How long does it take to get Certified as an executive coach (and how much does each option cost)?

There is a confusing array of executive coaching certification options. In this article, we lay out the different executive coach certification options we offer, how long each takes, and what each costs. We start with our own in-house certifications, move to the International Coach Federation (ICF) coach designations, and then the Board Certified Coach certification option.


Certified Executive Coach with the Center for Executive Coaching. All of our coach training and certification programs include this option. It takes 2-4 months to complete this certification via our distance learning/online option. This option costs $5,000 if you pay via 10 monthly installments, or $4,900 if you pay upfront. You get Certified as a Certified Executive Coach by submitting 6 recordings of you coaching a colleague, or fellow coach in the program (yes, we match you up if you would like). Each coaching conversation should be 25-30 minutes. You submit one at a time, and we review each one together. We provide you with the criteria ahead of time. Meanwhile, you learn how to coach and succeed by going through our curriculum either online at your pace or via our live teleclasses (all of which are recorded and placed in your member area in case you miss any). We have 3 one-hour live teleclasses each week; each one is different and each stands on its own. You can start this program anytime.

You can also get this designation simply by attending our intensive certification seminar. This option includes our distance learning program, so that you can start immediately on registering, and you also get ongoing access and support. If you attend our seminar, we will be able to observe your coaching improve, and you do not have to submit the 6 recordings. The seminar costs $2,500 more than the distance learning program. You can start with the distance learning program, and pay the $2,500 later on (we can also create an installment plan), or you can jump right in and pay 10 monthly installments of $750 or $7,350 up front.

Certified Career Coach and Certified Business Coach with the Center for Executive Coaching. For a limited time, the above program also includes our Certified Career Coach and Certified Business Coach certifications and materials. You complete these either by submitting recordings demonstrating your coaching competency on these topics, or by writing up 5-10 page case studies documenting how you use our toolkits and methodologies to coach a career coaching or business coaching client to a successful outcome.  Usually we ask that you first complete our Certified Executive Coach certification, but that is not required. You can complete these certifications at your pace.

Specialty/Custom Certifications. Another Certification that is included in the above program is your opportunity to create your own specialty or custom coaching certification. If you know you want to specialize in a specific niche, this is a great opportunity to conduct a research project in that niche, meet decision makers, and develop proprietary content to set your practice apart. You receive this Certification by completing a research paper of 10-15 pages about a problem in your niche and how you would solve it with coaching solutions. Your work should include interviewing 10-15 leaders in the niche. Examples of designations our members have completed so far include: Certified Healthcare Leadership Coach, Certified Government Leadership Coach, and Certified Technology Leadership Coach. We have members working on their Certified Non-Profit Leadership Coach and Certified Banking Industry Leadership Coach. You can complete this certification at your pace.


Many coaches express frustration and confusion as they attempt to navigate the ICF designations and how to get them. We make it as easy as possible for you when you join our program.

ACC: This is the easiest ICF designation to obtain. It requires 60 hours of live coach training and 100 hours of coaching experience, plus the ICF mentor coaching program (10 hours over 3 months by teleclass per ICF rules). When you join any of our programs, including our distance learning and in-person seminar options, you can achieve the training hours required for the ACC. You simply attend our live teleclasses if you are in the distance learning program; there are 3 one-hour classes each week, and each is different. If you miss one, you can get on the next one. That way, you can complete the 60 hours of training under 5 months if you are diligent. Or come to our in-person seminar, which accelerates your training because it includes 32 live hours. This can reduce your time to get the required training so that you need just 28 hours of teleclasses, which will take under 3 months. We also match you up with our coaches to help you get your coaching experience hours. The distance option is $5,000 for just the ACC hours and if you also need the required 10 hours of ICF mentor coaching, that is an additional $2,5000. Add $2,500 for the in-person seminar. You can also pay in installments.

PCC: The PCC requires 125 hours of training, including 100 hours live. Of that 100 hours, 10 hours consists of our mentor coaching course. The other 25 hours can be self-study. Our ICF Training Program gets you what you need to complete your PCC. It adds the mentor coaching and gives you the easiest path to apply to the ICF for your PCC designation. This path adds $2,500 to your cost, whether you choose the distance learning or in-person seminar. Therefore, your investment for distance learning is 10 monthly installments of $750 by distance learning, or $7,350 if you pay up front. Your investment if you include the seminar is 10 monthly installments of $1,000, or $9,800 if you pay up front. This program takes 6-9 months to complete the training, depending on whether you include an in-person seminar or not. You also need 500 hours of document coaching experience, and we can match you up with coaches to accelerate that timeline. Note: You can start with the distance program and add the $2,500 later when you are sure you want the PCC, or simply to stretch our your cash flow. You can also choose this option, complete your training, and apply for the ACC first and then the PCC when you have enough coaching experience hours. We make it easy for you.

IMPORTANT: The ICF does not let you count past coaching experience. You may only count your coaching experience once you join a coach training program. Therefore, if you know you want a coaching designation from the ICF, it is important that you take action and join our program sooner rather than later.


There is another coach certification for those with a Masters Degree or higher that does not require all of the hoops that the ICF makes you jump through. This is the BCC. You need just 60 hours of training, and it does not have to be live. All of our programs give you the training you need for the BCC. There is no extra cost for this training and we are delighted to endorse you on the BCC application. It takes 3-5 months for most of our members to complete the BCC requirements.

Hopefully the above clarifies what can be a complicated, confusing, and frustrating maze of options for you! Contact Director Andrew Neitlich at 941-539-9623 or with any additional questions.

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