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.

Many organizations try to regulate excellence into coaches. In contrast, the IAC puts faith in excellence.

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.

We know the demonstration of masterful coaching, partnered with a keen understanding of the necessary skills and code of ethics, combined with valuable life and work experience are the best – dare we say only – valid and accurate ways to assess the skills of a coach.

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

AboutThat is why companies and clients know when they hire an IAC Certified Masteries Coach® or Master Masteries 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.

Our mission is to expand the path to coaching mastery by inspiring the on-going evolution and application of universal coaching standards. Our focus is on the improvement of the coaching profession overall, and is not on the performance of particular services for individuals. 

Thomas J Leonard

Thomas 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.

Viable and relevant coaching associations, like coaches themselves, must evolve and respond to the needs and expectations of the profession, our members, and the clients we serve. You should expect no less from the IAC®.

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 IAC 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.

The 4 phases of development and implementation were created by teams of coaches from multiple countries and a variety of coaching models. Please see the list of coaches on the Friends of the IAC® page.

One of the reasons people are drawn to coaching revolves around it’s departure from “business as usual”.

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

 The IAC® enVISIONs a world in which:

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

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.

The IAC®exemplifies the following VALUES:

  • Lifelong learning
  • Innovation and change
  • Diversity and inclusiveness
  • Partnership and caring
  • Openness and transparency
  • Abundance thinking and trust
  • Sustainability and responsibility
  • Inner peace and centering
  • Integrity and high ethical standards

Members are the essence and life force in the IAC®. Through the members, the IAC® is managed by a volunteer Board of Governors. Governors serve staggered terms and new governors are elected from time-to-time by the Board. The Board’s Executive Committee is comprised of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Immediate Past President.

Acting on behalf of the members, the Board of Governors determine the policies of the Association, and ensure that the objectives of the Association are actively pursued. Each board member also chairs a committee/portfolio of their choice, among the available committees/portfolios. This may include, but is not limited to, Membership Services, Member Benefits, Research, Masteries Licensing, IAC Chapters, PR and Marketing, etc. Attendance at monthly board and/or committee meetings, that meet via teleconference, is required.

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.)

To date, more than 25,000 coaches in over 80 countries have been involved with the IAC® and explored the IAC Coaching Masteries™. Due to its simplicity, flexibility and very high quality standards, an increasing number of coaches aspire to IAC® certification.

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.


Contact the IAC®

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