THE WELLNESS ECONOMY
What Life Coaches Need to Know
The field of life coaching is nestled within the much broader wellness industry. But what is “wellness” in practical terms? How do we measure its social and economic impacts, and what does this information mean to you as a practicing life coach?
In this report, we cover:
- Scope of the Global Wellness Industry
- Life Coaching & The Wellness Economy
- Coaching Industry Outlook
- Emerging Trends for Coaches
Along the way, we’ll share tips and strategies for integrating this information into your life coaching business. As you dig in, consider where popular coaching niches might fall within the wellness spectrum.
The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) is where we obtain all of our industry data. It’s recognized as the leading source for authoritative wellness industry research, and is an excellent resource for coaches interested in exploring the wellness career space.
According to the GWI, wellness is the “active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.”
What’s important about this for you as a coach is the idea that wellness is proactive and ongoing. It’s not some destination we arrive at. Rather, wellness is a lifelong process.
Wellness extends far beyond physical health - what we’re talking about here is the whole person. This is what sets the wellness industry apart from the traditional healthcare system.
Wellness is highly individual and contextual.
What constitutes wellness for each of us is made up of a combination of biological, mental, emotional, socio-economic, and cultural factors.
Wellness requires us to be active and engaged, although our individual choices may in truth only make up part of this overall picture. We recognize and acknowledge disparities in access to, and the ability to realistically implement, a full spectrum of healthy tools and habits.
What this all means is that the wellness “constellation” may look different for each person. It can also change throughout the course of our lives.
This is the space where we operate as life coaches.
Coaching serves those who are moving toward a state of thriving, from wherever they may currently be on the wellness spectrum.
As a professional life coach, you help clients define what optimal well-being looks like for themselves. Coaching provides a container of support and accountability, encouraging clients to take steady action toward achieving their goals.
Life Coaching & The Wellness Economy
The new health economy is made up of any business that helps consumers incorporate wellness activities into their daily lives. And according to the GWI’s most recent study, the global wellness economy is currently valued at more than $4.5 trillion.
The GWI currently projects 9.9% average annual growth, with the wellness economy reaching nearly $7.0 trillion in 2025.
Right now there are eleven sectors in the wellness economy, and coaching fits into every single one of them! As you review this list, think about where your own coaching specialization might fall within these sectors.
- Mental Wellness
- Healthy Eating, Nutrition & Weight Loss
- Physical Activity
- Workplace Wellness
- Traditional & Complementary Medicine
- Personal Care & Beauty
- Wellness Real Estate
- Preventive & Personalized Medicine and Public Health
- Wellness Tourism
- Spa Economy
- Thermal /Mineral Springs
All eleven sectors are dynamic, interconnected, and linked to the wellness economy as a whole. They represent components of a “wellness ecosystem” that nurtures lifestyles of wellbeing and longevity. According to the Global Wellness Institute:
“In the face of longer lifespans, rising chronic disease, stress, and unhappiness, consumers are re-examining their lives and focusing attention on what makes them well – particularly the places and ways in which they live, work, and travel. The wellness economy reflects those shifting priorities, alongside a growing recognition of the critical impact of physical and social environments on our health and wellbeing.”
As a life coach, you can specialize.
You do not have to be an expert in every single one of these areas, nor must you limit yourself to working within just one sector of the wellness market. Consider:
- What are you most drawn to?
- How does your background and experience fit within these sectors?
- Where can you be of greatest service?
- How many coaching niches can you think of that might fall within each of these categories?
For further ideas, check out our resource guide: 20 Hottest Coaching Niches
As the world continues to reorient in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent "Great Resignation", people are looking for help navigating how they want to live and work. Many are exploring ways they can incorporate a broader definition of wellness into their lives.
As life coaches, we help individuals do things that are hard and new, which often entails weaving several dimensions of “wellness” into their lifestyles simultaneously.
In this context, industry leaders have identified four areas in particular as becoming increasingly important over the near term.
This is a new concept that the industry does not have as much language and discourse around yet, which means it’s a ripe space for life coaches to make a contribution!
The best way of thinking about social wellness is in terms of “healthy communities”. As a new frontier for coaching and wellness, this is one place where you can really help shape the future by putting your own words to what social wellness means and how we do it.
A great example of how coaches can contribute to the emerging social wellness dialogue is Lumia co-founder John Kim’s recent book Single On Purpose.
