Did you know that professionally life coaching is a multimillion dollar industry? From services and products to training, people can create a very profitable business. But, many people are not aware that coaching is a profession, or what coaching as a method is. So, let’s start with defining coaching. The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” So, according to ICF, coaching is a process. But, it’s also a tool and it is an industry.
As a tool, coaching facilities the process. Coaching tools include models, methods, techniques and activities that ignite creativity, motivates action, and transforms thinking and behavior. As an industry, coaching is broad and overlaps in many fields. Major companies such as Virgin, Microsoft, and Apple incorporate coaching tools and services to develop leaders, increase productivity and ensure staff maintain high or positive moral. There are also different domains for coaching. For example, there is marriage and sex coaching, solo-entrepreneur coaching, business coaching, leadership coaching, spiritual coaching, academic coaching, and personal coaching. Coaching is also used to support ministers, actors/entertainers, politicians, teachers, nurses and doctors, college students, as well as athletes. Literally, a qualified coach can be positioned in several industries or fields, both as a consultant or as a fulltime staff member. In summary, coaches use coaching as a process to help clients reach their potential. They use coaching as a tool to facilitate the coaching process, and coaching is a broad industry that can touch multiple fields. How does your knowledge and passion play a role? What you know, have learned, and feel you are purposed to carry out can be incorporated into a coaching business or coaching career. So, combining your background with the right coaching tools can create a profitable business for you.
While the coaching industry is projected to increase in revenue and opportunities over the next 5-10 years, not many people or companies understand coaching as a useful tool or its industry potential. That’s where your skills come in. There is a need to share evidence that coaching works, especially for motivated individuals. Additionally, there is a need for more professionally trained, qualified coaches. You may know what you know, and have great experience, but do you have core coaching competencies to deliver great coaching services or products? Your knowledge, passion, and experience can provide a benefit to others who need your expertise. But, you need more than just your calling to help others. You need professional skills and core coaching competencies.
Studies have shown that the more competent a coach is the more likely she will effectively help clients achieve goals. For instance, part of core coaching competency is knowing the difference between coaching, mentoring, therapy and counseling. A professional coach knows about the differences and when to use coaching. Furthermore, competent coaches apply high ethical standards and good business sense. That’s why Reid Ready Coach Training voluntarily provides coach tools and training that aligns with ICF beliefs and approach, to help coaches build these skills to be highly effective, both in their own practice or as an employee of a company.
Also, researchers have found that coaching helps the coach, not just the coachee (person being coached). Coaching teaches compassion, openness and non-judgmental thinking. It can also help coaches become subject matter experts in a coaching approach or model, or how to use coaching in a specific industry. There are many opportunities for you as a coach, especially if you undergo professional training. A career in coaching can offer both fulfillment and financial stability. However, if you do not have good business sense, proper evidenced-based training, or lack coach competency, you can also experience financial problems by investing in the wrong program, or not having appropriate qualifications. This can lead to hurting people you are trying to help.
Researchers and subject matter experts in the coaching field suggest coaches use evidenced-based coaching approaches or tools. As such, data is important in the coaching profession. There can be a spiritual and metaphysical component to coaching. For instance, a few coaches incorporate the theory of the Law of Attraction, Crystal Work, and Positive Energy Work to their coaching approach. But, your outcomes should be data driven. So, it is very important that coaches are careful to use evidenced-based practices, understand the benefits and risks of different coaching tools, and how to identify what tool is the right fit for their clients’ needs. Nonetheless, coaching can be used to support the whole person. Reid Ready Coaches consider a client’s trilateral being, when co-creating support and goals with clients. But, the key focus is always the reliability and validity of the methods, tools and models used to help clients achieve their goals and ensuring coaches have key competencies to be effective.
So, how can you benefit? By honing your skills and making sure you are an effective coach. Everybody is not meant to coach or manage a coaching business. That’s ok. But, if you feel this is your purpose, and you have a skillset that is ideal for coaching others, coaching may be a good professional fit for you. A good place to start is assessing and researching if and how coaching is right for you. You can contact Reid Ready Life Coaching if you want to learn more or talk with other professional coaches.
References for further reading:
Biswas-Diener, R. (2010). Practicing positive psychology coaching: Assessment, activities and strategies for success. London: Wiley.
Brockbank, A. (2008). Is the coaching fit for purpose? A typology of coaching and learning approaches, Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 1(2), 132-144, DOI: 10.1080/17521880802328046
Cavanagh, M. (2006). Coaching from a systemic perspective: A complex adaptive conversation. In D. Stober & Grant et al., A.M. Grant (Eds.), Evidence-based coaching handbook, 313–354. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Grant, A.M., & Spence, G.B. (2010). Using coaching and positive psychology to promote a flourishing workforce: A model of goal-striving and mental health. In P.A. Linley, S. Harrington, & N. Page (Eds.), Oxford handbook of positive psychology and work, 175–188. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Jarosz, J. (2016). What is life coaching? International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 14(1), 35-56.
Jinks, D., & Dexter, J. (2012). What do you really want: An examination of the pursuit of goal setting in coaching. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring, 10(2), 100-110.
O'Broin, A., & McDowall, A. (2015). Specificity is the key, if we really want to understand coaching! Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 8(2), 69-72, DOI: 10.1080/17521882.2015.1078083
Theeboom, T., Beersma, B., & van Vianen, A. (2014). Does coaching work? A meta-analysis on the effects of coaching on individual level outcomes in an organizational context, The Journal of Positive Psychology, 9(1), 1-18, DOI:10.1080/17439760.2013.837499