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How the International Coach Federation Has Grown Over the Last 10 Years

The International Coach Federation (IFC) is the foremost global Coaching organization and the voice of the profession. They define coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential”.

The IFC’s chief role is to improve and advance the coaching profession through high standards, certification, and by establishing a worldwide network of well-trained coaches.

ICF also accredits programs that deliver coach-specific training. ICF-accredited training programs are comprehensive with a meticulous review process which validates that the curriculum aligns with the ICF Core Competencies and Code of Ethics.

Over 18,700 coaches in 114 countries hold one of three ICF Credentials.

• 11,046 Associate Certified Coaches
• 6,968 Professional Certified Coaches
• 682 Master Certified Coaches
The number of worldwide coaches rose from 47,500 in 2012 to 53,300 in 2016 with about 1,500 additional coaches each year for the last four years. Western Europe boasts the largest number of coaches with 18,800 in 2016. North America was close behind with approximately 17,500 coaches in 2016.

ICF has also accelerated its membership over the last ten years with:

• 13,400 members in 2007
• 15,800 members in 2008
• 15,949 members in 2009
• 17,648 members in 2010
• 19,127 members  in 2011
• 20,222 members in 2012
• 22,135 members in 2013
• 24,100 members in 2014
•26,476 members in 2015
• 29,198 members in 2016
• 30,578 members in 2017

Today the IFC can proudly say they have more than 130 chapters in over 70 countries, and members in 138 countries.

IFC began cultivating this vast expansion in 2013 through strategic assessments aimed at increasing diversity and enhancing network opportunities for professional coaches. The resulting business plan targeted a specific audience for ICF membership, professional development, and credentialing services.

Utilizing global market research to calculate the potential size of the market fused with a value-based pricing approach to identify appropriate membership fees, the strategic plan project revealed their target market was greater and more global than expected, plus they were undervaluing membership. So, they raised membership fees to tangibly reflect the value of an IFC membership and the earning power of their core members.

They also conducted research which showed that 97 percent of IFC members used LinkedIn for networking. So, it made sense to use LinkedIn for their recruitment and awareness campaigns. The ICF applied LinkedIn targeting tools to reach individuals with the most desirable job titles and at the right career levels best suited to membership in their organization.

They used several different promotional tools on LinkedIn to make a great impression on their target audience.

• The InMails were personal and straightforward, inviting prospective members to discover more about the organization.

• With Sponsored Content, IFC shared information about membership benefits, their leadership, and the value of joining ICF.

• The Display Ads featured photos and quotes spotlighting the coaches behind the organization and put a face to IFC’s members.

The ICF also runs its own LinkedIn group with nearly 60,000 members discussing the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of coaching.