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Career Outlook: Professional Coaching

Clients come to coaches for help addressing challenging situations, defining their goals and setting up a plan to achieve them. Many times, coaches help their clients see possibilities they didn't know existed and tap into potential they didn't know they had.  

Coaching as a profession has grown exponentially in the last 10 years. It has evolved to become not only a prevalent aspect of personal growth, but also an effective leadership style for promoting professional development. As an approach to management, coaching is now being used extensively within organizations with great success.

Coaching works because it's a personal, intensive process that helps clients identify and develop their own existing strengths and talents. Coaching is distinct from therapy, consulting and mentoring in that it is a forward-thinking profession that focuses on providing a framework for self-discovery based on the client's personal and professional knowledge. Rather than offering advice or psychological counseling, coaches engage with clients by asking thought-provoking questions that invite them to think more deeply and consider alternate options.  

Industry Stats 

  • Projected job growth from 2022-2032 is 6%  (BLS
  • The 2023 ICF Global Coaching Study reports:
    • Approximately 109,200 coach practitioners globally in 2022, a 54% increase from 2019 
    • The estimated global total revenue from coaching in 2022 was $4.564 billion U.S. dollars, a 12% increase over 2019

Internal vs. Self-employed Coaches

Internal coaches, or those who work at a public or private organization coaching employees, are finding a greater use of coaching as an employee-development and leadership tool. Even those who aren’t full-time coaches within an organization can benefit from training. Leaders, in particular, can use coaching as a motivational tool. In a management context, coaching often means taking a collaborative approach, rather than simply delegating tasks and evaluating an employee’s progress. It also means providing constructive feedback and taking an active role in an employee’s professional development.

Fully 90% of Fortune 100 companies now employ internal coaches, and many other private- and public-sector organizations are recognizing the benefits of internal coaching to improve business outcomes, management effectiveness and employee engagement. 

By contrast, self-employed coaches make up 79% of the market according to the International Coaching Foundation (ICF). While recognizing the trade-offs of running a business vs. working as an employee, many self-employed coaches cite the ability to set their own schedule as a key motivator. Self-employed coaches also have the freedom to specialize in a particular niche, such as wellness, personal growth, or career coaching, which can also be a key motivator for owning an independent coaching business.   

Getting Started 

Coaches find that career development opportunities are available through continuing coach education in specialized areas, such as Team Coaching, and through communities of coaching professionals who support one another.

Certification is also important. In such a rapidly growing profession, certification signifies to clients that a coach has taken the important step of attending a quality training program and attaining a minimum level of experience. It indicates a commitment to excellence.

The most-widely recognized certification organization for coaches is the ICF, which certifies coaching professionals according to established standards of training and experience at three levels:

  • ACC (Associate Certified Coach) designation requires 60+ hours of coaching training and 100+ hours of coaching experience
  • PCC (Professional Certified Coach) designation requires 125+ hours of coaching training and 500+ hours of coaching experience
  • MCC (Master Certified Coach) designation requires 200+ hours of coaching training and 2500+ hours of coaching experience.  

For more information, read the full certification requirements on the ICF website

Professional Coaching for Life and Work

At UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education, experienced instructors and mentors are proud to provide highly interactive learning experiences through the Professional Coaching for Life and Work Certificate Program.

The program is an ICF Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP), which means that graduates engage in the coach-specific training and mentor hours needed to apply for certification once they secure the required coaching experience.

The Professional Coaching for Life and Work Certificate Program provides a clear and easy pathway for graduates to become ACC-certified coaches, and later PCC-certified coaches, as they demonstrate proficiency with coaching competencies and gain more coaching experience.

Need help getting started?

Reach out to enrollment coach Katie Orton for one-on-one help answering your questions and finding the right courses to fit your schedule and goals.

Schedule an appointment today.

  • 15-unit course, complete in 5 months
  • Completely online
  • Taught by MCC- and PCC-credentialed professional coaches
  • Program features include 150 academic credit hours of coach specific training and mentor coaches who provide feedback on your coaching skill development to support you through your educational journey

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