Can I Make It As A Coach? Part 3: Mindset & Coaching Market Outlook

Considering a career in life coaching? In Episode 3 of this three-part series, we dive into the market outlook and mindset for making a sustainable living.

The Everything Life Coaching Podcast, featuring Lumia Coaching founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, is a deep dive into the experience and business of being a life coach. In PART 3 of this 3-part series, we dive into the mindset for making a sustainable living as a coach, along with the current market outlook. In Part 1 we covered what coaches actually make, and Part 2 explored income pathways and revenue streams. Subscribe to get new episodes weekly!

“How much do life coaches make?”

You asked, and we’re here to answer! In the first episode in this series, we took a deep dive into findings from the most recent ICF Coach Salary report. If you missed it, here’s the topline: 

According to the International Coaching Federation, the average salary of a coach practicing in North America is $62,500.

But that’s not where the story ends! In the second episode, we answered another burning question on the minds of most new coaches:

“What do I need to know to make a sustainable living as a life coach?”

In this final segment of our series, we give you the straight talk on the realities of going into business for yourself, and how to decide if now is the right time for you to jump in.

Mindset influences outcomes

Many people are inspired to become a life coach, but not all of them want to be entrepreneurs. But here’s the real story: to run a successful coaching business, it takes more than just great coaching skills. 

Launching a viable practice requires the same level of grit and determination as any startup. You’ve got to invest considerable time and energy (and some money!) to create a sustainable life coaching practice. 

If self employment isn't your jam...

Rest assured that there’s more than one way to do this coaching thing! If there's not an entrepreneural bone in your body, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a good living as a coach! There are more and more organizations hiring skilled coaches today, from coaching companies like Noom, to internal coaches inside corporations. 

For more insight into your employment options as a coach, take a look at our resource guide: Careers in Life Coaching: Exploring Options & Opportunities.

If your aim is to be self employed as a coach...

You don’t want to approach this like a hobby. You need a clear strategy!

What does that look like?

  • Realistic financial forecasting. 
  • Skills and tools to run a small business. 
  • Some marketing know-how to attract prospective clients. 
  • And finally: the confidence to close sales.

When it comes to adopting a winning mindset, the first thing to understand is that becoming a coach requires an investment, and patience. There’s no shortcut to launching a viable business.

Running a coaching business is about a whole lot more than the time you spend working with clients. Check out this breakdown:

Pie chart of time breakdown for coaches in private practice

As your coaching practice grows, these ratios may shift into less marketing and more client hours. But you’ll always need to dedicate a certain amount of time toward getting the word out about your services to attract new clients.

Vision, strategy, and perseverance are all essential components to getting your coaching practice off the ground and providing a sustainable income.

So HOW Do you do this?

Want structure, guidance, and accountability to launch your business or increase your revenue? Hire a coach! 

It may sound corny, but we’re not kidding with this one. Almost every coach we know who is on the fast track to achieving their business and revenue goals works with a business coach or mentor to make the magic happen.

For a little self-study, check out our Ultimate Guide to Getting Your Coaching Business Off the Ground.

What’s the market outlook for life coaches?

According to the ICF, there are currently more than 71,000 coach practitioners worldwide. In 2015, that number stood at 56,100. WOW! With a 36% increase in coach practitioners over the past five years alone, you may be wondering… “Is there room for one more?”


Considering the number of humans on this planet, 71,000 is not very many people. At all.

Coaching is a $2.85 billion dollar industry, and consumer demand is off the charts.

This is an emerging industry, and we need more coaches.

Over the past year, we’ve seen firsthand that people value coaching… even (and especially) in times of global turmoil and economic uncertainty. A recent survey by the ICF on the effect of COVID-19 on the coaching industry revealed a hopeful outlook: 

  • 24% of the 10,000 coaches surveyed have reported that they are experiencing a positive effect on their business as a result of the pandemic. 
  • While nearly half of coaches surveyed worldwide reported a drop in income related to the pandemic, 40% rated that impact as minimal

Coaching is part of the Global Wellness economy, which currently commands 4.5 trillion globally.

The wellness economy represents industries that help consumers incorporate wellness activities and lifestyles into their daily lives. The human suffering caused by the pandemic has negatively impacted mental health and well-being on a global scale, and has increased demand for mental wellness pathways and solutions on a global scale. 

Mental Wellness is a $121 billion global market, and is a new “industry bubble” within the Global Wellness Economy framework: 

The next fastest growing bubbles within the wellness economy are Wellness Real Estate and Workplace Wellness.

Want more intel on where the industry is headed next? Check out our latest report: 2022 Life Coaching Industry Trends.

Consider where you fit

As coaches, it is important to note that the boundaries across the four mental wellness subsectors above are not clearly delineated.

For example:

  • A mindfulness workshop or retreat would fit into the meditation & mindfulness subsector, while one on one coaching could also provide support on mindfulness practices
  • Sound healing and aromatherapy products (e.g., gongs, chimes, incense, candles) fit in the senses, spaces, & sleep subsector, but are also often used as accessories for meditation & mindfulness
  • All of these things could be offered by one coaching professional!

It’s also noteworthy that Mental Wellness tech startups have become a major target for investors, receiving massive amounts of funding. Investment levels reached $750 million in 2019, a five-fold increase over 2014, while funding has topped $1 billion in the first half of 2020. These figures indicate that the perceived growth potential of this segment is huge. 

An important development is the merging of traditional mental health solutions with mental wellness technology platforms to provide preventive and supplemental care. Be on the lookout for coaching to arrive on these platforms soon!

Bottom line: the global public consciousness is waking up to the fact that we need to take care of ourselves, and each other. The coaching profession is poised to provide services for the growing consumer base in this arena. Now’s a great time to get in!

Establishing your credibility as a coach

As with most sectors, coach practitioners do have concerns about the future of the industry. But not for the reasons you might think. The ICF studies revealed that a top concern for practicing coaches wasn’t necessarily the economy, but rather “untrained individuals who call themselves coaches.” 

‍Training from a credible coaching program is beyond important. In today’s market, it’s essential.

Unlike many other professions, there currently is no universal standard that you must achieve in order to claim the title of "coach". Properly trained coaches help to legitimize the coaching profession, which is good for all of us... and our clients.

When you step into someone's life to support them, there's an ethical resposibility to actually know what you are doing.

There is an actual process and science to coaching. Certification demonstrates to prospective clients that you’ve studied your craft through a reputable organization, and that you are working from an evidence-based body of knowledge. In terms of a sound business investment, certification should be your top priority.

If you’re considering becoming a coach, learn about the steps to take here: How To Get Certified As A Life Coach.

Our interest at Lumia is in helping you find the right approach and fit for you - whether it's with us, or another program. These skills are needed in the world today, and there's room for all of us at the coaching table!

Ready to start a career in life coaching? 

Grab your copy of our guide: 6 Steps To Start Coaching Today!

Cover art for 6 Steps guide

This free publication, written by Lumia Coaching co-founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, will give you the tools to discover your niche, find clients, and get started on your path to becoming a successful coach.

Plus, when you sign up -- we'll keep you up to date weekly with coaching techniques, and the occasional much-needed kick in the pants to keep you motivated on your coaching journey.

So, what're you waitin' for? Let's get started!

Lumia Coaching: Vibrant community. Evidence-based life coach training. Lifetime support.

[Free Guide] 6 Steps to Start Coaching Today

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