have invested great energy and countless hours into honing your craft.

This means that the powerful ICF coaching competencies are a part of your skillset and that you can coach individuals and teams at a high standard based on a research-backed, proven methodology.

When are credentials needed on top of certification?

There are many things that coaches have in common and one of those is that they are lifelong learners and love to fine-tune their craft.

Stephen Covey called it Sharpening the Saw. The ACC, PCC and MCC credential journey is a way of showing that commitment to getting better and better at the service you offer.

Coaching skills are like rocket fuel for some professionals. Some excellent combinations that pack a powerful punch are:

  • Coaching and Leadership Training
  • Coaching and Presentation Skills
  • Coaching and Communication Skills
  • Coaching and Emotional Intelligence
  • Coaching and Change Management
  • Coaching and Stress Management
  • Coaching and Conflict Management
  • Coaching and Assertiveness Training
  • Coaching and Customer Loyalty




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