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19 Best Executive Coaching Certification Programs (2024)

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What are the best executive coaching certification programs? 

You’re in the right place! Here, you’ll get the best coaching certification programs on the market and how to choose the best one for you. 

Want to learn more? Read on!

You’ll learn:

What is an executive coaching certification?

Let’s start from the beginning. 

An executive coaching certification is an accreditation from an institution that certifies you as a professional coach. 

In other words, it’s a qualification that vouches you’ve completed executive coaching training.

According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF) the number of coaches with a coaching certification has grown from 74% in 2019 to 85% in 2022.

Now, it’s easy to mix up courses and certifications. Think of it this way: 

A course is the curriculum you study. 

But a certification is the piece of paper at the end to say you studied the course. 

Sometimes certifications require more than one course or a minimum number of coaching practice hours to qualify.

When it comes to the programs, the cost varies a lot, and so do the curriculums. Some programs are more focused on getting hands-on coaching practice and the art of coaching well. Other programs focus on leadership and professional development. 

Both approaches are equally valid. It just depends on what you want or need to learn most.  

However, the coaching industry is unregulated. So what organization certifies your certification? 

Many institutions can certify you as an executive coach. The most popular, and the organization that’s closest to being a regulatory body in the coaching industry, is ICF. 

The ICF accredits hundreds of coaching certification programs from different coaching schools around the world.

Its different credentials are: 

  • ACC (Associate Certified Coach)
  • PCC (Professional Certified Coach) 
  • MCC (Master Certified Coach) 

Each application path has several options for earning a credential. All of them have the same requirements, but they depend on the coaching education you’ve already received. 

Because it’s so well-known, you can count on an ICF accreditation as a seal of quality. 

However, some certifications are very credible even if they aren’t accredited by ICF. For example, most university-led programs are not ICF accredited. But if you choose a program from a top university, the quality of those programs tends to be high.

Best executive coaching certification programs

So now you know what a coaching certification is, let’s talk about the best programs for executive coaches. 

Disclaimer: 

I haven’t completed these programs myself. I’m recommending them based on their reviews and the reputation of the school. 

The factors I base my reviews on are the program: 

  • Accreditation
  • Duration 
  • Delivery 
  • Cost
  • Features
  • Who the program is a good fit for 

Read through the program descriptions and decide on the program that works best for your needs. 

Coaching programOrganizationICF-accreditationDurationDeliveryCost
Leadership Coaching Harvard UniversityNo2 daysOnline/in person$2,600 online
$2,865 in person
Executive Coaching CertificateUniversity of TorontoYes6 monthsOnlineCAD12,500
Leadership CoachingMITNo2 daysIn person$5,100
Executive CoachingUniversity of PennsylvaniaNo2 weeksIn person$29,900
Leadership and Performance Coaching CertificationBrown UniversityYes8 monthsOnline/hybrid$10,495 online
$11,495 hybrid
Certified Personal and Executive Coach Program The CaPP InstituteYes6 monthsOnline$3,495
Certificate in Leadership CoachingGeorgetown UniversityYes8 monthsOnline/hybrid$13,995
Certificate in Executive CoachingNew York UniversityYes12 monthsHybrid$12,000
Organisational & Leadership Coaching CertificateNorthwestern UniversityNo12 monthsOnline$20,828
Advanced Executive Coaching CertificationCoaching Training AllianceYes9 weeksOnline$1,750
Certified Professional Coach ProgramUniversity of WisconsinYes10 monthsOnline$11,990
Coaching CertificationiPECYes10-12 monthsOnline$13,395
Executive Coaching CertificationCenter for Executive CoachingYes2-8 monthsOnlineFrom $4,900
Professional Coach CertificationCo-Active Training InstituteYes6 monthsOnline$7,998
Organizational Coaching CertificationInstitute of Executive Coaching and LeadershipYes7 weeksOnline$3,600
Leadership CoachingJohns Hopkins UniversityNo3 daysOnline/in person$3,800
Professional Coach Training ProgramCoach UYes14-23 monthsOnline$10,090
Leadership CertificateUniversity of San DiegoYes12 monthsIn person$8,350
Leadership Coach CertificationThe Academies IncYes10 weeksOnline$3,897

Leadership Coaching

Harvard University 

Screenshot of Harvard University website

Harvard University’s Leadership Coaching program is a leading certification program that’s awarded by one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It’s also taught by some of the best coaches in the world. The Leadership Coaching certification program is only two days long and can work well for you if you want to start coaching fast.  

