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Best Executive Coaching Certification Programs of 2021

by | May 18, 2021 | Best Ofs, Executive Coaching

The Executive Coaching industry is growing rapidly and with it so are the number of certification programs. In this article we review the top programs (based on feedback and conversations from hundreds of executive coaches) and compare the pros and cons of each program.

Our goal is to be targeted rather than exhaustive. This means we focus exclusively on modern and highly reviewed programs, that will allow you to stand out in the field (and forego programs that are less well-known in the field).

Top Picks by Category:

  • Best Elite Executive Coaching Program: The Hudson Institute
  • Best All-Around Coaching Program: Coactive Training Institute (CTI)
  • Best New Coaching Program: Brene Brown, Dare to Lead

Top Executive Coaching Programs and Summaries:

 1. The Hudson Institute

Overview:

 Founded by Pamela McLean, PhD, and training coaches for over 30 years, The Hudson Institute works with clients ranging from Ernst and Young, SAP, and more, and has a reputation as being an elite and top-tier coaching program.

Cost:

$14,400

Program Length:

3 Coaching Intensives, each running for 3-full days (~25 hours total) over an 8-month period.

In addition, you will complete training between each intensive and receive mentorship, peer coaching, have small-group conversations, complete reading, and more.

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

-Hudson is known for having a business-pragmatic, style and focus.

-Hudson’s trainers work with executives at large Fortune 500 companies giving you the opportunity to see how they coach helps you become a better coach.

-Strong all-around program.

Cons:

-Hudson only accepts 36 attendees per cohort, which is a strength and a limitation of the program.

-Hudson’s in-person programs are only offered in select cities.

Virtual Offering?

Yes. All of Hudson’s programs are currently offered either in-person or via Zoom.

2. Conscious Leadership Group

Overview:

Founded by Diana Chapman and Jim Dethmer, Conscious Leadership Group (CLG) is a prestigious coaching program with a particularly strong brand amongst tech CEOs and founders. 

Cost:

$18,750 total

-“Introduction to CLG” costs $250 and (and is composed of four 90-minute courses).

-CLG’s “Coach Intensive” program costs $500 (and is 2-full days in length).

-CLG’s Coach Certification program costs $18,000 (and is a year-long program).

Program Length:

The “CLG Coach Certification program” is a year-long course taught by Diana Chapman and Jim Dethmer and is offered to 24 applicants/year.

This program is currently fully booked through 2022.

Pros:

-Chapman and Dethmer are known for distilling complex coaching principles into precise concepts. CLG offers executive coaches powerful tools packaged in simple and universal models.

-CLG is trusted and respected by senior leaders and C-suite executives at a range of companies.

-The CLG certification program is small and exclusive, with hour of direct training from Jim and Diana.

-CLG integrates with other coaching modalities such as the Enneagram, team coaching, and more.

Cons:

-Limited availability to get certified.

-The cost is higher than many other programs.

Virtual Offerings?

Partial.

All of CLG’s courses are being offered online with the exception of certification (which is already booked through 2022).

3. The Co-Active Training Institute (CTI)

Overview:

CTI is a worldwide coach training program, that teaches a range of executive coaching skills, with a focus on embodied coaching and general skills training.

Cost:

-$13,350

-This includes $6,675 for five, 3-day courses (when bought together) and an additional $6,675 to complete Co-Active’s “Certification Program.”

-If CTI’s courses are bought individually the cost is $975 for “Fundamentals” and $1,745 for each additional course totaling $7,955).

Program Length:

-Training: 5-weekend workshops (Thursday-Sunday).

-Certification: 6-months, with regular pod meetings, 1-1’s with a coaching leader, additional assignments, and more.

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

-Co-Active has been around for over 30 years and has a strong brand in both the corporate and non-corporate worlds.

-Co-Active is ICC approved so certification with Co-Active puts you will on the way to becoming an ICC certified coach.

-Co-Active’s weekend courses each feature two coaches, allowing you to see a wide range of coaches in action.

-CTI specializes in going from beginner to confident and competent at working with clients.

Cons:

-In helping coaches hit the ground running, Co-Active specializes in how to show up as a coach, and focuses less on theories of human development/change.

-Not all CTI trainers are equal.

Virtual Offerings?

