5 Best Grad Schools with Online Doctorate in Coaching

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Updated: March 14, 2024, Reading time: 17 minutes

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The Doctorate in Coaching, unlike similar leadership degrees, is a relatively new degree program. Online programs for this doctorate are rare.

An online doctoral degree in coaching is designed for those who want to pursue high-level coaching skills and knowledge to provide executive coaching for professional and organizational success.

Graduates of these programs can work as executive coaches, consultants for leadership development, coach educators, researchers, organizational management experts, organizational leadership specialists, or consultants across various industries.

The Labor Statistics data says top business professional executives are expected to grow 3 percent from 2022 to 2032; this data, however, may not guarantee actual job growth and may not reflect local employment situations.


The study of coaching theories, practices, and research methods is the main focus of a doctorate in coaching, an advanced academic degree. A doctorate in coaching often entails a combination of core courses, research courses, and a doctoral dissertation or capstone project, though the particular structure and content may vary depending on the university offering the program.

Doctoral students often explore courses such as coaching theories and models, coaching psychology, leadership coaching, strategic leadership, human resource management, coaching ethics, research techniques, and data analysis.

Quick audio summary:


The Best Online Doctorate in Coaching programs on our list were selected because of the top-quality quality academics they are known to deliver! Each doctoral program and graduate school is a standout with these features:

Please look at our Methodology to learn about our ranking process.

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Top 5 Online Doctoral Programs in Coaching

Liberty University

Liberty University

Doctorate in Management – Executive Coaching Program

Liberty University’s Doctorate in Management offers several emphases, including an online Executive Coaching concentration designed for professionals who want to obtain superior coaching, leadership, and management knowledge and abilities.

Focusing on executive-level professionals, this concentration is primarily completed online, giving working individuals the freedom to further their education while still advancing their jobs. The curriculum combines theoretical underpinnings, research methodology, and real-world executive coaching applications.

Organizational behavior, leadership theory, strategic management, coaching techniques, and coaching ethics are just a few subjects that students in this doctoral program may anticipate studying. The curriculum seeks to give students a solid grasp of coaching ideas and techniques while emphasizing the difficulties and dynamics of executives and senior leaders. Students may have the chance to participate in case studies, research projects, and practical coaching experiences throughout the curriculum.

The dissertation or doctoral thesis students complete as part of Liberty University’s doctorate in management with an emphasis on executive coaching often serves as the program’s capstone. As a result, they can contribute to the study of and practice of coaching. Graduates have various job options after graduation, such as executive coaching roles in corporate settings, consultancy, leadership development, or academic opportunities in coaching instruction and research.

Regent University

Regent University

Doctor of Strategic Leadership in Leadership Coaching

Students who want to study a doctoral degree program in a hybrid learning format can opt for Regent University’s Doctor of Strategic Leadership in Leadership Coaching, a 51-credit hour program conducted online with residency.

This program aims to train students in coaching and mentoring skills while preparing them for leadership positions in various industries. The program’s curriculum strongly emphasizes building coaching and leadership abilities within the framework of organizational change and strategy.

Students study subjects including history & theory, skills & assessments, organizational initiatives, and advanced coaching. These courses are designed to help you become an executive coach for various organizations.

Graduates will develop and implement a coaching style of management for enhanced job performance in soft skill development and be able to evaluate an organization’s capacity to create innovative learning environments with rising effectiveness and efficiency.

Students will research leadership coaching as part of the Doctor of Strategic Leadership curriculum. They will get the chance to enhance their critical thinking skills, put coaching principles to use in practical situations, develop coaching relationships with clients, and partake in supervised coaching activities.

Program graduates can choose from various employment choices; they might work as executive coaches for nonprofits, businesses, government agencies, educational institutions, and the military.

Walden University

Walden University

PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology in Evidence-Based Coaching

An Evidence-Based Coaching concentration is offered at Walden University through their Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, which focuses on applying psychological principles and research to improve workplace dynamics, organizational behavior, and employee performance.

The doctoral program offers two tracks. The first track is designed for applicants with a master’s degree in I/O psychology, while Track II is for those entering with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in non-IO-related fields.

Students gain an in-depth understanding of workplace individual, group, and organizational behavior, advanced research design and analytical skills, and expertise in applying evidence-based I/O practices in various organizational settings.

The Evidence-Based Coaching concentration produces graduates to fill in the gap of the growing demand for certified professional coaches in multiple fields, including business administration, government organizations, educational institutions, health and wellness, and corporations.

Courses of the specialization include leadership coaching and theories, leadership development, practices and application, and coaching skills.

Students will be qualified to apply for the credential in Evidence-Based Coaching and take the Board Certified Coach examination after completing the program, which includes 30 hours of coaching practice interwoven into Walden’s distinctive virtual residency.

Before graduating and submitting their application for the Board Certified Coach examination, students who have completed the program and the Evidence-Based Coaching prerequisites should apply for the Evidence-Based Coaching certificate.

