A Comprehensive Review of the Coaching Programs of the Center for Creative Leadership

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) is an established organizational development and leadership training provider. Although most of their programs are designed for managers and employees, they have a few specialized training programs that are great stepping stones for both organizational and independent coaches.

Let’s explore what CCL is, its coaching programs, and some curated and independent reviews from its graduate students.

What is the Center for Creative Leadership?

Established in 1970, CCL is one of the most widely known educational centers for leadership development. The organization has trained over a million leaders and coaches, including many Fortune 500 leaders. 

CCL’s mission is to cultivate ethical leaders capable of tackling global challenges. It aims to achieve this by offering research-backed programs and innovative simulations like “The Looking Glass Experience” that immerses participants in real-world leadership situations. These programs foster self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and effective communication in managers, coaches, and entrepreneurs.

Who Are the Founders of CCL?

CCL was founded by H. Smith Richardson and Grace Jones Richardson.

H. Smith Richardson, a successful businessman who built the Vicks VapoRub empire, harbored a deep interest in creativity and leadership. He believed nurturing these qualities was crucial for individual and societal progress.

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Alongside his wife, Grace, a philanthropist passionate about education and social change, he established the Smith Richardson Foundation in 1935. This foundation laid the groundwork for the eventual birth of CCL.

How Are the Coaching Programs at CCL Built Up?

CCL offers a variety of leadership programs as well as specialized training designed to develop core coaching competencies. Let’s look at the two courses teaching coaching skills.

Better Conversations Every Day

The Better Conversations Every Day program is created for employees at all levels to learn coaching skills that foster a culture of open dialogue and honest feedback within their organization. 

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It goes beyond basic communication training, focusing on:

  • Mastering communication behaviors: Building trust, cultivating psychological safety, and enhancing emotional intelligence.
  • Navigating workplace challenges: Leading cultural shifts, facilitating sensitive conversations, and fostering inclusive teams.
  • Establishing a thriving feedback culture: Breaking down silos, transforming performance management, and boosting employee engagement.

Through practical exercises, participants can gain confidence in applying these skills in everyday situations. Although the program is geared toward employees, it covers some essential coaching competencies professional coaches use.

Duration and Format:

  • Offered in either a condensed online format (2 half-days) or a one-day in-person experience.
  • Led by live instructors facilitating personalized learning and interaction.
  • Provides a 1:4 coach-to-participant ratio, ensuring individual attention and support.

Better Conversations Every Day isn’t comprehensive enough to offer a coaching certification, so it only offers continuing education units with the National University.

360 Assessment Certification

The 360 Assessment Certification is specifically designed for coaches, consultants, and HR professionals. It prepares them to facilitate and implement industry-leading assessments as a part of their performance evaluation process within their organization or with a client. 

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This program will help you:

  • Master 360° assessment administration: Selecting the right tools and conducting an evaluation effectively.
  • Expertly interpret reports: Analyzing psychometric and normative data, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and defining development opportunities.
  • Facilitate targeted goal-setting: Guiding individuals and teams towards impactful action based on feedback.
  • Strengthen group dynamics: Leveraging insights from 360° reports to optimize team performance.

Participants who complete this certification gain lifetime access to all leadership assessment resources at CCL, such as Skillscope or Benchmarks for Managers.

Duration and Format:

  • Facilitation: moderated online learning
  • Course length: 10 hours
  • Class size: varying with rolling enrollment

The 360 Assessment Certification is a specialized training, not a comprehensive coaching program, so it doesn’t provide coaching credentials. However, it’s a great supplement training that helps you practice performance evaluation and feedback-driven goal setting — especially if you’re an organizational or leadership coach.

How Much Do the Coaching Programs at CCL Cost?

Currently, the enrollment fees for these specialized courses are:

If you want to train your team, you may inquire about a discounted custom quote with the CCL team.

Real Reviews

CCL has positive ratings on various open review websites. They have also featured some feedback from their students under each of their specific courses. Let’s explore the student feedback about the courses at CCL to see which aspects of the training graduate coaches and leaders have highlighted.

Please note that we haven’t taken these particular courses ourselves. If you’re looking for specific information on the training options at CCL, we suggest you contact the faculty.

360 Assessment Certification Reviews

A student called Amy Reece highlighted that CCL is known industry-wide as a leader in organizational assessments, which makes it a trustworthy option for this particular training. As an executive coach, she’s used several other evaluation tools and found that the resources offered by this program are outstanding.

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Her review shows that even if you’ve been in this field for a long time, CCL can offer a wider perspective and a broader toolkit for your coaching practice. Plus, she found the organization’s philosophy credible and the training easy to implement in her practice immediately.

Dawn Traynor, another graduate student, works in healthcare. She found that beyond conducting assessments on her team, the training also helped her understand and reflect on her own leadership traits.

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She appreciated that the course was well-organized and was worth the investment.

Carl Allison, an HR Director, participated in the training after an impressive 20 years of industry experience and several other certification programs. Yet, he ranked CCL as the best among all.

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Lastly, Christine Gilmore, an organizational leader, said that the online course was easy to navigate and allowed her to take the training at her own pace.

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Better Conversations Every Day Reviews

The Better Conversations Every Day program primarily focuses on creating a culture of open dialogue and feedback within organizations. The leaders who brought this training to their companies highlighted its tangible impact on employee engagement and productivity.

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The employees who have participated in the training have rated it above 4.5 overall. Based on these reviews, this program is more geared toward teaching basic coaching skills to employees than preparing coaches to deliver transformative conversations.

If you’re an independent coach, it might not offer you much. However, if you’re trying to improve cultural dynamics as an organizational coach, this training might be a low-cost option to adopt CCL’s methodology.

Other Independent Reviews

Besides the positive feedback CCL has gathered from students, it’s also worth looking at independent reviews on other websites to get an unbiased perspective.

Gartner features an overall 4.5 rating based on six reviews written by organizational leaders. They highlighted their positive training experience and the organization’s high standards overall.

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A few past students have submitted their reviews on CCL’s Facebook page. They especially appreciated the training quality, the actionable insights, and the instructors. CCL currently has a 5.0 rating out of 22 reviews and recommendations on this platform.

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Findcourses.com only has one review from a student called Gail Fritz. He found the leadership programs at CCL an excellent opportunity to network and described the classes as engaging.

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Overall, the evaluation of CCL is stellar on various platforms, and we haven’t encountered any negative reviews that would question the organization’s credibility.


CCL has been around for several decades and stands out as a leadership training provider in the industry. Its coaching-related courses are affordable and provide an opportunity to learn new coaching techniques through short online courses facilitated by experienced industry professionals.

These certification programs are great for organizational and leadership coaches, managers, and other talent development professionals.

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By Annamaria Nagy
Annamaria Nagy is a Brand Identity Coach and Copywriter. She's been writing for over 10 years about topics like personal development, coaching, and business. She was previously the Head of SEO at the leading transformational education company, Mindvalley.
February 29, 2024

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