ICF-accredited: No

Duration: Two full days

Delivery: Online or in person

How to apply: Online

Price: $2,600 online ($2,865 in person)

Key features:

  • Prestigious program packed into two days
  • On-campus or online options available
  • Modules on how to use personal assessment tools

Executive Coaching Certificate

University of Toronto 

Screenshot of University of Toronto website

The Rotman School of Management is an ICF-accredited subsidiary of the University of Toronto. It has a great balance of live in-class executive coach training, self-study assignments, and coaching session practice to make you a coaching master in six months.  The curriculum dives deep into organizational psychology, conflict resolution, and neuroscience for a holistic view of individual and team coaching.

ICF-accredited: Yes

Duration: Six months

Delivery: Online

How to apply: Online

Price: CAD12,500 

Key features:

  • World-renowned coaching program
  • Combination of live online and self-study
  • Hands-on support 

Leadership Coaching

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Screenshot of MIT website

MIT has a two-day intensive that could rival Harvard’s executive coaching program. You’ll learn their signature coaching framework to motivate and inspire executives and leaders to be their best selves. Your program also includes a private 90-minute coaching session with one of the expert coaches at MIT for some extra professional support. 

ICF-accredited: No

Duration: Two days

Delivery: In person

How to apply: Online

Price: $5,100

Key features:

  • Is a prestigious university
  • Includes one private coaching session
  • Focuses on organizational structures

Executive Coaching

University of Pennsylvania 

Screenshot of Wharton School of Business website

The Executive Development program by the University of Pennsylvania is focused on giving you foundational business knowledge to make an impact in your executive coaching business. It’s a two-week program that covers the fundamentals of coaching. You’ll also get to practice your executive coaching skills with supervision. 

ICF-accredited: No

Duration: Two weeks

Delivery: In person

How to apply: Online

Price: $29,900

Key features:

  • Is a highly respected university
  • Includes coaching supervision
  • Teaches you advanced business strategies and critical thinking

Leadership and Performance Coaching Certification

Brown University

Screenshot of Brown University website

What are the best university programs for coaching? The Brown University certification program is definitely one of them. This is a six-month virtual program that teaches you how to coach professionals. Key competencies include decision-making, critical thinking, innovative problem-solving, and motivating teams and individuals.

ICF-accredited: Yes

Duration: Eight months

Delivery: Online or hybrid online & in person

How to apply: Online

Price: $10,495 for the online program ($11,495 for the hybrid program)

Key features:

  • Prestigious university certification
  • Highly focused on leadership and business innovation
  • Hybrid and online options available

Certified Personal and Executive Coach Program

The CAPP Institute

Screenshot of CaPP institute website

The Coaching & Positive Psychology Institute is known as a top coaching school. This program balances both core life coaching and executive coaching skills, while focusing on positive psychology as a means for lasting transformation. You’ll also learn the basics of building a coaching business, from creating a coaching offer to marketing your coaching services to the right clients.  

ICF-accredited: Yes

Duration: Six months

Delivery: Online

How to apply: Online

Price: $3,495 if paid in full (payment plans available)

Key features:

  • Highly respected in the coaching field
  • Balanced program with topics on coaching and business growth
  • Research-based approach

Certificate in Leadership Coaching

Georgetown University 

Screenshot of Georgetown University website

The Georgetown University leadership coaching program is made up of eight mini-courses that take one month each to complete. You’ll learn the mindset, presence, and skills you need to challenge and support leaders.  

