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Top Mental Performance Coach Certification Programs

Last updated on February 13, 2024

Achieving success as an athlete requires more than just physical fitness; mental strength is equally important. This is where mental performance coaching comes into play. This type of coaching can be valuable for coaches in the health and fitness field as it can enhance their clients’ overall performance.

If you want to specialize in mental performance, it’s important to choose comprehensive mental performance coach training. Let’s explore the best mental performance coach certification programs so you can make an informed choice that aligns with your career aspirations.

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What Is a Mental Performance Coach?

A mental performance coach typically coaches athletes, performers, or professionals in high-pressure environments to optimize their mental skills and psychological well-being to achieve peak performance. These skills can help athletes at all levels perform better under pressure, overcome obstacles, and manage stress and anxiety.

Mental performance coaches employ a combination of psychological principles, cognitive-behavioral techniques, and mindfulness practices to assist their clients. Their areas of specialty include strengthening mental attributes such as focus, confidence, resilience, motivation, and stress management

Sessions can take the form of one-on-one interactions with individuals or group sessions with teams. In addition to working with athletes, mental performance coaches can also assist professionals in various fields, including business executives, artists, and students, who seek to enhance their mental game and excel in their domains.

How To Become a Certified Mental Performance Coach

You may wonder whether you need to get certified to work as a performance coach. The answer is that earning mental performance coach certification isn’t necessary, but it’s surely a wise move.

Besides equipping you with effective tools and strategies in this field of coaching, obtaining certification is a credibility booster. It demonstrates to potential clients that you possess the knowledge and skills to design a safe and successful mental performance program. 

Certification also sets you apart from competitors and can give you an edge. When clients are faced with a decision, that shiny certification will serve as a clear symbol of your expertise and dedication to their health and fitness goals.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Mental Performance Coaching Certification

Now, let’s review some key factors that can greatly influence your decision about which program will be best for you.

Program Cost

First things first, consider your budget and the cost of the certification program. While it’s essential to make a sound investment in your career, be mindful of hidden fees and ensure the program offers value for your money. Training can range from reasonably priced to more expensive, so find a balance that aligns with your financial resources and goals.

Course Length

The duration of the certification program is another key factor. Determine the time commitment required and whether it fits your schedule and availability. Some programs may offer flexibility with online, self-paced, or part-time options, while others may have a fixed, intensive schedule. Assess how the duration aligns with your personal and professional commitments.


While accreditation isn’t mandatory for mental performance coaching certifications, it holds several advantages. Accredited programs often adhere to high standards, which ensures quality education and credibility. Getting an accredited certification can benefit your career and can increase the trust your clients place in your expertise. If you want to aim for the most recognized accreditation, that would be the International Coach Federation (ICF), which is the gold standard in the coaching industry. 

Best Mental Performance Coach Certifications

Unique Mental Performance Method Option: Brian Cain

Brian Cain’s Mental Performance Mastery Certification is designed for coaches who want to excel in training athletes in mental skills for peak performance. It draws from Brian’s extensive experience (over 15 years) working with top athletes and teams. 

Brian Cain logo
Brian Cain – Mental Performance Mastery Certification

In this comprehensive training program, Brian shares 10 pillars of mental performance mastery, which distill the strategies used by elite performers into fundamental and teachable mental skills. These pillars include elite mindset, motivation, and commitment, process over outcome, routines and habits of excellence, and more. The course covers everything from assessments to specific training strategies, accountability, program design, and more, for well-rounded training.

  • Course Length: Self-paced
  • Program Cost: $997
  • Accreditation: None
  • Mode of Delivery: Online

Physical and Mental Performance Enhancement Option: ISSA 

Among many certifications that ISSA provides, the Performance Enhancement Specialist training program focuses on equipping you with the skills and knowledge for better physical and mental performance. This certification is ideal for those who want to help athletes reach their full potential, see tangible results, and understand the importance of mental preparedness.  The course also touches upon nutrition and supplementation in health and fitness.

