How to Become a Successful Coaching Psychologist [2021-22]

 Sai Blackbyrn/ 24th November 2021

What does a coaching psychologist do? And how can he/she help clients optimize their potential?

According to Psychology Today, psychological coaching focuses on the positive aspects of the human condition. In that aspect, it is much like positive counselling. So a coaching psychologist will not focus on the negative, irrational, and pathological aspects of life.

Coaching makes use of positive resources, such as hope, resilience, and optimism. All of these improve job satisfaction, performance, and dedication in the workplace. 

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What Does A Coaching Psychologist Do?

In order to understand what a coaching psychologist does, let us understand what this specific type of coaching is all about.

Wikipedia defines coaching psychology as a field of applied psychology that applies psychological theories and concepts to the practice of coaching. Its aim is to increase performance, achievement and well-being in individuals, teams and organisations by using evidence-based methods grounded in scientific research. Coaching psychology is influenced by theories in various psychological fields, such as humanistic psychology, positive psychology, learning theory and social psychology.

One of the theoretical influences on coaching psychology is positive psychology. This is a term that many coaching psychologists use and one that you will become familiar with.

According to Wikipedia, positive psychology (developed by Martin Seligman and others) dwells on the positive aspects of human characteristics such as strength and competency. At its core, coaching psychology shares this focus. Effective coaching entails improving the performance and well-being of the client. Positive psychology thus provides a foundation for coaching. Coaching psychology has been considered a type of applied positive psychology.

This concept of positive psychology has become a buzz word and now many coaching psychologists are often being referred to as positive psychology coaches.

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Why Should One Hire You As A Coaching Psychologist?

In short how will you identify your target audience? And how will they find you? Read on to know more.

Are you switching careers to pursue your dream of becoming a coaching psychologist? Or are you starting out in your career as a coaching psychologist?

Either way, some of the concerns are the same.

Most coaching psychologists ask themselves the following questions.

  1. How will I get clients?
  2. How can I get noticed for my coaching services in an overcrowded market?
  3. How will I advertise my services as a coaching psychologist?
  4. Will I earn enough to have a good life and support my family as a coaching psychologist?

Can you relate to these concerns? If these are some of the questions you have asked yourself, then you are in the right place. Throughout this blog, I will answer each of the queries listed above.

First, let us start by examining who is looking for a coaching psychologist?

What does your target audience profile look like? And what are they looking for in you? Explore this article to understand the benefits of psychology in coaching.

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What do clients want in a coaching psychologist?

Most clients who hire coaching psychologists are looking:

  • To enhance performance
  • Feel better about the self
  • Ensure smooth life transitions
  • Deal with challenges positively
  • Achieve goals
  • Become more successful
  • Improve the overall quality of one’s personal and professional life

Coaching is specific and goal-oriented. Like in sports coaching, a coaching psychologist will concentrate on individual or group strengths and abilities.

What are the Qualities of a Good Coaching Psychologist?

Is there a magic pill that can make for a great coaching psychologist?

No, there is no such pill that you can take. Instead, there are several traits that make for good coaches. These are what you may learn from and imbibe.

In my previous blog Top 10 Coaching Skills You Must Have as a Life Coach, I have mentioned several such qualities.

According to this article, a systematic review of studies, published in the International Coaching Psychology Review, identified five key factors that determine the effectiveness of a positive coaching relationship. These include:

  1. Establishing and maintaining trust
  2. The coach’s understanding and ability to manage a client’s emotional responses and problems with empathy
  3. Two-way communication
  4. The coach’s ability to facilitate and help client’s learning and development to reach goals
  5. A clear contract and transparent process
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Each of these can be crucial factors towards becoming a successful coaching psychologist. There are also several other qualities that make for a good coach. You may want to refer to my blogs 21 Coaching Skills Every Successful Coach Needs and Top Qualities Of A Successful Coach.

These qualities mentioned are helpful for all coaches, including a coaching psychologist.

One question I am asked often is whether there is a particular coaching style for a coaching psychologist. In my blog Types of Coaching Styles and Models Every Coach Should Know About, I have mentioned some of these styles. The truth is your style of coaching will depend on your personality and the niche. However, you should know these coaching models and tailor your style to suit your client.

