Why Coaching Credentials Matter As founder of Vista Global Coaching & Consulting, Mary Stelletello not only consults with organizations, she is also a credentialed professional coach who works with individuals to help them achieve their goals in work and life. Coaching vs. Consulting Mary has played team sports since she was 9 years old. She recalls how the coach was the person who taught you how to play the game, shared new strategies, pointed out what you were doing wrong, pointed out what you were doing right and celebrated team accomplishments. For the most part, you accepted what the coach said as the best course of action. Fast forward a few decades and now you hear the word “coach” used in the work environment in many different ways, “An executive coach, a business coach, a leadership coach, a life coach” and so on. Is this use of the word “coach” the same as in the context of sports? Well, yes and no. Yes, a coach is someone who helps you see all aspects of yourself, helps shine a light on the blind spots and helps celebrate those talents that you may ignore. No, a coach doesn’t tell you what to do, that is a consultant. Take a look at this blog post to understand the difference. A coach helps you clarify your values and your talents and works with you to move toward your greatest potential. A coach is a sounding board, a champion, a truth teller and advocate for your best self. A coach helps you create a plan and be accountable to achieving that plan. Once you have determined whether you are looking for a coach or a consultant, the next question is, how do I find the right coach? The Value of Coaching Credentials Coaching is a profession that is evolving and is less known to have a credentialing process as professions such as accounting, financial planning or counseling. When you see a CPA after a person’s name, you know that person has gone through a rigorous training and testing process that requires ongoing educational credits to maintain the credential. To continue the CPA analogy, there are professionals who identify themselves as accountants that are very skilled, who are not CPAs. However, they are not as qualified as a person with a CPA. Similarly, professionals call themselves coaches without being credentialed. The credentialing body for coaching is called the International Coach Federation. There are more than 10,000 professional credentialed coaches worldwide. The ICF has 3 levels of credentialing, ACC, PCC and MCC. A coach at the ACC level has had 60 hours of training and completed 100 hours of client coaching. A coach at the PCC level has completed over 125 hours of training and more than 500 hours of client coaching. An MCC level coach has completed over 200 hours of training and 2,500 hours of client coaching. Beyond the number of hours the coach has completed, there is a distinction between the minimum skills at each credential level. So why does having a coaching credential matter? Credentialed coaches are strengthening their skills on an ongoing basis. Choosing a credentialed coach to guide you ensures that you will always benefit from the most current tools and advanced coaching skills while reaching your greatest potential. Mary began her coach training in 2009 and has recently received her PCC credential. If you think coaching is right for you, contact Mary today for a free introductory session. Photo credit: Erce via Shutterstock.