According to research, the world’s coaching industry is expected to reach a value of $20 billion in 2023, and in the United States alone, the industry is worth $14 billion. To support these numbers, 99% of individuals and organizations that have received coaching state they are satisfied or very satisfied with the outcomes.
The size of the industry can appear too massive to fathom, but, as a coach, this doesn’t surprise me. Instead, these statistics excite and inspire me to do more for the industry because the significant and unquestionable need exists. From my observations, there are many factors that support this huge demand for coaching, so I’ll highlight a few trends and patterns that I believe are fueling it.
- The new and uncertain business era: The business world is navigating unknown and uncertain ways of doing business, and individuals, leaders, and organizations are looking for guidance and support on how to steer their organizations in these times. Most people seeking coaching support are looking for external and fresh perspectives on how they can work differently to achieve sustainable success. As a result, they lean on coaches for that external perspective. For many leaders, it’s fear of the unknown and stress of shifting business environments that can trigger mental health challenges and negatively impact the leader’s effectiveness. Coaches can provide the right tools and mechanisms to not only conquer challenges and stressors, but create a culture of resilience and grit.
- An ever-evolving workplace: In line with ‘the new and uncertain business era’ is the fact that the workplace itself is changing. For example, given that there are five generations of employees in the workplace, the workforce has significantly changed. For example, baby boomers now work alongside Generation Z employees and have different motives, needs, and expectations in the workplace. The traditional way of leading and conducting business is being questioned by the younger generations. Thus, leaders, decisions makers, and organizations are seeking assistance and guidance on how they effectively manage the new dynamics. In addition, about 80% of employees say they lack the skills needed not only for their current job but future roles as well – this includes individuals pressed into leadership and management roles without prior experience. Assisting individuals with strengthening their ability to lead and manage in a fast-paced environment requires combining a willingness to learn with an adaptable coaching approach.
- Embracing Humanity: Before the pandemic, individuals could largely navigate business apart from their personal lives. However, there is evidence that the pandemic has made leaders and individuals more vulnerable to their overall humanity. There is an acceptance that people’s lives, whether their professional or personal or more often a combination of both, aren’t always optimally lived by “grinning and bearing it.” People now feel more comfortable with accepting and sharing their weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and fears, knowing that there is nothing shameful about seeking help and support from others.
- Going Beyond Intellectual Talent: Because exposing one’s humanity is more accepted in the workplace, organizations and leaders realize that solely leading based on the intellect or talent of their staff can miss the mark. Instead, they’re increasingly embracing the five realms of wellness for sustained productivity and employee engagement. To be considered “well”, each of the following aspects of a person’s life must be considered: emotional, relational, spiritual, intellectual, and physical. Being an expert as a leader or manager is no longer enough; they need people skills as well. As team members or individuals, it matters now more than ever to learn about themselves and how they’re perceived by others in the workplace. Discovering areas of improvement in their makeup may make a difference in their ongoing level of success and influence. They may need to develop emotional intelligence, relationship building, influential communication, or similar skills. Working with a coach can facilitate the development of those competencies.
- A Flexible Coaching Approach: Because organizations and individuals are embracing their humanity and considering the five realms of wellness, coaching sessions often serve as an opportunity to provide guidance in multiple areas in the lives of coaching clients. This doesn’t imply that coaches don’t specialize in certain focus areas; it rather means that a coach should be able to address at least a few of the aspects that comprise the five realms of being a ‘well’ human being. When necessary, a coach can also recommend that the coaching client reach out to other types of coaches or health providers for help in specific areas.
- Customization and Personalization: In general, consumers enjoy personalized and positive customer experiences. For example, a customer who regularly purchases items online from Amazon may instead prefer the experience to be personalized and exceptional. The same philosophy applies when it comes to coaching. Most organizations, leaders, and individuals going through a coaching program want a personalized process to meet their needs at an individual level. Because coaching is highly unlike most one-size-fits-all training initiatives and has always been focused on individual needs, the need for customization has never been more important. Therefore, coaches are expected to engage at a very high level and provide distinctive experiences for their clients.
As the need for coaching continues to grow across the globe and industries, it has become a fundamental strategic component of an organization’s learning and development plan. It requires coaches to upscale their coaching skills and appreciate the depth and weight of their coaching role. As a coach, I urge all coaches to go into this space prepared, dive in wholeheartedly, and support leaders, individuals, and organizations to reach their set goals and desired outcomes that impact and shape the world.
By Dr. Mary Ritz
President, Almenta International