Private Coach Qualifications

by Corey
(San Marcos)

What qualifications do I need to be a private coach? One's I need and one's that would be good to have.

Where do I train?

Louise's Answer:-

Hi Corey,

The first point to make is that as the coaching industry is at present unregulated there are no statutory qualifications that you must hold in order to practice as a coach. I never have been asked by a client directly what qualifications I have but when I have tendered for coaching work who are subcontracting out coaching then I have had to provide evidence of my qualifications

However if you want to become a skilled coach who can meaningfully help people then it is important that you develop your skills and knowledge as a coach appropriately. There are many coaches out there competing for business and a poor coach will struggle to get the business and struggle further to keep clients or receive business through recommendation. Also since coaching is about helping to develop one’s potential in order that you are coaching with integrity it follows that you put your own personal development as a high priority.

As a guideline when I started out I undertook an excellent programme run by the UK based Coaching and Mentoring International (bought out later by The Coaching Academy) which started off with a 3 day course followed by 6 months of assignments and observed practice followed by a final weekend workshop. This gave me a really good foundation for understanding what coaching was and really started to develop my coaching skills. However it was just a basic foundation built on by experience and further courses combined with continuous professional development through reading books, articles, co-coaching (practicing with other coaches) and supervision.

So to answer your question on what qualifications would be good, this depends very much on who you are going to coach and the type of coaching you are looking to provide. My starting point would be to consider the skills you want to develop and also the type of approach you are interested in taking (read through the pages on this website which will help you here). Then start by looking at the coaching qualifications available to you by searching on the internet.

Have a look at organisations such as the Association Of Coaching or the International Coaching Federation to understand what they recommend and offer and also other coaching qualification providers. Remember many coaching organisations will set themselves up as ‘the leading,’ ‘the best,’ ‘official’ or ‘independent’ so look carefully at what each offer.

Think about the following when you are searching:

  • What skills and experience do you already have that you want to build upon?
  • Do you want to be a personal coach or provide coaching for and within organisations? (Different courses will provide different emphases)
  • What accreditation is provided?
  • What approach to coaching do they take? E.g. Solutions Focused, Psychological approach, directive or non-directive?
  • The cost
  • How long the course will last (don’t be taken in by promises of ‘become a coach overnight’…good coaching requires the development of complex skills which can take much practice to master)
  • How much observed practice is involved? (I believe that face to face coaching practice and feedback from a third party observer) is a really important element to developing your skills.


This is by no means an exhaustive list but hopes to give you a starting point. Good luck and let me know how you get on.

See Also:-
Become A Coach
Qualities Of A Coach
Different Coaching Approaches
Essential Coaching Skills

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