Note: ICF is happy to respond to your mentor coaching questions towards credentialing, please allow a few days for a response at I highly encourage you to check with them as requirements change. However, if you are trying to make a decision and unable to reach them, I offer this FAQ from my clarifying exchanges with them, with frequent updates and the image above showing current credentialing and renewal requirements.

Frequently Asked Mentor Coaching Questions and Answers for ICF Credentialing

  1. When is the best time to apply for an ICF credential? Now! What about the exam? The requirements and financial investment continue to go up, so the best time to advance with your ICF credential is now. The new, proctored ICF Credentialing Exam is required for all credential applicants except renewing ACCs. Once your application is reviewed and approved, you will be contacted via email with an invitation to take the three hour “closed book” exam, with 81 scenarios (two minutes per scenario). Exam Tips: For each scenario, you choose a best and worst answer out of 4 choices. Best: client centered, curious, transparent. Worst: coach centered, leading, biased. Passing score is 77%. The exam can be taken in person or virtually and is proctored. You will need all three hours, with a five minute break. Results are provided with 24 hours. Need to retest? The fee is $105. You may ask for accommodations, providing medical proof. You may pay for a translator.
  2. Is your program based on the updated competencies? Yes. Note: Candidates applying for an initial ICF Credential or advancing to a higher-level Credential will be required to complete the new, proctored ICF Credentialing exam, and the updated competencies will be used for Performance Assessments (assessments of your coaching recordings). Your ICF Performance Assessment will be based on the PCC Markers and ACC and PCC Minimum Skills Requirements.
  3. Can I take this program again and still earn the 30 hours ICF CCE? Yes! So long as we add new content, which is not a problem! I’ve contributed to a book a year in recent years, add new MCC recordings, do a program a year (ICF Finland in 2022; the UN mandated University of Peace in Costa Rica, 2023, etc). “It’s worth having mentor coaching at least every other year, if not every year, to refine my practice and deepen my understanding of the coach’s competencies by reviewing others’ sessions.  We need to keep sharpening our saws,” two time participant, Shoko Masuda.  
  4. Can I count this program as training hours toward a first ICF credential? Yes, for an initial credential portfolio application, the Culturally Intelligent Coaching™ Certificate 20 Coach Education hours could be counted as training hours as it is ICF CCE approved, as well as receive the 10 hours of Mentor Coaching, or 30 hours total for the entire program, with 26 hours as Core Competency and 4 as Resource Development.
  5. How are the Culturally Intelligent Mentor Coaching +Culturally Intelligent Coaching™ Certificate 30 hours ICF CCE (Continuing Coach Education) counted if not applying for a first credential? When you complete the reports showing you have read and listened to the materials and described how you will implement your learning, as well as demonstrate your Cultural Intelligence in your Coaching Recordings during the program and attend a one hour competency based alumni/participant Zoom, you will be awarded the Culturally Intelligent Coaching™ Certificate and, along with completing your 10 Mentor Coaching hours, earn a total of 30 hours, 26 in Core Competency plus 4 Resource Development, for the combination Culturally Intelligent Coaching™ Certificate and Mentor Coaching program, providing market differentiation and meeting our diverse, global market demands. 
  6. Do I Need to Demonstrate All 37 ICF PCC markers in my performance assessment? Not all 37 markers need to be demonstrated to pass the ICF Performance Assessment at the PCC level. Coaches should be able to demonstrate a solid number of the behaviors overall, and should demonstrate a number of markers within each competency area (Competencies 3 – 8). Example: for Marker 7.6 closed vs. open questions, a candidate would need to demonstrate a capacity to ask primarily open questions.
  7. Why the Culturally Intelligent Coaching™ Certificate and Culturally Confident approach? An additional marketplace differentiator and ICF CCEs for a total of 30 for our Culturally Intelligent Mentor Coaching + Certificate program.Increasing your cultural intelligence contributes to increased impact as your clients “feel completely heard and understood, resulting in more confidently achieving goals and vision.” (program participant’s client). Cited in “The Question that Changes Everything” Forbes. Recognized in the ICF updated competencies.”It is impossible to not work interculturally!” Even in your own community! Cultural identities include nationality, gender, generation, ethnicity, ability, etc. “CQ (cultural intelligence) is a critical capability for navigating today’s increasingly global and diverse business environment. It’s so important that we made it one of our core behaviors at PwC.” – Robert Mortiz, US Chair PWC. “90% of leading executives from 68 countries identify intercultural skills as among the most important capabilities required to remain competitive.”– Ang, Van Dyne, & Rockstuhl. “#1 Predictor of Success,” American Management Association article.

