[UPDATE 2012: The Free Coach Training program no longer includes a Coaching Certificate.]Coaches often ask me if SCM's Free Coach Training program comes with a life coach certification or if they can use letters after their names when they qualify for the free Coaching Certificate.
The short answer to both questions is: No.
The Free Coach Training program comes with a free exam and if you pass it, we'll award you with a free Coaching Certificate. I'm pretty certain we're the only coaching school that does that, but it's not the same as getting a business or life coach certification from us.
What's the difference between life coach certification and a coaching certificate? Here's a side-by-side comparison:
Life Coach Certification
A stamp of approval of you as a coach, by the organization that certified you
Think of it as an automatic recommendation of you and your coaching skills from a trusted source
You can add appropriate letters after your name
In coaching, certification is THE credential to have; not graduation, not a degree, not a diploma, not a certificate
Respectable life coach certifications all require evidence of coaching skill, not just knowledge
Often difficult to get - that's why they mean so much
You'll received a frameable certificate, plus a mini-certificate for your website to prove your credential to the world
Evidence that you completed some training or passed a test
It's not a recommendation, since the organization doesn't really know you
No letters after your name
Evidence that you're not just self-taught
Evidence that you're working toward becoming a skilled coach
Challenging, but not difficult to get
You'll receive a frameable certificate, plus a generic badge for your website to prove your accomplishment
I based the above specifically on School of Coaching Mastery's policies concerning business and life coach certification and coaching certificates.
By the way, today we awarded eight coaches with our new Certified Competent Coach credential. They received it either by passing the requirements of Coaching Groundwork Advanced (Next session starts Tuesday, March 6) or by demonstrating competence in one of our Master Coach Training Levels (Next Master Coach Training startes Wednesday, March 7).
School of Coaching Mastery now has three levels of skill-based business and life coach certification, which are the Certified Competent Coach (CCC), Certified Proficient Coach (CPC) and Certified Master Coach (CMC). They are roughly analogous to the ICF's Associate Credentialed Coach (ACC), Professional Credentialed Coach (PCC) and Master Certified Coach (MCC).
Just so you know, 'credentialed' and 'certified' mean the same thing. 'Credential' is used more in Europe, where 'certification' is used in the USA. 'Certificate', however is different. I know, these words all sound alike.
Coincidentally, today the IAC announced in their members-only blog that they will be retroactively awarding their new Certified Coach (CC) credential to coaches who previously did not pass their old certification, which is now called the Master Certified Coach (MCC), but who did demonstrate a skilled level of coaching (66% or higher score). The new IAC CC credential will be approximately analogous to our CCC and PCC, while the IAC's MCC is roughly analogous to our CMC.
No wonder coaches are confused about life coach certifications with all of these different letters and similar-sounding names! The important thing to remember is that coaching is becoming more professional and that it's a good idea to have a credible life coach certification. A Coaching Certificate is a good start, but keep going.