Looking for the best online coaching certifications and courses?
You’re in the right place. Today, you’ll learn what a coaching certification is and how to choose one. I’ll also list the best online coaching courses out there in 2023.
Want to learn more? Read on!
What is a coaching certification?
Let’s start with the basics–what is a coaching certification?
A coaching certification is a qualification you get after completing an academic course on coaching.
It’s not the same thing as a coaching course.
Courses typically focus on coaching skills. Depending on the coaching school you enroll in, you might have to take one, two, or three courses to qualify for the certification.
And then there are courses that help you build your business…
But are all coaching certifications the same?
No, they’re not. Let’s talk about the different types of coaching certifications out there.
What are the different types of coaching certifications?
There are plenty of coaching certifications for specific coaching niches.
If you’re a motivational coach, you’ll likely look at motivational coaching certifications.
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If you’re a career coach, career or executive coaching certifications are the way to go.
Or if you’re a health coach, look for a health coaching certification.
And so on.
If you’re unsure about your coaching niche, life coaching certifications are generally a safe bet. Most life coaching certifications are general, and the same principles can be applied to different niches. They mostly focus on core coaching techniques (and possibly, marketing your services).
Now, if you’re unsure what your niche is, take a look at this video on how to choose a niche:
Ultimately, there are many different types of online certifications depending on what type of coaching you want to practice.
The question remains: do you even need a certification or online course to become a coach? Well…
Do you need an online coaching certification to become a coach?
Short answer? No.
That may shock you but let me ask you this:
Have you already coached someone and seen actionable results?
Congratulations! You’re ready to become a coach.
Coaching certifications are a great way to boost your skills, but they’re not necessary. Most clients want to know what results you can help them get, rather than your certification credentials.
I talk more about how to start an online coaching business (without a certification) in this video:
Does that mean you need NO credentials at all? It depends on your niche.
If you want to become a health coach, there are niches where a certification is mandatory (so make sure you keep yourself informed on those niches).
But as far as those niches go where you don’t need a certification, look at your overall experience before getting one. Because if you have, say, a degree in nutrition or you’re a nurse in your 9-5, you have plenty of credentials.
Enroll in a coaching certification if you believe it will help you become a better coach and create results for your clients. However, you can become a successful coach without one.
So if you want to take an online coaching certification, how do you find the right one for you?
How do you choose an online coaching certification?
The first step is to choose the right coaching course and/or certification for you.
Obviously, you don’t want to waste thousands of dollars on a course that won’t help you achieve YOUR goals.
So how do you find one? Ask yourself these questions before signing up:
1. Is this institute or university reputable?
There are tons of coaching courses on the internet that don’t have the credentials or reputation you’re looking for. If you enroll in those certification programs, you could waste thousands of dollars for pretty much nothing.
Not sure if the course you’re interested in is legit? Look out for the seal approval from the International Coaching Federation (ICF). This is the most established organization in the coaching certification space.
2. How long do I want to study for?
Coaching certifications range from a few days to several years. It depends on how in-depth you want to go. How long are you willing to study for?
3. Is the certification program self-study or does it offer live virtual classes?
There’s no right or wrong answer. Some prefer to have live tuition, and some prefer to go at their own pace. Think about your schedule and what fits best for you.
4. What is my budget for my certification?
The price for a six-month coaching course ranges between $4,000-10,000 or $1,000+ for shorter intensives. Think about your budget, but always go for the more reputable option.
5. Does the certification content align with the coach you want to be?
If you want to become a health coach, a life coaching school might be fine, but a health coaching certification is even better. Likewise, if you want to become a parenting coach to new moms, you might want a course that teaches counseling techniques too. Think about your niche and the content that’s most relevant to you.
6. Who are the teachers/mentors?
Finally, a course is only as good as its teachers. Do some digging on who is leading the course and the mentors involved. If the website doesn’t name the instructors, contact the school to learn more. They should be able to give you a profile of their instructors for your peace of mind.
Now you know HOW to choose a school.
Ready to learn about the best online coaching certifications? Let’s take a look.
The 34 best online coaching certification programs in 2023
Now that you know everything you need to know about coaching certifications, here is the ultimate list of online coaching programs out there. I divided the recommendations into sections so you can skip to the niche that applies to you. Let’s dive in!
