Life coaching is a field that has been growing steadily over the last few years. Indeed, in 2018, it was estimated that there were “53,300 coaches, up from 47,500 part-time and full-time coaches worldwide in 2011.” (LaRosa, 2018).
Many workplaces are investing in coaching services for their employees. In fact, some have boasted impressive ROIs, with one study determining that “coaching resulted in a ROI of almost six times the program cost as well as a 77% improvement in relationships, 67% improvement in teamwork, 61% improvement in job satisfaction and 48% improvement in quality.” (Fromell, 2016). However, while companies may have an understanding of the expected results of coaching services, what are the expectations of individual clients? Whether availing of life coaching services offered by their employer or seeking out a life coach for other, more personal reasons, there are many factors and expectations that drive the client decision-making process.
Here is a closer examination of what clients search for in a life coach.
Clients Will Want a Life Coach Whose Niche Matches Their Goals
Many life coaches specialize within a chosen niche that fits with their passions and skills (Khalifeh, 2016). They may choose to work as executive coaches, weight loss coaches, retirement coaches, or even as career coaches for young professionals and recent graduates—to name just a few of the options they might pursue. Having a niche helps life coaches establish themselves as an expert in their field, and better reach clients who are looking for a specific service (Khalifeh, 2016).
Clients’ needs vary. Some may seek out a life coach to help them address issues with procrastination (Torbrand & Ellam-Dyson, 2015), or because of high stress levels (Fried & Irwin, 2016). In fact, one survey found that approximately 12% of life coaches are hired to help address derailing behaviour (Coutu & Kauffman, 2009). Others may want assistance navigating a transition, or to help them develop their potential (Coutu & Kauffman, 2009). Whether it’s to help them find the career they want, to make healthier life choices, or to improve their relationships, each client will seek a life coach for different reasons. As a result, they often seek a life coach who specializes within the field they would like assistance with.
Clients Want Someone with Proper Life Coaching Certification
The proper qualifications and life coaching certification are also essential to a life coach’s career. Because life coaching is currently unregulated, clients are deeply concerned about finding a life coach who has undergone proper training, and who is affiliated with organizations that can attest to their skills.
The International Coach Federation is one such organization dedicated to setting high quality standards within the coaching field (International Coach Federation, n.d.). Life coaching programs accredited by the ICF, such as the one offered by Rhodes Wellness College, must meet strict standards and “complete a rigorous review process and demonstrate that their curriculum aligns with the ICF Core Competencies and Code of Ethics.” (International Coach Federation, n.d.). As such, life coaches with this certification are able to assure clients of their training and skills.
Clients Will Want to Know that Their Life Coach Is a Good Match
Great chemistry and a strong relationship between the coach and client are crucial to success for both parties (Coutu & Kauffman, 2009). In fact, The Harvard Business Review notes that “The right match is absolutely key to the success of a coaching experience.” and that “Without it, the trust required for optimal executive performance will not develop.” (Coutu & Kauffman, 2009).
Life coaching itself is a process focused on collaboration between the coach and the client (Lefdahl-Davis, Huffman, Stancil, & Alayan, 2018). It’s also one founded on trustworthiness, as clients will want to be comfortable enough to express their feelings honestly to the coach, and feel supported while doing so (Alvey & Barclay, 2007). In fact, while clients don’t often seek like coaches to discuss personal issues, one survey found that approximately 76% of the time, life coaches address them during sessions (Coutu & Kauffman, 2009).Therefore, a strong sense of trust and comfort is key to sessions being successful during your life coach career, as are the client’s willingness to make changes in their life, ability to open up to you, and capacity to take guidance and direction.
As a life coach, there are several ways you can help establish this trust and connection with clients. For example, you could offer prospective clients a free consultation when you first meet, for the sake of gauging whether or not a good fit is present.
Do you want to become a certified life coach in Vancouver?
Contact Rhodes Wellness College for more information.
Alvey, S., & Barclay, K. (2007). The characteristics of dyadic trust in executive coaching. Journal of Leadership Studies, 1(1), 18–27. doi: 10.1002/jls.20004
Coutu, D., & Kauffman, C. (2009, January). What Can Coaches Do for You? Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2009/01/what-can-coaches-do-for-you
Fried, R. R., & Irwin, J. D. (2016). Calmly coping: A Motivational Interviewing Via CoActive Life Coaching (MI-VIA-CALC) pilot intervention for university students with perceived levels of high stress. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 14(1), 16–32.
Fromell, S. (2016). The Rising Popularity of Life Coaching. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/269936
Garvey, B. (2011). Researching Coaching: An Eclectic Mix or Common Ground? A Critical Perspective. Coaching Entwickeln, 65–76. doi: 10.1007/978-3-531-93059-6_7
Hennessy, A. (2015, February 4). Life coaches can make a difference. Retrieved from https://torontosun.com/2015/01/17/life-coaches-can-make-a-difference/wcm/8a81e768-41e3-488f-883e-73f651ecc8a6
International Coach Federation (n.d.) About ICF. ICF. Retrieved from: https://coachfederation.org/about
Khalifeh, F. (2016, 10 27). Director of Marketing & Career Development. (J. Stafford, Interviewer)
LaRosa, J. (2018) U.S. Personal Coaching Industry Tops $1 Billion, and Growing. Marketresearch.com. Retrieved from: https://blog.marketresearch.com/us-personal-coaching-industry-tops-1-billion-and-growing
Lefdahl-Davis, E. M., Huffman, L., Stancil, J., & Alayan, A. J. (2018, July 20). The Impact of Life Coaching on Undergraduate Students: A Multiyear Analysis of Coaching Outcomes. Retrieved from https://radar.brookes.ac.uk/radar/items/e64bd549-a8ce-4056-9090-340e48e0d1d0/1/
Torbrand, P., & Ellam-Dyson, V. (2015). The experience of cognitive behavioural group coaching with college students: An IPA study exploring its effectiveness. International Coaching Psychology Review, 10(1), 76–93.