Coaching is in the news more and more as a growing number of individuals and organizations credit it with their personal and professional success.

Why? The answer is simple: Coaching produces results. According to the 2017 Global Consumer Awareness Study commissioned by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the most frequently cited outcomes of coaching include improved communication skills, increased self-esteem and self-confidence, and increased productivity.

Companies turn to coaches to help better their employees and invest in their talent. According to Building a Coaching Culture with Millennial Leaders, a 2017 research study conducted by ICF and the Human Capital Institute (HCI), 92 percent of organizations employing external coach practitioners and 95 percent of organizations with internal coach practitioners plan to expand or maintain the scope of these modalities in the next five years. These organizations are also investing in their cadre of managers and leaders using coaching skills.

Increasingly, coaching is also becoming a preferred modality for driving social change. More than half (51 percent) of coach practitioners who responded to the 2016 ICF Global Coaching Study said they believe to a large extent that coaching can influence social change. A further 33 percent said they hold that belief to a moderate extent.  

If you’re passionate about driving individual and organizational transformation, now is the perfect time to get involved in coaching. If you’re serious about becoming a professional coach, your first step needs to be obtaining coach-specific training. The professional coaches who responded to the 2016 Global Coaching Study said the No. 1 obstacle to the coaching industry is untrained individuals who call themselves coaches. Getting accredited coach-specific training will give you credibility and help you build your professional network.  

Before you invest in training to become a coach, ask yourself the following questions:

Am I passionate about helping clients pursue their own solutions? Many people consider becoming a coach because they’ve been told that they “give great advice.” However, coaches aren’t in the business of giving advice. Coaching is driven by the client. The coach’s responsibility is to discover, clarify and align with what the client wants to achieve; encourage
client self-discovery; elicit client-
generated solutions and strategies; and hold the client responsible and accountable.

Do I have the skills and knowledge to start a coaching business? If you’re planning to launch your own coaching business (as opposed to working as an internal coach practitioner within your organization), be 

prepared to identify your coaching niche, develop your personal brand, market your services and build your client base. This information isn’t covered during coach training, so it will be up to you to get the training and skills you need for developing a coaching business.

What else do I have to offer? Although some coaches build successful businesses based entirely on coaching, for a majority coaching is only one source of overall revenue. According to the 2016 Global Coaching Study, coaches spend an average of just 13.9 hours per week working as coaches. Other common revenue streams cited by external coach practitioners include consulting, training, facilitation, mentoring, teaching, counseling, speaking engagements, workshops/webinars and publications.

If you’re serious about developing your coaching business, consider pursuing an ICF Credential after your coach training. More than 22,000 coaches hold an ICF Credential. To receive an ICF Credential coaches must:

Complete coach-specific training that meets ICF’s standards

Achieve a designated number of coaching experience hours

Partner with a Mentor Coach

Demonstrate appropriate understanding and mastery of the ICF definition of coaching, Code of Ethics and Core Competencies

Earning an ICF Credential is one of the best ways to invest in yourself and your professional development. In an interview earlier this year with TD magazine, ICF Assistant Executive Director George Rogers said, “Earning a credential provides a sense of professional and personal achievement, allowing individuals to benefit by being part of the larger community of practitioners and helping professionals demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and commitment to high ethical and professional standards.”

ICF-credentialed coaches find that this investment in themselves and their careers is worthwhile. Among coaches who responded to the 2016 Global Coaching Study, 77 percent said that clients expect their coach to be credentialed. Meanwhile, among 2017 Global Consumer Awareness Study respondents who’d experienced a coaching relationship, 83 percent said it was important for coaches to hold a credential. The same study also showed that clients are more likely to be satisfied with their coaching experience and recommend coaching to others when they used a credentialed coach versus a non-credentialed coach.

Becoming a coach can give you the tools to change organizations and lives; it can also change your life. For many ICF-credentialed coaches, coaching is a way of life, enabling them to step out of their comfort zones and help others meet their goals and unlock their potential.

To begin your coaching journey today, visit becomea.coach.