Joanna has been coaching C-Suite executives for eighteen years, working on strategic and leadership challenges. Prior to this, she worked in Corporate Banking with Citigroup, South Africa, for ten years – four of those as a Senior VP overseeing Multinational clients across various industry sectors for the CEEMEA region out of Brussels and London. Now an executive coach based in the UK, Joanna is MCC Masters accredited through the International Coach Federation (ICF) with over 2,500 hours of coaching. She is also one of approximately 55 MCC coaches in the UK.

But how do you become an executive coach?

Training to become an executive coach

Coaching is not yet regulated by any country. However, if you are serious about entering the industry and becoming a credible corporate coach, you need to first obtain coach-specific training.

Joanna studied for 5 years with The Centre for Coaching, at the GSB Graduate School of Business MBA school in Cape Town, South Africa. We recommend studying takes place via an ICF accredited training school. This will set you in good stead as you join the global, and your local, ICF chapter, and begin your accreditation journey of ACC, PCC, and MCC with the ICF. This means you can apply through the ACTP route for ICF accreditation, rather than the Portfolio route.

The next thing to look at is which type of coaching you would like to train in: integral, goal-focused, etc. Joanna focused on becoming an integral coach, which in the end, was far more a journey of coming back to herself after 17 years in the global multinational corporate world, than anything else. You must be prepared to continually work on yourself, your own self-awareness, and reconnect with yourself emotionally, in order to be ready to coach another person, i.e.: who am I to coach you if I’m not practicing the same on myself?

Credential paths

Once you have completed an entire ICF Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP), you can then look to become an ACC coach in the first instance (Associate Certified Coach). Before applying, you must have completed 60 or more hours of coach-specific training, and a minimum of 100 hours (70 paid) of coaching experience with at least eight clients following the start of your coach-specific training.

Once you have received this credential, you can then look to becoming a PCC (Professional Certified Coach) and even an MCC (Master Certified Coach) further along your journey if you so desire. It will require a huge amount of dedication and a large sum of coaching hours, particularly the MCC which requires 2,500 coaching hours following the start of your coach-specific training. But, this is certainly something to think about as you progress your executive coaching journey.

Practical considerations

At coach training school, one is seldom taught how to run a coaching business. It is therefore highly recommended to run your current employment parallel to kicking off your coaching practice for some time. Make sure to also begin your coaching logbook from the get-go, counting coaching hours monthly. It requires discipline in the beginning but once you apply for an ICF accreditation, you’ll be glad you did it. Building up your coaching hours, both face-to-face and virtual, pro-bono and paid, and keeping them logged, is important as you get started.

Becoming an executive coach in the UK

The ICF UK Chapter has a searchable directory of coach training accredited by the ICF here. In order to fully participate and contribute as a member to the UK ICF Chapter, you are required to hold a global ICF membership – and as such must be enrolled in, or have completed, your coach-specific training. The UK was actually the first ICF Chapter to be established outside of North America and has grown to be one of the largest and most active Chapters with over 1500 members.

The UK is a highly-skilled, mature coaching market. If this is your ambition, work parallel in your current employment for a while, and keep going. If it is your passion, you will get there and ultimately be successful. Here at Distinctions Executive Coaching, we wish you all the very best of luck on your executive coaching journey.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Joanna for further information: