Development of Coaches: VI. Does ICF Certification Make A Difference?

William Bergquist December 30, 2016 1
Development of Coaches: VI. Does ICF Certification Make A Difference?

Specifically, we divided our sample into two groups: (1) those who report having completed a training program certified by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and became certified coaches, and (2) those who did not take an ICF certified training program or did not complete such a program. We call the first group of respondents “certifieds.” The second group are called “renegades.” While the term “renegade” might seem to be disparaging, it is not meant to be interpreted in this manner. I am, myself, one of these “renegades.” Rather the term is meant to convey something about the diverse and often a bit defiant nature of this second group. Some leaders in the field of professional coaching would applaud this second group as providing diversity and even innovation in the field. In many cases, these renegades were some of the founders of the field, who never bothered to get certified, having already established themselves as knowledgeable and competent professional coaches. Other leaders in the field would identify the “renegades” as those who are holding back the professionalization of coaching. We will hold further review of these contrasting perspectives for our discussion regarding results obtained from these two groups.

It should be noted that the certified group is much larger than the renegade group: 185 certified and 76 renegades. This discrepancy is quite understandable, given that ICF was one of the sponsors of the first survey and that the second survey relied on lists generated from ICF (among several sources). It should also be noted that the “renegade” group is quite diverse in terms of the background and training of this group’s members. A variety of respondents had to be placed in this one group in order to make it large enough for the statistical analyses being performed. Future surveys hopefully will attract a much larger number of non-ICF certified respondents so that more finely differentiated groups can be identified.


Having found results from the two surveys to be closely aligned in our initial analyses, we combined the responses to both surveys (having also done so in the two demographically based analyses that we offered in the previous two reports). Furthermore, as we did in the demographic analyses, we went beyond the calculation of means and variances for the two different certification groups. We conducted simple T-Tests to determine if the differences between responses of the certified and renegade coaches were significantly different regarding any of the survey questions. As we did in the previous two demographic studies, we present the mean, variance and T-Test Scores in the next section of this report for each of the seven questions on which we focused in the previous five studies, In addition, because many significant (or near significant) differences were found, we present the t-test score for each question as well as degrees of freedom and, when significant, the critical value (CV) associated with either the .05 or .01 level of significance.

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1 Comment on "Development of Coaches: VI. Does ICF Certification Make A Difference?"

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Rey Carr

What a terrific paper! And I’m not saying that because my name is spelled correctly or my ideas are accurately presented. The distinction between internal/external locus of control, the renegades/certified distinction, and the frontier town analogy are all stimulating and thought-provoking ideas.