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ICF-accredited: Yes

Duration: Eight months

Delivery: Online or hybrid

How to apply: Online

Price: $13,995 

Key features:

  • Focuses on a systems approach to coaching leaders
  • Offers on-campus and online options 
  • Has several start dates per year

Certificate in Executive Coaching

New York University

Screenshot of NYU website

New York University offers a thorough Certificate in Executive Coaching. You’ll need to complete four courses to get certified, each of them 12 weeks long. The program uses a three-pronged approach – the theory and science of coaching, evidence-based models and tools, and ICF core competencies. 

ICF-accredited: Yes

Duration: One year

Delivery: Hybrid

How to apply: Online

Price: $12,000 ($3000 per course with four courses)

Key features:

  • Balances personal and professional coaching skills
  • Based on evidence-based coaching theories
  • Includes four courses of 12 weeks each

Organizational & Leadership Coaching Certificate

Northwestern University 

Screenshot of Northwestern University website

The Organizational and Leadership Coaching Certificate is taught over 12 months and broken into four mini courses. You’ll learn a holistic approach to coaching focused on achieving excellence in the workplace. The program follows a coaching model guiding you through the principles of collaboration, communication, support, cognition, and accountability. With a research-based approach, the curriculum includes actionable techniques to achieve real-life tangible results. 

ICF-accredited: No

Duration: 12 months

Delivery: Online

How to apply: Online; the application process includes a review of employment history, academic record, and personal statement

Price: $5,207 per credit (four credits in total)

Key features:

  • Helps you build a consulting toolkit for organizational performance
  • Is a highly respected university program
  • Follows a four-course sequence

Advanced Executive Coaching Certification

Coaching Training Alliance 

Screenshot of Coach Training Alliance website

The Coaching Training Alliance offers excellent coaching programs widely celebrated in the coaching world. The core program is around six months and can be taken by complete beginners. But this advanced executive path is reserved for experienced coaches who already have an ICF-accredited coaching certification and want to build on that knowledge to develop their coaching skills. So if you have coaching experience but want to shift into the executive coaching niche, this is a great addition to your qualifications. It’s an intense program, but thorough in training you how to apply your coaching skills to professional contexts.

ICF-accredited: Yes

Duration: Nine weeks

Delivery: Online

How to apply: Online (must have an ICF coaching accreditation or Human Capital certification already to apply)

Price: $1,750

Key features:

  • Includes expert mentoring and coaching supervision
  • Applicable to coaches who already have a foundational certification
  • Encourages you to work with a client while studying

Certified Professional Coach Program (UWCPC)

University of Wisconsin 

Screenshot of University of Wisconsin Madison website

The Certified Professional Coach Program is the only certification program in the Midwest with an ICF accreditation. It’s a comprehensive course that teaches you effective communication, how to motivate others, and how to apply core coaching techniques to any coaching niche you choose. As an executive coach, you’ll learn the fundamentals of coaching people in a professional context. But you’ll also dabble in other areas in case you want more flexibility with your approach.

ICF-accredited: Yes

Duration: Ten months

Delivery: Online

How to apply: Online

Price: $11,990

Key features:

  • Includes mentoring by an ICF-certified coach
  • Runs once per year
  • Has a great reputation

Coaching Certification

iPEC

Screenshot of iPEC website

The iPEC Coach Training program is one of the top coaching certification programs. It’s an accredited coach training program by the ICF and backed by hundreds of successful alumni. This coaching certification has three stages to make you a master coach. The program also includes mentoring and expert coaching, so you feel supported throughout your studies. 

ICF-accredited: Yes

Duration: Between ten and twelve months to complete the course in full

Delivery: Mostly online self-study (there is a three-day masterclass you can take in person or live online)

How to apply: Online

Price: $13,395, if paid in full (installments are available)

Key features:

  • Is a well-known coaching program
  • Applies to multiple coaching niches
  • Includes success coaching and peer mentoring

Executive Coaching Certification

Center for Executive Coaching 

Screenshot of Center for Executive Coaching

The Center for Executive Coaching has a range of programs depending on your professional goals and coaching experience. The core program has a proven track record with alumni working with high-level executives and leaders after graduating. It’s a nine-part program, starting with the fundamentals of executive coaching and ending with how to coach business owners. 

