Course Guide

Realities Behind the Idealism of Coaching As A Profession

This has been an exciting decade for professional coaching. It came out as a booming industry in 2012 surveys. But recently, a research commissioned in 2015 by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that there are already 64,100 Coach practitioners and leaders using coaching skills around the globe. Of these, 90% have active clients. The global total revenue from coaching in 2015 was estimated at $2.356 billion USD — a 19% increase over the 2011 estimate. Other data also indicate a positive trend: 1. A large majority of the coaches (89%) have received training from an accredited or approved professional coaching organisation. 2. The number of professional individuals from related fields (e.g. psychology and education) who entered professional coaching has increased.

These facts speak to us that professional coaching has gone past the booming stage and has now burgeoned into a more mature and evolving professional industry.

These positive developments in the industry have attracted many to pursue a career in professional coaching. Maybe you’re one of them. But experts would say that this exciting and satisfying career is not for everybody. Success in this profession depends not only on skills and experience but also on personal convictions, which should be parallel to that of the principles of coaching. This is for the stout-hearted who can take in the following salient facts about professional coaching and the challenges that come with it:

1. Coaching entails hard work and requires a strong resolve and deep motivation to help people pull themselves out of situations — in life and in work — that prevent them from performing well, from growing and from developing. It is your responsibility to:

• assist your client walk down the road of self-awareness to know their current frame of mind, to discover the inclinations of their heart, and to get a clearer picture of what they want to achieve.
• help them generate realistic goals that are attuned with who they are so that they can come up with their own strategy and solution in reaching them.  
• Be firm in holding the client responsible and accountable for his actions.

According to studies long-lasting and deeper learning is generated when an individual is involved in identifying problems, working out and applying solutions, and in analysing results.

2. It’s easy to get attracted to this career because of monetary compensation but this will be at the expense of your fulfilment and satisfaction. Your effectiveness as a coach is only as good as the principles you uphold in life. Your primary aim in this career should be to motivate people to improve their lives and maximise their potential. As such, coaching is best viewed as a profession with rewards beyond monetary figures.

3. You have to consider that professional coaching is an entrepreneurial job and that you will be running a business. Some people thought coaching is a quick way to make money. On the contrary, you’ll probably be starting off on a rough road, business wise. There is a fast growing number of competitors and you have to strive to hone your business acumen in order to stand out and be hired. This is why experts would advise not give up your 9 to 5 job in the early stages of your coaching career. A good option is to establish it as a second career.

3. There has to be willingness and a capacity to learn more outside your original field of expertise to be able to relate with your clients and to give sound advice. You have to explore which field in coaching you’re most comfortable with.

Time management coaches, for example, assist people manage their time and work. Career coaches help leaders with their career direction. Life coaches empower their client to lead successful life by helping them realise and maximise their potentials. Executive or business coaches help build leadership capabilities to achieve organisational results. So, it’s really worth knowing what specific field in coaching is the best fit for your natural bents, experiences and what you are most passionate about.

4. Your contextual knowledge as a professional coach should also be updated. Grab the opportunity to gain knowledge from every coaching experience and to learn from those who are ahead of you in this profession. You need to have contemporary understanding of business issues, of how current organisational set ups work, and the knowledge of modern-day leadership concerns. Being updated makes your credentials more attractive and will keep you on the competing edge. You need to develop the intentionality to grow and the devotion to make yourself an expert in this field.

If the challenges that come with this profession do not disappoint but rather spark your passion; and if they all the more embolden you to pursue professional coaching, you are on the right career track. Surely, there will be obstacles ahead to hurdle but if you run with passion you will enjoy every moment of it – even those times when you stumble. Start with the right motive, and continue with determination, hard work, prudence, patience and the rest will be added to you.