Comparison between ICF Certification and NLP. Which one is better and for whom?

icf certification and nlp

Comparison Between ICF Certification and NLP

Coaching and NLP are two terms that have been confusing people more than ever before. As both the fields are gaining more popularity, the confusion seems to increase even more. Interestingly instead of gaining more clarity about this, we have started hearing more confusing terminologies as NLP coaches. So, when someone intends to learn something new it’s almost hard for them to figure out what should they choose. 

Due to lack of clarity on what is coaching, what is ICF Certification on coaching and what is NLP, when someone completely new to the world of both coaching and NLP intends to know more then they get enticed more towards choosing NLP ACC Certification coaching, wherein people come to believe that they are getting both the certifications, which is not correct. Interestingly if the training school has NLP programs being offered they claim NLP certification is better and if the training schools provide coach training they suggest for coaching certification. So instead of coming any closer to reality the results are more confusing. 

So to gain complete clarity on this subject of coaching ICF Certification and NLP let’s start from the beginning:

Preliminary Understanding:

What is NLP ?

NLP is neurolinguistic programming. This is an approach that helps us to work on our communication and behaviour. It is a model that influences our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and behaviours in yourself and others. It helps us to model and an empowering language that helps to change unwanted habits, beliefs, thoughts, assumptions and meanings. This helps us to meet our goals and outcomes easily. To put comprehensively, NLP is a methodology of studying how humans respond to their experiences. We give meaning to our experiences in the form of language and behaviour. Now let’s explore more about coaching.

What is ICF Coaching?

Coaching is partnering with clients in thought provoking and creative conversations that have the propensity to maximize client’s personal and professional potential. Therefore, coaching is a guided method facilitating the client to self-enable in realizing their desired outcome. Depending on what will serve the client towards their learning and growth, coaching methods are selected to augment the process of enabling. 


What is the purpose of NLP and Coaching. What is it trying to achieve? 

Let’s start with NLP. Neurolinguistic techniques were introduced based on the study that how some therapists are able to produce much better results for their clients than others. How does that work. For this interesting modelling techniques were researched and introduced, which when implemented helped to work on communication and behaviour patterns of individuals. 

Therefore, experience suggests that NLP techniques help to improve your confidence, self-awareness, communication skills and the way you perceive the world. It works to program the mind in such a way that helps to incorporate better habits. It helps to heal wounds and traumas and also shift perspectives which help to change behaviour patterns. It allows individuals to become aware and better manage their internal processes like voices, mental maps, stories and the visual images. It has also been experienced that NLP can be used as a therapeutic tool to manage phobias, anxieties, allergies, specific fears and emotional blocks.

When it comes to coaching, Coaching is a process of work that is aimed to clients performance by tapping the inner potential. It is a way of reflection and action with knowledge, awareness and skills. Professional coaching acts as a driving force that liberates deep human potential and generates new possibilities, actions, ideas, models and behaviours that lead to super success. If NLP is the methodology of studying methods of human communication and behaviour, coaching is the method of serving the client using many such methods depending on the dexterity of the coach and what would serve the client, most importantly. 

Scope of work:

NLP has a broad methodology and a wider area to work and play with. Practioners can identify, describe and apply strategies in different areas of their life. Therefore it’s application is broad and far and can be imbibed in different areas of life. 

However coaching is a structured method of communication that allows the client to identify the most important goals, personal values and to identify specific strategies, resources and support required to take action steps to achieve the desired goals and outcomes. 

So NLP and coaching definitely overlap in many areas. To put it simply, if NLP deals with identification of strategies then coaching allows the client to identify and work on the strategies in specific action steps towards their goals achievement. 

Unlike therapy and counselling, coaching is not primarily focused on past or childhood traumas that might be the root of someone’s adult anxiety issues. Instead a professional coach focuses on the future by using the present to help the clients gain clarity on what they want in future, why they want it and how they can work towards it. Life coaching as a profession emerged in early 2000 empowering people with what works and what can take them from where they are to where they want to be.

