Academy of Professional Coaching

Coaching is an essential component of successful change implementation. Designed to meet the unique needs of child welfare professionals and agencies seeking to develop professional coaching programs for their employees, the Butler Institute Academy of Professional Coaching will train you to work as a professional coach who is ready to design and implement impactful coaching relationships in support of a skilled child welfare workforce.

Your program hours will qualify toward additional certification through the International Coaching Federation, the leading international credentialing organization for coaches. You can expect an enriched learning environment with:

  • Instruction by professional certified coaches
  • Blended experiential classroom and virtual exchange learning
  • Engaging interaction with a cohort of professional peers
  • Rigorous and comprehensive classroom learning interactions

Learn more about coaching and our approach.

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53.5 hours The program includes more than 53 hours of training over 4 months.

Program Overview

You can attend the four-month academy on the University of Denver Campus, or we can provide the academy at a location that’s convenient for you and your colleagues. The program blends in-person and self-guided learning. Upon completion, you’ll gain 53.5 hours of professional coach training and achieve certification as a professional coach by the Butler Institute for Families.

Coaching Curriculum 

  • Coaching Essentials (2 days/13 hours)

    In this in-person classroom session, you’ll explore the purpose and goal of coaching and clarify how coaching differs from and intersects with mentoring and consulting. You’ll also learn about the mindset, approaches, skills and ethics of professional coaching as you assess your readiness for coaching, coach your peers and begin to discover your unique coaching style.

  • Designing the Coaching Relationship (3 days/19.5 hours)

    This in-person classroom session focuses on the process and practice of coaching. You will leave with knowledge of the flow of a coaching relationship—from the initial coaching session to closing the coaching relationship. You’ll have multiple opportunities to observe and practice coaching skills and strategies as well.

  • Diving Deeper into Coaching Practice (2 days/13 hours)

    Apply your coaching knowledge, skills and strengths. In this in-person classroom session, you’ll take the lead in facilitating learning experiences among your peers. You will revisit the foundational essentials of coaching practice and share your new coaching knowledge and experience with the class.

  • Try-It Exercises (8 hours)

     “Try-it” exercises help coaches-in-training to put key learnings into practice between classroom training modules. These exercises offer opportunities for you to practice your coaching skills outside the classroom. You’ll receive weekly “Try-it” assignments that will take no longer than one hour to complete. You will discuss assignments during the following classroom session.

"New ideas and concepts were presented in a way to encourage student participation. I am now more cognizant of my thoughts, feelings and the coaching relationship."

Academy of Professional Coaching Participant
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Interested in scheduling a coaching academy at your location?

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Coaching Implementation Support

We strongly encourage the addition of coaching implementation advising and/or virtual learning circles. Although these aren’t required for Butler Institute or International Coaching Federation certification at the Approved Coaching Specific Training Hours level, both of these experiences provide coaches-in-training with invaluable consultation, practice support and feedback from professional certified coaches and their peers.

Implementation Coaching

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Coaches-in-training receive consultation and supervision sessions with an Academy faculty advisor. These hour-long sessions will help you build confidence and competence as you discuss practice-related issues, concerns and successes while receiving invaluable feedback and support from an experienced coach. Implementation coaching may also require you to provide one audio recording of a coaching session to your faculty advisor for observation and feedback. We recommend monthly advising meetings (conducted virtually via telephone or Zoom ) for up to six months.

Virtual Learning Circles

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Learning circles engage coaches-in-training in interactive dialogues. Facilitated by faculty and offered in a Web-based format such as Zoom, you’ll log-in individually, or in groups at shared sites. Each topical 90-minute session will include interactive dialogues focused on celebrating success, engaging in solution-focused discussions that facilitate creative thinking, exploring new steps to address shared challenges, and providing remote practice opportunities. This process will provide you with ongoing learning opportunities to strengthen your coaching skills and practice. We recommend a minimum of three virtual learning circles over six months.

Program Requirements

Participants must have a four-year degree in a human-services-related field and at least two years of professional experience in a human-services-related field. Each cohort requires at least eight students at any location. We offer the program in English only at this time.

  • Application Process

    To schedule an Academy at an off-campus location, we require completion of a standard service agreement between your group/organization and the University of Denver. We also require a list of names—including contact information, professional degree and human services experience — for each participant. Our coaches can assist with the application process.

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  • Tuition & Fees

    The Butler Institute is part of the University of Denver, which is owned by the Colorado Seminary. Butler offers this Academy to agencies seeking to train/certify their own employees or to collaborate with other agencies in close geographic proximity to train/certify their collective employees. To schedule the Academy, agencies will enter into a contract with the Colorado Seminary with proposed milestone payments due upon signature, prior to the first delivery, following the classroom deliveries and, if applicable, following any supplemental services.

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  • Withdrawals & Refunds

    Agencies are responsible for ensuring participant attendance. To schedule the Academy, agencies will enter into a contract with the Colorado Seminary; the standard contract language allows contracts to be terminated by either party with 30 days written notice. In the event of early contract termination, reimbursable costs will be limited to those milestones completed at the time of termination and a pro-rata share of milestones in progress, including any un-cancellable obligations. We are aware that many agencies working in child welfare will have local, state or federally required termination provisions that may result in negotiated cancellation requirements.

Key Faculty & Coaches


Brenda H. Lockwood

Senior Program Associate

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Christa Doty

Senior Program Associate

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