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Choosing the Right Coach: ICF Credentialing vs. Non-ICF Coaching Certifications

Introduction: As a coaching client on the hunt for a professional to guide you on your personal or professional journey, it’s essential to comprehend the nuances of the coaching industry. The choices are vast, and two prevalent paths emerge when evaluating potential coaches: those with ICF (International Coaching Federation) credentials and those with non-ICF coaching certifications. In this article, we’ll delve into the crucial differences between these two options to help you make an informed decision.

How do I know my coach is credible?

Your pursuit of a coach is driven by the need for a qualified professional who can support your growth and development. You understand the significance of selecting a coach with recognized credentials and qualifications. These credentials provide you with confidence that your coach adheres to ethical standards, industry best practices, and a level of expertise that can help you achieve your goals.

What is ICF Credentialing? 

ICF, the International Coaching Federation, is a renowned authority in the coaching industry. Founded in the early 1990s, ICF has established a gold standard for coach training and credentialing. Coaches who earn these credentials must meet stringent requirements and demonstrate mastery of ICF’s Core Competencies while upholding the ICF Code of Ethics.

Are there Non-ICF Coaching Certifications? Beyond ICF, you’ll come across numerous non-ICF coaching certification programs. These programs, while valuable in their own right, may not adhere to the same standardized criteria and global recognition that ICF offers. Non-ICF certifications can vary widely in terms of curriculum, evaluation processes, and overall quality. They often cater to specific niches or coaching areas.

What are the Key Differences Between ICF Credentialing and Non-ICF Certifications?

The primary distinction between ICF credentialing and non-ICF certifications lies in their rigor and standardization. ICF credentials are globally respected and transferable, signifying a coach’s dedication to a high level of coaching competence. Non-ICF certifications, while valuable, may lack this international recognition.

What are the benefits of ICF Credentialing for me? 

Selecting a coach with an ICF credential provides you with a multitude of benefits. It enhances your confidence in your coach’s credibility and guarantees their commitment to continuous professional development, ensuring you receive the highest quality coaching services.

What about non-ICF certifications?

Non-ICF certifications can be advantageous, especially when seeking specialized expertise in specific niches. However, it’s essential to be aware that they might not have the same level of global recognition as ICF credentials. Weigh these factors carefully when considering a coach with non-ICF certification.

How does credentialing fit into making an informed choice?

As a coaching client, it’s crucial to select a coach that aligns with your unique goals and needs. Consider the standards, recognition, and transferability of the credential when making your choice. Ensure your coach’s qualifications complement your specific coaching journey.

How do I know if my coach is credentialed by ICF?: It’s easy to see if you coach is credentialed by the ICF. Go to the verify ICF Coaching Credential page and search for your coach by name.


As you embark on your coaching journey, the decision between ICF credentialing and non-ICF coaching certifications is crucial for your success. ICF’s global recognition and commitment to high standards make it a strong choice, but non-ICF certifications can also be valuable in specific contexts. Make a well-informed choice that aligns with your coaching goals and sets you on a path to personal and professional growth.

Meet Your Coach

I’m David Limiero. Ten years after launching and growing a new church, I had reached a breaking point. I was overwhelmed, burnt out, and stuck. It was out of that season of overwhelm that I started on my own journey towards a life of balance and overflow. 


I’ve now spent over 30 years gaining extensive experience in coaching and consulting leaders through personal and professional challenges, helping them create sustainable systems that will grow along with them. You deserve to have a business and a life – and I can’t wait to help you have both. 

Full Focus Planner Certified Pro
ICF Member

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What Our Clients Are Saying

Don’t just take it from us, let our customers do the talking!

Asmita K

The relationship between motherhood and work is one of the trickiest balancing acts there is for women. Climbing the corporate ladder is an uphill battle for many moms like me who are reentering the workforce. Fortunately, I was lucky to find a mentor and coach like David. He is a very passionate and understanding person, always ready to go out of his way to do something good for others. His guidance and support uplifted my confidence.

I think of him as a man of integrity with high moral standing. I truly appreciate the time and efforts he has given me to build confidence and gain experience.

Renee T.

I’ve worked with other business coaches before but never have I experienced a coach like David. Every single time we meet, I walk away with a mindset (mindblowing) shift and a practical strategy. I’m becoming a better business leader because of David’s support, knowledge, and guidance.

Phil H.

David is one of a kind. A kind and compassionate coach. He listens and guides you to a light bulb moment in the path that you need to take. If you have an opportunity to work with David, I would take it.