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Coaching Trends & the Future of Coaching

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Future of Coaching


What’s on the horizon for the profession of coaching?


 Let’s look at today’s trends and then imagine the implications…

TREND: With high unemployment expected to continue at least throughout this year, thousands continue to enter this high-growth field

TREND: Coaching skills are becoming wide-spread amongst workers who manage others

TREND: Coaching horror stories are on the rise

TREND: Hundreds if not thousands of privately-own training schools are forming

TREND: However, coach training is increasingly found in universities, instead of privately owned coach training schools

TREND: Webinar training tools, video chat and other distance-learning and communications systems are evolving and improving

TREND: Scientific Research on coaching is on the rise, proving a scientific basis for coaching results

TREND: Psychology and psychotherapy industries are encroaching on the field of coaching

TREND: Neuroscience may be over-taking psychology as a primary resource of information on how the mind works

TREND: The number of coaching professional organizations and certifications that claim to be the ‘best’ continues to increase

TREND: Movements are afoot around the world to regulate life coaching and other forms of professional coaching


If current trends in coaching continue, what is likely to happen in…


10 years:

Coaching Growth: The number of new professional coaches swelling the ranks will continue to balloon until unemployment rates come down. The number of professional coaches will level off over time, with a less-prepared, less-motivated coaches dropping out, due to increased competition.

Coaching reach: Coaching will no longer be considered exotic or only for the rich and famous. It will be as common as personal training is today. In addition, non-professional coaches will exist throughout society and many people will experience the benefits of coaching from childhood onward.

Coaching delivery: Technology will provide coaches with excellent options for coaching their clients internationally, but local in-person connections will continue to be important, as technology continues to integrate online with offline. Coaching in corporate settings may continue to be delivered primarily person-to-person, but elsewhere will be likely to be delivered via computers, smart phones and other mobile devices.

Coaching fees: Coaching fees have traditionally been sky-high since coaching’s inception. Fees will level off, with a furthering split between a relatively small group of elite coaches, who deliver high-end, high-paid coaching, and a much larger group of coaches who offer much lower-paid services to middle- and low-income clients.

Coaching regulation: Professional coaching will be regulated in several countries, with many more in the process of developing regulations. These regulations will require coach-specific training, certification and/or college degrees, as well as adherence to standardized codes of ethics as requirements for coaches who coach for pay.

Coach training: Coach training via teleseminar or teleclass will go the way of the buggy whip. Most privately owned coaching schools will go out of business, leaving a handful of coach training schools that are either accredited as colleges, are aligned with universities, or that have developed outstanding reputations in professional training. The rest won’t be able to attract coaching students. Coach training will be delivered via multi-media distance learning or live and in person in universities and hotel conference rooms. As universities take over the job of educating coaches, the cost of coach training will skyrocket (Ex: Currently Penn State University offers the Master of Applied Positive Psychology for Life Coaches, at a cost of $47,000 for one year of training.)

Certifications and degrees: Consumers will commonly be aware of coaching horror stories and will know not to work with uncertified coaches. There will be no single one certification, whether from a not-for-profit organization, or from a school, that dominates or is preferred – this will lead to further confusion amongst those who hire coaches, as well as those who want to become coaches. Newer coaches will have coaching-related degrees or certificates from accredited colleges and universities. Older coaches, those with 5-25 years of coaching experience, but not the newer certifications and degress, will survive only if they have excellent reputations as effective coaches.


20 years:

Coaching will be a mature profession that continues to evolve. Virtually all professional coaches will be university trained and coaching regulation will be the norm. People will expect much more of professional coaches, partly because amateur coaches will be everywhere and partly because the dramatic transformations that occur with expensive, high-quality coaching will be expected, not just hoped for.

More dramatically, as a result of coaching's growth, society will evolve, with more people living values-driven lives. People will upgrade their expectations of life and will find creative ways to satisfy their new standards. Non-professional coaches will exist everywhere in society and many people will relate to one another with a ‘coach approach’. It will become common for people to be coached at every stage of life. What is considered masterful coaching today will be considered average professional coaching.


30 years:

Society will continue to transform due to the effects of coaching and coaching will be a highly respected profession. Excellent professional coaches will continue to earn high fees, but professional coaching will be regulated virtually everywhere. In addition, people throughout society will be coaching for free. Since coaching can be used for ‘evil’, there will be both positive and negative effects, but the awareness that comes from coaching and being coached will make it harder to manipulate groups of people. Far more will be expected and required from politicians, business leaders, teachers and other leaders. Individuals will live their lives more courageously and having a coach to partner through important transitions, will be considered an absolute necessity, which means virtually everyone will have a coach.


What do these coaching trends mean to you, the new coach?

  1. The future looks extremely bright for the cream of the crop. If you plan to be a professional coach and you want to be well paid, do whatever it takes to distinguish yourself as one of the best.
  2. If you want to stand out quickly, take advantage of this small window of time to study with a privately-held school that will help put you head and shoulders above this increasingly crowded field. If you can afford to spend $50,000 on your training and there is a good-quality university coach training program that will actually teach you to coach consider it. Because currently most universities teach about positive psychology, leadership and other related fields, but neglect the skills and philosophies that make for great coaching and for coaching success.
  3. Get at least one coach certification from a not-for-profit organization, such as the ICF or IAC. Consider getting more than one such certification, since that may soon be a requirement for practicing coaching where you live and it’s impossible to predict which current organization, if any, will prevail.
  4. Continue to upgrade your knowledge and skills throughout your career. It will help you succeed, earn high fees, and it’ll help you stay in business when regulations occurs.

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I think that in 10 years you will see the delivery of learning and education by online means skyrocket. I also see the rise of the "Open Sourcing" of learning, and I believe that coaching skills will be among those skills that you see in places such as iTunesU, OpenCourseware, Wikiversity, etc. As the internet and social networking continue to flourish, we'll see a great "democratization" of learning and education. 
With the average college undergrad now leaving school with about $30,000 or more in student loan debt, consumer debt in the middle class of $9000 or more, fewer people will be able to pay for coaching programs costing $40,000 or more. As time goes by and technology and sharing flourishes, who is going to WANT TO? 
Even now, you give a basic 28-hour coach certificate for free. This trend is going to continue in the entire education sector in my opinion, with colleges and universities, and coaching schools having to share more of their curriculum in an "Open Learning" atmosphere so that they can show that their approach is better, more competitive, or higher quality. 
Consumers and learners in 10 years will become more discerning and more likely to choose their learning from a wide variety of places based on desire, what speaks to them, and their diverse interests. Much of it will be free, and the youth of 10 years from now will say "duh.. yeah.. a free learning app was how I selected my college." 
I believe to be competitive in a rapidly changing world, that coaching would be SO MUCH MORE if it saw that there was more value to diverse portfolio learning from a wide choice of paths, and that this wide diversity would give us MORE TOOLS, and Better Tools to help our clients achieve and be who they want to be.
Posted @ Saturday, January 29, 2011 1:48 AM by Scott Schumacher
That all makes perfect sense, Scott.  
The data, though says different. According to a recent Sherpa Study, the majority of executive coaches are already getting their training from universities on in-person events, not online training. 
Meanwhile, universities and colleges are offering much more distance learning. 
I agree, college is way over-priced. But the cost of participating in a profession that the public no longer trusts is far higher. 
If everyone were honest and competent, your scenario would prevail. But because so many are not, universities may prevail.
Posted @ Saturday, January 29, 2011 8:35 AM by Julia Stewart
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