International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) – Certified Performance Enhancement Specialist

The resources are abundant, including an online study guide and workbook, practice exams and quizzes, and an online exercise lab with hundreds of exercises. For support and engagement, you can access an online student forum. Another benefit is that you’ll get a free professional website with editable design and content.

  • Course Length: Self-paced
  • Program Cost: $799
  • Accreditation: NCCA
  • Mode of Delivery: Online

Professional Development Option: Mental Game Coaching Pro

The Mental Game Coaching Professional (MGCP) Certification Program is a robust training program led by renowned master mental game coach Dr. Patrick Cohn. To participate in the MGCP program, you are required to have a minimum of 5 years of combined experience as a competitive athlete, coach, or trainer in your sport of expertise, hold a Ph.D. in psychology, or possess a Master’s degree in counseling psychology.

Mental Game Coaching Pro logo
Mental Game Coaching Pro (MGCP) – Mental Game Coaching Professional (MGCP) Certification Program

The MGCP Certification Program comes in different formats, including a one-on-one certification (video conference), group video conference certification, and a self-paced non-certification course (home study course).

As an MGCP-certified professional, you will learn how to conduct mental game assessments, identify mental barriers, teach a well-established mental skills system, and elevate athletes’ competitive performance. The program also focuses on recognizing when mental coaching is needed, imparting mental skills, boosting athlete confidence, and maximizing performance. 

  • Course Length: 10-12 weeks
  • Program Cost: $7,500—One-on-one certification; $4,600—group video-conference certification; $2,000—Self-paced non-certification course
  • Accreditation: ICF
  • Mode of Delivery: Online

Alternatives (non-niche)

If you want to build a strong foundation in coaching with a broader focus, there are plenty of programs that offer life coaching certification. These programs will prepare you to assist your clients better when their personal challenges get in the way of their athletic performance.

Our top recommendation for becoming a certified life coach is the ICF-accredited Coach Training Alliance (CTA). We’ve outlined our reasons for choosing CTA in our detailed review.

For a range of affordable life coaching certification programs that cover various niches, Transformation Academy is the ideal pick. You can find more information about these programs in our Transformation Academy review, and you can get an exclusive 50% discount by using our link.


  • How much does a mental performance coach make?

The average mental performance coach salary ranges between $45,000 and $72,000, according to Glassdoor

  • Do you need a certification to be a mental performance coach?

You don’t need a certification for coaching, but being certified enhances your reputation and trustworthiness in the eyes of those seeking mental performance coaching services.

  • How much does a mental performance coach certification cost?

Usually, the cost of a mental performance coach certification program varies from $1,000 to $8,000.

  • Does accreditation matter in a mental performance coach certification program?

Even though some reputable programs like Brian Cain’s Mental Performance Mastery Certification aren’t accredited, accreditation can bring you broader recognition.

  • What is the most recognized coaching certification?

Life coaching certifications are so numerous that it becomes challenging to keep up with all the programs’ names. That’s why recognition relies more on accreditation. Accrediting institutions like ICF are globally known, which ensures that any certification with such a reputable credential is widely recognized. 


Many coaches and trainers don’t know how to help the people they coach develop the mental skill set to consistently be at their best, reach their goals, and achieve long-term success. Mental performance coach training can fill that gap and make your services more valuable to your clients. 

Depending on your level of expertise and professional aspirations, you can choose from reputable programs like Brian Cain’s Mental Performance Coaching, ISSA, and Mental Game Coaching Pro to enhance your knowledge and earn a trustworthy certification.

If you’re new to the coaching field or if you want to be better acquainted with life coaching methodologies and approaches, general life coaching certifications like Coach Training Alliance and Transformation Academy can boost your capabilities in that area.

Take the Coach Certification Quiz

Need help choosing a coach training and certification program? We created this short quiz to help you find the best program for you.

Take the quiz

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