The marketplace continues to be flooded with new coaches, and many coaches are scrambling to build a career as a coach. 21,780 coaches hold a credential through ICF, and over 500 are credentialed each month. This is only a tiny portion of coaches entering the marketplace.
As coaches work to establish themselves in their profession, they are inundated with resources marketed to help them build their business. Many coaches find themselves consuming many e-books, webinars, blogs and other content to find the answers they seek. It can be confusing to sort through all the information and figure out what’s applicable to their own business or career.
One subtle reason why is because of the misconception perpetuated by coach training schools that coaching is an industry. Coaching is NOT an industry. Coaching is a profession.
So what’s the difference between and industry and a profession, and why does it matter?
An industry is comprised of organizations that work on related things. For example, automobile manufacturing is an industry.
Professions are roles in the organizations within the industry. For example, Honda is an organization in the automobile manufacturing industry, and Human Resource Generalist is a role in the organization. This role is filled with a Human Resource Management Professional.
The distinction between Industry and Profession is important because coaches seldom gain traction in their coaching career without establishing themselves within specific industries. Much of the content they consume to help them build their business treats coaching as an industry and therefore ranges from very generic to non-applicable.
There are specific types of engineers working in a variety of industries. Would best practices for an electrical engineer working in public utilities be the same for a mechanical engineer working in aerospace? Probably not. It’s the same with coaching.
Coaching is NOT an industry and following generic guidance that treats it as such is leading 95% coaches into failure and out of the coaching profession.
If you are a coach struggling to answer the question “What do you do?” in a confident way that everyone can understand, consider clarifying specifically what kind of coach you are, and in what industries to you work.
The good news is that one of the largest surveys performed about coaching revealed that only 5.5% of people viewed coaching as an industry (2016 ICF Global Coaching). The bad news is coach training schools continue to teach that coaching is an industry, and they graduate their students into a world where coaching is a profession.