ICF Coaching Report – What does it mean for Executive Coaches in Vancouver?

Fascinating!  The 2012 International Coach Federation (ICF) Global Coaching Study Executive Summary put together by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has been released and paints positive picture of the coaching profession.  I have summarized the research and some of the key findings below, yet I wonder how it might be relevant for executive and leadership coaches in Vancouver.

The Study

This study was designed to be one of the most ambitious pieces of industry research ever conducted on the field of professional coaching. A primary goal was to engage with as many coaches as possible on a worldwide basis, and to provide an up-to- date picture of the profession to help meet the challenges ahead.

By the end of 2011 ICF had 19,000 members. The survey was conducted over 6 months, and received 12,133 valid responses. Responses were received from professional coaches in 117 countries. Over 4,400 valid responses were received from non-ICF members. More than 7,700 ICF members responded to the survey. The largest number (3,565) were from North America. From the available data, it is hereby estimated that there are presently in the region of 47,500 professional coaches worldwide.

Key Themes:

  • The profession appears to be growing, with an estimated 47,500 professional coaches generating close to $2 billion (USD) in annual revenue/income.
  • The profession remains concentrated in the higher-income regions of North America, Western Europe and Oceania. Collectively, these regions contain more than three in four coaches, well exceeding the 11% share of global population living in these regions.
  • Despite the critical mass of coaches found in the higher-income regions, nonetheless, the evidence from the study indicates faster growth in coaching has emerged in markets outside these regions, such as in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Coaches are looking confidently to the future, with expectations over the next 12 months of increasing demand (clients and sessions) leading to growth in annual revenue and income from coaching.
  • Key issues for the future include tackling obstacles such as untrained individuals who call themselves coaches; availing of opportunities to increase awareness of coaching benefits; and answering the question of whether coaching should be regulated.

What might these results mean for executive and leadership coaches in Vancouver?

Although my perspective is anecdotal, it seems that the executive coaches in Vancouver that I know still struggle with ICF and the definition of coaching that it uses.  The ICF competencies seems quite generic, and the competency model is valuable, yet does not truly reflect the full spectrum of competencies required by leadership and executive coaches.  As a result, many of the senior coaches that I know have opted to not pursue ICF related credentialing.  The WorldWide Association of Business Coaches (WABC) has a more robust competency model that seems more directly relevant to executive and leadership coaches.  So, I am curious about whether or not the ICF study captured this leadership and executive coaching market to the full extent.  I myself participated in the study, and still value the work being done by ICF, yet I would be curious if WABC yielded different themes and results.

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