So few studies and research is done on the coaching industry, so when the ICF (The International Coaching Federation) publishes their study/survey every three years, I am always excited to see what trends and shifts are happening within the coaching industry. They just announced the release of their study today and I eagerly combed through the Executive Summary for interesting data that would relate to me and my clients.
Interesting data that I thought was worth noting:
The ICF estimates that there are 17,500 “coach practitioners” in North America and 53,300 Globally. In the US, half of these coaches work internally and half work externally (entrepreneurs).
These numbers did seem low to me, but I also think many people that call themselves “coaches” may not have been certified or even had specific coach training. Even if this number represents only a fraction of “coaches” out there, it still shows that there is a lot of opportunity for growth in the industry. Given that there are over 300 million people in the US and over 35 million people in Canada, this is a very small slice of the population. I often hear a concern from coaches about market saturation or there being too much competition but out of the external coaches surveyed, this was not a huge concern (10% listed this as a concern). It does point to the value of becoming certified if you haven’t done that yet. I also believe there may be a correlation between those who have concerns about market saturation/competition and the health of their particular coaching practice. And remember, our perception does become our reality!
The average reported revenue from coaching for coach practitioners was $61,900 in North America.
This is a 6% increase from the 2012 survey. This is only income coming from coaching (and not other sources in their business). Note, however, that averages are averages. This means there is a large percentage of coaches who make more than this and a large percentage who make less than this. The study did not indicate how many clients make up that number. This is a higher figure than I have seen in other reports and is a respectable number. (I read a report three years ago that said that the average coach had 1 paying client a year after graduating). However, if a full practice for most certified coaches is around 20 clients, this number is extremely low. If you have a full, sustainable practice of 20 clients at a time, you should be making double that.
77% of coach practitioners agree that people and organizations using coaching expect their coaches to be credentialed.
Furthermore, credentialed coaches command higher fees and report more clients and greater annual revenue from coaching than their peers without a credential. This further supports the value of getting certified. And if you haven’t been certified yet, now is the time to do it. The requirements for certification with the ICF change in October 2016, as the ICF is trying to act as leaders in the field and tighten up requirements in the hope to increase the credibility and prestige of being credentialed. There is much speculation and discussion around this topic in the coaching field and we are likely, over time, to see this effecting client expectations around credentialing for anyone calling themselves a “coach.”
73% of certified coaches in North America are female.
I remember when I went through coaching school over 10 years ago, when I had 4 men in my class of 24 (just under 17%). The numbers of men were actually smaller in the classes I assisted right after I finished coaching school. It is promising to see that the ratio is starting to shift to include more men in the last decade.
94% of coach practitioners offer one or more services in addition to coaching within their professional practice.
On average, coach practitioners offer 2.8 services in addition to coaching. When I work with my clients, one of the things we do is identify additional services and resources their ideal clients want from them to augment their coaching. Often times these are included in their “coaching packages”; sometimes they are add-ons to their coaching packages. I think this statistic shows that a lot of the coaching revenue (stated above) is augmented from other services (such as consulting, assessments, products, etc). As a business coach/mentor to professional coaches, I don’t believe you have to offer products or assessments, to bring value to your clients (although it could be very helpful). However, I interpret this as meaning that our clients want more from us than just great coaching. If you are an Executive Coach, as an example, your clients do want tools and resources from you to help them be a better leader and manager. Regardless of your niche, I think it’s important to talk to your clients about what they need and help provide resources to help aid in their transformation. I also think this is why folks who put themselves out there as “life coaches” have more challenges attracting and especially retaining clients and, thus, creating full, sustainable practices.
I encourage you to read the Executive Summary of the survey or to buy the full survey to get even more great data on what’s happening in the coaching industry.
As always, I would love to hear your comments, thoughts, and questions!