All CTI courses are exclusively virtual through the end of 2022.

4. Dare to Lead

Overview:

Based on the research, writing, and work of Brene Brown, this program trains attendees to become Certified Dare to Lead Coaches, with a focus on developing courage, and a strong brand within corporate America.

Cost:

This program is on hold in 2021, while the Dare to Lead team assesses the current coach training landscape and facilitator needs.

Program Length:

This program is on hold in 2021, while the Dare to Lead team assesses the current coach training landscape and facilitator needs.

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Brene Brown’s meteoric rise, and frequent speaking on workplace vulnerability, provide this program with a strong brand and base of support. 
  • Dare to Lead certified facilitators we have spoken to, speak highly of the research-backed course content, techniques taught, and the applicability of this work in the corporate world both with individual clients and teams.

Cons:

  • Brene Brown is a newer entrant in this space and a researcher, not a trained coach, meaning that Brene and this program are less experienced at teaching the fundamentals of coaching.
  • This program is ideal for coaches already certified elsewhere as a coach (vs beginner coaches).
  • Not ICF-certified.
  • Dare to Lead brand is tied to Brene Brown’s brand and it’s unclear what the future of that brand is.

5. New Ventures West

Overview:

New Ventures West is a program based in San Francisco that focuses on teaching new coaches how to embrace the hearty, body, and mind of a coach, before learning key coaching skills.

Their program results in what they call a “Integral Coaching Certification,” which reflects the programs focus on integrating as a methodology. A coach must be a fully integrated whole in order to model and support others to grow.

Costs:

$12,400 (for four 3-day sessions as well as books, coaching, pod meetings, mentoring, and certification).

Program Length:

1-year (4 sessions, each 3-months apart with pod meetings, peer-based work, and more in between each module. Each session is 3-full days so roughly 25 hours each for a total of 100 hours of group training).

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

-New Ventures West along with CTI is one of the most highly regarded life coaching programs and seen by most companies and leaders as a program that produces high-quality coaches.

-NVW puts a lot of emphasis on helping coaching themselves (you) develop and grow, believing that more integrated coaches lead to more integrated and effective coaching.

-NVW brings in somatic (body) based work to their coach certification program.

-James Flaherty, founder and senior facilitator at NVW, is one of the pioneers of the coaching industry and has been training other coaches for decades.

Cons:

-NVW trainings are regularly offered virtually and in San Francisco, with other trainings occasionally offered in other parts of the US and world. If you are not living in San Francisco, then it is harder to do an in-person NVW training.

-With its focus on integration, NVW is slower paced than CTI and some other leading programs. Some may argue that this is a better methodology; however, many new coaches may appreciate the push to get moving and shake things up offered by the more theatrical CTI.

Virtual Offerings?

Yes.

6. Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership (IECL) by GrowthOps

Overview:

The IECL is an Australian executive coaching organization, recently purchased by GrowthOps. IECL focuses on the APAC region with in-person locations in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, China, and Singapore, and virtual certification programs offered all over the world.

IECL offers a three-part coach training for coaches to gain accreditation, beginning with foundational skills, then developing range, than focusing on advanced techniques and mastery.

Pricing:

~$9,000

Length:

Delivered in 3, 3-day workshops

 Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Relatively quick program, that teaches foundational skills for being an executive coach.
  • Strong brand and reputation in the APAC region.
  • Extensive continuing education programs offered to graduates including “Team Coach Training,” “Mental Health Education for Coaches,” and more.

Cons:

  • Short time to coaching certification means less hours practicing coaching for new and beginner coaches.
  • Less well-known in the US and Europe.

 

Other Executive Coaching Resources and Programs:

Some executives hire coaches to get support on their broader life, others are more specifically focused on reaching professional milestones or overcoming professional challenges.

With this in mind, a lot of executive coaches complement their executive coaching certification with assessment and other certifications. These include:

 

  • Personality Assessment certifications including the Enneagram, Clifton Strengths Finder, Myers-Briggs (MBTI), and more.
  • 360-Reviews and other peer-based assessments.
  • Communication and interpersonal dynamics work including Nonviolent communication.
  • Team-based coaching certifications which you can learn more about here.
  • Mindfulness, breathing, and other tools for managing one’s body.

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