I am upset. I am upset about some developments in the coaching profession. My profession.
Have you ever read Mike Myatt’s “The Problem With Coaching”?  In this article, Mike criticizes the common belief in our industry that “a good coach doesn’t necessarily need any experience, but if they’re a really good listener, can restate what their client tells them, and ask a few good questions, then they can miraculously lead a client to the ah-ha moment that transforms their life and their career.”
Today, I receive this email: “If something has been holding you back from becoming a professional coach, I have good news! Starting a coaching practice is simpler than you probably think.” The email links to a video that suggests that you “talk about what you do in a natural and friendly way”, “get certified”, and “have a simple web presence”. That’s it?
The truth is: making a decent income from coaching is much more difficult than you probably think.
Articles stating “median hourly cost of coaching of 500 USD”  certainly lure people into coaching. I live in Bangkok. The minimum daily wage here is 10 USD. Making 50 times more in one hour than what some others make in a whole day definitely sounds more than attractive, particularly when there is “literally no barrier to entry into the coaching profession.”  And people say about Marshall Goldsmith, one of the top executive coaches in the United States, that he charges 200,000 USD for one year of individual executive coaching. Why shouldn’t you when starting a coaching practice is so simple?
The reality is: there is only one Marshall Goldsmith. Period. Personally, I do not know a single coach in the whole world who makes a living from coaching alone. And I know quite a lot of coaches.
A study by the International Coach Federation (ICF) indicates coaches’ median annual revenues of only 25,000 USD in 2011.  That’s less than 2,100 USD per month—revenue, not profit!
And probably you should not hope that the world is desperately waiting for more coaches: whilst the number of ICF members has increased by a factor of ten from 1999 to 2014), a more recent ICF study states that most organizations do not plan to engage more external coaches in the future. 
This is the reality, and it is probably not what you like to hear when you are aspiring an easy career as a coach.
Coaching schools don’t necessarily make money from producing good coaches, and they don’t make money from producing wealthy coaches. They make money from training people in coaching. The more the merrier.
I challenged one coaching school to help their students with marketing and referrals, and consequently guarantee certain business results for their graduates who want to start their own coaching practice. The head of that school answered in a forum visible for everyone that she thought this was a great idea. Five years later, I am not aware that any such guarantees are given, and I cannot find the post anymore on the website.
The world does not need more coaches. The world needs more good coaches!
The world does not need more coaches. The world needs more good coaches! I ask coaching schools for a responsible behavior by being realistic to their students about how “simple” it is to make a decent living from coaching. Not everybody can be a coach.
A coaching conversation is not like having a chat with your buddy over a beer. Coaching requires that you help your clients change behaviors and achieve their goals. It requires that your clients yield a significant return on investment for what they are paying you. The truth is that this might be much more difficult than some people want to make you think it is.
Dr. Gerrit Pelzer, an ICF-Professional Certified Coach, is the founder and Managing Director of Vivo Consulting Co., Ltd. He is a Leadership Advisor & Executive Coach and the former Vice President and a founding member of the International Coach Federation Bangkok Chapter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article has been previously published on LinkedIn Pulse
References and notes:
 “The Problem With Coaching”, Mike Myatt, N2Growth Blog, 2010
 “What Can Coaches Do for You”, Carol Kauffman and Diane Coutu, Harvard Business Review January 2009
 “2012 ICF Global Coaching Study”, commissioned in 2011 by the International Coach Federation and undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
 International Coach Federation “Background Information & Membership Facts—September 2014”
 56% of respondents plan to maintain the scope of using external coaches, 9% plan to reduce the scope —“Building a Coaching Culture”, Human Capital Institute in partnership with International Coach Federation, Oct 2014.
 To be very clear: there are great coaching schools out there, offering their services in a very responsible manner (e.g. by being transparent and realistic about coaching careers, eventually including business building in their courses)! Unfortunately, this seems to be the exception, and the number of suspicious one weekend courses and the like are increasing to an extent that I find alarming.
#coaching #coachtraining #coachingcertification