Coaching Certification: Are Shorter Programs Better?

As the Director of Enrollment at New Ventures West, I enjoy hearing about the different metrics that potential students use to compare our coaching certification program to other coaching certification programs.

The length of coaching certification programs sometimes comes under scrutiny. There are coaching certification programs that offer “certifications” after just a day, or a weekend, or a few months. Some coaching certification programs offer “fast track” programs for students who feel like they need to get it all done in the shortest time possible.  A shorter runway can seem attractive to someone who is eager to begin working and making an income as a coach.

The Professional Coaching Course (which confers an Integral Coach® certification) at New Ventures West takes 12 months, during which the cohort meets in person over four sessions for a total of 17 in-class days.  Between sessions, lots happens: readings, learning calls, writing assignments, coaching, and more. The year is chock-full and we can’t imagine it being any shorter. Yet, we sometimes get asked why we don’t offer an abbreviated, “fast-track” option. We don’t offer it because we know it won’t support you in learning the Integral Coaching method.  Here’s why:

Your clients will thank you

During your time in the Professional Coaching Course, you’ll conduct at least 3 coaching programs consisting of 10-12 sessions with clients. Our program is organized so that you have 7 ½ months between when you can begin meeting with clients and when your sessions must be completed.  This generous timeline allows for an  experience that feels spacious for you, and supportive for your clients as they are free to develop at their own rate. Each coaching client is unique and will have different developmental challenges. A longer timeline allows you to respond authentically and personally to each client’s needs, rather than being forced to cram more sessions into a shorter timeframe. You will be able to experience how a client’s development unfolds over time and see the way a coaching relationship can mature and blossom.  In the end, your clients will thank you for an experience that supported their needs.

Extended support as you integrate the methodology

Some say coaching is an art, and some say it is a science. At New Ventures West, we believe it is a little of both. The intention of our faculty is not to merely leave you proficient in the science of our methodology, but to support you as you deepen in your expression of the art. This is when a coach is able to uniquely clarify their offering as distinct from the offerings of other, equally qualified coaches. In a crowded marketplace, the ability to make this sort of distinction is becoming more crucial by the day. During your time in our coaching certification course, you are supported with multiple opportunities for practice, feedback, and personalized coaching to help you go deeper in your integration and expression of the methodology.

Some things can’t be taught—only developed

At New Ventures West, we firmly believe that coaching is more than a series of techniques, tools, and developmental tricks.  We believe coaching is a way of being, a powerful orientation in the world. Our methodology is rigorous, and you will learn models and other tools for working meaningfully with clients. However, we are also intent on addressing those aspects of coaching that can’t be taught, but rather must be developed in each individual student.  

For example, what does it take to be the kind of coach who can hold a powerful, resilient emotional field as the client bravely explores ground they have always avoided? What are our own ideas about what it means to be “helpful,”  and how do these ideas keep us from offering our clients the support that would really assist them in becoming more competent and skillful? How might our coaching become more meaningful if we focused on developing our own cognitive, emotional, somatic, relational, spiritual, and integrative competencies?

As you can imagine, these kinds of questions aren’t things that can be fully addressed by a learning module. They are invitations into a new way of orienting to the world and toward our clients. Stepping into new orientations takes not just learning but integral development—and integral development takes time.

Give yourself the time

Long-term development, integration of science and art, and a truly supportive, spacious experience for both client and coach are just a few of the aspects that set Integral Coaching and New Ventures West apart from other coaching schools. If this approach appeals to you, we invite you to give yourself the time to explore what is possible.


Jessica is New Ventures West’s Enrollment Director. Contact her to talk about our programs.