Note: I haven’t taken these certifications myself. My recommendations are based on reviews and the reputation of the schools. Do your research to make sure the course is right for YOU.
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Best online life coach certifications
First, let’s start with life coaching certifications. Now, I generally don’t recommend that you focus on life coaching as a niche. It’s just too general to be a niche where you can successfully market yourself as a coach.
But life coach certification programs can give you a good coaching foundation irrespective of your niche. If you’re ready, let’s dive right in.
iPEC’s Life Coaching Certification Program is one of the most recognized coaching certifications in the world. It focuses on the iPEC’s signature Core Energy Coaching approach.
The program teaches you to help clients choose good goals and inspire them to improve their lives. You’ll learn effective, scientifically proven techniques to support your clients while they work to achieve their goals. If you want an online course that will make you a master coach, this is the one.
Pricing: $11,950, or payment plans after a deposit of $1,995 with 6-12 monthly payments
Accredited by the International Coaching Federation, the certifications at the Certified Life Coach Institute are amazing. This program has excellent reviews and different levels of tuition depending on your background. The Level 1 training program teaches you the fundamentals of good coaching–communication, empathy, goal setting, and removing blocks.
The Certified Life Coach Institute courses are much shorter than some of the others on this list. So they’re a great choice if you want an intensive fast-track to becoming a top life coach.
Pricing: $995 for a 3-day ICF Accredited program
The Coaching & Positive Psychology Institute (or CaPP for short) has a six-month live virtual program that is perfect for your future as a coach. This is one of the general programs that work for multiple niches in coaching. You’ll gain the tools to teach clients so many life skills, including building happiness, dealing with stress, and goal setting.
The program covers how to build a successful coaching business too. You’ll learn how to coach and how to become a coach. For a coaching course that does it all, this is a great option.
Pricing: $3,495 for a six-month program
The UW Certified Professional Coach Program is great for coaches of all kinds. You’ll learn effective communication, how to inspire clients, and create strong coaching relationships. The techniques you learn can apply to different coaching niches.
If you want an online coaching course that teaches you the basics of coaching in a supportive environment, you’ll love this program.
Pricing: $11,990 (includes mentoring by an ICF Mentor Coach)
Texas State University has a coaching program that covers coaching in-depth. It’s one of the most thorough courses on this list. You’ll learn coaching techniques and the research behind why they work. You’ll also cover important aspects of building a business, like writing coaching agreements and the ethics of coaching.
Practical, comprehensive, and actionable. This life coaching course will take you from beginner to pro in six months.
Pricing: $1,895 for a six-month online course
The Rider University Life and Career Coaching Certificate is like a build-a-bear experience. Depending on your educational background, you have to take two or three courses to get the certificate.
But you can choose those courses yourself, including which niche you want to focus on (life coaching, career coaching, or counseling-based coaching). Few courses give you this much freedom and variety. If you want a custom coaching program, this is the one for you.
Pricing: $5,490 for online tuition
Rhodes Wellness College is a Canadian college that offers a life coaching program. It’s a good fit for you if you want to focus your business on helping people with family or addiction issues. But you’ll also cover business and career-based coaching.
This is a well-rounded program infused with counseling techniques for a unique approach to client success. You can take the program, a 31-week ICF accredited coaching program, online or blended online and in person. To learn a little of everything, this might be the coaching certification you’re looking for.
Pricing: $4,750 for 31 weeks of tuition
If you want to start a great life coaching practice, the Academic Life Coaching Training Program may be perfect for you. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about all kinds of coaching niches–relationship coaching, health coaching, career coaching, and more. The six-month associate program gives you a solid foundation in coaching practices no matter what niche you decide on.
Pricing: $3,240 for six months of online tuition
Best wellness and health online coaching certifications
Now onto the more niche certifications. First up: health and wellness coaching, a popular and profitable niche for coaches but that requires some background knowledge. And these are the best health and wellness coaching certifications online:
The Emory University Health and Wellness Coaching Certificate is highly rated as a detailed, academic program. It’s a live online program that lasts 4-5 months depending on your pace.
This program covers a wide range of health and wellness topics. Everything from mindfulness and stress management to nutrition and exercise.
Health and wellness are broad terms. Want to customize your coaching program to your niche? The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) (Health Coaching Certification Program) is a great choice.
