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Recording & Transcribing for Coaches

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

The best ways to do so in 2019 and why it's important

You may have only heard of recording and transcribing being done in your voice-to-text voicemail or maybe in a courtroom. But recording and transcribing is an integral part of coaching.

I don't know about you, but this raises a couple questions, the usual one's; who, what, where, when, why, and how?

Let's begin with why.


1. - In order to obtain several credentials from the ICF, International Coach Federation, the submission of recordings of coaching sessions is necessary if you are going the portfolio route to obtain your credential. ICF reviews and scores these recordings based on your ability to coach in the coaching session.

2. - You can learn a great deal from listening to yourself coach. It has the potential to teach you many ways in which you can grow and improve as a coach.

3. - It is a great way to document your work, your client's growth, and also have for future reference.


Who should you record? Aren't sessions confidential? Yes, you will be recording a session with one of your regular paying clients; now you coaches who are coaching other coaches, the ICF and every other coach recommends you do not record one of your coach clients. This is because your coach clients know how to coach, and it is not the best forum to showcase your skill set as a coach and will lead to lower scores when ICF reviews the recordings.


Anywhere you typically have a session; although, if you meet in a more public setting with a lot of background noise, probably best to pick a quiet spot this time.


As often and as much as possible, you likely do not want record your first session with a client, you may want them to get comfortable first. However, if you wish, you can record every session. Just remember the more recordings you have to choose from when it comes time to submit the better. It allows you to choose the best of the best. Also on the topic of "when", ICF only allows 20-60 minute sessions to be submitted, not a minute more.


Self explanatory. So let's ask what makes a good session in the eye's of the ICF and what are they expecting. Here is an excerpt from ICF's Recorded Coaching Instructions:

"Each recording should be of a complete coaching session only (additional discussion of training, discussing a client contract, interviewing the client, etc. are not to be part of the recorded coaching session)... The recordings must be of actual client coaching sessions between you and a paid or pro-bono client. The client may not be a coach unless the coach is one of your regular clients. Sessions that occur as a part of coach training may not be used.
ICF suggests making several recordings before you submit one, and you select a recording that demonstrates using a wide variety of ICF Core Competencies. Keep at least one copy of the recording for your records. Only a recording in one part is acceptable... It is your responsibility to listen to your recording and make sure the conversation is audible and clear. The quality and proximity of the microphone are much more important than the bit rate of the recording in determining the overall quality of the recording. Inaudible recordings will result in lower scores and delays.
Also, the recording cannot be edited. If an assessor deems the recording has been edited, they can elect to fail it. "

You can download the rest of ICF's requirements and upload instructions, as well as your client release forms right here.


There are several options when it comes to recording and transcribing your sessions. ICF's official recorders and transcribers are Others recommend,

Here are 3 links that may help you decide who to go with:

Whichever path you choose make sure you listen to your recordings before submitting, you may be surprised by how much you can learn.

This article and many more like it, plus other helpful downloads can be found in Certified Life Coach Institute's Life Coach Toolbox. Here are a couple of useful downloads:

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