International Coach Guild (ICG)

Setting the highest coaching standards worldwide

Someone great once said: “if your work doesn't inspire you, nothing will”.

I'm sure you can relate.

Because isn't it true that a leader, a driven entrepreneur, a philanthropist or anyone who has ever achieved something meaningful and worth fighting for has a lot more hustle going under the hood than most other people?

In 1995, the late and great professional coach Thomas Leonard began a movement that would leave a mark on the coaching world. He started the International Coach Federation (ICF), "a nonprofit organisation for fellow coaches to support each other and grow the profession".

With the goal to raise the profile of professional coaching, the ICF started out with 11 Coaching Competencies to support coaches develop coaching skills in the industry and had 70 supporting volunteers by its 3rd year.

Come 2013, Sharon Pearson, the Founder of The Coaching Institute, has taken it several notches up.


Alongside 143 founding members and expert coaches, Sharon founded the International Coach Guild (ICG). The ICG team decided to take it several steps further, designing a total of 15 Coaching Core Competencies designed to serve as a guide and a roadmap to the highest standards available for coaches today.

Both Sharon and Thomas wanted the best for this remarkable industry. In Sharon's words, "This is how it's done... you challenging the status quo... you raise standards... yes, both of us are (and were) coaches who have (had) a coaching school. Who else could be better positioned to start a professional body?"

And it's true: There is never a "need" challenge the status quo, to zig when others zag, but if you're a leader in your industry, it's a no-brainer thing to do. Successful people don't "schedule", they just do it. For to schedule is akin to avoiding.

Coaching is a highly competitive market. And, since the coaching industry is unregulated at the time of writing this (anyone can call themselves a coach), it is important to set standards around what comprises high quality coaching.

Recognising this gap in the market, the International Coach Guild (ICG) was born to provide coaches with all the support they need to leave a mark in their industry.

Today, ICG typically attracts coaches who are serious, committed and dedicated to their craft.


How the International Coach Guild (ICG) Started

The ICG started in 2013 as a way to provide the highest standards of training and recognition for coaching students, and for coaching schools.

A group of 143 passionate coaches founded ICG. Since then, it has attracted hundreds of members, primarily within Australia.

The founders of ICG believed that coaches should have a choice in their coach training, and how that training is recognised.

Until 2013, the ICF was the only real choice coaches had. An alternative was obviously needed, one which provided significant points of difference, contrast and choice for coaching students.

The standard requirement for recognition as a credentialed coach was one simple assessment.

The ICG took things to the next level requiring you to complete a minimum of three rigorous assessments in order to be recognised as a coach.

Those being:

  • Practical skills
  • Case study
  • Written Assessment

An additional written assessment is required for coaches applying for recognition via the ICG’s Portfolio Pathway to demonstrate their coaching knowledge and skills.

In comparison to ICG, other coaching bodies have only a maximum of three assessments, some of which are multiple-choice questions and less formal.

There was a time when a school had no formal requirement to train a coach in business, marketing and client conversion strategies. The focus was solely on coaching skills.

The rigorous training and assessment process has been an effective preparation for ICG members to gain more paid clients, build their coaching practice and make use of effective marketing rather than just building their coaching skills.

ICG & Other Recognition Bodies

To give you a snapshot of how ICG compares to other benchmarks in industries of psychology, accounting and coaching, here is a comprehensive infographic provided by ICG.

What the ICG Provides to its Members

As a member of ICG, members gain resources and support in their coaching journey. It is also a way of being represented by a professional body whose sole purpose is to further the quality of coach education.

As an ICG member, you get access to the following resources:

- Membership in a community that will champion, serve and support you

- New coaching skills as a coaching professional

- Certification on 4 levels – Levels I to IV (Certified Coach, Certified Advanced Coach, Certified Professional Coach, Accredited Coach)

- Access to live classes and study pre-recorded training material

- Access to the only proven and research-based coaching methodology known as Meta Dynamics™

- Training and coaching facilities

- Recognition of prior learning

- Business Mentorship – the ICG has created a 150 point system to assess the level of business education members receive by their coaching school. If your coaching school is a part of the Business Mentorship Provider System, you will receive 25 hours minimum of business education as part of your program

- Coach and Connect live events held in major cities and providing an opportunity for networking and professional development


The ICG Core Competencies

The ICG recognises coaches who have demonstrated their ability to apply critically important competencies in coaching situations.

ICG-recognised coaches not only know about coaching skills, but also apply them in their coaching sessions.

Based on the years of collective experience, the ICG founding members have identified

15 Core Competencies are as below:

1. SELF-MANAGEMENT

Effectively manages self
Meets the ICG Code of Ethics and professional standards
Demonstrates commitment to ongoing professional development

2. RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT

Sets up the coaching initiative
Maintains trust and intimacy with the client
Provides a coaching presence

3. TECHNICAL COACHING SKILLS

Assesses the situation
Demonstrates effective listening
Demonstrates impactful and effective questioning and discussion

4. FACILITATING PROGRESS

Expands client awareness
Moves the client to cause
Inspires learning and growth

5. PROGRESS MANAGEMENT

Provides direct communication
Develops goals and action plans
Manages accountability and advancement

For an expanded explanation, please download all Core Competencies here.

Click here to find out about becoming an ICG member.