(all information provided from the ICF website: www.coachfederation.org)
The International Coaching Federation is the leading global coaching organization, with over 19,000 members, dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high professional standards, providing independent certification, and building a network of credentialed coaches.
The study was commissioned in 2011 by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers. In late 2006, the ICF commissioned its first ever global industry study to provide a baseline picture of the profession; to identify what coaches sawas the major challenges; and to estimate the size of the profession. When the benchmark Final Report was ultimately released, the 2007 ICF Global Coaching Study included responses from 5,415 coaches living in 73 different countries – among them, more than 1,500 non-ICF member coaches.
Following a sharp slowdown in 2008, global output fell in 2009 and subsequent economic recovery has been tentative. Nonetheless, the coaching profession appears to have continued its expansion. To serve as a reference, the ICF membership numbers grew from around 11,000 in 2006 to almost 19,000 by the end of 2011.
Against that backdrop, the 2012 ICF Global Coaching Study was designed to be one of the most ambitious pieces of industry research ever conducted on the field of professional coaching. A primary goal was to engage with as many coaches as possible on a worldwide basis, thus providing an up-to- date picture of the profession to help meet the challenges ahead.
The survey was launched online in June 2011, with all ICF member coaches sent a personalized invitation and survey link. Strategies were adopted to facilitate and encourage the widest possible participation by ICF and non-ICF coaches.
Responses were received from professional coaches in 117 countries, an unprecedented response. .
A total of 117 countries participated. A total of 31 nations each received more than 100 survey returns; representing all the major world regions. With 12,133 valid responses, the survey is extremely large in scale, providing a wealth of detailed information on the coaching profession. More than 7,700 ICF members responded to the survey, with an additional 4,400 from non-ICF members.
Given that no accepted, globally inclusive list of coaches was available to use as a sampling frame for the survey, it was necessary on this study to estimate the number of coaches. This was done using a ‘membership ratio method,’ or by combining the known ICF membership numbers with the estimated memberships of other organizations as they were reported on the survey. Using this method, it was estimated that there are presently in the region of 47,500 professional coaches worldwide.
Quite simply stated, the total revenue from coaching is derived by multiplying the number of active coaches by the average annual revenues they generate from coaching. Therefore, at this time, coaches are generating close to $2 billion (USD) in annual revenue/income.
That means that the typical coach who participated in this study is earning an average of $47,900 (USD) in revenue per year from coaching. It should be noted that these average revenues reflect all of the diversity that is known to exist within the coaching profession, such as: coaching experience, education, and training. We also know that many coaches supplement their earnings by offering other services within their professional practice – namely consulting (62%) and training (60%). Finally, when assessing what coaches earn, it would be useful to mention that a significant portion of coaches either barter their services (31%) or offer them to others on a pro bono basis (54%).
All active coaches were asked to quote their average fee for a 1 hour coaching session. As expected, several disparities emerged across global regions and varied according to things like coaching experience and client type (e.g. executives as opposed to personal clients). All factors considered, the global average fee for a 1 hour coaching session was $229 (USD).
The study also determined that an active coach maintained an average of 10 clients at any given time. Again, some clear variations were detected across regional patterns and were influenced by the reported level of coaching experience.
The survey respondents reported that they worked as a coach, on average, for a total of 13 hours each week. In addition to the actual time they spend with their clients, we know that coaches also devote a portion of their time to activities such as session preparation, client maintenance, and their own professional development. Finally, this figure clearly needs to be viewed in the context of the various other professional services that coaches offer. In fact, we found that the typical coach offers about three (2.7) additional services within their practices. Among those cited most commonly were, once again, consulting (62%) and training (60%).
Coaches remain highly educated with more than half (59%) having completed a third level degree (i.e. completed Master’s or Ph. D). This represents an increase from the 2007 Global Coaching Study; where 53% indicated that they possessed a third level degree.
As you will observe, coaching remains a female-dominated profession. However compared to the other regions, Asia and Latin America tend to have more male coaches. North America has the lowest percentage of male coaches.
More than three-quarters (78%) of coaches have received coach-specific training that was accredited/approved by a professional coaching organization. When examining membership affiliations, this accomplishment appears to be driven somewhat by ICF members (82%) compared to non-ICF members (70%).
Not only are coaches highly educated, but they are becoming even more experienced. Nearly half (49%) of the coaches who responded to the survey have at least five years of coaching experience.
Every coach who responded to the survey was asked to glimpse towards the future and identify the biggest obstacle for coaching. More than two in five (43%) respondents viewed untrained individuals who called themselves coaches as the main obstacle for coaching.
The vast majority of coaches (76%) feel that the marketplace expects them to have a certification/credential. In fact, more than one-third (35%) of all coaches indicated that they ‘Strongly Agreed’ with this sentiment. This is perhaps unsurprising when one examines the strong correlation to a piece of 2010 ICF industry research; where an overwhelming portion (84%) of general adult consumers who had been coached also agreed strongly with this statement.
Here’s a link to the ICF Global Coaching Study Executive Summary!