The effect of Covid-19 on the Coaching Industry, may not be what you’ve been told


Over the past year, we have seen a huge increase in adverts from “coaches who coach coaches”. Many of them offer free online communities, webinars, challenges and workshops, predominantly focusing on helping you market and sell your coaching business. At the end of these freebies, they will usually invite you to join their paid programme of some sort.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s great that so many of them share (part of) their knowledge for free, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking a fair fee for sharing more knowledge and/or providing more service. At the IRCM, we encourage all coaches and mentors to charge fair prices!

But what is wrong, is how many of them present the current status of the coaching industry as booming, suggesting that our industry is greatly benefitting from Covid-19, as part of their sales pitch.

PWC, commissioned by the ICF, has carried out a global survey in 2020 to assess what impact Covid-19 has had on the industry. In this study, it becomes clear that the majority of coaches have experienced a negative impact from Covid-19. The external coaches (so those not employed by organisations) have been affected the most, with almost 70% (!!!) of them experiencing a negative impact on their income and working hours. In any economic climate, there will be businesses that thrive, those who barely survive, and others, unfortunately, will go under. But the overall industry definitely isn’t booming, no matter who tells you differently, as these numbers really speak for themselves.

So why would we want to share this with you? Hasn’t 2020 been depressing enough as it is?
Well, we did want to point this out for various reasons:

  • Coaches and mentors are trained to focus on solutions rather than on problems, and it’s in their DNA to seek support from other coaches and/or mentors to get there. We feel that a soft warning is in place: choose carefully who you select to work with, and don’t believe everything you’re told.
  • If you have been feeling like a failure as a result of hearing how well the industry is currently doing whilst you are struggling: don’t! You’re not the only one feeling the impact!
  • When we look at the industry numbers over the past years, our industry has grown year on year. Even if we are going through a difficult time right now, the perspective for years to come is still really good. We just need to weather this storm now (and take this time to work on our own personal, professional and business skills), but this too shall pass. Hang in there, and it will get better again in the hopefully not too distant future!

We wish you all a safe, healthy and more successful 2021!