Does certification make a coach competent? Good question! I asked Gary Reinecke of InFocus to talk about coaching certification. Gary is a fantastic coach, who has achieved the highest coaching certification available today. We wrote the Coaching 101 Handbook together and the recently released, Christian Coaching Excellence. Enjoy this guest post by Gary Reinecke!


Does certification make a coach competent?

The short answer is: it depends. A certified coach can be either competent or incompetent (especially given variations in their training processes), and competent coaches can be either certified or not certified, depending on their level of experience and self-study. I would say that coach certification absolutely has its place. However, certification should not be confused with competency.

Coach certification should not be confused with competency. -Gary Reinecke, InFocus Click To Tweet

My coach certification process

In 2008, I was asked by a friend and colleague who served on my founding board with InFocus: “How far along are you on your certification?” Linda Miller happens to be a founding member and key influencer of the International Coach Federation, author, speaker and worked for the Ken Blanchard Co. as the Global Liaison of Coaching. ICF is the largest certification body worldwide.

After I swallowed my pride and took a deep breath, I admitted that I had not yet started. By that time I had been coaching for almost 20 years and had done so without certification; so I assumed that is how I would continue. But Linda’s question haunted me. Eventually, I began the journey towards certification and progressed through the three levels that I mentioned earlier beginning with the Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential in 2012, Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential in 2014 and culminating with the Master Certified Coach (MCC) credential in 2018. I have the lapel pin to show for each level in my office drawer!

Here is what I learned

I didn’t know what I didn’t know

Based on the training, reading and observation of skilled coaches I had done the best that I could do. But there are certain things that I just never knew. Trying new approaches, understanding the nuances of higher level coaching and how to view coaching as a “dance” vs. mastery of skills – to name a few.

The power of learning from diverse voices

The platform I accumulated most of my Continuing Coaching Education Units (CCEUs) is called the World Executive Coach Summit or WBECS. The list of experts from diverse fields, primarily secular bust not exclusively so, is impressive.

Power of an experienced coach mentor

I can’t say enough about the important role my coach mentors played in my development. In addition to the real-time feedback they provided, they explained the nuances that separate good (Professional Certified Coach) from the great (Master Certified Coach). This helped me make the shift from Technician to Artist.

The Bottom Line on Coach Certification

  • Absolutely helps coaches become better coaches
  • Vets out the amateur from the serious practitioner who desire to hone her/his craft
  • Subjectively determines if a coach is competent


Christian Coaching Tools- This new website has the best in Christian Coaching resources, assessment, and training in one place!
Coaching 101 Handbook- This handbook is packed full of practical ways you can improve your skills in coaching those God has brought your way. You will gain a deeper appreciation of the coaching process and ‘coming alongside’ to help others as you understand the model outlined in these pages.
360 Coaching Assessment- Every coach should occasionally step back and assess their coaching skills. The 360-Degree Online Coach Assessment—named for its ability to provide feedback from the range of perspectives—is a research-based assessment tool built around nine core coaching competencies. It’s an effective way to get quick, accurate feedback on a person’s current level of coaching skills.
Photo by Ekrulila from Pexels