How To Create a Coaching Certification Program to Level Up Your Business

how to create a certification program

You’ve been a coach for a while and have a solid roster of happy clients under your belt.

You’ve spent countless hours honing your skills, reading books on leadership and motivation, and attending seminars. You’ve been in the trenches with your clients – through their triumphs and tribulations.

Your passion for helping others achieve their goals is undeniable. Yet something’s missing.

What now?

At this point in your career, you’re unsure whether you need to scale your coaching business or explore new ventures. What if you could do both at once by creating your own coaching certification program?

Sounds daunting – but if you’re at the right stage in your coaching business, it doesn’t have to be. Keep reading to discover:

What Is A Coaching Certification Program?

A coaching certification program is more than just another coaching program. These programs are designed to get aspiring coaches certified and get them up and running with the right skills to begin helping their clients. 

It’s about acquiring practical skills, understanding core principles and methodologies like the grow coaching model, and applying this knowledge in real-life scenarios to become effective leaders.

This systematized training approach offers coaches valuable learning experiences beyond traditional classroom teaching. Let me break it down for you:

The Framework of a Coaching Certification Program

Stage 1: Theoretical Instruction – This involves lectures or online courses on essential concepts, such as advanced leadership development techniques, covering key coaching skills they’ll need in their leadership responsibilities.

Stage 2: Practical Application – Built-in practice partner-leading sessions are conducted where trainees can apply what they’ve learned from theoretical instruction into practice with real-world situations, followed by feedback sessions from seasoned trainers who provide guidance for improvement.

Of course, each coaching certification program may look different. But this gives you a good idea of what new coaches look for when comparing different certification programs.

Navigating Through the Certification Process

If a coaching certification program is accredited by an organization such as the International Coaching Federation (ICF), students must go through specific steps to get certified.

But not all coaching certification programs help their students through each step. Some programs only provide students with training material, but the ICF also requires students to do the following:

  • Practice coaching real clients (paid or not)
  • Undergo Mentor Coaching 
  • Go through a professional assessment of their coaching skills
  • Pass the coaching exam

In short, certification programs for coaches help educate new coaches, but they also help at varying levels to obtain specific certifications. 

Why Create Your Own Coaching Certification?

Moving from being a coach to training other coaches is a bold move. So is it worth the effort, and why should you consider doing it in the first place?

Let’s talk about it.

1. Explode your personal brand

Your personal brand differentiates you from other coaches in this competitive industry. 

By developing your own certification program, you effectively imprint your unique approach on each participant who completes it.

This could mean that they adopt specific techniques or philosophies that are exclusive to you – so not only will you gain exposure through your own client testimonials, but through every certified coach’s testimonials in the future!

This process, known as “brand extension,” has the potential to amplify the reach and impact of your coaching business significantly.

2. Influence the future of coaching

A well-structured certification program paves the way for valuable learning experiences where participants get covered key coaching skills such as active listening, powerful questioning, etc., all underlined by ethics and standards set by yourself.

You decide how these basics are taught through built-in practice partner leading sessions or advanced leadership development programs leaders. You decide what’s important based on your own experience.

And isn’t that an amazing way to see it? You’re writing the future of coaching as we know it when you certify the next generation of coaches!

3. Diversify your streams of revenue

Getting new coaching clients is the simplest way to get more revenue from your coaching business. But after a while, scaling your coaching business beyond what you’re already doing becomes more and more difficult.

By adding a coaching certification program to your roster of offers, you open your business up to a brand new audience of potential clients.

Here’s an example: let’s say you’re a parenting coach who helps clients with rebellious teenagers. With this offer, you can work with parents of teenagers as your first audience.

But if you start certifying other coaches to teach them how you help parents, you gain access to aspiring parenting coaches, too!

Who Can Create a Coaching Certification Program?

So, can just anyone create their own certification program? 

The short answer is yes. Technically, nothing is stopping anyone from starting a brand new certification program for coaches. That’s because coaching isn’t a regulated industry.

So, in a sense, anyone can launch a sales page, start advertising a new certification program, and call themselves an expert.

Does that mean anyone should do it?


First, there’s a difference between creating a certification program accredited by a respected organization like the ICF and creating a brand new program from scratch. 

If you’re doing the former, you’ll have to follow guidelines from the ICF and go through their accreditation process. This may take a few tries, especially if you’re trying to get one of the higher levels of accreditation.

But if you’re going on your own and building a brand new certification program, you can technically do it in any way you can. That said, no one will want to get certified by you and your brand if you don’t have enough brand recognition of your own.

A lot of coaches get certifications not just to learn new things but to get the social proof and authority that comes with that certification badge. So if no one else recognizes the value of the certification, there’s not much use for coaches to get that certification. 

So you either need strong credibility and brand authority to make your certification worth something, or you need another type of motivating factor. 

What else could there be?

Well, if you’re a coach who gets more client leads than you know what to do with, you may have your answer. Let’s take a look at Chanti Zak, who coaches business owners on how to write their own lead-generation quizzes.

