My Credentialing Journey

I first started coaching in the late 1990’s, the Whitmore GROW model was the standard framework. ICF was in its infancy. When I left the UK for New Zealand in 2004, ICF was well known in the UK and Europe. Less so in NZ. Over recent years I’ve seen the ICF presence grow in New Zealand. As a Chartered CIPD and CFHRNZ professional I understood the value of having a credential as a professional differentiator.


Becoming ICF Credentialed stimulated my thinking. How do I know if my practice is up to scratch and current? Well without assessment I don’t. Much of my work is training and educating others in people skills, developing HR professionals, people leaders and teams, consulting on people management and development, and executive coaching. I decided to step back into the shoes of the learner and enrolled on a coaching program. I learned that whilst I was doing a lot of things well, there were a lot of things I needed to improve on.


Why an ICF Credential? It signals that you are committed to developing your practice and ongoing development. Like other credentials I’ve achieved over the years ICF credentialing is testing, rigorous and challenging. For me at this stage in my career working towards credential also signals to others, both developing and advanced practitioners, not to rest on your laurels, that you remain open to learning from others. As coaches we partner with clients to inspire them to maximise their personal and professional potential. As coaches we should be open to doing the same for ourselves, irrelevant of how long we’ve been in the game.

Denise Hartley-Wilkins, ACC, is a member of ICF Australasia, the National President of Human Resources New Zealand and Director of Shine People Consulting, an NZ based people and OD practice. She specialises in organisational culture change, leadership coaching and team development. Denise can be reached via or email