It has over 41 modules covering specific topics to cater to every coach out there. You can take classes on everything from simple exercise and mindfulness to nutrigenomics and biohacking.
Pricing: $6,995 for a 6-12-month course
The International Association of Wellness Professionals has a program focused on holistic health and offers a solid basis in health and wellness concepts. The program covers 12 aspects of wellbeing and health to boost your expertise.
Next, you’ll do 12 weeks of coaching technique study using the CORE principle. Finally, you’ll learn how to build a successful coaching business.
By the end, you’ll be able to review a client’s life holistically and create a structured plan to help them achieve their goals.
Pricing: $4,950 for the live online program
The Health Coach Institute is one of the most highly reviewed schools for health and wellness education. Their signature Life & Health Coach Program creates amazing coaches through their thorough approach.
You’ll learn everything from habit change techniques to advanced nutrition. You also get some advice on how to launch your business. This is a six-month online coaching course made up of self-study videos and private mentoring.
Pricing: $4,950 for a self-study online course
The Mayo Clinic is a famous resource for all your health questions. But did you know they organize an amazing wellness coach training program?
The Mayo Clinic’s program is a 12-week program that covers all areas of wellness coaching. Best of all, the course is accredited by the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching.
However, note that you’re not 100% certified after completing the course. To gain your certification after your training, you need to complete 50 hours of coaching within 2 years of the program.
Best mindfulness coaching courses
What if you’re interested in mindfulness coaching specifically? Many of the health and wellness coaching courses above include mindfulness but becoming a mindfulness facilitator is a totally different path. Let’s look at the best programs to make you a mindfulness master.
UCLA is one of the best universities in the US with one of the top mindfulness programs in the world. This mindfulness facilitation program teaches you the principles of mindfulness and how they apply in different contexts. For example, mindfulness for schools, offices, therapy, and so on.
You need four years of mindfulness practice to apply. Or you can take their intensive course to get you up to speed before becoming a coach.
Pricing: $7,000 for a 12-month live online program
Brown University does some excellent courses for coaches.
This program is three to six years long, making it one of the longest on this list. But you’ll be an accredited expert in the field when you’re done. During the course, you’ll deepen your understanding of mindfulness and how you can coach others to reduce their stress levels.
Pricing: $14,225 for a three-year live online program
The 8-week mindfulness basics course that we know today started at the University of Oxford. So why not learn from the originators to learn how to become an expert mindfulness facilitator? The course will teach you therapeutic practices that can improve your coaching skills.
Note: This is a blended online and in-person course for two years.
UC San Diego’s Mindfulness program is a top program. You’ll learn the fundamentals of mindfulness practice in this 10-week course, which is taught online. However, there are also in-person elements such as your silent retreat requirements and facilitation practice.
The big draw of this certification is the high-quality mentorship you get. Your mentor will teach you how to be the best mindfulness coach you can be.
If you want to start your coaching business quickly, the Centre for Mindfulness Studies MBSR Facilitation Certification is for you. It’s an intensive six-day course that will teach you everything you need to know about the theory of mindfulness facilitation. Most of the work comes from your basic mindfulness training before and your practice afterward. You also have to attend a silent retreat to qualify.
Want a certificate from the accreditors themselves? You’re in luck! The International Mindfulness Teachers Association is the body that accredits most certifications. So their signature programs are high-quality and world-renowned.
The accreditation track will teach you how to mentor clients in mindfulness practices and help them use the skills to improve their lives.
Best executive coaching courses
Are you instead looking for executive and leadership coaching paths? Here are the courses that will turn you into an amazing executive coach.
The Coaching Training Alliance offers a range of well-recognized coaching certifications, such as an executive coaching certification. This certification program is perfect if you’re already a qualified coach and want to specialize in executive coaching. The course is just nine weeks long.
You’ll learn the MORE Model of executive coaching from expert teachers–Model for Organizational, Resource Development, and Executives.
Pricing: $1,750 for nine weeks of online tuition
UC Berkeley has one of the most famous business schools in the world. The Berkeley Executive Coaching Certificate Program is a 10-day intensive that will train you in transformative coaching techniques.
After the course, you’ll get the opportunity to practice for six months in a leading company to hone your skills. If you want a fast track to coaching mastery, this is the certification for you.
