The last two years have forced businesses across the world to cut back on all sorts of typical activities. But what might be a surprise to some is the fact that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the global coaching industry actually ‘grew’ last year – to become a near-$3 billion industry according to the latest data.
The research – The 2022 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study (GCAS) – commissioned by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) – found that coaching hasn’t just ‘survived’ the pandemic, but has ‘evolved’. Rather than being a one-to-one practice, it now includes a wider spectrum of people, learning a wider set of tools.
In fact not only has awareness and engagement with coaching continued to grow (70% of all respondents around the globe had some awareness of coaching), the results also tell one important thing: that in times of great change, and increasing pressures and demands, coaching is only seen to be more relevant.
But there are some interesting other trends that the study also reveals:
– Millennials and urbanites are driving coaching demand
The 2022 GCAS shows that demand for coaching is strongest amongst younger people. While 37% of employees overall were aware of coaching and 15% had engaged in a coaching relationship, millennials punched much higher, displaying 81% awareness of coaching and 47% engagement with it.
– Respondents living in metropolitan areas or large cities also reported much higher coaching awareness (36%), compared to other geographies. By comparison, 26% of respondents in suburban communities and 16% of respondents in rural areas indicated awareness of coaching.
What’s clear is that while HRDs have long been a driving force for recommending coaching to the C-suite and other high-performing employees, the pandemic has changed what people across the organization want from their personal and professional lives. As such, we believe all employees are likely to demand, investigate and participate in coaching.
Across the board, respondents’ leading reason for participating in coaching was to improve their communication skills, with at least 31% of every generation expressing this as the case.
Other top motivations indicate individuals wanting to engage in coaching to improve their work/life balance and increase self-esteem and self-confidence.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, 18% said that coaching occurred due to a career change caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The upheaval and stress of the pandemic have obviously prompted increased demand for coaching, as people seek support for new challenges. The research reveals the top outcomes desired by those who participate in coaching are closely aligned to the reasons respondents want coaching in the first place: fulfillment and success in life, including career, personal relationships, and more.
But there is still more that can be done. Awareness of coaching is lower amongst the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation (just 52%) – so this is one area HRDs could focus on. It would also be good to see more coaching outside metropolitan areas.
For both of these things to happen, it’s crucial HRDs continue to understand and promote internally the important role coaching can bring. Not only does it help organisations with major transformation, but it also improves the lives of employees, and helps them reach their greatest potential.