If you’re in the online business world, I’m sure you will have noticed that lots of people are becoming coaches. I knew, even when I launched my coaching services last year, that people might roll their eyes and think to themselves “not another coach.”
And as it turns out, I was right! When I announced my new services to my newsletter subscribers, some of my long-time subscribers unsubscribed.
This is absolutely fine, I get it. When you’ve been following a content creator online for a long time and they suddenly start using their platform to sell something, it can feel a little jarring. And if lots of people you follow take the same route, it can feel like you’re being bombarded.
So why are so many people becoming coaches?
I’ve got some theories… all based purely on my experience and opinions, but I thought it might be interesting to explore.
Coaching is becoming more widely recognised
I resisted the urge to say ‘trendy’ here, because I don’t think it’s necessarily a trend or a phase. I think the simple fact is, more and more of us are getting wise to the fact that sometimes in life we need support. We’re becoming more aware of where our blind spots are and how other people can help us.
The demand for coaching is growing in the UK because of this. We’re learning what coaching is and what it can offer us. Self-development and mental health is more widely talked about than ever before and we’re simply more aware of what we can do to support ourselves.
It’s a skill a lot of us have and can develop
A lot of us have natural coaching skills. Asking questions, active listening, offering observations – these are all things a lot of us do in everyday conversations. You might coach someone without even realising.
When you train to become a coach you learn how to refine and increase these skills. You learn specific techniques to help people raise their self-awareness. For people who find themselves to be natural advice givers (perhaps you’re always fielding questions on Instagram, or you’re the friend everyone comes to when they need someone to listen) the idea of becoming a coach is appealing, because they already have some of the foundational skills.
It’s a way of helping others
Wanting to help and support others is a desire many of us have. If you’ve been writing blogs full of advice for years, chances are you want them to be helpful for the reader. Coaching is an evolution of this – it’s another way of helping people. This is, I think, why so many bloggers and writers turn to coaching.
The idea of being of service, of helping someone and sharing our knowledge is a way of finding meaning and purpose in our work. This is a key reason why teaching courses and coaching have become so popular, in my opinion. We all like to feel useful, right?
It doesn’t require formal qualifications
Whether or not a coach should have qualifications is a constant debate (and not one I’m going to dive into right now, but Lucy Lucraft and Sas Petherick did an excellent podcast episode on this), but the fact remains that currently, there are no formal training requirements in order to become a ‘coach’.
If someone wanted to, they could simply update their website to say they’re a coach one day and start charging money the next. I have noticed more and more people seem to be leaning towards the term ‘mentor’ lately, a term that implies someone is sharing their insights, skills and advice, rather than necessarily ‘coaching’ people.
It can be pretty damn lucrative
Let’s be real, coaching is an industry geared towards those who can afford to invest in their personal development. When you look at the costs of coaching services, they can vary wildly from coach to coach, but many make incredible livings from the career.
And of course, there is often good reason for coaches charging what they do. There’s a hell of a lot of work that goes into it, and now I’m a coach, I recognise that when you pay for a coaching session you’re not just paying to talk to someone for an hour. You’re paying for their insight, their abilities to see what you can’t and all the work that happens before and after the call.
A self-care strategy session from me for example, isn’t just a 90-minute call. It’s the prep work before hand, the notes after, the extra resource sourcing, the bespoke PDF, the follow-up email. It takes a lot longer than 90 minutes…
Why I became a coach
The reasons above are just some of my thoughts as to why people are taking this route. Entrepreneurship is on the rise. More of us want to work for ourselves and take control of our earnings and becoming a coach is one, pretty awesome way to do that.
I decided to train in life coaching because I wanted to do just that, and, it felt like a natural evolution of what I was doing here on the blog. It’s a way to support people in a more tangible way and supporting people is important to me. In our school yearbook I was nominated as the ‘agony aunt’ of our year as I was someone people came to for advice. I even looked into training to become a psychotherapist at one point.
After doing the 16 personalities test I discovered I was an INFJ – advocate, which makes a lot of sense. Here is what they say about INFJ – advocate career paths:
“First and foremost, INFJs need to find meaning in their work, to know that they are helping and connecting with people – an INFJ Ferrari salesperson is a non-sequitur. This desire to help and connect makes careers in healthcare, especially the more holistic varieties, very rewarding for INFJs – roles as counselors, psychologists, doctors, life coaches and spiritual guides are all attractive options.”
And, apart from the fact that wanting to help others comes naturally to me – I’ve experienced the impact of low self-worth. I know how devastating it is and I’ve learnt a lot in my own journey on this topic and if I can help other people avoid that… then I will.
So, being a coach – is it all it’s cracked up to be?
I officially launched my coaching services in September last year and so far I’ve worked with three practice clients (for free) and have taken on one paying client. Before every call I get nervous, wondering if I’m going to be able to help and if it’s the right path for me.
But then, when I get into the flow of conversation, all my doubts fall away. I come away from the conversations feeling positive and hopeful that I’ve been able to help. Seeing the moment everything seems to click and being able to witness that change makes all of the fear worth it.
Having said that, I’ll be honest and say getting paid clients has been harder than I originally thought.
It’s tough to constantly promote yourself and wait to see when the work you’ve put in will (quite literally) pay off. And while I’m happy to be able to support people for free with blog content and the work I do in my Facebook group, if I want to step into entrepreneurship and run my own business – I need to make money.
So who knows how my coaching story will turn out. For now, it’s something I’m enjoying exploring, but I’m aware that if it doesn’t start attracting more clients soon, I’ll have to re-think my options. And that’s totally OK. The beauty of the online business world is that there are lots of ways we can create income streams, we might just have to think a little more outside the box.
I can see why some people may feel a little exasperated about the number of coaches cropping up (and there is something to be said about those who are working in a therapeutic capacity with zero training) but all-in-all, I think the fact that more people are turning to coaching as a career path is a good thing.
We’re all different and respond to different people, so the more coaches there are, the more choice we have in finding the right support for us. And more people recognising their calling and forging their own career path has to be a good thing, right?
So if you’re training to become a coach, don’t be disheartened – there is space for you. And if you’re looking for a coach – rejoice! There are lots of us to choose from. Take your time, find someone who shares your values and remember the power is already inside you, it’s simply the job of the coach to help you tap into it.
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