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How to approach coaching hours?


Coaching / coaching hours... tips & advice

If you want to obtain the ICF professional coach certification (ACC, PCC, MCC), besides mentoring, completed training, meeting ethical criteria, or passing the knowledge test in the field of competencies and ethics, you need to acquire a certain number of actual coaching hours. During my practice, I meet many potential coaches who do not know how to obtain and record hours or how to proceed. Let's look at some tips.



Coaching Hours


What we understand by a coaching hour:


An hour of client coaching is 60 minutes of actual coaching with a client who has hired the applicant as a coach and not for any other activity. (Mentoring, consulting, or coach supervision is not a client coaching hour.)


Client coaching sessions shorter than 60 minutes are counted as partial client coaching hours (e.g., 30 minutes of client coaching will count as 0.5 client coaching hours). Coaching must be done in person, by phone, or other voice technology.


Types of coaching hours:


1. Paid hours:

  • These are coaching hours for which the coach receives payment from the client (payment can be of any amount, it can also be an exchange of goods or services, including coaching in exchange for coaching).

  • Internal coaching or third-party coaching, whose definitions I provide below, can also be included.


Training hours within a training program cannot be counted towards your client coaching practice.

2. Pro bono hours:


  • This refers to volunteer coaching/donation.


Coaching supervisors or coaching trainers cannot claim educational program hours as coaching hours

Types of coaching hours:


1. Individual clients


For each individual client, you must provide:


  • Client's name and email address or phone number.

  • Start and end date of the coaching relationship.

  • Number of paid and pro bono hours you provided to the client.


Clients who disagree with their names being provided must be omitted from the log. Consent should be documented in accordance with all relevant laws (e.g., GDPR).

2. Peer to Peer coaching


  • Peer to Peer coaching is an exchange of coaching between two individuals.

  • Peer to Peer coaching (outside of the training program) can be recorded as paid or exchanged coaching.

  • Peer to Peer coaching (inside Reciprocal Peer coaching) can be recorded as paid hours.



Coaching hours within a training program cannot be used as a basis for your client coaching practice.

3. Group coaching sessions


To qualify as a group coach, one must create an agenda and be interactive (synchronous interaction between the coach and participants). Individual client coaching hours and group coaching time documentation should be done separately in client coaching.

For group training sessions, document the following in the training protocol:

  • Name and email address of one individual in the group (you don't need to provide names of other people in the group or the group name).

  • Start and end date of the coaching relationship.

  • Number of paid and pro bono hours you coached the group.

  • Number of people in the group (only groups of 15 or less count).


Note: You cannot multiply the times of participants in the group. If you coach 15 people for one hour, you can only count one coaching hour, not 15 hours.




Training/teaching, mentoring coaching, workshop facilitation, etc. cannot be claimed as client coaching.


4. Third-party coaching


Third-party coaching is coaching where the coach receives payment from an organization specifically for coaching the client. Payment can be any amount or exchange of goods or services.


Third-party clients should be registered the same as other individual clients or group clients unless there are organizational confidentiality policies that prevent you from providing client information. If there's a confidentiality policy, you should provide a reference letter from a contact person in the organization familiar with your work. The reference letter should be signed on the company's letterhead and must contain:

  • Your name.

  • Name and contact details of the contact person.

  • Description of the contact person's role in the organization.

  • Description of your role in the organization.

  • Confirmation of the organization's confidentiality policy.

  • Confirmation of the number of hours trained, the number of coached clients, and the duration of coaching.

For confidential third-party clients to be included in the reference letter, you don't need to include these clients in the client coaching protocol.


5. Internal coaching


Internal coaching is coaching done within the applicant's employment.

Coaching direct subordinates (employees for whom the coach is the direct supervisor) is not counted as client coaching time

Internal clients should be registered the same as other individual or group clients unless there are organizational confidentiality policies that prevent you from providing client information.

If there's no confidentiality policy that prevents you from providing client information, the following client coaching protocol information should be provided:

  • Client's name and email address or phone number.

  • Start and end date of the coaching relationship.

  • Number of paid and pro bono hours you coached the client.




If there is a confidentiality policy, you should receive a reference letter from a contact person in the organization familiar with your work. The reference letter should be signed on the company's letterhead and must contain:

  • Your name.

  • Name and contact details of the contact person.

  • Description of the contact person's role in the organization.

  • Description of your role in the organization.

  • Confirmation of the organization's confidentiality policy.

  • Confirmation of the number of hours trained, the number of coached clients, and the duration of coaching.



For confidential internal clients to be included in the reference letter, you don't need to include these clients in the client coaching protocol.


Conclusion


The ICF company recommends that you use the ICF Client Coaching Log (.xls) for tracking and documenting a coach's coaching experiences. Using this form streamlines and makes the accreditation process more efficient.


Confidentiality


Providing Client Information

In accordance with the ICF Code of Ethics, you must obtain consent from each client to include their information in the client coaching log. The consent can be verbal and doesn't need to be provided to the ICF. Individuals who do not agree to have their names listed must be omitted from the log, except for internal or third parties coaching with organizations that have a confidentiality policy. In these cases, the confidential names of clients can be listed as aliases, provided you submit a reference letter from the organization.



How ICF Uses Client Information

Information from the client coaching log can only be viewed by ICF staff. Client information is never shared or sold to another person or used for any other purpose other than to verify the coach's application during the certification approval. Clients listed in the client coaching log may be contacted by ICF representatives to verify the information provided in your log. If clients are contacted, they are not questioned about coaching-related topics.


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