Pricing: $9,750 for online tuition
Georgetown University offers a top leadership coaching program that is perfect for future business and executive coaches. The course is certified by the International Coach Federation, so you know it’s a high-quality program. You’ll learn the art of coaching leaders to achieve their professional goals within an organization.
This program is made up of eight mini courses over eight months that you can attend online or in person.
NYU has world-class coaching programs, especially for business and executive coaches. The executive coaching program is a master class in leadership.
Four courses make up the certification, and you have three years to complete the courses and qualify for your certificate. The certificate is accredited by the International Coaching Federation.
Pricing: $10,000 (four individual courses at $2500 each)
The Northwestern University Organizational and Leadership Coaching Certificate is taught in a four-course, 12-month program. It’s detailed, research-backed, and highly rated. The program will teach you a holistic approach to coaching so you can create the best results for your clients.
Pricing: $5,105 per credit ($20,420 for all four courses)
The Executive Coaching Certificate at the University of Toronto is a six-month virtual intensive that will make you a great coach. You’ll learn many coaching models so you can choose the one that works for you. You also get 20 hours of supervised coaching practice to improve your skills.
Pricing: $12,500 CAD for live online and self-study tuition
The Harvard University Leadership Coaching program is a prestigious live, online four-week intensive course that covers the foundations of leadership and professional development. The best part? You’ll get a certificate at the end from the Harvard Division of Continuing Education.
MIT’s leadership coaching program could rival the best of the best. You’ll learn MIT’s signature coaching framework developed by their own researchers, as well as the principles of leadership and performance so you can coach executive-level leaders. The program is a two-day intensive course.
The John Hopkins Essentials of Leadership Coaching course is a three-day intensive program designed to teach you the fundamentals of coaching leaders. Taught completely online, you’ll learn how to apply your coaching skills in professional settings and create transformational results.
The Executive Development program at the University of Pennsylvania gives you a strong foundation in business knowledge. This two-week program will give you experience working with an executive coach too, so you understand the techniques to achieve success.
Brown University is one of the best universities for coaching education. Their performance certification program will give you all the tools you need to coach professionals well. It’s a six-month virtual program with plenty of support. You also get access to a webinar on how to build your coaching business.
Best business coaching courses
Finally, let’s talk about business coaching! Whether you’re coaching startup founders or female entrepreneurs, business coaching is a profitable and rewarding avenue for you as a coach if you’ve previously built at least one business yourself. Here are the best programs to learn how to become a business coach.
The University of Miami Certified Professional Coach Certificate program is perfect if you want a practical coaching course. The program is four months long and covers coaching skills in depth. As the course is broad, you could apply this program to other niches.
The Columbia Coaching Certification Program has three parts: Front-End Coaching, Practice, and Advanced Coaching. These three courses are designed to make you an expert in coaching.
The intensive Front-Ed and Advanced courses are one week each. The practice is seven to eight months. After this program, you’ll know exactly how to coach people to achieve their goals.
I mentioned NYU’s executive coaching program. Now let’s look at their professional coaching certification. To get your certificate, you need to take the three foundational courses within three years.
In the program, you’ll learn coaching skills and theory, and you’ll also get tons of supervised practice.
Pricing: $7,500 (three individual courses at $2,500 each)
The USC Coaching program is one of the best coaching programs in the US. It covers a broad range of topics that can be applied to any coaching niche. You’ll learn how to build a partnership with your client and support them effectively in achieving their goals. You’ll also learn about coaching agreements and why they are so important for your business.
Pricing: $3,800 (includes the required books for the course)
The final program is my own self-study course, Employee-to-Entrepreneur.
If you’re stuck in a 9-5 and want to create a thriving coaching business, this is THE course for you. I will give you the exact blueprint to create a profitable business from scratch.
The best part? This course is designed for you if you’re in a full-time job that you want to be free from.
Note: ETE is not a certification–instead, you’ll walk away with everything you need to build your coaching business as fast and effectively as possible. Just like my student here below:
Want to hear more? Reserve your seat for the next free masterclass.
Over to you!
Now you know the best coaching certifications you can take in 2023 and how to choose the right one for you!
Are you thinking of taking a coaching certification? What type of coach do you want to be?
Let me know in the comments!