How to choose the right Coach Training for you

This guide is intended to help those interested in a successful and positive participation in the booming coaching industry and who also want professional accredited training


The coaching business is a big business. You could compare it to the Victorian gold rush where every horse, man and woman was heading towards Melbourne in search of gold.

This means that there are some who are attracted to the industry who don’t know what coaching actually is.

Not you, as someone who is interested in the coaching industry and training as a coach you want to ensure that you are investing in the right training for you.

This guide is intended to help those interested in a successful and positive participation in this booming industry who also want professional ICF accredited training.

To make your selection process clear, carry on reading to discover the 5 main questions to ask of a coaching company and their offering.

1) Live Virtual training online or In Person?

Before you go further, decide if you want Live virtual classroom or Live in person training. Many people are still convinced that the old model of live in person training is ‘best’.

This was all very well back in the days before tech innovations and the like but imagine you had flown all the way to Sydney and booked into your expensive hotel and found that you were sick – coughing and sneezing and were unfortunately unable to attend the 3–5-day event that you had already paid for?

Also, it has been proved that learning in long stints like this is not good for taking in information and that the brain is more suited for deep concentration in blocks of 2 to 3 hours.

A virtual online learning experience will allow you to connect with people from all over Australia and around the world in different time zones in the comfort of your home or office. You can connect with others and commit to doing the course around your work hours and life commitments at a convenient time for you.

By learning in an interleaved and layered way with a best practise e-learning experience you will find that coach knowledge will become deeply embedded into your mind overtime and this way you will become a much better coach in your practice.

Hot Tip: Quicker is not better.
The events of the past years have seen a huge surge in online coach course providers. They simply transferred their existing live in person model of training to now be online live delivery.

Unfortunately, most did not bother learning about best practice e-learning principles and methods before they did.

Make sure that the coach trainer that you choose has not just transferred to a virtual online training conducted in the same way as their live training. Sitting for long periods on zoom is not recommended when it comes to learning.

I have heard people say “I just want to get my coach training done quickly” but bear in mind you do still have to have at least 100 hours of coaching logged before being able to sit your ICF Credentialing Exam and you do need also ICF Coach Mentoring conducted by a qualified mentor over a minimum period of three months.

This means that there is little benefit to be had from cramming the training in over a solid 3 – 5 day period. An online weekly training program on the other hand, means that you complete your coach training in 3-6 months while you practise, log your hours and receive ICF coach mentoring over a minimum of three months.

A coach trainer who tells you that you can achieve your ICF credential more quickly than 6 months is not being upfront and should be avoided.

2) Is the Coach Training Accredited?

The ICF (international Coaching Federation) is a global organisation that upholds an ethical code for what is expected from a professional coach with a focus on eight core competencies.

Being a great coach is about learning coach skills that will bring out the deepest potential of each person. The beauty of coaching is the skill of the coach that works on a whole person level with individuals to design and create their own best lives.

So, you must avoid any schools that offer their own certificate and are not ICF approved. You want to make sure that the coaching school is an ICF accredited school, and has had their training and methods and models thoroughly checked by an outside organisation, but that is not all.

Recently the ICF have gone through a massive overhaul of their training providers and the remaining eligible and qualified training schools that have been approved now have a Level 1 (ICF ACC Pathway) and Level 2 (ICF PCC Pathway) awarded.

Hot Tip: Not all Levels are on the Level.
Do not be confused by coach training providers that have categorised the stages of their training programs as level 1, 2, and 3.

Although they may be ICF Accredited, please carefully check whether they are referring to their own ‘Level 1’ course or/and a complete ICF Level 1 Accredited Coach Training Program, because they are not the same thing.

There are many differences in price so make sure that when choosing an ICF coach training that they are upfront about their prices – which should be clearly listed on their website – it should be easy to understand what you pay for the certification that you want and what course you need to take to get there.

If you can’t simply find out how much a company’s ICF Level 1 or ICF Level 2 program costs without speaking with them, or if the endless options and combinations of courses and ‘levels’ required are confusing and unclear then avoid at all costs.

3) What is the philosophy of the coach training company?

