From the President

by Bob Tschannen-Moran, IAC-CC

The IAC: A Learning Credential

You may remember my article in the April issue of the IAC VOICE titled The IAC: A Learning Organization. We were on the cusp of approving our new strategic plan at that point, so I wrote to share my enthusiasm for what was emerging around coach certification. Now that we are into the initial implementation stages of that plan, I return to this theme again by sharing how things are shaping up and by challenging you to fully appreciate the significance of IAC membership and certification.

Let’s be clear about one thing: the IAC would not exist without coach certification. From the very beginning, when Thomas Leonard first conceived of the IAC, coach certification was woven into our reason for being. Our original 2003 by-laws described how the IAC would accomplish its mission and purposes by:

  • furthering the interests of coaching clients worldwide, by orienting, evolving and innovating the coaching profession around clients’ best interests;
  • upholding standards of competency, practice and ethics;
  • promoting and fostering cooperation and communication among its members and related organizations;
  • broadening public awareness and understanding of coaching;
  • providing for the professional growth of its members; and
  • advocating on behalf of the collective interests of the clients of coaches, Association members and the coaching community.

If you suspect that Thomas and the IAC were concerned about quality, then you have the right idea. The focus was—and continues to be—on high standards that serve the interests not only of coaches but also of coaching clients. There is nothing more important than client-centered, masterful coaching that holds out the possibility of learning, growth, change and transformation.

Today, the IAC continues to evolve in that great tradition. Our approach to certification upholds high standards of “competency, practice and ethics.” While training, mentoring, and experience are important in gaining coaching skills, we at the IAC believe that there are many paths a coach can take to achieve mastery—some easily documented, some not. So our certification process emphasizes the demonstration of coaching masteries rather than the documentation of methods a coach has followed to achieve such skills. This approach to coach certification reflects our commitment “to advance coaching to the highest standards of universal excellence.”

How do we do that? Our new strategic plan puts it this way: “The IAC is on a mission to provide a highly accountable learning/certification framework for aspiring and experienced coaches, so their mastery of coaching is valued and contributes to evolving human potential worldwide.” I love that combination of words: “a highly accountable learning/certification framework.” Certification is not a prize and it is not the end of the road. Certification is an ongoing process and but one milestone in the continuing journey of a learning professional.

IAC certification is a learning credential. We’ve said that all along, and we’ve said that even more clearly in our new strategic plan. If you want to inspire your clients to achieve their desired outcomes, if you want to surprise the world in many, life-giving ways, if you want to continuously learn, grow, collaborate and hold yourself accountable as a coach, then there is no better certification process on the planet than that of the IAC.

I say that because I am so jazzed about and confident in our emerging process around our personalized Learning Agreements. Soon, hopefully by September, we will be challenging you to create an online Learning Agreement by answering questions about what and how you want to learn in order to become a more masterful coach in the year ahead. We are not requiring any particular development plan. Your uniqueness is fully respected. But for those who would pursue IAC Coach Certification or the new IAC Practitioner designation, we are requiring that you clearly state your learning intentions and that you follow through on those intentions with the active engagement of someone who is evolving as a professional coach and as a contributing member of the worldwide human family.

We will also require annual updates to those personalized Learning Agreements that capture what you want to learn next in light of how your thinking and experience are changing and growing. Although in many respects these are Agreements that you make with yourself, we ask you to share your Agreements with the IAC if you want to be recognized as either an IAC Certified Coach or as an IAC Practitioner (more on this next month). The filing will be confidential unless you choose to share it with the public as part of your profile. I’m sure many coaches, myself included, will choose to do that. It is an honor to be recognized by the IAC, and the Learning Agreements make clear how that honor is being embraced.

I hope you agree with me that the IAC is making strong moves to upgrade the value of our membership and certification. We will be asking you to challenge yourself in the year ahead like never before. That is why I hope you will keep your membership current or join the IAC if you are not already a member. More will follow on when and how to file your Learning Agreements. For those coaches who understand the coaching profession as life-long learning, there’s no better place to be than the IAC, which proudly claims certification as a learning credential. We hope to connect with you soon.

May you be filled with goodness, peace and joy,


Bob Tschannen-Moran, IAC-CC, is CEO & Co-Founder of the Center for School Transformation and President of LifeTrek Coaching International. Bob has co-authored a new book, titled Evocative Coaching, which incorporates the IAC Coaching Masteries® in a coaching model designed for leaders and coaches in K-12 schools.

1 thought on “From the President”

  1. Thank you, Bob, for keeping us up to date with the evolution of IAC. As an IAC Certified Coach, having gone through the process of certifying and using the masteries in my coaching approach with clients, I can attest to the fact that certification is a process, not an event. I am happy to hear about the Learning Agreements and look forward to receiving the template so that I can set my goals. While I have done this on my own over the years, having the IAC participate in that process is a benefit to members. Thank you.

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