Science or Pseudo science: 

Herein it’s interesting to see if Coaching ICF Certification and NLP are Scientific fields of study or they are pseudoscience subjects of discussion. Well, some regard NLP as pseudoscience as there is very limited or no empirical evidence that it works as it is promoted to be. In words since NLP cannot be scientifically provide as a cause and effect kind of relationship, therefore its research is limited. 

However there is plenty of evidence by practioners of its usefulness and relevance in real life. Coaching is both a science and an art. It helps clients to get desired outcome. And the results can be tried and tested by the clients themselves and it is personalised way of practising this profession that makes it quite unique and artistic for coach to work. 

I personally believe that coaching has a very eclectic approach. Coaching uses several models, tools and techniques and NLP is one of them. If NLP is used for working on limiting beliefs, phobias, bad memories and or bad habits, generating new behaviours then coaching is a journey from the beginning to the end towards client’s goal achievement and in the process helping the client to evolve at a higher level of consciousness. Therefore, NLP can be considered as a powerful supplementary skills that help the professional coaches to serve their clients more deeply and progressively. 

We at Cocoweave Coaching International offer ICF Approved Life Coach Training Certification Programs for both Level-1 (ACC Certification) and Level-2 (PCC Certification). Our training curriculum is based on ICF based core coaching competencies and on these foundational work, there are umpteen neurolinguistic programming techniques are integrated to ensure that you develop your coaching practices based on comprehensive learning and can serve your clients more efficiently and progressively. 

The ICF Coaching Certification you will have the opportunity to put the learnings into practice on yourself, as an individual practioner, irrespective of your professional background as a Trainer, Speaker, Leader, Doctor, Designer, lawyer, Teacher, Scientist, Researcher, IT, Finance Professional, whoever you are, and then you also learn how to help your clients to make continuous incremental changes in their life towards the progressive goals that they set for themselves. 

You will systematically learn the process of identifying your blockages to success and also to allow your clients to identify and remove such blockages in the form of limiting belief systems, patterned negative thinking and constricted behavioural approach. You will get a wide range of tools to work with to help your clients remove those barriers and create a clear compelling path that will allow them to fulfil their goals, ambitions and outcomes that they are truly passionate about with ease and confidence. 

Good Luck !

Written by Honey Gudh, PCC

Would you like to work on your self-developmental skills and make difference to the world? I invite you to join our Life Coaching Training Program at ACC level and PCC level. This training program is ICF approved and offers 154+ hours of approved coach specific training hours, peer practice coaching, observed coaching and mentor coaching hours and has many exclusive offerings for participants.

New Batches are commencing from:

  • 23rd April’2024 Online Interactive ICF level-2 Training (PCC Level)
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ICF Certified Coach - Honey Gudh - PCC Certified 20 years of Experience - ICF Coaching Education
ICF Certified Coach – Honey Gudh – PCC Certified
20 years of Experience – ICF Coaching Education

I offer trainings both at ACC Level and PCC level that are largely based on PURPOSE Model of Coaching that works truly students to make Transformational Leaps by tapping on their true potential both at Personal and Professional levels. You are invited to attend my Free Live Interactive Webinar Every Wednesday 8-9 PM and Every Sunday 12-1 PM. Please Book here:

I have been in this space of learning, training, mentoring and coaching for a long time, (since 2001) and have served many international conglomerates, with resounding success, learning and growing with every experience! I share incredible coaching tools and exercises, intensive coaching library, self-assessment dashboards and toolkit to accelerate your understanding of ICF coaching competencies at each level of ACC and PCC.

I offer trainings on core coaching competencies relating each with real life examples derived from your life, creating opportunities to learn and grow with every moment that we interact. You get an opportunity to put your learnings to practice through extensive practice coaching sessions with your peers and clients and continuous observations to improvise your learnings. 

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