The Future of Life Coaching

is there room for me as a life coach?

Are you wondering if there are enough life coach jobs out there?

***Note, this post was written before the pandemic, so we’ve included an update in the end to account for the rapid changes***

You probably have questions like: Does coaching have a future? Is it going to last as a career choice?

Or you may be wondering: Is the coaching market oversaturated…

…or is there a real demand for life coaches, so your business has a chance?

Or you could be worried that a recession will crater the industry, or asking if yourself there is enough life coach industry growth to ride out an uncertain future.

These are great questions!

So, let’s tackle them using a combination of anecdotal real-life stories + actual data to see what we can learn, to discover if there are, indeed, enough life coach jobs for everyone.

Why? Because facts are fun! And so are stories!

First, what is the future of life coaching? Is it still a viable field?

Answer: Yes.

The short-term future of life coaching (and by “life coaching” I mean career coaching, date coaching, confidence coaching, health coaching, life coaching, you name it :)) is strong. There is a demand for life coaches.

(Note: Want to become a life coach or asking yourself “Should I even become a life coach?” Don’t fret!  Here’s an article on how to get started!)

Let me break down all the different ways I’ve reached this conclusion, shall I? *waves chocolate excitedly*

To start, let’s take a look at the anecdotal evidence about coaching trends and the demand for coaches

I talked to long-time coaches in several of the major fields of coaching, some ICF certified, some not, and asked them what they’ve been seeing in their industries (and in their own personal businesses).

I chose coaches from three different fields, all of whom have been in business for at least 10 years and made well over six figures a year consistently.

(Want to know how much life coaches really make, and what a life coach salary might look like? Here’s a great article for that with many concrete details!)

In each of these major life coach job fields (Career, Dating + Relationship, and Health), all of the coaches said that their businesses are…STABLE AND GROWING.

YES.

Here was the trend each of them said they where noticing: While there are more coaches and therefore much more competition than when they started, coaching has become more mainstream, and that means that there are now more clients.

Let me say that again: There are now more clients than 5, 10 or 15 years ago.

Coaching has broken through! Serena Williams, Bill Clinton and other big names have all referenced using life coaches (yay!).

But let’s get specific. For instance, in the career realm, several things are happening:

  1. Companies see how coaching helps their bottom line, so they are hiring more leadership and executive coaches (here’s one company you may recognize who’s doing it) to boost retention and productivity.
  2. Folks who aspire for more in the career see the value of investing in outside, confidential help, because they know the coaching will pay off in salary or a job that they love.
  3. Job-sharing, the gig-economy and the recession has further sent people scrambling for help to navigate this brave new world of online and app-related work, and they are also willing to hire coaches.

In the dating and relationship realm, two big things are happening:

  1. So many dating apps. So much confusion. Remember when yahoo personals was a skeevy thing that you would never tell your friends about? Now your divorced parents may be openly on Tinder. The choice overwhelm and the emphasis on social media has led folks to realize they need HELP. So, enter date coaches :).
  2. Couples aren’t just turning to therapists in the bad times (and the good), there are wedding coaches, relationship coaches, divorce coaches and so much more!

In the health realm, the crazy diets and big companies have made us more open to coaching.

  1. What Weight Watchers started years ago is paying off now for those in the health field, i.e., looking outside yourself for guidance and help. Add to that the information overwhelm and all of the changes in what we think is healthy (remember when low-fat was a thing?), now we have Keto. Paleo. Whole 30. It’s made people crave help and support to make major holistic health changes, and so health coaches are up to bat.

And there’s stuff happening in other, more esoteric niches. Parents are hiring coaches to help reduce their kids screen-time, and baby-boomers are hiring life coaches to help reimagine what comes next.

Bottom line: While I know these are just a few coaching niches, I think the overall trend is pretty clear: Coaching is now acceptable – you’ll hear people talk about it in a natural way. 15 years ago you used to talk about meeting with your therapist. Now you may be more likely to bring up meeting with your life coach.

So yes, again – the trend from my coaching interviews holds – while there are more coaches, there are also many many more prospective clients.

Now let’s look at different research about the future of coaching because FACTS ARE FUN.

First off, let’s start with google, who has named the top quality of a good manager that of “a good coach.”

