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WABC Certified Master Business Coach® (CMBC®)
WABC Global Standard:
Qualifications for Business Coaches
Applies to:
Candidates and holders of this credential only
Type of Qualification:
Designation: Professional certification*
Level of Qualification:
Level 3: For master business coaches
Name of Qualification:
WABC Certified Master Business Coach (CMBC)
November 13, 2008
Open | Accepting applicants

WABC's Commitment to Excellence
The Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC) is the first global professional association representing the business coaching industry. Since its inception in 1997, WABC has dedicated itself to raising the profile of business coaching—still an emerging profession—and to differentiating it from coaching in general.

How? Through our principled approach of engaging in disciplined self-regulatory activities to increase public trust in our industry worldwide as it develops. We've identified our emerging profession. We've conducted groundbreaking investigations into what defines a competent business coach. We've further defined and standardized the activities and competencies of business coaching.

The results? WABC has done more than any other organization to identify the tasks, qualities and skills of the business coach. WABC's activities set the gold standard for business coaching and help decision-makers around the world when they screen, hire, train and evaluate business coaches.

About CMBC
The WABC Certified Master Business Coach (CMBC) is a global credential intended for master business coaches. CMBC recognizes business coaches who apply their coaching to a broad range of organizations and who are equipped to operate at all levels of an organization and to deal with the ambiguity of an open coaching agenda that may have a more indirect impact on business outcomes. These master coaches may be accountable for critical analysis, diagnosis, design, planning, execution and evaluation and they may also choose to specialize.

Purpose of Qualification

  • Sets global standards for master business coaches, and clearly identifies these standards for buyers of business coaching
  • Provides an independent, robust, transparent assessment process that recognizes appropriate levels of education and continuing professional development for mastery in business coaching
  • Promotes high-caliber business coaching services for the benefit of clients
  • Contributes to the definition, development and self-regulation of the business coaching profession

Type of Qualification
CMBC is an independent, evidence-based certified designation (no prerequisite credential required**).

Granting Institution
CMBC is awarded by WABC, headquartered in Canada.

Benefits of CMBC
Three top benefits of CMBC:

#1—CMBC is an evidence-based qualification
CMBC is the product of rigorous research, development and testing. As an evidence-based designation, CMBC is guided by relevant global standards developed by WABC through extensive study and industry consultation. The WABC standards undergo a comprehensive annual review to ensure that they stay relevant and continue to set the highest global standards for business coaches at this level.

#2—CMBC is business coaching focused

CMBC designation, and the training leading to it, are built around a coaching-specific curriculum that's current, rigorous and based on thoroughly researched business coaching competencies. CMBC signifies that you've gone beyond general coach training to build the specialized competencies and skills of a master business coach.

#3—CMBC is publicly valued
Standards-based designations like CMBC help establish business coaching as a profession worthy of public respect and trust. CMBC tells the marketplace that business coaching professionalism and excellence matter to you, and in this way you'll boost the prestige and professionalism of your practice and advance the credibility of the industry.

Routes to CMBC
WABC Accredited (Level 3 - CMBC) Programs
- Available
Level 3 programs are those suitable for CMBC. (Learn more about WABC Accredited programs in the “More Information” section below.)

Independent Portfolio - Not Available
This route is intended for those professionals who seek to engage in an independent approach rather than through a formal WABC Accredited program. This route is not currently available for CMBC.

How to Earn CMBC

You are an ideal candidate for CMBC if you are:
  • A senior leader or manager wishing to engage with leadership coaching, or you are moving to a development role within your organization or to freelance work as a business coach, or
  • An internal business coach who works at senior levels of management. You provide the same level of service expected of external coaches but within the confines of your own organization (you may however have gained experience across a range of organizations), or
  • An external business coach who works across a range of organizations and at senior levels of management, or
  • An external consultant wishing to enhance your coaching offer. You will often be working across a range of organizations and at senior levels of management.

To earn the CMBC, you must meet these requirements:
  • Pass a screening interview with a WABC Accredited (Level 3 - CMBC) program instructor;
  • Have at least five years of business coaching experience (external or internal coaching or a combination of both);
  • Meet minimum WABC membership requirements for masters (currently WABC Full Membership;)
  • Be a current WABC member in good standing***; and
  • Successfully complete a WABC Accredited (Level 3 - CMBC) program.