Top Qualifications Required in a Coaching Psychologist

Are there certain specific things that your client is looking for in a coaching psychologist?

Besides a willingness to help people, the traits that make for a good coach are common to all coaches.

However, clients who look for a coaching psychologist may look for a Masters degree. Some may expect previous experience in sports or performance sectors, specific clinical experience or proven analytical skills. Therapeutic counselling, social work, experience as a mentor or coach are all good additions to your CV.

Getting a degree as a coaching psychologist is not a difficult thing to do. There are several institutes offering degrees or diplomas for a coaching psychologist to get trained.

Some of them are listed below. But there may be options closer to your location so look online.

As specified here, the International Coaching Federation (ICF) offers three levels of coaching certification, from associate to master level ( Requirements include a specified number of hours working as a professional coach, as well as time spent with a coaching mentor.

For those who want to dedicate their careers to coaching business leaders, a master’s degree in organizational development can provide the necessary psychological and business training.

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Do You Need Certification to be a Coaching Psychologist?

No, you do not!

This is because till now the coaching industry is still unregulated. This means everyone can claim to be a coaching psychologist. What will set you apart is your expertise at being a good coach, marketing yourself smartly and getting good client recommendations. Learn more about these in my blog Is Marketing Crucial to my Coaching Business?

How Much Does A Coaching Psychologist Earn?

As a coaching psychologist, how much can you expect to earn?

This website reported that the average national salary of jobs for Executive Coaching Psychologist was $ 19,000 with a high confidence ranking based on over 250 sources.

There are several jobs available for coaching psychologist. A simple Google search threw up some related jobs. Some were also listed here on Indeed.

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Market for Coaching Psychologist

The truth is that coaching is a growing industry.

Let us look at some market realities. I have mentioned these statistics in my earlier blog posts as well. But this sets the context in terms of what you can expect to earn as a coach.

This post claims that the life coaching industry has crossed the $1 billion dollar mark.

  • The International Coach Federation boasts 53,300 members. It has a steady growth trend.
  • Average income for life coaches ranges from $27,100 to $73,100. Specialty coaches can charge more than $100,000 annually.
  • Growth projections for the life coaching industry are an estimated 6.7%. This would take revenues to $1.34 billion by 2022.
  • 92% of life coaches remain active in the field.
  • In Asia, there were around 3,700 coaches. They contributed $113 million in total annual revenue.
  • More and more corporations are hiring life coaches instead of mental health counselors to work with employees (no stigma).
  • Life coaches remain unregulated. There are no state licensing requirements. This suggests freedom of practice, but also raises concerns about quality.
  • Executive coaches can earn a handsome salary too. Salaries start at $150 and can go up to $350 for most coaches. Executive coaches can also charge $1,000 per session.

This news report reported from the 2017 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study. The research was also conducted by PwC Research. It stated:

  • 89% people in India are aware of life coaching
  • 59% have partnered with a life coach at some time
  • 97% expressed satisfaction with the experience
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Since a coaching psychologist works within a very specific niche, tap into this enormous market.

Now, you may be wondering how you will you get your brand name noticed? The market is evolving and growing. But the competition is also getting tougher. You may want to refer to my blog How to promote your life coaching business? for more on this.

Resources to Help Your Career as a Coaching Psychologist

A simple Google search will show you several books and podcasts online. As a coaching psychologist, you may want to look up some of these.

Books to read as a Coaching Psychologist

A search on Google will offer this list of books for a coaching psychologist:

  1. Positive Psychology Coaching: Putting the Science of Happiness to Work for Your Clients by Ben Dean and Robert Biswas-Diener
  2. Positive Psychology Coaching in Practice (Coaching Psychology) 1st Edition by Suzy Green (Editor), Stephen Palmer
  3. The Psychology of Coaching, Mentoring and Learning by Ho Law, Sara Ireland, and Zulfi Hussain
  4. Positive Psychology Coaching in Practice by Suzy Green, Stephen Palmer
  5. The Psychology of Executive Coaching: Theory and Application by Bruce Peltier
  6. Coaching Psychology: A Practitioner’s Guide by Ho Law
  7. Practicing Positive Psychology Coaching: Assessment, Activities and Strategies for Success by Robert Biswas-Diener
  8. The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of the Psychology of Coaching and Mentoring by David G. Peterson, Jonathan Passmore, and Tereza Freire
  9. Coaching Psychology Manual by Margaret Moore
  10. Character Strengths Interventions: A Field Guide for Practitioners by Ryan M. Niemiec

