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Job Growth Trends in the Life Coaching Industry Part 1: Laying the Foundation - Opportunities, Existing Market, Growth

Discover opportunities and data-driven insights for professional coaches, from private practice to corporate roles. Learn how coaching skills enhance careers.

Welcome to the first installment of our comprehensive four-part series examining Job Growth Trends in the Life Coaching Industry. We’re charting the remarkable evolution and emerging opportunities within this field, providing key insights for those considering becoming a professional coach.

Part 1: Laying the Foundation - The Rise of Life Coaching as a Career
Part 2: Corporate Coaching Roles: Internal and External
Part 3: Health and Wellness Coaches and Academic Coaches
Part 4: Other Coaching Niches and Online Platforms

You’ve likely heard the old adage, “Success occurs when preparation meets opportunity.” As you stand at a crossroads in your own life, considering the path to becoming a professional coach — be it a life coach, business coach, health coach, or any other specialized niche — you’re already taking the first critical steps of preparation.

But even the best-prepared people need to ensure their goal is worth pursuing. What does the landscape of opportunity look like for an aspiring coach? Is the life coaching industry ripe with potential? Does it offer the growth and sustenance for a fulfilling and lasting career? 

In this series, we'll explore the current and future opportunities that await in the life coaching profession, dissecting data and trends to understand where preparation can indeed meet a wealth of opportunity.

More opportunities = more people

The coaching industry has seen significant growth over the past few decades. When the founders of Lumia Coaching began their journey towards becoming professional coaches, there was nothing like the public awareness and appetite for coaching that can be documented today. 

The International Coaching Federation, the largest accrediting body for coaches in the world, states that as of 2023 there are 109,200 ICF credentialed coaches worldwide and 34,200 in North America. This represents an astounding 54% increase on the previously published global estimate in 2019. This number is steadily growing.*

The steady increase in the number of coaches underlines the profession's growing appeal, its acceptance as a mainstream career choice, and the desire for credentialing to establish professional standards in the field of coaching.

The uptrend also reflects the increasing recognition of coaching's value, both among individuals seeking personal growth and organizations aiming for peak performance.

If that seems like a large number of coaches, let’s take a look at other professions as a point of comparison. In the United States, here’s how many people are currently work in a sampling of other important fields:

The increase in credentialed coaching professionals worldwide bodes well – it’s a clear market signal of opportunity and growth.

More Resources:
Too Many Life Coaches? The Data Says Otherwise.
Life Coaching Trends: Emerging Opportunities for Coaches

Coaching Industry Insights: ICF Consumer Awareness Study

Career Pathways for Coaches

There are many career pathways available for new coaches today, and even more ways to use coaching skills in existing businesses!

Coaches can establish their own coaching business, offering services to individuals or groups. They set their schedules, determine their niche or specialization, and build a client base. This path requires entrepreneurial skills, but 

Many organizations now recognize the value of coaching and have internal coaches to support their employees. These coaches work within the organization to facilitate personal and professional development, leadership growth, and improve overall workplace and employee performance.

There are so many skills that are enhanced through coaching and coach certification – effective communication, leadership, critical thinking, creativity, self-awareness, resilience, empathy, problem-solving, goal-setting, motivation, adaptability, emotional intelligence. 

Plus, coaching skills are applicable to many different roles and can give you a valuable boost in the industry you’re already in:

Leadership: Managers and leaders in any industry can integrate coaching skills to enhance team communication, motivation, and performance. This can lead to more effective leadership and a more cohesive team dynamic.

Therapists and Wellness Professionals: These professionals often use coaching techniques to complement their services, helping clients set goals and make proactive changes in their lives.

Health Professionals: Doctors and nurses can apply coaching skills to improve patient communication and help in the management of chronic diseases by empowering patients to take charge of their health.

Legal Professionals: Lawyers can use coaching methods to better understand and support their clients, helping them to navigate with a clearer mindset.

Fitness Trainers: By incorporating coaching, fitness professionals can more effectively motivate clients, set realistic health goals, and provide support.

More Resources:
What are Durable Skills vs. Perishable Skills for Life Coaches?
Careers in Life Coaching: Exploring Options & Opportunities

Full-time vs. Part-time coaching opportunities

Lumia has seen full time coaching job opportunities grow, including Meta’s search for a head of coaching and Netflix looking for an Executive Coach – with an estimated salary of $195,000 - $510,000!

These high-level roles are invaluable opportunities for those who come to the field of coaching after a long tenure in the world of business.

While not every role might offer such compensation, it’s important to see it as an indicator. If the top companies in the world value and invest heavily in coaching, you can expect to see an overall lift for the industry as coaching becomes both normalized and valued.

But, being a full time coach isn’t the only opportunity to deploy your coaching skills. 