    What is cultural intelligence? the recognizing and understanding of the beliefs, values, attitudes, rank and behaviors of people (including your own!) with distinct cultural identities; and then applying that awareness toward effective behavior and communication.

    The Culturally Intelligent Coaching™ Certificate is offered  in conjunction with this program ($2500 as a separate program), with additional requirements of 3 book reports (books provided) as well as written feedback or reports on 9 recordings, including MCC passed coaching and recordings on integrating CQ with coaching competencies; as well as demonstrating CQ in your coaching.

    Today’s technology makes it very easy to serve clients in different regions (I have coached, taught, trained, presented in 40+ countries since 1998!).

  8. What is the difference between Mentor Coaching and Coaching Supervision? Mentor Coaching is focused on the demonstration of the coaching competencies, while Coaching Supervision provides the space to reflect on your role, relationship and ethics as a coach while renewing and further developing.
  9. When does the ICF require mentor coaching hours? ICF requires 10 hours of Mentor Coaching for your initial credential, whether that is ACC or PCC. An additional 10 hours of Mentor Coaching is required for ACC renewal and for the MCC. Many coaches choose to engage in Mentor Coaching every 1-3 years to keep their skills fresh by receiving feedback. If you are applying for your MCC, your mentor coach must be an MCC.
  10. How do I enter the Mentor Coaching hours on my credentialing or renewal application, how long does it take and what is the process after I submit the application? There is a place on the application to add mentor coaching. When you complete our program and are applying for your credential or renewal you will add my name, email and number of hours mentored, 7 group and 3 individual, over the 3 month time period upon completing our mentor coaching program. ICF will check with me to verify your mentor coaching. You automatically receive 10 hours of continuing education in core competencies for renewal for mentor coaching, those 10 hours are included in our 30 hours CCE. Occasionally coaches make a mistake on the dates and have to correct it, which slows down your application. It can take up to 24 weeks for a credentialing application to go through, especially for MCC or Portfolio applications. After your application has been reviewed, you will then be asked to take the updated, proctored ICF Credentialing Exam, the written test, unless you are renewing your credential. If a Credential is due to expire and they submit an application for a higher level credential prior to their current expiration date, ICF Credentials and Standards will automatically renew their current credential during the review process.
  11. How is my Performance Assessment assessed? Two trained assessors review each recording, noting which skills or markers were demonstrated. The assessments are completed independently. If the 2 assessors findings are conflicting, a third assessor will be brought in. The applicant’s name is listed on the recording. This does allow for the assessor(s) to recuse themselves if there is a conflict of interest. ICF Credentialing compares the assessor’s evaluations and decides on credentialing based on their algorithm. Each competency is considered based the PCC markers and/or ACC and MCC Minimum Skills Requirement demonstrated, as well as an overall “score” for all competencies.
  12. Can I “clean up” my app based transcript for my Performance Assessment? ICF:”for app-generated transcripts, we encourage candidates to review the transcript for accuracy (and integrate any needed revisions) prior to submitting. If there are significant discrepancies in the transcript compared to the recording, the transcript can be returned to the candidate to update for the recording can be assessed. With this in mind, it’s more efficient for a candidate to review prior to submission to prevent any delays in the performance evaluation review.”

Tip: Before taking the ICF Credentialing Examit is helpful to take the complimentary (for ICF members) ICF Ethics course in addition to reviewing the Coaching Competencies.

I hope you have found this Frequently Asked Mentor Coaching Questions guide to be helpful. Please let me know how else I may be of service, including if you have further mentor coaching questions.

Marilyn O’Hearne, MSW, MCC, LLC; CQ Master Certified Coach, International Coaching Federation

Unlocking potential, prosperity and peace with leaders, coaches and their organizations through Leadership & Team Coaching, ICF Mentor Coaching and Coaching SupervisionICF Circle of Distinction Award

Copyright November 12, 2021 Marilyn O’Hearne MSW MCC LLC with input from ICF.  All rights reserved Updated frequently, up to 8/27/23

Resources:, ICF Credentialing Process (without code) on Vimeo,