The International Association of Coaching® is a coaching association with a difference.

Our measure of coaching practice is the global standard for Masterful Coaching.

Part of what makes the IAC® different from other coaching organizations is the way we assess coaching mastery, and our belief that attending coach training or graduating from any specific program is not sufficient evidence that a coach can, in fact, coach.

The IAC® endorses the truth that becoming a coach is a transformative process, therefore it is only right that we honor prior training, education and life experience, and measure mastery via demonstration of skill.

     The IAC® definition of Coaching

Coaching is a transformative process for personal and professional
awareness, discovery and growth.

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The IAC® certification process is an ambitious and thorough one. One that evaluates the demonstration of The Coaching Masteries® that are the hallmark of the most effective and distinguished coaches.

That is why companies and clients know when they hire an IAC-Certified Coach™ or IAC-Master Coach™, the coach has been rigorously challenged and has proven themselves at a stellar level. This tells the client they can have confidence they are hiring coaches of the highest caliber, with a valid measure of assurance they will receive quality coaching.

To assign “certification” through any lesser or less thorough process does not provide the necessary assurance to corporate, business and personal clients…and it does not serve the coaching industry.

The IAC® is an independent, global professional association of coaches dedicated to the ongoing pursuit of coaching mastery in order to effectively support clients toward achieving their goals – wherever the client may be on their personal or professional path.

The Legacy of Thomas Leonard

Thomas J Leonard

The work toward creating the IAC® began in June of 2002, led by Thomas J. Leonard, who is often credited as the founder of the modern coaching profession. Thomas was a champion and model of masterful coaching. The IAC® was officially founded on March 11, 2003, exactly one month after Thomas’s death. While he was not here to see the organization be officially born, we know he would be proud of the way in which his mission and wishes for coaches and clients are being carried on by the IAC®

Thomas was always asking

“What separates a great coach from the rest; how do I find a great coach; and, how do I know I am a great coach?”

Thomas’s quest to find – and teach – these answers led to creating 2 different coach training programs and establishing the international standards for coaching certification. One of his final initiatives before his death was creating the IAC® in order to have a certification process that goes far beyond simple academic or vocational qualifications – far beyond an intellectual understanding of coaching – and a process that acknowledges there are many paths to mastery, including other life and career experiences. The IAC® embraces universal guidelines, principles, proficiencies, standards and behaviors that make a coach a masterful coach, regardless of profession, geography, or previous schooling.

Modeling this, in 2005 the IAC® undertook the task of evolving the coaching standards to include global perspectives. Over a 24 month period, the team that developed the new measure of coaching mastery, The Coaching Masteries®, worked diligently to provide a model of coaching skills that embodied universal principles of coaching, an awareness of cultural differences, as well as an evolving understanding of coaching.


There is a resounding call for positive change in the world, and this profession was designed as a stimulus for that change.


  • Coaching professionals commit to continuously learning, growing, collaborating and holding themselves to the highest standards
  • Coaching recipients are inspired to achieve their desired outcomes
  • The world benefits in many surprising, life-giving ways.


  • Lifelong learning
  • Compassion
  • Integrity
  • Trust
  • Inclusion
  • Innovation
  • Responsibility

The IAC® is on a MISSION to provide a highly accountable learning, certification, and ethical framework for aspiring and experienced coaches, so their mastery of coaching is valued and contributes to the evolution of human potential worldwide.

Members are the essence and life force in the IAC®. Through the members, the IAC® is managed by a volunteer Board of Governors.

The IAC® was established as a nonprofit organization incorporated under the New Mexico Nonprofit Corporation Act. The IAC® is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(6) of the United States Internal Revenue Code as a business league. (Please speak with your financial advisor about whether your donation and membership fees are deductible.)

Non-Discrimination: The IAC® prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. Discrimination, as defined by the IAC®, occurs when a person or a group of people are treated less favorably than another person or group or denied the opportunity to participate freely and fully in activities of the IAC® because of race, color, national or ethnic origin; gender or marital status; disability; religion or political beliefs; sexual preference; or some other central characteristic.

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