How Many Coaches are there in the World?

According to a report published by the International Coach Federation (ICF) in partnership with Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) it is estimated that there are currently around 47,500 professional coaches worldwide.

However, coaches are not evenly distributed across the world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they are most highly concentrated in the so-called 'high-income' regions of North America, Western Europe and Oceania (primarily Australia and New Zealand). Collectively, these three regions account for 76% of the estimated global total of professional coaches, compared with just 11% share of global population.

Globally, this means that there are just under seven coaches per 1 million population. In the high-income regions, the ratio of coaches per 1 million population is in excess of 40. Unsurprisingly, the number of coaches appears to be showing more rapid growth in emerging regions outside the established so-called high-income regions reflecting the growing importance of coaching as a valuable business and personal development tool.

Other evidence from the ICF study suggests that the trend indicators have been growing more rapidly outside the high-income regions. For example, 29% of coaches in Latin America and the Caribbean said they had experienced growth across all four trend indicators in the previous 12 months (i.e. clients, fees, sessions and revenues). On that criterion, the slowest growing region was Western Europe, where less than one in five coaches (19%) reported an increase across all four key indicators.

The 2012 ICF Global Coaching Study invited coaches to comment on a range of issues facing the industry in the future, including: regulation of coaching; obstacles; and opportunities. A majority of coaches (53%) believed that coaching should become regulated. On the other hand, 23% did not believe that coaching should become regulated and the remaining 24% indicated that they were unsure on the subject. Among those who believe coaching should be regulated, or who were unsure, the overwhelming majority (84%) felt that professional coaching bodies were best placed to regulate the industry.

Another of the key issues identified by coaches was concern regarding the increase in the number of 'untrained' individuals who call themselves coaches which touches on the debate of experience versus qualification and accreditation.

The ICF survey also identified two of the key opportunities for the coaching industry: highlighting and increasing awareness levels of the benefits of coaching and capturing and presenting ‘credible data’ on the return on investment (ROI)/return on expectations (ROE) from coaching.

This is an interesting piece of research which provides lots of clues about how coaches should be presenting themselves and the areas on which to focus. At Exponential, we focus on the development of business coaches, and in particular specialist High Growth Coaches and the success and interest we are having from Eastern European countries reflects the ICF findings.

One Comment

  • Atlanta Business Coach commented on August 22, 2014

    The number of coaches in the world fall short out of the number of the population in each region. However, the demands must be presented first to identify the right number of the coaches that must be existing per region. I agree this is an interesting piece of research. Thanks for sharing!

About the Author

John Moore has over 20 years experience of training and developing Managers, Coaches, Consultants and businesses. As Managing Director of Exponential Training, John researches, speaks, blogs and writes about how to improve performance. He also designs and delivers engaging, fun and interactive learning programmes. John is a Fellow Chartered Manager and has worked with managers and organisations in over 20 different countries.

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