What kind of credential do I need to be a Professional Recovery Coach?


Melissa Killeen

When I published my book Recovery Coaching – A Guide to Coaching People in Recovery from Addictions in 2013, the term professional recovery coach or professional recovery life coach was not in frequent use.

A professional recovery coach is trained in professional coaching techniques, which means he or she has been educated in group dynamics (how people act in a group), how to develop high performing individuals (leadership) or how to facilitate change. Additionally, they have training in the addiction recovery models, motivational interviewing and Harm Reduction. They may use their experiential knowledge of their own recovery to augment their professional recovery coaching faculties. Professional coaches work in many fields: executive coaching, business coaching, finance coaching, wellness coaching or life coaching. Recovery coaching fits nicely into the life coaching model.

International Coaching Federation (ICF)

There is one worldwide organization that is recognized as issuing professional coaching credentials, the International Coaching Federation (ICF), http://coachfederation.org. There are three levels of ICF coaching credentials. The Associate Certified Coach (ACC) Credential is for the coach who is just beginning in the field, and is the first credential that can be completed with ICF. The Professional Certified Coach Credential (PCC) is for the more experienced coach and the Master Certified Coach (MCC) Credential is for the expert coach.

When seeking to be credentialed as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC), the coach has to have completed an entire ICF Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP). On the ICF website is a list of all of the accepted training programs from which the ICF will accept training credentials. The ICF does not offer a unique recovery coaching credential, nor a peer recovery-support credential.

There is one organization, Family Recovery Resources, listed in the ICF Accredited Coach Training Program that offers a family-in-recovery coaching course for a family recovery coach certificate. There are no other recommended organizations that offer any recovery coach orientated courses. If a recovery coach has received training from any organization specializing in recovery coaching training, it is likely that the training would not be credited toward an ICF certificate. There is a very interesting selection of courses in the ICF Accredited Coach Training Program, such as executive coaching, end-of-life coaching, divorce coaching, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, wellness coaching, conflict coaching and several other excellent learning opportunities, on the ICF web site.

The ACC applicants must work while they learn, and complete 100 hours of client-to-coach experience during their coach-specific training program. In addition the applicants are required to receive 10 hours of Mentor Coaching, and 100 hours (75 hours to be paid) of coaching experience with at least 8 clients, post training. There is a performance evaluation (audio recording and written transcript of coaching session) and a Coaching Knowledge Assessment (CKA) to complete the ACC credentialing application. The ACC credentialing process costs are dependent on the types of training courses a coach must take to complete the requirements for the certificate. The ACC credentialing process can take from 18 months to two years complete.

It is my hope that the information transmitted in the past few posts will help a person interested in recovery coaching see the path to certification a bit more clearly. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have about the path you should take in seeking your recovery coaching training and credentialing.

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