Building a full-time Career in Coaching…

The coaching industry is expected to reach a whopping USD 20 billion USD by 2022. This is a fast-growing industry as it is becoming widely accepted around the world. Coaching is no longer considered a luxury available to senior executives and leaders, it is quickly turning into a necessity among millennials, and students, especially with the pandemic.

But is it worth pursuing Coaching as a full-time career option? Can one actually make money from coaching? What does it take to become a successful coach? Being a Career Coach for the past 4 years I’d like to reflect upon my learning on Coaching as a Career.

Choosing Coaching as a full-time Career:

Coaching still remains an unregulated industry and hence the entry barriers are low. If you get an epiphany and decide that coaching is your true calling, you can start right now. There are many people out there in the market who are getting into coaching as a profession. For this same reason, credentialing becomes important.

For a professional or an organization seeking coaching, credentials and qualifications from a recognized organization like International Coach Federation stand as strong filtering criteria. Credentials like ACC or PCC Coach or Certification in a niche area like Emotional Intelligence or NLP assure a minimum quality delivery standard. Hence if you are looking at pursuing coaching seriously, start with formal training that enables you to get one of these credentials.

Who Can Become a Coach?

Here is a board classification of people coming from different professional backgrounds who eventually pursue coaching as a career

1. HR/ Training– Many fortune 500 organizations today advocate the importance of building a coaching culture within their organizations and individuals with experience in HR/ Organizational development are seen to be the torch bearers. They would act as internal coaches creating and executing leadership development programs and career coaching programs tailored to individual capabilities.

2. Psychology/ Therapy/ Counselling– If you are interested in Life Coaching, a background in psychology or similar areas and a PCC credential from ICF will give you a stark differentiation from other coaches in the market. Within life coaching, you can further go deeper to explore a niche like a relationship, separation, loss & grief, parenting, retirement coaching, etc.

3. Senior Leaders/ Executives- They are experienced leaders who have spent a significant part of their life in the corporate drill. They have the right connections, ample experience and wisdom to make a living out of coaching for the rest of their lives. They choose business coaching or executive coaching as a niche and are also seen mentoring entrepreneurs and C-levels on leadership skills and strategic decision-making.

4. There is a fourth category that does not belong to any of the above. Anyone who has a pure passion for coaching belongs to this category. When I did my engineering and then MBA in marketing post-work-ex, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. But once Coaching found me, I never felt the need to have a career conversation. So don’t be intimidated if you are not one of the above, if you belong to this bunch, and you believe in yourself, you will still make it as a successful coach.

Income from Coaching:

If you are a salaried person used to earning a stable monthly income, please be assured that coaching will not fetch you a fixed monthly income, at least not in the initial years of starting up. Like I said entry barriers are low and there are more coaches in the market than people who actually need coaching!

It is not surprising to see that most full-time coaches make only 20-30% of their income from 1-1 coaching. The rest of the income comes from creating courses, training programs, speaking gigs, etc. Having said that, coaches charge anywhere between USD 200 to USD 3000 per hour or per session. It’s up to you to decide how much you should charge based on how you value your time and worth.

One mistake I did early on in my coaching career is become desperate for clients and offering deep discounts. I learned that, if you are in it to make money, you will not make money. You should be in it for the people, the process, and the learning. Every coaching session should make you a better coach for the next session. Coaching is a life-long learning process, only upgrading yourself constantly will give you the confidence and courage to choose your price.

Where to Start:

Start with your vision statement.

What do you love doing? What are you good at? What do you want to do for the rest of your life? How is it useful to others? Start working backward and see what you can do today to make your vision a reality.

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