The flexibility of the coaching profession means practitioners have the choice to work full-time or part-time. While the majority of coaches once pursued the path of self-employment, current trends suggest a momentum shift towards more full-time coaching roles within companies.

More Resources:
Coaching Income Pathways
Internal Coaching: Employment Opportunities for Coaches Within Businesses and Organizations

Salary growth showcases opportunity

Beyond the personally rewarding outcome of transforming lives and making an impact, coaching also offers tangible financial benefits – particularly for those working in certain fields such as business or executive coaching.

Business coaches who work primarily with executive clients command $340 per session, and can often command salaries in the mid six figures.

Aside from those niches, in 2022, active coach practitioners collectively generated an income of $4.564 billion (USD) from coaching.* That’s a 12% increase over 2019’s findings.

Coaches based in North America reported an average annual income of $67,800 in 2023. And life coaches serving individual clients are earning an average of $150 per hour.

How does the average salary for coaches stack up against other professions? Pretty well, as it happens! Check out a few related points of comparison from the U.S. Bureau of Labor:

  • Marriage and Family Therapist = $63,300
  • Human Resource Specialist = $64,240
  • Fitness Trainer = $45,380
  • Real Estate Sales Agent = $48,930

In the United States, the average salary across all job roles currently stands at $59,428. In comparison, the average coach income is looking pretty good. (And many successful coaches make well above six-figures.)

Competitive salaries not only attract more individuals to the coaching profession but also reflect the high value clients and organizations place on quality coaching services. 

More Resources:
How to Diversify Your Income As A Life Coach (And Why You Should)
How Much Do Life Coaches Earn?
Mindset & Coaching Market Outlook

Changing demographics and emerging markets

While people may have an idea of what a coach “looks like”, coaching is simply not confined to one generation or region.

Diversity in the coaching industry is shifting slowly as the barriers to entry and gatekeeping around coaching diminishes slowly – but it’s difficult to put facts to it. There simply aren’t enough reputable studies and research to showcase solid demographics information around race. 

At Lumia, we firmly believe in the importance of elevating and amplifying more BIPOC voices within the coaching industry. Through our coach training we are dedicated to dismantling barriers and fostering equity in the field of coaching with dedicated classes on uncovering bias and working with diverse populations. For individuals from underrepresented and marginalized communities who pursue coach training, we provide targeted resources, scholarships, and support. We're proud to say that a portion of each enrollment directly contributes to these efforts, ensuring that your choice to pursue coach training with Lumia has a wider impact.

However, there are studies and insights into the shifting ages of coaching practitioners. There are coaches represented from all generations, and the demographics of coaching providers are changing year to year. Globally, almost one in two coach practitioners (48%) are in the Gen X age cohort, ranging from 40% in North America to 62% in Eastern Europe.

Coach practitioners who are Baby Boomers range from 16% in Eastern Europe to 49% in North America, and Millennials account for one in 10 coach practitioners. As demographics continue to shift, that number will grow. 

One thing we know for sure is the amount of time you spend as a professional coach has a strong impact on your earning ability – pointing to the opportunity for younger coaches to begin early to reap the benefits of a lengthy career.

Coaching gaining ground globally

As a profession, coaching is on the rise globally, with different regions showing steady growth rates. There are 109,200 ICF certified coaches worldwide, with nearly all of them working actively in the space of coaching at this time.

ICF Global Coaching Study: 2023

While North America leads in terms of practicing coaches, there are a number of emerging markets that have shown rapid growth over the past five years – Asia (+86%), the Middle East and Africa (+74% growth), and Eastern Europe (+59% growth).

The wide geographic spread of coaching highlights more than a trend – it showcases a grounded and growing global market. Plus, coaching isn’t confined to a region or location. Many Lumia graduates travel globally and work from many different locations. 

It all adds up to opportunity

The trajectory of job growth in the life coaching industry is undeniably upward. Whether you're looking at the increasing number of practicing coaches, the integration of coaches into corporate structures, or the rise in specialized coaching roles, the industry is offering more opportunities than ever before.

For aspiring life coaches who wish to add to their existing skill set, or those contemplating a shift to a full-time coaching role, the current landscape is both promising and encouraging.

The job landscape for coaches is robust, underpinned by reputable research and tangible growth trends. The data indicates that opportunities for coaches are expanding across sectors, with institutions recognizing the tangible benefits that professional coaches can offer in today’s workplace. 

The current market offers diverse avenues to make a meaningful impact – plus plenty of opportunity to expand into new fields. Whether you’re considering a coaching career in health and fitness, spirituality, relationships, or business, there’s a place for you at the table.

Coming up:

Part 2: Corporate Coaching Roles: Internal and External
Part 3: Wellness Coaches and Academic Coaches
Part 4: Niche Coaches and Online Platforms


*According to the 2023 ICF Global Coaching Study

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