5 Ways to Use ICF Industry Research to Boost Your Coaching Business

Abby Heverin November 3, 2016 1
5 Ways to Use ICF Industry Research to Boost Your Coaching Business

Every year, ICF invests in research that provides up-to-date insights on the coaching industry. ICF industry research provides coach practitioners with valuable knowledge on the current state of coaching, as well as the trends that will impact the coaching profession in the coming years.

Below are five ways that you can use ICF’s suite of industry research in your coaching business:

1. Articulate the importance of credibility. A growing number of individuals and organizations are demanding professional coach practitioners who have obtained coach-specific training; joined a professional coaching organization, such as ICF; and pursued a coaching credential.

As this infographic based on recent ICF industry research shows, credentialed coaches command higher fees and report more clients and greater annual revenue from coaching than their peers without a credential. The key stat to share with your clients: Ninety-three percent of clients who partnered with a credentialed coach report satisfaction with the experience (Source: 2014 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study).

2. Evaluate your pricing. The executive summary for the 2016 ICF Global Coaching Study shows average annual revenue from coaching by global region. It’s important to keep in mind that a number of factors impact revenue (e.g., your level of experience, the country or countries where you practice, the types of clients you work with); however, it can be helpful to consider your annual revenue from coaching as it compares to your region. It’s possible that you may want to adjust your pricing to ensure that the rates you’re commanding match the value of the services you’re delivering. (The final report for the 2016 Global Coaching Study includes details on what your peers charge for an hour of coaching.)

3. Understand the global marketplace. If you’re considering expanding the geographic borders of your coaching business, it’s helpful to keep in mind that clients’ expectations of the coaching experience (e.g., length of a coaching session, length of the coaching engagement, platforms where coaching takes place) vary by region. The executive summary and final report for the 2016 Global Coaching Study provide helpful insights into how coaching engagements vary worldwide, while the 2014 Global Consumer Awareness Study provides an in-depth look at the perspective of consumers from 25 countries.

4. Discover what’s on the minds of organizational decision-makers. Whether you’re an internal or external coach practitioner, you need an understanding of the issues and trends impacting coaching inside organizations. ICF’s suite of research conducted in partnership with the Human Capital Institute provides up-to-date information on what organizations are doing to build strong coaching cultures, as well as the drivers for implementing coaching and perceived impediments to coaching. The most recent ICF/HCI study, Building a Coaching Culture with Managers and Leaders, focuses on training and professional development for managers/leaders using coaching skills.

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One Comment »

  1. Rey Carr November 4, 2016 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    One of the most successful marketing activities of the International Coach Federation (ICF) has been to call their faulty surveys “research.” This strategy gives the appearance that the results of the surveys are credible, valid, and reliable, when in fact, they violate most gold standard principles associated with research. In addition, the ICF wants people to believe that their surveys reflect or represent the current state of coaching or the coaching industry, when in fact, a significant portion of those involved in the coaching industry neither pay attention to nor are involved with ICF. And most importantly, the ICF markets its survey results as if they are accurate and true, when in fact, they have significant limitations that are never mentioned by the ICF.

    Let’s look at one claim in point one of this article to illustrate some of the critiques above. The author cites an infographic touted by the ICF that appears to show that credentialed coaches command higher fees, have more clients, and earn greater income that their peer without a credential. But this finding is only true for those coaches actually completing the survey. What about the thousands of coaches who either did not want to complete the survey, didn’t know about, or didn’t care about it? I personally know of a group of coaches (that appear to number in the hundreds), who are neither credentialed by the ICF or associated in any way with the ICF who continually report on their “six-figure” incomes from coaching. There are many coaches who make more than $1 million dollars from coaching who have never been members or associated with the ICF (ironically, some of them are recruited by the ICF to be presenters at their conferences.)

    All four of the other points in this article suffer from the same problems: inappropriate generalization from limited survey data to an entire population or industry; unwillingness to acknowledge or discuss the limitations of the data based on the low standard of data survey collection; and over promotion of data as a tool to market services and gain clients.

    These points are not meant to diminish the use of the data as possible guidelines or hints about that status of the coaching industry. However, the ICF and the author of this article who is associated with the management of the ICF, ought to warn or caution readers about the limitations of the data while educating coaches unfamiliar with research and survey techniques as to why these results have problems with validity and reliability.

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