Coaching Association of Canada

Advanced Coaching Diploma – Enhancing Coaching Excellence

Every athlete deserves an educated coach. The Advanced Coach Diploma is the most extensive multisport training program offered by the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) in Canada. Advanced Coaching Diploma (ACD) coaches are recognized as being among the most qualified coaches and leaders of Canadian athletes and sport programs competing provincially, nationally, and internationally. This unique, multi-sport program is essential for Canadian coaches seeking the next step in their coaching careers.

The Advanced Coach Diploma is a coach driven, expert led, peer enriched, and mentor supported coach education program. The program is ideal for coaches working along the high performance pathway who want access to cutting-edge, sport-science research and information, the opportunity to work alongside top coaches and mentors, and who desire to be a more effective coach. This competency-based adult learning experience is delivered both in person and online through the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network.

  • Coach Driven

    ACD coaches are tasked with applying evidence-based best practice and theory from each of the four integrated themes in their specific sport context: Coaching Leadership, Coaching Effectiveness, Performance Planning, and Training and Competition Readiness.

    Throughout the ACD program, coaches are asked to complete a series of modules comprised of several units of in-classroom sessions, seminars, workshops or labs. Coaches are asked to implement content from class to their training and competition environments. Coaches drive the purposeful and critical application of theory and practice from ACD courses to their coaching practice. This pillar sets the ACD apart in that each coach’s learning is relevant because it is put to immediate practical use in the coach’s context and environment.

  • Expert Led

    The ACD content experts and facilitators are comprised of leading sport scientists and academics, sport industry leaders, as well as expert NCCP coaches and mentors, deliver content and facilitate learning in the four themes of the program. Expert content is grounded in current research and best practice in the fields of sport leadership, physiology, motor learning, sport psychology, talent identification, physiotherapy, recovery and regeneration, group dynamics and more.

    The ACD program is relevant and engaging for a diverse mix of coaches because the ACD content experts and facilitators have translated the most current research on how coaches learn into a dynamic environment where coaches engage with cutting edge research, best practices, and insight by Canada’s top coaches and researchers.

  • Peer Enriched

    A growing body of coaching science suggests that the world’s best coaches make significant learning gains through interacting with other coaches. The ACD program is delivered through a structured learning community where participating coaches share, challenge, and grow from each other’s experiences and perspectives.

    The multi-sport nature of the ACD adds to the richness of coach learning. Coaches are exposed repeatedly to ideas and practices that are out of their comfort zone, advancing their learning at a significant rate.

  • Mentor Supported

    The ACD Leadership Team, and individuals who support ACD coach-learners in the program, are NCCP Coach Developers with extensive experience leading, mentoring, and building the sport landscape in Canada and beyond. Each coach in the program engages in timely, meaningful conversations with their mentor both one-on-one and in a small group. The mentor supported layer of our coaches’ program is described as “invaluable, inimitable and gold” by our coaches.

    Our multi-sport mentors support and challenge each member of our structured learning community throughout the two-year program. Our mentors include past graduates of the program, Olympic and Paralympic coaches, Chartered Professional Coaches, and leaders in their sport as NCCP Coach Developers. Coaches enrolled in the ACD program will work with a designated master and/or mentor coach who will support them in their completion of program requirements. The diploma program requires a mid-point and final assessment by a panel of content specialists. The ACD is one step towards certification in the Competition-Development Advanced Gradation context. To complete their certification, the coach must contact their respective National Sport Organization (NSO) to apply for the sport-specific evaluation.

Target Coaches

The Advanced Coaching Diploma predominantly targets coaches with athletes from Train to Train, Train to Compete, and Train to Win, which may include:

  • National Training Centre coaches and targeted next-gen coaches;
  • NSO-identified coaches with potential to develop into coaches of high performance athletes;
  • Post-secondary institution coaches (U SPORTS, NCAA, CCAA);
  • Personal coaches of identified athletes;
  • Canada Games and provincial team coaches; and
  • Club coaches of highly ranked clubs and self-made/entrepreneurial coaches.

Flexible Diploma Program Delivery

The Advanced Coaching Diploma provides an opportunity for the active coach with a busy schedule to engage in advanced learning. The ACD program is available in a two-year, part-time program, yet may be obtained in more or less time depending on the location as various delivery schedules are available.

The Advanced Coach Diploma is delivered and designed to accommodate the travel and day-to-day demands of coaches. A significant advantage to the ACD program is that coaches can attend in person, at a distance, with some content delivered asynchronously, depending on location. On average, ACD coaches will spend between approximately 10-12 hours per week engaging with program content and application over a 6-8 month period. During this period, coaches are actively applying their learning in their daily training environment. Over the next 6-8 month period, coaches focus on their competitive season, and prepare for their formal assessments.

ACD Program Structure

The brochure outlines the usual structure of the ACD program. Please contact the Canadian Sport Institute, or Canadian Sport Centre in your region for more information on enrolling.

Entry Pre-requisites

Please download the Advanced Coaching Diploma brochure for the entry pre-requisites for coaches wishing to achieve an Advanced Coaching Diploma. Coaches can find more information, and apply for the ACD Program directly through their CAC Locker transcript.

Please check with your NSO to see how the ACD fits into the relevant coach development pathway, as this may differ from sport to sport. A coach must have a letter of endorsement from their National Sport Organization as part of the application process.


Contact the ACD Director in your region to learn more about program costs. Tuition can be paid in installments, and may vary by location. A number of grants and bursaries may be available depending on location.