In addition, large providers of executive coaches are offering clients the services of a wide range of coaches at a set rate. In 2002 we began to see coaching companies such as Coaching.com offer coaches to clients based on one price for any coach. We also began to see large organizations, such as 3Com, World Bank, IMF, and various U.S. government agencies, dictate a below-market ceiling for coaching fees, while also requiring a high standard of experience and skill for coaches wishing to provide services to their executives. These trends increasingly treat executive coaching as a commodity that increases price competition. Thus, our professional community will need to be vigilant about the quality of services that are being offered under the banner of executive coaching.
Executive coaches are responding to the commoditization of coaching by differentiating their services. Many are defining more specific niches by client type (e.g., lawyers, entrepreneurs), by client size (e.g., small business, Fortune 100), by service emphasis (e.g., emotional intelligence, spiritual coaching, leadership development, group coaching, presentation skills coaching, etc.), by client industry, and by geographical regions. Others are seeking to bundle services and/or move into a more products-focused sales approach by selling workshops, books, and videos as a way to open new doors for selling executive coaching services.
The challenge for our profession is to respond to this maturing of our market in a way that will forestall entry into the next and final stage of product decline. It is critical at this point for us faced with a maturing product to consider how to refine or re-launch the service—adding additional value to make executive coaching responsive to changing client needs, thus restarting the life cycle and holding off the decline stage.Download Article 1K Club