As social creatures, humans rely on our relationships with others to maintain happiness and well-being. Relationships also require much work from each person involved to stay balanced and functional. When people hit a roadblock in their significant relationships, they often need help from a professional to help them navigate the rough spots in their relationships.
Family therapists, counselors, and relationship coaches work with families, couples, and individuals to help them unlock their potential for fulfilling, lasting relationships. Whether you are a practicing coach or considering getting into relationship coaching, credentials and certifications from accredited programs will increase your credibility as a coach and establish trust with your clients.
This article looks into five top relationship coaching certifications and weighs the pros and cons associated with each. It also explains why credentials are essential to running a successful coaching business and relationship coaches' role in creating healthier individuals and families.
What is a Relationship Coach?
A relationship coach helps individuals, couples, and families develop skills such as conflict resolution, communication, and setting healthy boundaries so they can enjoy more satisfying and intimate relationships.
While a relationship coach can work with people in a variety of ways, some of the most common types of relationship coaching include the following:
- Marriage Coaching
- Family Coaching
- Divorce Recovery Coaching
- Business Relationship Coaching
- Singles/Dating Coaching
- Couples Coaching
- Intimacy Coaching
Coaches can specialize in one or several types of relationship coaching, depending on their experience and passions. Rather than telling their clients what to do, relationship coaches use various techniques to help people explore their relationships and discover their own path to emotional maturity and satisfying lives.
As with any coaching business, relationship coaches work closely with their clients and see them when they are most vulnerable. This makes trust and credibility essential to running a successful coaching business.
Why it is Important to Get a Certification
Credentials and certifications provide credibility and trust when individuals are considering if they want to work with you as a relationship coach. When you invest in certification, you will help your coaching business in the following ways:
- Allow you to provide better service
- Increase your confidence in your knowledge as a coach
- Build trust with potential clients
- You will stand out from your competition
- Your business will be compliant should certifications become a legal requirement
But what certification programs are the best for relationship coaches?
What to Look For in a Relationship Coaching Certification Program
To find the best certification program to meet your needs, you must be very clear on your most essential details. As you research programs and determine which is the best match for you, consider the following questions:
- Am I comfortable with the cost, and are there any payment plans or financial aid available?
- Is this program appropriate for where I am in my coaching journey?
- Does the program offer continued support and mentorship beyond the initial certification course?
- Is the timing of the course compatible with my current commitments and schedule?
- What accreditations does the organization hold, and are accreditations vital to me?
Certain programs will suit you better than others, depending on how you answer the above questions. Carefully consider the pros and cons of each certification program to determine the best fit.
5 Best Certification Programs for Relationship Coaches
ICF offers several certification pathways for coaches wanting to level their practice. As the most recognized coaching organization in the world, a credential from ICF shows that you have met stringent education standards you demonstrate competency in the coaching standards set for the profession.
An ICF certification can be obtained through three pathway options.
Associate Certified Coach (ACC) - Recipients complete 60 hours of coaching education and 100 hours of field experience coaching clients.
Professional Certified Coach (PCC) - Recipients complete 125 hours of coaching education and 500 hours of field experience coaching clients.
Master Certified Coach (MCC) - Recipients must hold or have held a PCC credential and complete 200 hours of coaching education and 2,500 hours of field experience coaching clients.
- ICF is one of the most respected organizations in the coaching industry.
- Access to a tight-knit coaching community
- Discounts offered to ICF members
- Significant time commitment
Become a Board Certified Coach through CCE’s certification program. You can choose to attend any CCE-Approved Board Certified Coach Training Program for virtual or in-person learning from the list of programs provided on their website. A BCC certification is valid for five years with compliance with CCE policies, including a $40 annual fee.
- Flexible program options
- Easy access with virtual learning
- Only offers the BCC certification
- Not as many perks
The transition to parenthood is one of the most significant changes adults will go through in their life. Help families prepare for this life-changing journey with the Gottman Institute’s research-based approach to relationships.
This certificate program is designed to help you learn how to facilitate parenting workshops for expecting parents in your community. Learn these techniques through either live virtual training or an on-demand training program.
Those who may benefit from completing this program include the following professionals:
- Life coaches
- Mental health professionals
- Midwives and doulas
- Child and family therapists
- Childbirth educators
- Parenting coaches
- Flexible options between live virtual learning and on-demand program
- Includes the Bringing Baby Home New Parents Workshop: Parents Materials Set, which serves as course material for the Bringing Baby Home New Parents workshops.
- An official Gottman Bringing Baby Home Educator certificate and digital badge.
- More expensive
- Less personalized training
RCI is the largest Relationship Coach training organization in the world. Funded in 1997 by a leader in the coaching industry, this relationship coach training program consists of 144 hours of training spread over three sections.
- Foundations of Relationship Coaching
- Relationship Coaching for Singles
- Relationship Coaching for Couples
RCI also offers certification and master certification programs in two areas, Certified Relationship Coach for Singles (CRCS) and Certified Relationship Coach for Couples (CRCC). Each credential program requires the completion of 6-7 relationship coaching-specific courses and 24 hours of documented coaching experience.
- You can use your training towards your ICF certification.
- On-going support and mentoring
- Payment plans available
- There are many fees, including a $79 monthly membership fee and an application fee, in addition to your enrollment fee.
IAP Career College offers an online Relationship Coach Certification Program that is convenient and economical. Meeting high academic standards, this credential shows your clients that you possess the essential skills to be a relationship coach. Suited to those who are new to the relationship coaching industry, this certificate program provides learning opportunities in all aspects of starting a coaching business.
The course material for this part-time program spans five categories, including the following:
- Introduction to Relationship Coaching
- How to Deliver Relationship Coaching Services
- How to Learn Relationship Coaching
- Starting Your Own Relationship Coaching Business
- Getting Relationship Coaching Clients
- The most affordable option
- Includes optional IAPO International Association of Professional Relationship Coaches membership for $2.99 per month.
- Flexible learning environment
- IAP Career College is not accredited by a regional or specialized accrediting agency.
- Some students have reported technical issues with the online platform.
Key Take Aways
- Relationships are vital to our health and well-being, and a relationship coach responds to a critical need in our community.
- A relationship coaching certification will help you stand out and build your credibility.
- Each certification program offers different opportunities; understand what features are most important to you.
- You don’t need to go into debt to become a certified relationship coach.
Once you become a certified relationship coach, you can start building the business you have always dreamed about. If you would like assistance with the day-to-day administrative tasks of running a small business, Practice was developed with coaches like you in mind.
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