***Please Note:

  • It's common for candidates to join WABC during the program. If you have joined during your program and then allow your WABC membership to expire before you complete the program, you will be asked to rejoin WABC and pay the applicable new member fees before receiving the designation.
  • You have five years from the date you graduated from the WABC Accredited (Level 3 - CMBC) program to become a WABC member (see minimum membership level above).
  • If the Level 3 program you completed was recently accredited by WABC, check with your program instructor or WABC for more details about your eligibility for CMBC.

How to Maintain CMBC
Ongoing Requirements
As a certification designation, you must continue to meet these following requirements:

  • Remain, every year, a WABC Full Member in good standing; and
  • Submit a record of your professional development, which includes client input, for approval five years from the date you graduated from the WABC Accredited (Level 3 - CMBC) program, and every five years thereafter.

Effective January 17, 2014, the five-year PD record review fee is US$350. If your PD record requires a second review (when it is not approved), or if you submit your record after the relevant deadline(s), the fee is US$450.

Taking a Sabbatical
Taking a sabbatical during your career may affect your CMBC designation.

  • If you offer business coaching services during your sabbatical, you will retain your CMBC as long as you continue to meet the requirements listed above under "How to Maintain CMBC." If you do not meet those requirements, your CMBC will be revoked (see "When CMBC Can Be Revoked" below).
  • If you do not offer business coaching services during your sabbatical, you are no longer eligible for WABC membership. You must resign your membership as specified in our Terms of Membership, and your CMBC will be revoked (see "When CMBC Can Be Revoked" below).
When CMBC Can Be Revoked
CMBC can be revoked under certain circumstances. Examples include not meeting the credential verification or re-certification requirements or being cited for a legal or ethical violation. If your CMBC credential is revoked, you will no longer be able to use the designation and you must remove all references to it, including logos, from your marketing, promotional and other material. You must also return your non-refundable certificate to WABC.

How to List CMBC
Current holders may list this WABC designation in full as follows: WABC Certified Master Business Coach™ or as initials without periods as follows: CMBC™ or both ways as follows: WABC Certified Master Business Coach™ (CMBC™).

Please Note: WABC members who hold any educational degrees, or any professional designations from organizations other than WABC, must have these credentials (now and in the future) verified by WABC if they wish to list them in any materials that display WABC trademarks (e.g., WABC name, logo, designations). This requirement applies to members' own materials (e.g., marketing and promotional material, résumés, business cards, website, email signature block) that contain WABC trademarks as well as to WABC materials (e.g., website, member correspondence). For full details, refer to our Use of Designations Policy, Trademarks and Logo Use Policy and Logos and Guidelines.

What's Your Next Step?
Learn more. Get more details about the WABC Accredited (Level 3 - CMBC) programs available.
Get in touch. Contact WABC.

More information
*What is certification?
Certification is a voluntary process by which a nongovernmental body recognizes an individual who has successfully met predetermined qualifications.

**What do you mean when you say "no prerequisite credential required?"
This means you do not have to possess other WABC or non-WABC credentials in order to pursue CMBC. Instead, you need to meet the requirements as explained in the "How to Earn CMBC" section above. This further speaks to another unique aspect of WABC's suite of designations for business coaches—coaches can seek to earn the designation(s) that is right for them at any point in their careers.

What is unique about a professional certification designation?
It is the most rigorous level of professional credentialing available for individuals. Professional certification designations that follow industry best practices require validation, carry re-certification requirements and are subject to revocation. CMBC adheres to these best practices.

Why do I have to renew my professional certification designation?
Professional certification programs grant "working or applied" credentials. Unlike certificate, degree and other education programs, which transfer knowledge and skills, professional certification measures how an individual uses knowledge and skills in real-life situations. By certifying that the holder is able to practice at a certain level, certification maintains public trust in the delivery of a certain service. For a professional certification designation to remain valid, the holder must stay abreast of the current practice and theories. That's why it's a certification best practice for holders to meet ongoing requirements, such as continuing professional development, to maintain their designations.

What are WABC Accredited programs?
WABC provides program accreditation for qualified third-party programs. For programs to become accredited by WABC, they must successfully pass WABC's rigorous program accreditation process including review and assessment by independent Accreditation Decision Boards. Learn even more about WABC Accredited.

Other WABC programs
Qualifications for Business Coaches

WABC reserves all rights in connection with the WABC Certified Master Business Coach (CMBC) designation, including the right to change the requirements of CMBC designation, and to replace CMBC designation.

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