West Virginia University

West Virginia University - Online

PhD and EdD majoring in Coaching and Teaching Studies

As the only state in Virginia offering online coaching degrees, West Virginia University offers one of the best doctorate majors in Coaching and Teaching Studies. Students interested in academic, governmental, non-profit, and industrial-organizational research should pursue the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) track.

On the other hand, those interested in employment as organizational leaders in various school, university, and community-based contexts should enroll in the Doctor of Education (EdD) track. The Ph.D. and EdD tracks are both prestigious programs; the only difference is their focus.

Students in either the Ph.D. or EdD track must complete four benchmarks: Qualifying Exam, Comprehensive Exam, Dissertation Proposal, and Dissertation Defense. PhD candidates, however, must also submit three peer-reviewed articles.

All students must pass the written and oral qualifying exams during the first two semesters of the program. A rigorous exam chosen by the candidate’s doctoral committee, the dissertation proposal, and a successful dissertation defense are additional requirements for all candidates.

Graduate students can collaborate with academics on various projects, gain data-collecting experience, write empirical or practitioner-focused research papers, or participate in program assessment and/or evaluation in addition to conducting their own dissertation research. Adapted Physical Education/Activity and Coaching Leadership are two of the four research and academic opportunities offered by WVU.

Fielding Graduate University

Fielding Graduate University

Doctoral Concentration in Coaching

Part of Fielding Graduate University’s larger degree in Human Development includes a doctorate focus in coaching. The coaching program at FGU, which has a reputation for emphasizing applied and interdisciplinary research, trains students to work as advanced practitioners and scholar-practitioners in the coaching industry.

The curriculum strongly emphasizes a reflective and experiential method of learning wherein students are encouraged to combine theory with practice, and they frequently get the chance to practice coaching, work with peers, and get criticism and guidance from seasoned coaches.

The doctoral emphasis in coaching includes a challenging curriculum, in-depth research, and real-world experience to advance students’ coaching abilities and understanding. Coaching theory, methodology, ethics, supervision, and advanced themes in coaching practice are covered in the program’s courses.

Upon graduation, students can pursue a professional coaching career in various organizations, from nonprofits and international business organizations to governmental and educational institutions.

Furthermore, students in the coaching doctoral concentration can pursue credits for a Certificate in Evidence-Based Coaching, a Level 2 ICF-accredited coaching education provider.

This certification offers a specific training course focusing on coaching techniques founded on empirical research and evidence-based methods. It gives coaches the information, abilities, and resources they need to integrate scientific research and data into their coaching practice successfully.

Common Coursework of Online Doctorates in Coaching Programs

Common Coursework of Online Doctorates in Coaching Programs

Here are some typical courses you might find in these programs, while the specific courses offered in online doctorates in coaching may vary across different institutions:

An overview of numerous coaching ideas, models, and methodologies is provided in this course. It investigates the fundamental concepts and ideas that guide coaching practice.

This course emphasizes how coaching supervision can improve the efficacy and standard of coaching practice. It examines various supervision models, reflective practice methods, and the ethical ramifications of leadership.

This course goes deeper into the psychological components of coaching, examining issues including motivation, emotional intelligence, individual variations, and cognitive and behavioral processes. It looks at how psychological concepts can improve coaching techniques.

This course explores how coaching may advance inclusion, equity, and diversity. It discusses cultural competence, prejudice awareness, inclusivity in coaching practice, and techniques for coaching clients from varied backgrounds.

This course focuses on coaching-relevant research approaches and techniques. Research design, data collecting and analysis, qualitative and quantitative research techniques, and ethical coaching research issues are covered.

The focus of this course is coaching within the framework of leadership development. It investigates how coaching can support leadership effectiveness and development while examining leadership theories, competencies, and problems.

This course examines coaching in corporate environments. It looks at issues including coaching in teams, coaching for managing change, organizational culture, and the function of coaching in raising productivity and performance.

The ethical issues and professional standards in coaching are covered in this course. It addresses issues including discretion, limitations, dual relationships, and frameworks for making ethical decisions.

The subjects covered in this course involve starting and running a coaching business. It discusses coaching professionals’ ongoing professional development, marketing tactics, client acquisition, and professional branding.

A practicum or internship is a common feature of online coaching doctoral programs. This gives students supervised real-world coaching experience, allowing them to use their coaching knowledge and abilities.

Career Opportunities for Doctorate in Coaching Graduates

Career Opportunities for Doctorate in Coaching Graduates

A doctorate in coaching opens up a wide range of professional options in coaching and related fields. Following are a few possible job possibilities for somebody with a doctorate in coaching:

Executive Coach

With a doctorate, you can work as an executive coach, supporting senior-level executives with their leadership development and coaching them one-on-one. Executive coaches frequently assist clients in developing their leadership abilities, overcoming organizational obstacles, and achieving their career goals.

