ILM level 5 certificate in coaching – what are the assignments?

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When thinking about a coaching qualification, we are aware that there will be some assignments. Often this is one of the first questions asked when we have enquiries for our courses. Although the ILM does publish details of all the assignments and expectations, a brief summary makes this information more accessible. 

 This blog is that brief summary. An overview of the assignments, and a brief explanation about their purpose.

Level 5 certificate in coaching: what is being tested with the assignments?

Unlike the dedicated coaching bodies, such as the International Coaching Federation, the ILM is a generalist body. They offer qualifications in a number of different areas. For their assignments, they focus on thoroughness, written evidence, and completion of practical activities. They want to see that all learners have fully followed the process that they map out and completed all elements of the assignments.  

In essence, they are testing that you: 

  • Can understand and explain various aspects of coaching 
  • Have carried out the required number of coaching hours 
  • Have reflected, in writing, on your coaching competence 

They are not testing the quality of written English or grammar. Although level 5 programmes are equivalent to a degree, allowances are made for writing styles that may not be at degree level.  

Level 5 certificate in coaching: what are in the three assignments?  

All ILM coaching qualifications have three assignments, that have the appropriate level of difficulty. For the level 5 certificate, the assignments are:

  1. An essay: “understanding the skills, principles and practice of effective management coaching”. The essay is broken down into 12 sections, each with their own title. It is a series of shorter texts (300 – 400 words each), and an opportunity to show your knowledge of these areas. 
  2. Undertaking 18 hours of coaching: to complete coaching in the workplace or elsewhere. To produce a log and other supporting paperwork. 
  3. Reflecting on your coaching: to analyse various aspects of how you coach, and to develop an action plan for continuous improvement. 

All quite logical and sensible. When the assignments are completed, you will have carried out some coaching, been able to analyse your coaching and have a plan for improvement. And you will have been able to write about coaching as a skill. This is very useful for when you start a coaching business or want to introduce coaching to your organisation. 

Is our coaching assessed by the ILM? 

The eagle eyed amongst you will have spotted that these assignments don’t actually include an evaluation of your coaching by the ILM. The reason for this is that the ILM is not a specialist coaching body. So, they don’t have the resource or expertise to carry out that evaluation. It does, however, permit each ILM centre to carry out assessments of coaching sessions – some do, and others don’t. At Love Your Coaching, we do! 

In essence, our final training day consists of all coaches carrying out a coaching session that is graded and evaluated, according to pre-set criteria. Generally, people pass and are assured that their level of coaching is now of a good quality. Those who don’t pass are given extra support and further opportunities to be assessed. It is our commitment that everyone comes out of our qualification programmes coaching at a good standard. 

Support offered by ILM centres 

Each ILM centre offers different levels of support for the assignment part of the qualification. Some devote much of the training room time to assignment writing. Others provide tutorial support after the training days have finished. Others outsource all of the support back to the ILM. At Love Your Coaching we ensure that the needs of all learners are met. We do this with a combination of 1:1 and group tutorials, feedback on assignment drafts, clear timetables. And we also provide extra support for those who haven’t studied for a while, or at all since school! And we have a very high success rate – no fails so far and less than 1% of candidates not completing. 

Final words 

For all coaching qualifications, the assignment element needs to be considered in advance. Part of the reason that we offer ILM qualifications is that the assignments are quite rigorous, but not overly. They do ensure that coaches have followed a process and have completed hours. And the qualification is well respected, which is why it is worth undertaking. 

Happy qualifying and happy coaching! 


If you were stimulated by this article and want to know more about how to use coaching for your career, your organisation or your life generally, then get in contact. Email us at or book in a time for a 30-minute phone or Zoom call  

We look forward to hearing from you! 

Charlie Warshawski is a leadership coach and coach trainer. He runs an accredited coach training organisation, Love Your Coaching, offering coaching qualifications. In his coaching, he works 1:1 with leaders, business owners and entrepreneurs, supporting them on topics that are both professional and personal – according to their needs 

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