Coaching is a relatively new profession, although the abilities that a coach is developing and using have their roots in the ancient schools. One power of coaching is to create awareness that “is the greatest agent for change”. Therefore we should also be aware about the developments in the coaching industry in order to be prepared and to get the flexibility needed within the changes that are happening worldwide.
The global trends are showing that the coaching industry is growing and the market is becoming more competitive. The scientific research about coaching is already available and ongoing, providing a scientific basis for the coaching results and offering this way the premises to become even more accepted as discipline/profession.
In a fast changing environment, the coaching skills are already expected also from the managers, leaders, teachers, caretakers etc. Moreover, in a globalized economy with easy access to technology, the coaches and managers are working more and more across borders. So we should extend our overview in time and space in setting our growth strategies.
As coaching profession becomes more and more popular and widespread, it is natural to see the customer requirements to be more oriented towards coaches with international/national certifications – proving this way high professional standard (including the code of ethics) and ongoing learning processes. And the global data is showing exactly this as 83% of the respondents in a 2017 ICF study stated it was either important or very important that their coach has a certification/credential (89% in the emerging markets).
The awareness about coaching is on the rise, yet there are challenges that the market is still facing – out of the 65% of those who said they are very or somewhat aware of professional coaching, around 2/3 are still confusing coaching with other disciplines like mentoring, consulting, training, counseling (in both developed and emerging markets). This is showing how important is for the professional coaches and the institutions related to continue to increase the awareness about professional coaching and to make clear distinction between coaching and other professions/disciplines.
Why a client choses to partner with a coach?
The main reasons why the clients are seeking coaching are: (1) to optimize individual/team work performance, (2) to improve the communication skills, (3) to increase productivity, (4) to expand professional career opportunities, (5) increase self-esteem/self-confidence and (6) improve work/life balance.
Although the top reasons for pursuing coaching look like this, the most commonly cited outcome of coaching are “improved communication skills” , “increase self-esteem/self-confidence” and “increased productivity” the other outcomes following (based on the reasons mentioned above).
Who are the coaching clients?
ICF succeeded to generate under the 2017 Global Consumer Awareness Study five customer general profiles for the established (developed) and emerging markets.
United States – the customer is woman, 18-24 years old, considering herself “somewhat aware” of coaching, more likely to confuse coaching with counseling. She has been coached, being very satisfied with coaching experience, paying for own coaching services and would consider becoming a coach.
Asia – the customer is man, 25-34 years old, very aware about coaching, has participated in a coaching relationship. Coaching is available to all in workplace and the services are paid by someone else. He is satisfied with coaching experience and he would consider becoming a coach.
Latin America – with two types of general customers: (1) woman of 25-34 years old, aware of coaching and more likely to confuse coaching with counseling, very satisfied with coaching experience, paying for own coaching services and would consider becoming a coach, and (2) man of 35-44 years old, very aware about coaching, has participated in a coaching relationship, coaching is available in his workplace and the services are paid by someone else, being somewhat satisfied with coaching experience and would consider becoming a coach.
Eastern Europe – the general customer is a man of 53-71 years old, somewhat aware of coaching. He has participated in coaching relationship, the services being paid by someone else, although coaching is not available in his workplace. He is somewhat satisfied with coaching experience and is unsure about becoming a coach.
These profiles are designed to enhance the understanding of current and prospective coaching consumers, highlighting the prevailing themes and not considering that everyone in each profile has the same characteristics.
Sources: “2017 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study”, ICF and PWC
 Eckhart Tolle