Higher Education Educator/Professor

You can pursue a career in academics as a professor or coach if you have a degree. You can build coaching curricula, mentor prospective coaches, and instruct coaching courses. This position frequently entails researching and writing scholarly articles in the coaching industry.

Leadership Development Consultant

To create and conduct leadership development programs, many firms use coaching specialists. You can design coaching solutions, organize workshops and training sessions, and assist businesses in identifying and developing their future leaders.

Leadership Consultant

Leadership consultants can advise organizations on organizational performance, personnel management, and leadership development techniques. Your coaching knowledge will strengthen your capacity to assist organizations in recognizing and developing leadership talent.

Organizational Coach

Organizations frequently use coaching to improve team performance, promote a coaching culture, and effect organizational change. As a corporate coach, you can support organizational development goals by working with teams, departments, or entire companies.

Professional Association Leadership

Within professional coaching associations, you can assume leadership positions, assisting in the growth and advancement of the coaching profession. This could entail participating in task teams, committees, or boards while establishing moral and ethical norms.

Program Developer

As a program developer, you can design coaching interventions and programs suited to certain organizational requirements. This includes developing and putting coaching initiatives into practice, identifying coaching needs, and gauging how coaching activities affect individual and organizational outcomes.

Coaching Researcher

You can undertake research in the coaching profession with the help of a doctorate in coaching. Research on coaching effectiveness, coaching approaches, or related issues can be done as a career in coaching. The results of your study may help to advance coaching as a profession.

Thought Leader/Author

You can position yourself as a thought leader in the coaching industry with a doctorate. You can contribute to trade publications and write books, articles, or blog posts. Speaking engagements, workshops, and webinars are excellent ways to share your knowledge and become known as an expert in coaching.

Executive Coaching vs. Leadership Coaching

The coaching industry has two distinct but closely linked subfields: executive coaching and leadership coaching. While the two have similarities, they differ in many subtleties and areas of interest. 

Here are critical points of their differences: 

Targeted Audience




Leadership coaching has a wider application and can target leaders at all organizational levels, unlike executive coaching, which is typically more confined to top-level executives and has a strategic focus on organizational impact.

The distinctions between executive and leadership coaching might change depending on how various coaching practitioners or organizations define and utilize these terminologies. The particular demands and circumstances of the clients and organizations engaged may also impact the focus and breadth of coaching engagements.

Coaching Certifications

Coaching certifications are credentials that attest to a coach’s proficiency in coaching. They demonstrate a coach’s formal education and dedication to moral principles. Numerous coaching organizations and organizations provide several reputable coaching credentials. Here are a few well-known coaching credentials:

International Coach Federation (ICF) Credentials

The organization called International Coach Federation (ICF) offers three levels of credentials:

European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) Credentials

Various levels of coaching credentials are available from the EMCC, including:

Certified Professional Coach (CPC)

The CPC certificate, provided by the Professional Coach Certification Board (PCCB), is intended to show a coach’s proficiency and adherence to professional standards.

Board Certified Coach (BCC)

The BCC credential, managed by the Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE), is intended for coaches specializing in executive, business, or personal coaching.

Certified Executive Coach (CEC)

The Center for Executive Coaching provides the CEC credential for coaches working with top leaders and executives.

Certified Professional Coach (CPC)

The CPC credential, provided by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), certifies a coach’s successful completion of an extensive coaching training course.

Certified Life Coach (CLC)

The World Coach Institute (WCI) offers the Certified LifeCoach credential, which focuses on coaching for leadership development.

Every coaching certification program has its requirements, which may include particular training hours, coaching experience, mentor coaching, and adherence to ethical standards. This is vital to keep in mind. The certifying bodies also have their own evaluation procedures and may ask applicants to pass tests, give references from previous clients, and submit coaching recordings for review.

Coaching vs. Consulting

Both consulting and coaching are professions that support people or organizations in reaching their objectives and raising performance. Although there may be some overlap, the two have different methodologies and different focuses. 

Online Doctorate in Coaching - fact

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a great coach? 

Inspiring, educating, guiding, supporting, and joining the client on their professional journey of self-discovery are all qualities of a successful coach. 

How important is coaching in career development?

Career growth can benefit greatly from coaching, providing individuals looking to advance and thrive in their careers with helpful assistance, direction, and resources. A coach can assist people in being more aware of their values, areas of interest, strengths, and career goals. 

What are the admission requirements for a coaching doctoral program?

A master’s degree in a relevant subject, such as coaching, psychology, leadership, or organizational development, is the most common admissions requirement for coaching doctorates. Professional coaching experience, letters of recommendation, a statement of intent, and academic transcripts will also be required.

What is the duration of a Doctorate in Coaching program?

A Doctorate in Coaching program’s length varies. However, a doctoral degree can usually be earned after 3 to 5 years of full-time study. 

Key Takeaways

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