Yes, the people who control the internet have decided that coaching is a critical key still.

So let’s dig into keywords a little deeper, shall we? Here’s a comparison on google trends showing the *overall* life coach industry growth. This is based on the search volume of the terms life coach, date coach, career coach, and health coach – spread out over the last 15 years.

What are we noticing? Well, life coach is trending up, in the last 5 years especially. Health coach is also on the rise, with career coach and date coach holding mostly steady.

What’s the takeaway?

Trending up/holding steady is never a bad news story :).  While this is obviously NOT a deep dive, this data indicates that we aren’t at a random cliff. In fact people are still interested enough to search on these terms, which is overall good news for the industry.

But what about serious market research? Let’s get to the good stuff!

The market research company IBIS World has done annual reports on the coaching industry for the last 10 years or so.

They say it’s growing (it’s been growing over the last decade as an FYI on coaching trends, and it is still predicted to grow).

Here’s a helpful quote from IBIS World re: their prediction that the coaching industry will continue to grow:  “Although growth in the overall economy will lessen the need for industry services to a degree, continued struggles along numerous segments of the economy, coupled with higher disposable income as a whole, will increase demand. Therefore, industry revenue is forecast to grow…”

life coach industry statistics

So long story short, even if we do experience some economic struggles, there is still growth in the forecast for the coaching industry in 2020 and beyond. That’s great news for us!

Here’s the big bottom line: Anecdotal evidence, search evidence, and professional “We’ve really dug into this” evidence are all pointing the same way – the life coach industry is still growing. The future, for now, is positive.

And here’s one last thing to know about working in the coaching industry and the life coach jobs available

Okay, we’ve talked to real live coaches from different industries. We’ve dug into google and into reports from folks who do research for a living.

Now, let’s get personal!

I’ve been in business for 7 years. Over that time I’ve built two coaching companies, The Revolutionary Club and Coach Pony.

Both have made me plenty of money (yes, I’m in the seven-figure club :)). My business has grown every single year, often by leaps and bounds, and the only year where topline revenue stayed the same, profit went up quite a bit.

What I’ve noticed is that while some things have changed, most things have remained the same.

People will still pay a lot of money for coaching programs or packages that are high-touch and offer a lot of support.

If you don’t communicate the value of what you do, then clients likely won’t hire you.

Really knowing your niche is what leads to building great trust…which leads to folks hiring you.

Some of success is due to luck and timing, but most of it it due to constant, sustained effort and never giving up, all while being willing to learn and grow and be great at what you do.

This means being willing to get business training, to take on new ideas about how to be a successful entrepreneur, and to keep going even when it gets hard (it will get hard).

So what are you waiting for? 🙂

**PANDEMIC UPDATE**

Coronavirus has brought a lot of stress, worry and doubt to small businesses, coaches included. While no one can predict the future, here are a few reasons why we believe that the future of coaching is still strong:

1) Certain niches have already seen an uptick in requests (Date Coaches/Health Coaches/Business Coaches), as staying at home has forced people to confront some uncomfortable truths and/or inspired them to finally seek help in an area they previously haven’t had time to handle. Others are holding steady for now (careers), and there’s also room for new niches to explode (how to parent and teach your kids! How to build and lead a remote team).

2) Coaching is a flexible field, with very little overhead. You can coach from anywhere, and do not need to be in-person to help clients make huge strides. This is IMPORTANT, we are not the hospitality industry, and we can run lean businesses that adapt to the times.

3) The coaching model is not static and has room for creativity. Meaning – if you find people can’t or aren’t willing to invest in high-priced private coaching, you can create cheaper online group coaching or DIY packages that will still support your clients and allow you a good income.

4) The virus won’t last forever. At some point, this will be a memory but one that might inspire people to live differently and take personal development more seriously.  And, the businesses that are around to support them will thrive.

Want to build your own successful life coaching business that sticks around for the long term?

AWESOME!

Now: WAIT. STOP. I have two activities for you to do immediately, if not sooner.

  1. Read this article on what life coaches are really selling (and the 5 business systems you need to build). No opt-in, just click and go!
  2. And then watch this super in-depth FREE on-demand video training on how to get paying clients. It’s a full MARKETING MASTERCLASS worth about $500, but you can have it for free :).

the future of coaching