A credentialing experience with the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC)

This is a new journey in coaching accreditations following the experience with the International Coach Federation (ICF) (you can see it here -> A Journey to Master Certified Coach) and is also about the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) and its accreditation process.

Why another coaching credential and why with the EMCC?

After Master Certified Coach (MCC), called by some the gold standard of coaching accreditations from the International Coaching Federation (ICF), the world’s leading organisation of professionally trained coaches with 31.878 members (February 2018), I asked myself -> what’s next for me in my coaching path?

The way I chose to make sense for investing in another credential, is that the Journey to Master Certified Coach with the ICF was initiated by a potential client request and after that, I felt a need to get credential from my own initiative. It made sense to go with the second largest coaching association, the EMCC has more than 11.000 members (according to the EMCC welcome pack October 2017). Like the ICF, the EMCC has been growing in membership and getting more international. And it was another part of the coaching world I felt like exploring and connecting with.

As with other professional bodies, in coaching the EMCC and ICF have some commonalities, however in practice members of one association don’t hang out that much with members of the other. They are considered two different communities in the coaching world. In conversations I’ve had with members of both, besides Board level (and sometimes even there) very few members have a clear idea about what the other organisation is about or does.

The EMCC is big here in the UK and since 2004 even has its own EMCC UK. In member size the EMCC UK (around 1700 members) is bigger than the ICF UK (around 1600 members).

A key differentiator from other coaching associations that attracted me to the EMCC are the Organisation Members, which are very strong in the UK and include Academic members (several universities), Coaching and Training Schools, key businesses, consultancies (Delloite, E&Y, KPMG, PWC) and several NHS trusts.

The right side of the homepage of the EMCC UK says “Developing and Progressing”, “Support and Learning” and “Recognition and Belonging”, suppose that most people who go for credentials and join associations are going for those. Could also be good for connecting with the coaching community, developing connections and business.

The ICF to EMCC Bridge

The deal maker for me to move forward with the accreditation with the EMCC was the bridge, which is a simplified application process for ICF credentialed EMCC members to apply for an EMCC accreditation. I can relate to how simple the traditional application process is, considering I had to make an effort to navigate this simplified process, no worries, the EMCC provides a “simple” 30 page guide explaining the process.

It’s interesting to note there is a bridge from ICF to EMCC, however none the other way round. Seems clear to me which of the two is the biggest / most recognised in the market.

What’s the EMCC and its history?

The EMCC website says about purpose and vision: “The EMCC exists to develop, promote and set the expectation of best practice in mentoring and coaching across Europe and beyond, for the benefit of society. Our vision is to be the “go to” body in mentoring and coaching.” —> Well… yeahhh! The EMCC and every other coaching association out there have the vision to be”the go to” body… perhaps a little more ambitious by including -> Mentoring and Coaching. Note that Mentoring is first both in the name of the EMCC and many of its other materials.

While navigating the EMCC and its credentialing process I found a lot of jargon and fancy words, which isn’t a surprise considering its strong academic roots and connections. It was founded in 1992 by five well known names in (UK) coaching: David Megginson, David Clutterbuck, Eric Parsloe, Sir John Whitmore and Julie Hay.

ICF versus EMCC

As mentioned the ICF with 31.878 members (February 2018) is the largest in the world, big in North America (around half of the members are there) where it originated and also very international. The EMCC is big in the UK and Europe (growing in Asia) and strong in research, mentoring and supervision.

This document presents a clear comparison between the requirements, assessments and competences of the ICF and EMCC (and AC).

I asked a fellow ICF MCC and EMCC Senior Practitioner (in upgrading process to Master Practitioner) and one of the very rare coaches credentialed by both associations at the highest levels, what was the difference he found between ICF and MCC. His reply was: “it’s like my left and right hand, they are different and both useful“.

What individual credentialing does the EMCC offer?

The benchmark quality accreditation for on-going application of competence of individual mentors and coaches, the EIA recognises mentors/coaches who maintain a professional level based on the EMCC Competency Framework.

EIA is for European Individual Accreditation. Basically fancy wording for the accreditation process for individuals. The accreditation process for an individual is explained here.

The EIA distinguishes between four levels: Foundation ● Practitioner ● Senior Practitioner ● Master Practitioner.” “To maintain the EIA, a renewal (re-assessment) is required every 5 years.

What’s the difference between the EMCC and ICF credentialing?

Besides that the EMCC has 4 levels and ICF 3 levels, I found the processes very different.

I found the ICF to be much more practical in particular with what are called Performance Evaluations which mean submitting 2 recordings of coaching sessions which are evaluated on the 11 ICF Core Competences at different levels depending on which credential the applicant is applying for.

The ICF credentialing process stretched me into being very aware of the ICF core competencies and applying them during coaching sessions first on a conscious level and then integrating them into my practice.

The EMCC experience has been much more reflective about which models and tools I use, when, how and why I use them and explaining how I’ve developed my own tools and models. It has also been very supportive in raising my awareness on reflection after coaching sessions and integrating reflection as an ongoing practice. This practice has extended to the rest of my life. This experience allowed me to identify in which coaching competences I’m strong and which ones to I need to work at and made me elaborate a plan with next steps on my Continuous Professional Development.

So EMCC or ICF, what’s the best credential?

The experiences with both have led me to agree with the fellow coach mentioned above “it’s like my left and right hand, they are different and both useful“. I can be more specific in one word each by saying that the ICF has been very useful on a practical level and the EMCC on a reflective level.

In my opinion an approach that combines both the the practical (ICF) and the reflective (EMCC) can be more holistic.

A question remains -> how can an EMCC evaluator assess the performance of a coach without actually listening to a coaching session or reading a transcript? The assessment is 100% written. The application consists of one written case study, five “reflection logs” where EMCC competences are matched to coaching/mentoring/supervision or professional development examples and matching competencies EMCC Competence Framework to training and experience.

Overall after both experiences and processes, for me the balance tips in favor of the ICF. Although missing the (very important) reflection part that the EMCC might support.

In summary -> What did you get out of the EMCC experience and is it worth it?

Being out of pocket (love this english expression), i.e. investing a couple of hundred pounds/euros, a couple weeks and couple dozen hours reflecting and writing about my coaching approach, philosophy, models and tools, the EMCC process was worth it. I say a resounding yes, for me personally and as a coach practitioner for the reflection exercise it ignited. On a professional level and in terms of generating business it’s early days, to be seen…




EMCC Accreditation

Coach Accreditation/Credential -> this document includes Requirements Comparison, Assessments Comparison and Common Competencies for the three largest coaching associations -> ICF, EMCC and AC


André Ribeiro is an executive coach and mentor coach. He is Master Certified Coach by the International Coach Federation and Senior Practitioner by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council. 

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