IAF Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF) | The Process PDF Print E-mail


"An IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitator (CPF) is a credentialed Facilitator who has demonstrated evidence of meeting the IAF Core Facilitator Competencies."


CPF Overview

In response to the needs of IAF members and their clients, IAF established the Professional Facilitator Certification Program. The Professional Facilitator Certification Program provides successful candidates with the professional credential IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitator (CPF), as signified by a certificate. This credential is the leading indicator that the Facilitator has demonstrated each of the IAF Core Facilitator Competencies.

Why is it Important?

Becoming a CPF gives a Facilitator the opportunity to be assessed and receive valuable feedback from his or her peers. The IAF also becomes a valuable network resource. In addition, CPFs receive professional recognition that provides a competitive edge.


Note: Some organizations will not hire Facilitators unless they are a CPF.


To become a CPF requires a process as outlined below as well as meeting the IAF Core Facilitator Competencies defined by the IAF.

The Process

The process to become a CPF:


  1. Get Trained.
  2. Gain Experience.
  3. Apply for Assessment (you have to be a member of the IAF to apply).
  4. Be Assessed.

To maintain certification:


  1. Maintain membership with the IAF.
  2. Continue Learning.
  3. Be Re-certified every 3-years.


Get Trained

In being assessed, the candidate CPF has to document his or her training. Training may have taken place at any time. The Assessors are looking to see what type of training the candidate CPF has received - this helps determine what breadth of knowledge he or she may have gained.


Note: Those who facilitate without having been trained often make too many mistakes, which affect the outcome, develop too many bad habits, which hinder the process, and lack sufficient tools to deal with Participants and reach consensus.


Gain Experience

In being assessed, the candidate CPF also has to document his or her workshop facilitation experience. It is required that the candidate CPF has facilitated at least 7 workshops during the past 3 years. This experience is important in applying what was learned and knowing how it works in practice.


Apply for Assessment

The candidate CPF must be a member of the IAF to request the assessment application forms from their website – www.iaf-world.org. The application requests contact information, training, experience, and resume. The candidate CPF must describe 7 workshops briefly and 1 in detail. The application is submitted through the IAF website, with the fee and is then put through the first assessment.


Note: Assessment events are scheduled periodically around the world.


Be Assessed

This is a 2-step process:


  • Documentation Review – Initial Assessment
  • Assessment Day


First Step - Documentation Review. This is an initial assessment of the application submitted. The application is assigned to 2 IAF Assessors. The Assessors look for evidence of training, experience, and having demonstrated the IAF Core Facilitator Competencies. The result is either a “pass” with an invitation to the Assessment Day, or a “defer” with feedback as to why the Assessors deferred the candidate application.

Second Step - Assessment Day. This generally occurs at an IAF conference usually 2 or 3 days prior to the start of the conference. When invited to Assessment Day, candidates are given information regarding a Case Study and 2 assigned IAF Assessors – this is sent weeks in advance of Assessment Day. Each candidate is responsible to prepare an assigned Case Study as if a real workshop and contact the designated Assessor as if a real client.


During Assessment Day, all of the candidates and IAF Assessors meet for a morning briefing and the schedule for the day. The assessment begins with the first interview. Assessors interview each candidate for 30 minutes. They are looking for clarification and evidence ensuring that each candidate has not missed anything and that the candidates have demonstrated the IAF Core Facilitator Competencies required.


After the interview, candidates are divided into groups of 5 to 7 candidates with 4 IAF Assessors. Each candidate facilitates for 30 minutes. At the end of that time, the Assessors discuss, amongst themselves, the candidate's performance while another candidate sets up.


The final portion of the day is a second interview with the IAF Assessors. The Assessors are looking for answers to any seemingly missed competencies or clarification regarding what was done in the workshop. This lasts 30 minutes, at which time, each candidate is told whether he or she receives a "pass" or a "defer" along with verbal feedback.

About 3 weeks after the assessment event, all candidates receive written detailed confidential feedback on his or her performance along with their certificate.


Note: If deferred - he or she may reapply and be reassessed.

To Maintain Certification

Achieving a CPF designation is only the beginning. To maintain certification, CPFs must also maintain membership with the IAF. Each CPF must be re-certified every 3 years. As a CPF, it is important to continue learning, to stay abreast of new ideas, tools, and concepts, and to stay involved with and support the IAF and the CPF program.


For more detailed information regarding the IAF Six Core Facilitator Competencies as defined by the IAF - see the IAF website - www.iaf-world.org


The IAF Professional Facilitator Certification Program provides an effective way to assess if a Facilitator can demonstrate meeting the IAF Core Facilitator Competencies. Note:  Achieving the designation of IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitator (CPF) is an exciting and rewarding accomplishment.


FoCuSeDLogoOur core FoCuSeD™ Facilitation Classes support the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) Core Facilitator Competencies and what students need to learn to achieve them, enabling those people who with to pursue their IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitator (CPF) designation.  See Facilitator Certification... by Gary Rush, IAF CPF