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How to become a Life Coach

Updated on September 4, 2009

Life Coaching in Vancouver, BC

life coaching in Vancouver, BC with a friend.
life coaching in Vancouver, BC with a friend.

Life Coach Designations

If you are a professional life coach you are probably well aware of the various designations available for life coaches. However, if you are just starting out as a life coach you might not be aware of the difference between a CPCC and ACTP or the requirements for your ACC, PCC and MCC designations. This article is geared towards the options available from a school or training institute a Vancouver life coach might graduate from on their path to their future career. Many of these designations are used globally and will apply to anyone interested in becoming a life coach.

The most common designations are: CPCC, ACC, PCC and MCC

Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) is the designation given to graduates of The Coaches Training Institute. To earn a CPCC designation the candidate must undergo a comprehensive six month training program. The core curriculum is divided into five segments: Fundamentals, Fulfillment, Balance, Process and In the Bones. The course work must be completed in order. Following the fourth course "Process", candidates can begin preparation for the certification exam. During this time, candidates will work with a team of master coaches to hone their life coaching skill set. After completing the program requirements, prospective coaches are eligible to take the Certification Exam.

Upon successful completion of both the written and oral portions of the CPCC exam, graduates earn the Certified Professional Co-Active Coach designation. The CTI program is accredited by the International Coach Federation and graduates have a streamlined process to ICF certification.

Many Vancouver life coaches receive their accreditation through the local ICF chapter which offers three levels of designation: Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and Master Certified Coach (MCC).

Associated Certified Coach is the first level of designation offered by the ICF. To qualify for this designation the candidate requires a minimum of 100 coaching hours and must have a current client base of at least 8 active clients. This designation is reserved for practiced coaches. Candidates have two options when applying; as a portfolio application or as ACTP Application (see below). Most ICF Vancouver life coaches have an ACC designation.

To apply as a portfolio application the candidate must not have completed a ACTP qualified course (see below), have worked a minimum of 10 hours with a qualified mentor and meet the requirements documented on the ICF webpage. To qualify as an ACTP application, the candidate must have completed an ACTP course at an ICF accredited institution. In Vancouver you can take this course at Erickson College. As you can see, this is the first level of ICF certification it is available only to those who have an established life coaching practice.

To reach the Professional Certified Coach level of accreditation from the ICF, candidates must complete 130 hours of training. The must also have completed a minimum of 750 hours of work with clients and have a minimum of 25 clients. In addition, to qualify for PCC status, candidates must pass several written an oral exams. A PCC coach is a proven commodity. You will be experienced and have had many successes working with clients in the past. You will also be expected to continue your training with the aim of reaching the next level of accreditation.

That next level for ICF certified coaches is Master Certified Coach. This level is reserved for expert coaches who will often be involved in training both ACC and PCC coaches. To qualify as a MCC candidate you must have completed 2,500 coaching hours while working with a minimum of 35 clients. Although MCC coaches have reached the highest level of ICF certification possible they are still expected to look for ways to improve their coaching technique and work continuously on sharpening their coaching skill set. To receive their designation MCC candidates must also complete a three part exam.

What is an ACTP Course?
An Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) is geared towards students who are just starting out in coaching. ACTP courses are offered by institutions around the world. If you are interested about becoming a Vancouver Life Coach and completing your training the lower mainland, contact Erickson College about their ACTP courses at (604) 879-5600.


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    • Martin Longden profile image

      Martin Longden 3 years ago

      Coach accreditation is very important as this industry develops. With many countries not regulated, most people will look to the relevant International Coaching Federation (ICF) of their country to find a suitably qualified coach. I think this is very important and also offer more info on this at

    • profile image

      Coach Craig 4 years ago

      Really informative article, thanks!

      I did my coach training with Erickson. I live in Vancouver but did it online because of my time restrictions. It was actually really good for an online course. I got my ACC after completing and now working on my PCC, can't wait to reach my goal! I check out their blog every once in a while and this caught my eye, might be useful for some people.

      thanks again!