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Global Coaching Survey from ICF

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The 2020 ICF Global Coaching Study is the largest coaching industry research study in history. It incorporates 22,457 valid survey responses from coaches and managers and leaders who are using coaching skills in 161 countries and territories. Thank you to everyone who participated in this important research!

One of the many interesting captures from the study was the substantial increase in the estimated global total revenue from coaching: in 2019 the estimated revenue from coaching was $2.849 billion USD, representing a 21% increase over the 2015 estimate. This alone showcases the growth of coaching across the world and the value placed on hiring a trained coach.

The 2020 ICF Global Coaching Study Executive Summary and the COVID-19 and the Coaching Industry Final Report are available for free to the public.

Download the sumary pdf below using the red Download Article button.  Here are a few excerpts:

This is a summary of the findings from the 2020 ICF Global Coaching Study. The study was commissioned in 2019 by the
International Coaching Federation (ICF) and undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
This represents the fourth of ICF’s major research projects on the size and scope of the coaching profession. The inaugural
study was published in 2007 with follow-up studies in 2012 and 2016.
Over that time, the coaching profession has evolved and grown. As a growing number of individuals and organizations have
adopted coaching, the use of coaching skills and approaches has expanded beyond professionally trained coach practitioners
to include managers, leaders, and human resources and talent development professionals who apply these competencies in
their daily workplace interactions. For that reason, the scope of the 2016 study was widened to include managers and leaders
who use coaching skills in the workplace.
The wider, more inclusive scope of the 2016 study was a significant innovation which has been carried through to the 2020
study to provide a fuller picture of the growth of coaching worldwide.
Similar to its predecessors, the 2020 study was designed to engage as many coach practitioners as possible in order to provide an
up-to-date picture of the coaching profession and empower professional coaches to meet the challenges that lie ahead. Reflecting
the continuing growth of coaching, the survey attracted an unprecedented 22,457 responses from 161 countries and territories.

Globally, it is estimated that there were approximately 71,000 coach practitioners in 2019, an increase of 33% on the 2015
estimate. Growth was especially strong in the emerging regions of Latin America and the Caribbean (+174%) and Eastern
Europe (+40%).

Coach practitioners with active clients were asked to provide their annual income generated by coaching only. Nine in 10 coach
practitioners (90%) said they currently have active clients.
Respondents provided annual revenue data in a total of 76 different currencies. In order to provide a common reference point,
the revenue figures were converted to U.S. dollars (USD) based on international exchange rates published by the World Bank.
When calculated in U.S. dollars, average revenues are highest in the high-income regions of North America, Western Europe
and Oceania.
However, it should be appreciated that while revenue data have been provided in one currency, the value of the amounts
quoted in individual countries must be contextualized in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) and diverse standards of living.
This subject is explored in greater detail in the Final Report.

Average income from coaching estimates for 2019 can be compared with the 2015 figures published in the 2016 ICF Global
Coaching Study. The comparison in terms of U.S. dollars indicates a reduction of 8% from 2015 to 2019. However, the estimated
U.S. dollar change partly reflects currency fluctuations and dollar strengthening over the four-year period. On a PPP basis,
average annual revenue/income from coaching rose by 4%.
It should also be noted that the revenue/income measures presented in this report are for coaching only. But 93% of coach
practitioners also offer additional services such as consulting, counseling, etc. On average, coach practitioners who offer
additional services allocate 44% of their time to coaching. The income that coaches generate from those additional services is
not included in the income/revenue.
For each of the seven world regions, total revenue from coaching was derived by combining the regional estimate for active
coaches with average annual revenues from coaching. On that basis, the estimated global total revenue from coaching in 2019
was $2.849 billion U.S. dollars, representing a 21% increase over the 2015 estimate.

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  1. Rey Carr

    September 13, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    This survey provides valuable guidance about trends in the coaching industry. I, for one, am glad the ICF continued to distribute this survey to document the direction of trends and issues over time. Having said that, I caution readers about generalizing from the results for two significant scientific reasons. (1) The ICF once again fails to state or elaborate on the scientific limitations of online surveys regarding generalizing the results. This is particularly a glaring error given that the survey was online only, thus building-in to the survey well-known limitations.

    (2) One of the most glaring errors in this survey is a missing statistic. The ICF boldly and proudly claims that 22.5K surveys were returned. At the same time they rightly detail who was notified about the survey. However, what’s missing is a key statistic on how many people were notified about the survey. For example, was the notice sent to 100,000 people? 200,00 people? 500,000 people? This stat is essential for determining the “rate of return.”

    We can assume that at least 100,000 people were notified of this survey. And given the number of organizations that sent notices to all their members, the number is probably higher. But for my purposes I’ll use the 100,000 figure. This means that less an 25% of those notified returned the survey. Bypassing what that meant to the 75% who didn’t return the survey, the most important thing is that statistically a low return rate of 25% of a non-randomized survey makes generalization of the results purely speculative.

    If you think I’m nitpicking you might be right. I’m basing my nitpicking on proven and well-established science and research principles. Upon what might you be basing your objections to my nits?


  2. Rey Carr

    September 16, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    As a follow-up comment, in July, 2011, I used a number of factors to determine that a more accurate number of the number of coaches in the USA alone was 130,000. The current ICF survey completely underestimates the number of coaches currently (2019) in the US as 23,000.

    The iCF consistently underestimates the number of coaches in the US and the World. Their latest “survey” says that the number of coaches worldwide is 86,900. The is blatantly wrong. The number worldwide is significantly higher.

    Why does the ICF continually misrepresent the number of coaches? The answer is simple. To do so would reveal how many coaches are not members of the ICF; and an accurate number would even further reduce the credibility of their survey results actually being representative of coaches around the world.

    Don’t be fooled by their figures, but do pay attention to what those surveyed did report.


  3. Suzi Pomerantz

    September 16, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    That is such a great point, Rey! How many coaches would you estimate there are worldwide?


    • Rey Carr

      September 16, 2020 at 6:42 pm

      It would take a while to estimate the number worldwide, but I know it’s larger than the ICF figures (to be fair, it’s not really their figures; the figures are made up by the consulting firm they used to conduct the survey). I can be more accurate about North America because I’ve used several data points to improve the accuracy.


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