Executive coaching is spreading across the globe. Coaching is becoming a fundamental part of training and development in a wide variety of cultures and countries. As we look back at seven years of international data from the Sherpa Coaching Survey, we can watch the development of coaching, nation by nation. Every country and culture is different. A coach in India tells us: “Coaching in this country needs to be spread in line with the Indian psyche, and it will go a long way.” Coaches in every culture would agree.
Right now, there are three major trends shaping the nature of the business.
According to the 2012 International Coach Federation Global Coaching Study, revenues from professional coaching has nearly doubled in recent years, reaching nearly $2 billion worldwide — evidence of the growing demand for executive coaching programs and validation of their success in the workplace.
TREND #1 – Follow the Leader:
How does a new coach learn the trade? They look to experienced coaches for guidance. As coaching gains momentum in a new market, coaches there will look to the experience of other, more established countries for direction, too. There is often a predictable glide path as coaching is introduced, adopted and accepted in a nation or culture. What has happened elsewhere is repeated in new markets. An executive coach in France offers this: “I think that coaching in Europe is as it was 10 years ago in USA, and following suit.”
Emerging markets will follow the leader. If you are a coach in a part of the world where it’s new, people will ask: “Why is coaching used? What is it designed to do?” Your answer will change over time, just as the answer has changed in the US, Australia and elsewhere. In a new market, executive coaching is always used to solve specific problems at first. Over time, coaching gains wider acceptance as a positive way to groom upcoming leaders. One coach says: “In Belgium, it’s still a remedial method instead of a proactive way to develop high potentials. We are slowly getting out of this.”
Another trend affects the way coaches do their work. The use of face-to-face meetings is on the rise in every market. Clients want personal meetings. In every country, as more coaches are trained, clients find it easier to choose a local provider. This pattern is repeated as every new market evolves.
Sometimes, developing markets look at the experience of established markets and learn enough to take the lead. On occasion, new coaching markets sail past established markets, and show the world where coaching is headed. When does a brand new market take the lead in the global development of coaching? When they see a trend, and adopt it completely, while there is still resistance in the rest of the world.
Right now, established markets are moving gradually toward standards of practice. In North America, the United Kingdom and Australia, there is a gradual move toward the use of published processes for coaching, and support for standards of practice for coaches, similar to those in use by accountants and financial planners.
Emerging markets have embraced benchmarks for coaching at a much higher rate. Today, a clear majority of coaches in Brazil and Spain support standards of practice and the use of published process. That’s 50% higher than levels in the USA, UK and Australia. They have, in effect, learned from the experience of early adopters, and now take the lead.
TREND #3 – King of the Hill:
Coaching is here to stay, based on global acceptance of coaching and increased demand for services. The Sherpa survey tells us that the credibility and value people see in coaching rises, year after year. Coaches and clients are more optimistic than ever about increased demand for coaching services. What does this mean for you, and the future of your business?
Coaching has arrived as a permanent feature of organizational strategy. As a common language about coaching emerges, the number of people who see the credibility of coaching as ‘high’ or ‘very high’ jumped from 80% to 90% in the past twelve months. Coaching has come of age.
In every market, the credibility of coaching keeps rising, no matter what the economy does. The value people see in coaching increases, every year, as well. Now, with an improved economy, demand for coaching is on the rise. It’s a perfect storm: higher credibility, higher value and increasing demand.
Increased demand for coaching creates opportunities, and it creates problems. A leading coach trainer in Europe says: “I am seeing the need and the demand for executive coaching growing throughout the whole of Europe, especially Eastern Europe. This is also true of Asia, where I am seeing an increase.”
Demand is up. Credibility is no longer a problem. Coaching is here to stay. If you are thinking about becoming a coach, however, think carefully. In established markets, we have quite a few coaches already. Australia has more coaches per capita than any other market in the world. With this saturation, the number of clients each coach sees has dropped by 50% over the last four years.
In country after country, we see the combination of demand, value and credibility attracting people to the business at an unsustainable level. An executive coach in the United Kingdom says: “Too many under qualified and inexperienced coaches crowding into a limited market, unrealistic about the potential to build a sustainable practice.” A coach in Dubai tells us: “We are leveling off from peak growth. Also weeding out the most successful from the ‘wanna be's’ or people who were desperate to get out of their original job.”
What do these three trends mean for you? How can you be successful in today’s environment? By being one of the best in the business. If you are working as a coach in an emerging market, study those trends that have shown success in other countries. Be aware that your country and your culture are sometimes in a position to lead the world. Either way, it helps to watch developments around the globe. As a Choice Magazine reader, you are doing that right now.
Innovations and trends that change the way you do business can come from anywhere, any time. As a leading coach, well-informed about global trends, you will know where the business is going, where you can follow the leader, when you can leapfrog, and how to stay the king of the hill.
Karl Corbett is the author of the 7th annual Sherpa Executive Coaching Survey. He is Chairman and Managing Partner at Sherpa Coaching in Cincinnati, Ohio USA. Karl can be reached at (513) 232-0002 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. The complete Sherpa Survey report is a free download at sherpacoaching.com.