As all industries change, so does the coaching industry. Coaching trends emerge and if you can follow them, you will grow.
Change has always been the new constant, and as we look back, this is more apparent now than ever. In the past few years, the socio-economic and political changes have not just impacted the coaching industry but revolutionized all sectors.
Listed below are the top 10 coaching trends in 2021 you need to know to take your business to the next level.
- Customer is king, now and forever. Catering to their changing needs and building a relationship of trust will be the secret to success
- Technology and automation will continue to impact the industry. Technology has already rendered location-based coaching obsolete
- Clients will want to place their money on bankable coaches with relevant experience and expertise
- Training and accreditation will gain more importance as the market becomes more regulated
- Regulations will spur a more structured growth for the industry and result in higher profits for coaches
- Specializations will help reach more niche audience
- Companies will appoint coaches not only for the elite leadership but for building teams across all levels
- Web and video marketing will become more widespread
- Positive psychology will play a key role in boosting morale and inspiring clients
- Relationship-driven will always be in demand. Coaching in 2021 will be geared towards creating authentic, meaningful relationships. This bond is necessary to tackle personal and psychological roadblocks
But instead of focusing on the external changes, I will show you how to adapt your business based on these trends so that you may make your mark within the coaching industry.
1. Do you have a customer-centric approach?
You are in the people business so a customer-centric approach will help immensely when it comes to winning any client’s trust. This does not mean you need to walk in your client’s shoes but you certainly need to walk with/beside them as they navigate through their experiences, become aware of shortcomings and implement higher learning to reach their professional goals or life purpose.
One of the fundamental ways of becoming an effective coach is to initiate and build a relationship of trust with clients. How will you do this? My mantra is simple: Listen, listen, listen. Great listeners don’t necessarily make great coaches, but great coaches must be great listeners.
2. Are you ahead of the tech-savvy curve?
With digitization and automation, things have become both easier and more complex now. The trick is to understand how technology and automation can best be harnessed and stay ahead of the curve.
One of the biggest changes digitization has brought about is to render location-based coaching increasingly obsolete and this trend will continue well beyond 2021.
Thanks to Skype calls and the intervention of artificial intelligence, it does not matter where your client lives and works. In some cases, it could be years before a face-to-face meeting happens, particularly if you are separated by geography and time zones. While this has opened up the doors to seek new avenues for business in markets that were so far out of reach, it also means that the need for communication may well require 24×7 availability and sensitivity to the client’s needs.
Technological support is great but the impact good coaches have on their clients is real and powerful. And it is all related to human feelings. Even without face-to-face encounters, the coaches who will have the greatest impact will be those who provide “the human touch” to clients. Do your clients feel empowered as a result of your association? Then your job is done.
Remember, technology can never replace human beings!
3. Are you a safe bet for the client?
Current market conditions are such that everyone wants to make safe bets, and who can blame them? The trend of measurable investments extends to the coaching industry too. Clients want to see the measurable results that coaches have previously achieved before hiring them. And the best reference you can get is a solid list of clients that have benefitted from your services.
In a way, this trend of looking for the most bankable coach is great for the industry as clients will easily be able to distinguish between coaches who are driven by results and those who are not. As the industry matures, you will find yourself competing more and more with the best in the business.
Is that daunting? Not if you ask me, for the competition can often bring out the best in some.
4. Are you trained to deliver?
This new mindset will also spur growth within the industry as regulations will provide a much-needed framework and structure for the coaching industry. Rules and accreditation will create more accountability in the coaching world and help clients make the right choice when it comes to choosing a partner for their growth. In order to capitalize on this trend, choose to invest in yourself through training and getting licensed before you ask clients to invest in you.
Being a part of a coaching membership site will also help you in this by keeping you abreast of market changes and help you learn even while practicing.
5. Will coaching be a profitable business for you?
Greater accountability among coaches will also ensure higher monetary returns for you. Clients who are able to understand your value will also be more open to paying higher returns for your time and effort.
The International Coach Federation in 2018 revealed that there were 53,300 coaches, up from 47,500 part-time and full-time coaches worldwide in 2011. Of these, 33% operate in the United States — a total of 17,500 coaches. The U.S. estimated market value for personal coaching was cited to be $955 million in 2015 and $1.02 billion in 2016, compared to $707 million in 2011. The same body estimated that coaches have an average annual income ranging from $27,100 to $73,100. Some speciality coaches can even make over $100,000.
Think that the market is saturated? You would be surprised to know that the demand for good coaches continues to grow with the new generation of millennials.
6. What is your secret to success?
While there can be no one-size-fits-all solution within the coaching industry, one of the best pieces of life experience I can share is about figuring out your target audience as soon as possible.
You may read a previous blog about my experience of understanding my niche audience and thereby achieving a 6-figure coaching business here.
Finding your niche will not only help clients differentiate between the various options that they have at their fingertips but will also give you that competitive drive to push for greater returns.
7. How does your business scale up?
Coaching is no longer a privilege for leaders. Organizations are fast realizing that coaching is key in employee and leadership development at all levels and pairing coaching with leadership training is critical in building and retaining their most important asset: the human talent bank. This means that coaching is no longer restricted to the elite and industries will find that specialist coaching for sectors, and also within companies, is an investment worth making.
What does this mean for your business? It means better profits for you as you are no longer focussing merely on individual clients but also becoming relevant for organizations at large.
Specialization and previous experience will be the new bankable assets for coaches even within specific industries as clients look for faster results for their own business growth.
8. Where are you looking for success?
By now, you have it all figured out. You have got your degree and a solid body of experience; you have figured out your niche and are gunning for the end prize but somehow this is not translating into profits.
What is missing in the puzzle?
Take a step back and assess your visibility and business edge. Are clients able to find you as easily in the crowd?
According to this article by Forbes, video is the future of media on the web and you need to understand the implications that this has on your business. Cisco predicts that, by 2020, 82% of consumer internet traffic will be video and total global internet traffic will increase at 22% per year, making internet traffic in 2020 95 times greater than it was in 2005.
How can you benefit from this?
Branding is a long-term goal and you need to understand how to sell your services and to who. Blog about your successes, network with peers and plan for advertising on a long-term basis so that you may reach your desired audience.
Successful video marketing may just be the much needed magic touch that takes your business to the next level.
Create easily digestible content in a video format and use that as a launching pad to introduce your business to clients across all social media platforms.
I have shared some more tips about how advertising to a target audience helped me, in this post.
9. Is positive psychology a part of your practice?
Most people focus too much on what changes have shaped the coaching industry. They talk about everything from technological advancements to changing mindsets regarding hiring coaches. While that is true, the essence of coaching has and will continue to remain the same.
We are in the business of helping people. Coaches are increasingly realizing the importance of positive psychology and focus on what’s right with people in order to help them thrive and flourish.
Over the next couple of years, coaches will be using the scientific principles of positive psychology and mindfulness in coaching to help their clients create more positive, more productive, and more profitable workplaces, and also apply these principles to their own lives.
10. Are you human enough?
In today’s fast-paced world, what is the one thing that will set you apart? It is your ability to remain a human anchor for your clients.
As timeframes for delivering success get tighter for your clients, they will look to you for strategies based on a relationship of trust and your previous experience delivering measurable results. Coaches who find cutting-edge ways to make interactions feel empowering, result-oriented and yet “human” will be the ones who find unique success.
There will be a need for vulnerability on the part of both client and coach. And it is how they navigate through a shared experience together that will define the relationship and ensure success.