Is the Coaching Market Saturated?

These days, it seems like everybody and their dog is a coach of some sort. Well, there may not be canine coaches yet, but give it time. That begs the question-- is the coaching market saturated?

In a nutshell, no, it isn’t, but the term “coach” is becoming tired and collecting some negative connotations. Let’s take a dive into the “everybody is a coach” trend and look at what it means for both those in the industry and consumers looking for some guidance to reach their goals.

 

The Word “Coach” and its Connotations

To be blunt, there is no regulation surrounding the use of the title “coach” though there is work being done to change this. This means that you can go to school for years to get a formal education with additional courses that give you an extensive background of knowledge to coach people in a given field.

Alternatively, you can dedicate your life to a certain type of work that gives you years of practical experience to become a coach. You could have any combination of these two scenarios.

Or, you can join a multi-level marketing company or start your own business and market yourself as a professional coach with no prior experience or education. Therein lie the negative connotations and perception of market saturation.

One could argue that the title “coach” is saturated, rather than the market. Does this mean that someone with a formal education will be a great coach? Not necessarily. Does this mean that someone starting out with no background has limited potential? Not at all. It does, however, cause problems for those who take the profession seriously when placed in a group with those who do not.

 

Implications for Coaches

Regulation surrounding the word “coach” is in the works, but could still be years down the road because of the nuances. For one, you can’t very well tell a high school basketball coach that he can’t call himself that after twenty years on the court. So what can you do as a professional coach to add some weight to your title?

Consider changing it.

Distance yourself from the terminology. Be an advisor or mentor instead. Your work is the same, but you won’t get that negative reaction that has become so common when one introduces themselves as a coach.

Alternatively, develop an incredible elevator pitch. Don’t introduce yourself as a coach, introduce your skillset and what you help people accomplish. You’re not a professional coach, you coach people to identify and correct limitations in their life to implement corrective action and help them achieve their dreams. See the difference?

Finally, be really really good at what you do. Dedicate yourself to your craft, practice lifelong learning, and your notoriety and accomplishments will speak for themselves.

 

Implications for Clients

If you’re looking for professional help to reach your goals, don’t be deterred by the word “coach.” Don’t be convinced by it either. It falls on your shoulders to do your due diligence and find the right coach for you. Check their credentials, their experience, and their results. Ask for references and testimonials. Meet with them, ask questions, and see if they feel like a good fit.

There are many qualities that a good coach has regardless of education or background. Sometimes, a coach who works well for someone else may not be the right choice for you. It’s important not to give up if you have a bad experience. Make it a lesson learned and take steps toward making a better choice next time. Take some time and trust the process. If you’re with a well-known, experienced coach, you’re generally in good hands.

 

Why the Market Isn’t Saturated

Despite the numbers, the fact that everybody either is or has a coach, and the newly formed canine coaching industry that has started since you started reading this article, the market isn’t saturated. The reason is simple:

If you’re really good at coaching, the abundance of other people adopting the title doesn’t matter.

If your skills and dedication to your job as a coach (or mentor or advisor) show proven results, then your focus should be on your career’s improvement and growth. Those who lack the skills or experience will fall away quickly enough. Despite the easy adoption of the word “coach” not everyone has the tenacity or characteristics to build a long lasting career out of it.

It’s like what any great coach would tell their client: don’t benchmark yourself against others; you are your greatest competition.

Meredith Wailes is the president of Bloom Leadership, founder of SEED, and an advisor and builder of women who impact social change. Contact her via Bloomleaders.com or connect on LinkedIn to see how she can help you.