A Look Into the 2020 ICF Global Coaching Study

Last September, the International Coach Federation (ICF) released the long-awaited 2020 ICF Global Coaching Study. This study is the fourth major study on the size and scope of the coaching profession in 2019. The ICF published the first study in 2007 followed by studies in 2012 and 2016. The study was based on responses from 22,457 people worldwide across 161 countries and astonishingly, in nine languages. 

The coaching profession has evolved and grown beyond any stretch of the imagination since the inaugural study in 2007. More individuals and organizations have embraced coaching since. The use of coaching skills, practices, and strategies has substantially expanded. Now, non-professional and untrained practitioners like business leaders, managers, human resources, and talent developers are also making the most of the coaching competencies in their daily work activities. For the 2020 study, the ICF widened the scope to include the likes of leaders and managers who are using coaching practices in the workplace.

The 2020 ICF Global Coaching Study is a significant one as it provides an up-to-date picture of the coaching profession. It also enables and empowers coaches from all over the world to avail themselves of opportunities and prepare for upcoming challenges. 

Let’s dive into the findings…

(NOTE: If you’ve been asking questions about ICF Certification lately, then you need to attend this webinar, called “ICF Credentialing & Coach Certification”. During the webinar, I’ll cover how you can gain an ICF Credential in a matter of months. Click HERE now to attend the webinar.)

Two Main Modalities in Coaching

The study used the coaching continuum concept to demonstrate the range of modalities in which coaching practices are being used around the world. At one end of the continuum are trained coaching practitioners and at the other end are leaders and managers who use coaching skills and practices in the workplace. It reveals that 71,000 coach practitioners exist worldwide, an increase of 33% from the 2015 estimate, and approximately 16,000 leaders and managers have embraced coaching approaches.

Gender and Generation Matter

The study reveals that the majority of coaches belong to Generation X, the age cohort born between 1965 to 1981. Female coaches are leading the coaching profession recently across all regions except the Middle East and Africa. The largest increase in female coaches was noticed in Asia where female coaches rose from 52% in 2015 to 59% in 2019.

Income and Revenue

According to the study, the average annual revenue/income from coaching ranges between $19,100 in Eastern Europe and $62500 in North America. The global average of $47,100 indicates a reduction of 8% from the previous study. However, if we consider other factors like currency fluctuations and Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), the average income from coaching has increased by 4% since 2015. Moreover, the estimated global revenue from coaching increased by 21% from the 2015 estimate and was approximately $2.849 billion in 2019.

Training and Credentialing

The findings of the 2020 study reveal that training and credentialing are given the highest importance by both coaching practitioners and managers/leaders using coaching practices. 

  • 99% of coaches reported that they had completed a coaching course approved by a professional body.
  • 93% of leaders/managers also revealed that they also had some coaching training including through coaching courses approved by a professional organization. 
  • 74% of coaches claimed to have a credential or certification from a certified coaching organization. 
  • 45% of leaders/managers claimed to have a credential or certification from a certified coaching organization.

Other Statistics & Trends in the 2020 ICF Global Coaching Study

Here are other statistics and trends that are worth noting:

For normal coaches

  • Business coaching has increased by 3%, reaching 65% in 2019 up from 62% in 2016.
  • Male coaches have more business coaching specialties as compared to female coaches.
  • Almost 17% of coaches work as both internal and external coach practitioners.
  • 94% of coaches also offer additional services such as consulting, training, etc.
  • The overall mix of clients is almost similar to the previous study and the mix of clients heavily depends on the coach’s attributes such as area of expertise, region, experience, etc. 
  • The majority of coaching clients are between 35 and 44 years old.

For managers and leaders using coaching practices

  • The majority of managers/leaders using coaching practices are highly educated.
  • 75% of managers/leaders using coaching practices have revealed their plans to enroll in additional coaching programs in the next 12 months.
  • 48% of managers/leaders using coaching practices are members of a professional body.
  • Managers/leaders using coaching practices revealed the following three main obstacles to establishing a strong coaching culture in an organization: higher hierarchy’s limited support; organizations were unable to measure the impact of coaching; and coaching activities often don’t get the required budget.

Final Thoughts

The ICF’s Global Coaching Study is an important study and a benchmark as it was the last and the best possible picture of the coaching industry in the pre-pandemic era. But now, the pandemic has changed the face of the world. The world today is drastically different from the world before the pandemic. Every aspect of the world, people, businesses, and economy has been hit hard by COVID-19 and the coaching industry isn’t an exception. And still, the clouds of uncertainty are hovering over us. Therefore, more research into the wider impacts of the pandemic on the coaching industry and coaches is needed.

To learn more about how to generate an endless wave of high paying coaching clients, get your FREE Instant Access to our “Life Coaching Business Blueprint” video toolkit when you go HERE.

Jeannie Cotter
Editor/Writer
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community

FREE Video Course: How to Build a High Paying Coaching Business

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