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Coaching Industry Insights: ICF Consumer Awareness Study

Stay in the know with recent findings from the ICF 2022 Global Consumer Awareness Study, and find out what they mean for your coaching business.

Coaching Industry Market Trends

The International Coaching Federation recently published its 2022 Global Consumer Awareness Study, and we’ve poured over the findings to give you the highlights!

Conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ International Survey Unit, the 2022 study represents findings from a sample size of more than 30,727 respondents across 30 countries and territories. This body of research builds upon previous studies conducted in 2017, 2014 and 2010, illuminating coaching industry growth along with shifts in the public’s perception of coaching over time.

So what did they discover? Briefly put, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the professional coaching industry, and prospective clients are paying closer attention to a coach’s credentials. Almost eight in 10 people replied that it would be important or very important for their coach to hold a certification/credential.

As consumers discover the benefits of coaching, their expectations from the coaching relationship are also becoming more well-informed and sophisticated. The clients themselves are telling us that they expect coaches to possess the training and credentials that drive lasting results. 

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the ICF’s coaching industry 2022 findings.

Public Awareness

  • According to the life coach industry research, the proportion of respondents with some awareness of professional coaching has risen from 51% in 2010 to 70% in 2021. 
  • Awareness of coaching varies by age, with those under age 35 reporting a higher degree of familiarity with coaching (39%) compared to those aged 55 and above (15%).

Experience with Coaching

  • 35% of survey respondents indicated that they had previously participated in a professional coaching relationship. 
  • A further 32% who had not previously participated in coaching stated that they would consider doing so in the future.
  • Men were more likely than women to say they had previously participated in a coaching relationship, by a margin of 38% to 33%.

Respondents participated in a coaching relationship for a variety of reasons:

  • Improve communication skills (37%)
  • Work/life balance (35%)
  • To increase self-esteem/self-confidence (35%)
  • Optimize individual/team work performance (34%)
  • Increase productivity (34%)
  • Expand professional career opportunities (33%)
  • Improve business management strategies (30%)
  • Increase well-being (30%)

Impact of Coaching Credentials

Almost eight in 10 respondents replied that it would be important or very important for their coach to hold a certification/credential.

  • More than half of respondents (55%) who said their coach held a certification or credential said they were very satisfied with their coaching experience, compared with a little over one in four respondents (27%) whose coach did not hold a certification.
  • Respondents whose coach held a certification/credential and/or was part of a professional organization were more likely to recommend coaching to colleagues, friends and/or family.
  • A large majority of respondents who have participated in coaching or who would consider participating agreed that it is important or very important that the coach holds a certificate/credential.

Bottom Line?

If you don’t yet have your ICF coaching credential, this is the time to think about whether it may be of benefit to your coaching practice. 

The answer to this is highly individual - no two coaches are the same.The fact is that you don’t need any special training or licensure to become a professional coach. 

So if that’s the case, why does anyone invest in an ICF accredited life coach certification program? Let’s take a look at what credentialing is, and whether it might make sense for you.

Who is the ICF? 

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is a non-profit, professional organization. Their mission is to support coaches and promote coaching as a profession. It’s the only globally recognized, independent credentialing program for coach practitioners. 

Over the past few years, consumer interest in coaching has exploded. As an unaffiliated organization, the ICF is dedicated to overseeing the emerging field of professional coaching. They also make industry-leading endorsements and recommendations for selecting a training program. Because of this, consumers have a safety net against fake programs... and practitioners who may not possess the skills to deliver consistent results.

Why get ICF certified? 

Getting an ICF credential is a way of showing legitimacy and higher education as a professional coach. Corporations that hire full-time coaches typically require an ICF credential for employment. But is it right for YOU?


  • Will credentials be seen as valuable to the clients you are planning to serve?
  • Would a credential make you more competitive for corporate, facilitation, or teaching gigs (if that’s your aspiration)?

Common reasons why some coaches choose to pursue ICF credentials:

  • To better serve their clients through advanced mastery of the coaching craft
  • To access a wider array of employment opportunities, particularly in corporate and business settings.
  • For personal and professional development
  • To work with a specific client who requires ICF credentialing

For more resources to support you in making the decision, you can check out the following guides: 

Ready to Get Your ICF Credential?

Coaching is a rapidly growing field that is continuously evolving. Even for seasoned coaches, there’s always more to discover. If you’d like to talk with a member of the Lumia team to find out if coaching is right for you, we’d love to hear from you! Schedule a call to get your questions answered, and discover how you can become a force for even greater good. You can also check out our Signature Life Coach Training program for more details.

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