ICF-accredited: Yes

Duration: Two to eight months depending on the program

Delivery: Online

How to apply: Online

Price: From $4,900

Key features:

  • A variety of programs on offer
  • Comprehensive nine-part curriculum
  • Highly flexible self-study schedule

Professional Coach Certification

Co-Active Training Institute

Screenshot of Co-Active Coaching website

Co-Active Training is a  coaching theory with four key components: 

  • Fulfillment
  • Balance
  • Process
  • Synergy

The program starts with basic coaching skills before diving into each of the four components in detail. So you get a thorough education on how to coach well in just six months. 

ICF-accredited: Yes

Duration: Six months

Delivery: Online self-study and webinars

How to apply: Online 

Price:  $7,998

Key features:

  • Five mini courses that are three to four days each
  • The Co-Active coaching process is internationally well-established 
  • Tutors are top experts in leadership coaching

Organizational Coaching Certification

Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership

Screenshot of the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership website

The Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership (IECL) has coaching courses for all levels. The Level 1 course focuses on fundamental coaching skills. It’s taught in a combination of live intensive workshops and self-study. You can choose to attend some of the workshops in person or you can take the course entirely online. You then select between two optional paths; the Associate Certified Coach (ACC) path or the Professional Certified Coach path. 

ICF-accredited: Yes

Duration: Seven weeks

Delivery: Online or hybrid

How to apply: Online

Price: $3,600

Key features:

  • Two weeks of preparation work before the course starts
  • Co-coaching sessions for live feedback
  • Minimum of 100 hours of logged coaching hours required to qualify for certified coach status

Leadership Coaching

Johns Hopkins University

Screenshot of Johns Hopkins website

The John Hopkins Essentials of Leadership Coaching is an intensive course taught over three days (18 hours of teaching in total). The curriculum centers on coaching impactful leaders in a fast-changing workplace landscape. You can choose between learning in-person or online with the online course running more frequently throughout the year. 

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ICF-accredited: No

Duration: Three days

Delivery: Online or in person

How to apply: Online

Price: $3,800

Key features:

  • Course covers management, innovation, and leadership
  • Award-winning faculty
  • 100% online live workshop

Professional Coach Training Program

Coach U 

Screenshot of Coach U website

This Professional Coach Training Program focuses on developing your coaching skills. The two phases of the program – Core Essentials and Professional Essentials – cover everything you need to know from motivation skills to building effective coaching packages. Ultimately, Coach U is an established and ICF-accredited certification provider. 

ICF-accredited: Yes

Duration: 14 to 23 months depending on if you do the intensive track or self-paced track

Delivery: Online via live Zoom classes and self-study

How to apply: Online

Price: $10,090

Key features:

  • Option to fast-track your learning
  • Respected program within the coaching community
  • Detailed approach toward the fundamentals of coaching

Leadership Certificate

University of San Diego

Screenshot of University of San Diego website

The Leadership Certificate program by the University of San Diego is unique because it doesn’t just focus on making you a great coach. You also get a lot of support to help with your own professional and self-development. This is a very practical program with peer-to-peer coaching practice, as well as client coaching practice. If you want a comprehensive certification program with plenty of practical elements, this could be the one for you.

ICF-accredited: Yes

Duration: One year

Delivery: In-person only

How to apply: Online (undergraduate degree required)

Price: $8,350

Key features:

  • Focused on leadership coaching 
  • Includes 150 hours of coaching-specific training
  • Teaches you to coach individuals, groups, and teams

Leadership Coach Certification Program

The Academies Inc

Screenshot of the Academies website

The Academies offers a coaching certification program that’s focused on leadership and professional development. This curriculum balances coaching skills with business acumen. You’ll learn about asking the right coaching questions, how to listen actively, and how to apply your skills to boost a company’s bottom line.