Not all coaching organisations have the same philosophy. Make sure the training is in alignment with teaching you a structured conversational framework that is backed by the latest evidence based approaches in behavioural psychology and neuroscience. Afterall, do you want to be a coach that is able to create transformational results or just transactional results?

Is the coach training company just using a standard GROW model format and pre determined questions? Or are they perhaps just teaching leadership development profiling systems disguised as coaching?

The course you choose should be teaching you the coach skills and behaviours that align with the international gold standard ICF Core Competencies to embed into your coaching style. There should be a strong emphasis on mentoring and feedback in the training and in personal growth and transformation.

Hot Tip: Not All Courses are Active Learning Based
Some courses are very academic and involve far less active learning than others. This can mean that there is little chance to practise your coaching and develop into the growth mindset required for you to be a lifelong learner and coach.

Most of all make sure that the coach journey you chose to embark upon is fun! This should be a positive life-changing experience where you are going on your own personal development journey.

4) Is the training a cohort model of learning or a self-paced learning approach?

If you have read this far you may be considering an online approach to your training. There is an important distinction to be made when considering online training – is it self-paced or Cohort based?

Cohort-based programs differ from Self-paced in that students take a series of classes together as a group. Students have the same learning schedules and deadlines as opposed to working at their own pace. The group atmosphere leads to an environment of support, trust and safety, which is critical to learning how to coach.

Learning in a cohort environment increases success due to interaction and accountability. A cohort approach to online learning creates a satisfying sense of community and purpose that is lacking in a self-paced course environment.

Hot Tip: Interleaved Learning vs Block Learning
Thought Conductor takes an interleaved approach to learning. Interleaving is learning more than a single subject at the same time, this creates a deeper learning experience.

Block learning is covering each subject singularly, which is typical of a self paced environment, this type of learning feels ‘easier’ but has decreased learning outcomes.

Choosing a self-paced learning approach means that you are just learning in blocks at your own pace and then turning up at different events and classes to make up your live learning requirements. This can equate to a lack of consistency and practise as well as limited feedback on your coaching and your comprehension.

By choosing to train with a provider that is a cohort style of learning this will help you to have consistency when you are meeting with the same group at the same time each week. Not only do you make lifelong friends, but you have committed to a journey of growth where you get real feedback and get to practise your coaching with like minded individuals.

So it is essential that your coach training provider has specified how many people will be at your training. Many people have found that a self -paced learning approach can often mean where you turn up a few optionally selected class times with many other students in attendance and get easily lost in a crowd.

Or even worse, I have heard stories where you turn up to your randomly selected class time and there is no one else there besides the trainer.

Choose a cohort style online training that caps the group at a reasonable number of participants (around 10 is ideal) so that you will receive individual attention as well as get to know the other members of your cohort.

5) Who is the trainer and mentor?

Finally, make sure you know who will actually be training you! It is essential that you understand the level that the coach is at and their experience in the field.

Are they an ACC who has limited experience? Or perhaps a PCC that has a lot more experience or ideally an MCC that is in the top 4% of coaches in the world?

Coach training companies should be clear who will be leading the training and what level of coaching experience and qualification they hold.

If it is not clear from their website, just ask – how long have they been mentoring and training for? Will it be the same experienced coach and trainer each week?

Hot Tip: Coach Trainer or just a Coach?
Does the trainer also hold training and teaching qualifications as well as appropriate coaching experience and credentials?

Whoever you choose, make sure that they are currently coaching in the real world and hold recognised education and training qualifications.

To avoid doubt, preferably your coach trainer should be a professional member of the Australian Institute of Training and Development or a similarly recognised institution.


As you have found out, it is truly a case of ‘buyer beware’ when it comes to deciding on the right coach training for you. But if you follow the insider tips we covered and ask the right questions you can safely avoid the most common pitfalls.

Bonus Tip

always speak with the training companies left on your short list before you make a final decision. You can get so much from your intuition when you speak directly with the trainer and the conversation should be very enlightening for you.

Feel free to book me in for a conversation if I make your shortlist – I would love to discuss your goals and if our approach to coach training can help you get there.