John's content has been specifically generated to help people live socially well inside their single status. Through exploring what it means to be a single person in this world, John is championing new narratives around singlehood. It’s not a way-station on the road toward a relationship (as our current cultural norms would have us believe), but a destination in itself.
As the world continues to feel its way into a new normal, workplace wellness is taking center stage. Employees are increasingly demanding fair wages and working conditions, fair treatment, workplace well-being, and greater balance.
The way we work is also changing. The pandemic completely disrupted notions of how and why we work, as well as when and where. A shift towards collective consciousness continues as consumers and workers lean into expectations for brand purpose.
Millenials and Gen Z are driving consumer behavior change towards personal responsibility and responsible consumption (WELLTODO, 2020.) This change signals that participation in social change will be expected through and with the brands and businesses they engage with.
Life coaches can enter the workplace wellness space from either the individual or corporate angle.
- With individual clients, we can support their efforts to find meaning and balance in their work and personal lives.
- Business coaches can partner with corporate and nonprofit organizations to offer wellness programs and employee coaching through company sponsored programs.
Overcoming Crisis Fatigue
There is a strong market need for targeted mental wellness solutions addressing specific symptoms of modern society, alongside the challenge of living through an era of collective crises.
“Consumers are demanding mental wellness solutions geared towards addressing specific symptoms of modern society, as well as the divergent needs of those living through an era of collective crises.” - WELLTODO, 2021 Consumer Wellness Trends
The invitation to wellness providers and coaches is clear: to map out and modernize a new mental wellness ecosystem that provides different routes to entry, direct access to resources, and more relatable and attainable outcomes.
In your work with individual clients, this will likely include supporting people through stress and fatigue, and - when ready - helping them shift out of survival mode and into a more expansive state.
According to IBISWorld’s Life Coaches in the US Industry Report, the market share for life coaches is expected to increase by 4.7% in the year ahead. And if you’d like to successfully tap into this growing consumer audience, it’s important to establish both your voice and credibility as a coach.
Consumers are directing more of their attention (and buying power) to small brands because they’re looking for connection. People are seeking relatable, trustworthy, genuine voices, especially when it comes to the topics of personal and professional development.
The Forbes Coaches Council recently weighed in on small business trends to watch for 2022, and put “Emotional Intelligence and Empathy” at the top of that list. Influencer marketing on social media ranked not far behind.
Wondering how to implement this into YOUR coaching business? Check out: How to Share Authentically as a Life Coach.
Life Coaching Industry Outlook
Over the past several years, it’s become painfully evident that our current way of life is not supporting wellness and human happiness. People are seeking alternatives to a 24/7 work culture that results in stress, anxiety, dissatisfaction, and poor health outcomes.
The life coaching profession is uniquely positioned to support this changing landscape of wellness. Given the complexities of these times, working with a life coach as a trusted partner to move forward into uncharted territory is a sound and comforting investment for businesses and individuals alike.
Most adults never take the time to sit and strategize, yet “making a plan for one’s plan” is the safest and most cost effective way to move forward.
Life coaches are trained to facilitate the process of imagining a future state that has never existed before, and crafting a well thought out plan for moving forward. We're also skilled at holding the plan while the client proceeds with designing actions and experimenting with new ways of being until their imagined future state comes to fruition.
The role of life coaches in delivering this kind of strategic partnership is beginning to surge within the public’s awareness.
From conscious dating to workplace equity, consumers are waking up to the fact that they need help to do things differently and truly make lasting change.
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) has emerged as a global industry leader whose mission is to educate the public and advance the coaching profession so that coaching becomes a well understood and integral part of society.
The role of the ICF will become increasingly important to the coaching industry as more businesses and individual consumers seek to hire coaching professionals. We are swiftly moving towards a time when insurance providers will recognize coaching as a service that is vital for preventative health and post treatment care.
If you're not already an ICF certified coach, now's the time!
Companies, corporations and even individual clients increasingly want to know if you have credentialing, and what kind. While coaching is an unregulated field, as it grows and changes, the ICF will likely be the 'governing' body that oversees this field.
Wondering what's emerged for 2023? Check out our newest report: Life Coaching Trends for 2023: Emerging Opportunities for Coaches
Want to Get Certified?
If you’d like to support people in achieving multidimensional wellness, come check out Lumia's Life Coach Training. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust evidence -based curriculum, and fellow students dedicated to becoming a force for good in the world.