The coaching landscape has changed dramatically in the past eight years and as a life coach, this change has NOT been for the better.
In fact the changes seen in the past eight years are threatening the livelihoods of many.
And the change is far from over.
$150,000 Of Advice For Free
Six months back I was out for dinner at my wife's favourite Japanese restaurant with several of her lawyer friends. My wife's closest friend said:
"Tom, I've got to introduce you to a good friend of mine. He's just quit his job at the law firm and could do with some advice. You work with coaches and do career change stuff… can you have a chat with him?"
Given she was a good friend of my wife I was happy to help. She ushered me over to him.
"Tom, meet Rob. Rob this is the guy I was telling you about… go chat!"
Landed In It
Rob was a very nice guy. Six foot one with a great smile and sallow tanned skin.
As we chatted I found out he had just quit his $150,000 big lawyers job because he was "fed up with my career and wanted a change".
When I asked…
"What do you want to do instead?" he answered:
"I want to be a life coach. I've been on a weekend training and I think I really like it".
It was at that moment my mind hallucinated for a very brief moment… during which I saw
$150,000 rushing out the door and Rob looking dishevelled and shot down. Like he had his pride taken away from him.
When my mind came back into focus I heard Rob share how he'd left his job three months ago and how things had been "harder than he expected".
Rob: "I'm not sure which way to go. I've been thinking of setting up a website and getting some cards."
Me: "OK and how many clients do you have?"
Rob: "Well I've coached a few of my friends.. however (he said looking down) I haven't been paid by any. What do you recommend?"
I felt for Rob and knew what almost certainly awaited if he continued down the path he was on.
I picked up a napkin and drew out the following 3 biggest road blocks. The three things I said every new coach needs to move beyond…
Me: "Rob, here's what weekend and multi-day life coaching courses aren't telling you. Life coaching is a fast track for most to hardship and failure."
Rob: "But coaching is hugely popular, how can you say that?"
Me: "Coaching is really popular - however life coaching is not as popular as you'd think and most coaching courses don't equip you for how to excel in building a business.
Let me show you what's really going on… when you see the evidence for yourself you'll understand why I say that.
The biggest problem for coaches right now is how to get a steady pipeline of clients.
The problem is most new coaches follow what everyone else does - and set themselves up as a life coach. But if you do this Rob, you'll face a very hard time. The main reason is the world is swimming in life coaches right now… in fact according to the International Coaching Federation, there has been a 58% increase in the
number of coaches to an estimated 47,500 coaches and growing.
That's a lot of new coaches.
Plus with the rise of the Internet - there are nearly a million search results online for "Life coaching" which means it's difficult to stand out if you call yourself a life coach.
Oh, and when you check with Google how many people are searing for life coaching worldwide,
you'll find out that search interest for life coaching is DOWN 60% in the past eight years!
So what you actually see is this:
Demand is for life coaching is down but supply is way up.
Competition is tough and too many coaches are fighting for the same market space.
So that's why I say Rob, you are not best served by setting yourself up as a "life coach".
Rob: "So what do you recommend instead, where is
the area for growth?"
Me: "That's a good question. The first thing I'd suggest is you get clear about what you really want and then discover what niche you can best serve. That is the specific group of people who you can best help.
Life coaches tend to get paid the lowest in the industry but there is a group of coaches who can get paid THOUSAND of pounds per session to help their clients. I'd look into being one of those."
Me: "Yep, they are called professional performance coaches and they work with people who are already doing well."
Suddenly our attention was broken when the waiter interrupted to bring the table our bill.
I could see Rob's brain was reaching overload - as he processed everything he had just heard.
Like many coaches he was unaware of the changing trends in life coaching. I knew the message had sunk home.
If you are a life coach (or aspire to be) then these same forces are affecting you.
The question is - how can you stand out in an overcrowded marketplace and win more clients?
There is a way to change and thrive. I'll cover that soon.
Tomorrow I'm going to share key distinctions about the second major roadblock to building a successful coaching practice and introduce what professional performance coaching is all about.
To your success,
PPS: Check out this free MP3 I've had Master Coach Michael Breen record about how to coach yourself.