ICF-accredited: Yes

Duration: Ten weeks

Delivery: Online

How to apply: Online

Price: $3,897 if paid in full (or four payments of $1014.25)

Key features:

  • Teaches coaching theories backed by neuroscience
  • Focuses on how to structure coaching sessions and effective coaching questioning
  • Offers 15 live class hours taught over ten weeks

How to choose the right executive coaching certification program for you

So as you can see, there are A LOT of high-quality coaching programs out there. How do you know which is the right one for you? 

Ask yourself these questions:

Does the university or coaching institution have a good reputation?

There are a lot of coaching programs that are not worth the investment. A good way to understand whether the certification program you want to enroll in is worth it? Look at reviews and what alumni say about the program. If you want to be on the safer side, go for an ICF and/or university program.   

Is the program ICF accredited?

Not all coaching certifications are ICF accredited, but it is a good sign of quality when shopping for a program. Many universities are not ICF accredited, which is totally fine. In that case, focus on the reputation of the university and the background of the tutors. 

Does the curriculum line up with your professional goals? 

There’s no point in spending thousands of dollars on a certification just for the piece of paper. Invest in a program that will give you the tools you need to create a successful coaching career. Look for a program that teaches you how to coach. (However, as I’ll share in a bit, you will learn how to coach when you’re actually doing it.) 

Does the program include coaching practice and/or private mentoring? 

It’s important to get some coaching practice if you’re totally new to coaching. So seek out programs that include some supervised ways to practice coaching skills and/or mentoring.

Do you have the time to dedicate to the program? 

There are programs as short as two days and as long as 23 months. Beyond that, some courses have more live online classes and others are entirely self-study. If you have a nine-to-five job, what’s going to work best for your schedule? 

What is your budget?

An executive coaching certification can cost over $10K. On the lower end, it can cost at least $3K for a quality program. See what works with your current budget or if there are payment plans available. 

Now you know how to choose a program. But do you even need one? Here’s what you need to know. 

Do you need an executive coaching certification?

An executive coach certification can take months to years of your time. Do you really need one? Legally, you don’t need a certification to become an executive coach.

Coaching is unregulated and so are coaching certification programs. 

But many corporate clients can still require coaches to have a certification. If you work with individual clients, though, they don’t tend to have the same requirements. 

What clients care about are results. 

If you can help them achieve their goals – scale their teams, become better managers, whatever their ultimate goal is – they won’t focus on your certifications. 

For example, Bill Campbell was a legendary executive coach in Silicon Valley. He didn’t lead with any certifications.  

Why? Because his clients cared about one thing: Their results. And those clients included people like Steve Jobs and most of Silicon Valley’s top executives at the time. 

If you want a certification to increase your confidence and get hired by clients who do require one, go for it. But if you have the experience and leadership skills, you might not need a certification

After all, you’ll learn to coach as you coach. 

And you’ll probably offer your first few coaching packages at a lower rate. Once you’ve coached a few clients and have testimonials from them to show your coaching skills, you can increase your rates. 

Frequently asked questions

How much does an executive coaching certification cost?

Coaching certification programs can cost between $4K – $10K+. Some university certificates cost over $20K. The cost is dependent on the length of the program, the mode of delivery, and the reputation of the coaching institution or university.

What is the best executive coaching qualification? 

The best coaching qualification for you depends on your goals, timeframe, and experience. Regardless of these factors, the best certification will come from an established coaching school or university. It will have great genuine reviews from former alumni. By choosing an established program, you increase the perceived value of your certification. 

What’s next? 

There you have it! Those are the best executive coaching certification programs to help you on your coaching journey.

Look for a program that gives you the support to become the executive coach you want to be. 

The next step is to get started building your coaching business.

How? 

That’s what you’ll learn in my six-figure coaching blueprint. 

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Read more:

How to Become a Leadership Coach

Best Life Coaching Certifications

Top Coaching Certification and Courses

How to Become a Career Coach

Best Career Coaching Certification Programs

How to Become a Coach

About Luisa Zhou

Luisa Zhou has helped thousands of students build and scale their own profitable online Freedom Business. Fun Fact: She used to work as an engineer for the Space Station and holds a B.S.E. from Princeton. Click here to learn more about Luisa.

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