Chanti started coaching other business owners when she began getting booked out for her done-for-you quiz funnel creation service. However, despite having a coaching offer to complement her done-for-you service, she was still turning away several potential clients who still wanted a fully done-for-you experience!


She’s so in demand that she now charges $25k for a quiz copywriting project. 

But there are still several businesses and personal brands that have a four-figure budget and who’d rather someone else do it for them. That’s why Chanti started a Certification version of her coaching program, Grow With Quizzes.

So what’s the incentive for getting certified as a quiz copywriter by Chanti? Well, you don’t just get a fancy badge – you also join her referral list.

how to create a certification program

In this scenario, everyone wins.

  • Chanti Zak and her team win because they’ve added a new stream of revenue
  • Her potential clients who can’t afford her services win because they get referred to a more affordable copywriter who has Chanti’s stamp of approval
  • Certified copywriters get more referrals 

You can apply this same principle to your coaching business. Even if you don’t have the reputation of the ICF, you, your potential clients, and other coaches can still benefit from you passing your knowledge along to them in this way!

With that being said, if you don’t have more clients than you know what to do with – and if you still haven’t established a signature process that’s proven to be effective for your clients – you’re probably not ready to move to this step just yet. 

How to Create a Coaching Certification Program

how to create a certification program

So you’ve decided to launch your own coaching program. Now what?

If you want to create a certification program accredited by the ICF, go here to follow the instructions.  But if you want to do your own thing, follow these steps below!

Step #1: Identify your training focus

What will you train new coaches in? This could range from leadership responsibilities, advanced leadership development, or even specific areas like life or health coaching.

Whatever you choose should be a focus that you’ve already gotten tons of results with your own clients. So if you’re an executive coach, don’t focus on business coaching training.

Step #2: Build your curriculum

Develop a comprehensive curriculum encompassing all aspects of effective skills required in any coach training program – including learning coaching fundamentals, understanding the coaching model you use, and any unique approaches you’ve created to help your coaching clients.

When you’re coaching clients, more isn’t necessarily better. But now that you’re training other coaches, it’s important to be thorough. The goal isn’t to get these students fast results – rather, you’re trying to turn your students into trustworthy coaches who can support their own clients on their journey of transformation.

And that takes time.

Step #3: Integrate practical elements into your course structure

Practice makes perfect. This means your training program should not just rely on theory.

Your practical elements can include practice scenarios, built-in practice partner leading exercises, and final certification role-play sessions that simulate actual client interactions, allowing students to test techniques before implementing them professionally.

Step #4: Add an assessment step

To make the earned certificate meaningful, choose an appropriate assessment method. You need to make sure that your certification isn’t just “pay to play” and that students develop the true skills they need to put your signature approach into practice. 

You’ll get the best results if you combine theoretical and real-life simulations. 

Step #5: Offer post-certification support

Will your students be able to rely on you once they get certified, or will they be left high and dry?

Post-certification support is one of the factors that differentiates mediocre coaching certifications from great ones. You, as the expert, should have the long-term success of your students at heart, and success doesn’t happen alone. 

Support can range from access to a community of graduates, monthly virtual meetups, referral lists, opportunities to get questions answered, and more. 

FAQs About Creating a Coaching Certification Program

How do I create my own coaching program?

To create your own coaching program, identify your training focus, build out a robust curriculum, integrate practical elements into your course structure, add assessment steps to obtain certification, and offer post-certification support.

How do you structure a coaching program?

A well-structured coaching program includes a defined goal or objective, comprehensive course material covering theoretical and practical aspects of the topic, regular feedback sessions for improvement, and final assessments to certify completion.

How long does it take to create a coaching program?

The time required varies depending on the complexity of the subject matter. However, typically it could range from several weeks to a few months.

With that being said, don’t hesitate to invest the required time to make your certification truly great!

What is the difference between CPC and PCC?

CPC (Certified Professional Coach) is an initial level certification, while PCC (Professional Certified Coach) requires more hours of training and experience. Both are recognized by the International Coaching Federation but offer different levels of expertise in coaching skills. You can get accredited for one or both of these, depending on the level of your program.

Launch A Coaching Certification Program You Can Be Proud Of

Now you know how to start a certification program! Creating a coaching certification program is more than just setting up training modules. It’s about empowering people to be more effective in their coaching areas using a signature process that you developed during your coaching.

When done right, it can take you from a coaching business owner to an established authority in your coaching niche. And if you’re consistently booked out, a certification can benefit you, your potential clients, and new coaches who want to earn their stripes in your world! 

Need help streamlining the admin side of your coaching business? With Paperbell, running a coaching business online has never been easier! Try it for yourself by claiming your free account.

how to create a certification program

By Charlene Boutin
Charlene is an email marketing and content strategy coach for small business owners and freelancers. Over the past 5 years, she has helped and coached 50+ small business owners to increase their traffic with blog content and grow their email subscribers.
September 1, 2023

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