If you type in the search for coaching psychologist book recommendations on GoodReads, this is what you will get:

  1. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
  2. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take ActionStart with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
  3. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
  4. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
  5. The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Destiny by Janet Bray Attwood
  6. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Todd Gilbert
  7. The Science of Getting Rich (Paperback) by Wallace D. Wattles
  8. The Highly Sensitive Person’s Workbook by Elaine N. Aron
  9. Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
  10. Everything is Figureoutable: How One Simple Belief Can Help Us Overcome Any Obstacle and Create Unstoppable Success by Marie Forleo
  11. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It (Hardcover) by Kelly McGonigal
  12. The Workshop Survival Guide: How to design and teach educational workshops that work every time by Rob Fitzpatrick
  13. The Workshop Book: How to design and lead successful workshops (Kindle Edition) by Pamela Hamilton
  14. Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life (Hardcover) by Ken Robinson
  15. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (Hardcover) by Brené Brown
  16. The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything (Hardcover) by Ken Robinson
  17. Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being by Shawn Achor
  18. 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works (Hardcover) by Dan Harris
  19. The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter—And How to Make the Most of Them Now (Kindle Edition) by Meg Jay
  20. Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone (Hardcover) by Mark Goulston
  21. 2Do Before I Die: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Hardcover) by Michael Ogden
  22. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
  23. “Why Do I Love These People?”: Understanding, Surviving, and Creating Your Own Family by Po Bronson
  24. Creating Rainmakers: The Manager’s Guide to Training Professionals to Attract New Clients by Ford Harding
  25. The One Thing You Need to Know: … About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success by Marcus Buckingham
  26. The McKinsey Way by Ethan M. Rasiel
  27. Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive: Outsell, Outmanage, Outmotivate, and Outnegotiate Your Competition by Harvey MacKay
  28. Career Match: Connecting Who You Are with What You’ll Love to Do by Shoya Zichy
  29. How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger
  30. Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness by Frederic Laloux
  31. What You Can Change and What You Can’t: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement by Martin E.P. Seligman
  32. Quiet Leadership: Winning Hearts, Minds and Matches by Carlo Ancelotti
  33. Manager to Coach: The New Way to Get Results by Jenny Rogers
  34. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath
  35. Coaching Across Cultures: New Tools for Levereging National, Corperate and Professional Differences by Philippe Rosinski
  36. Thinking, Fast and Slow (Hardcover) by Daniel Kahneman
  37. Coaching for Performance: GROWing Human Potential and Purpose – the Principles and Practice of Coaching and Leadership (People Skills for Professionals) by John Whitmore
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Podcasts for a Coaching Psychologist

There are several YouTube videos and podcasts for a coaching psychologist online.

You will find a list of popular podcasts for coaching psychologists here and here. A popular podcast series is also linked here. My favourite ones are 5 Podcasts for Every Coach and 8 Best Positive Psychology Podcasts To Give a Listen.

The latter promises that the podcasts will:

  • Make you laugh
  • Teach you about yourself
  • Teach you about other people
  • Help you experience awe and wonder
  • Help you question what you believe you already know about happiness
  • Encourage you to live life on purpose

You may also want to check out videos and Ted talks for coaching psychologists here and here.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. how to become a coaching psychologist

You must have experience in sports or performance sectors, specific clinical experience, or proven analytical skills, and a Preferred master’s degree. Therapeutic counseling, social work, experience as a mentor or coach are all good additions to being a coaching psychologist.

2. how to train to become a psychologist

1.) Get a master’s degree
2.) Be smart and have expertise in the field
3.) Start small to get results to build a strong portfolio
4.) Take advice from experts, coaches, trainers if you are a beginner
5.)Work in understanding the problem and feelings. As most Psychologists fail in it.

3. How do psychologists use coaching?

1.) Establishing and maintaining trust
2.) Use of Positive Psychology
3.) By Helping in imagining your ideal self and reflecting that into joy
4.) The coach’s ability to facilitate and help the client’s learning and development to reach goals
5.) A clear contract and transparent process

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