ICF Global Coaching Study

The ICF (International Coach Federation) just released its 2012 Global Coaching Study.

While commissioned by the ICF, the study was actually undertaken by PricewaterhouseCooper.

It is basically a survey, but significant given its worldwide scope and the number of respondents (12,133 valid responses).

You can download the executive summary of the study on the ICF website, >>> HERE <<<

Here are some points that I personally find very interesting:

– a resounding majority of coaches (43% of respondents) identify “untrained individuals who call themselves coaches” as the main obstacle facing the industry. I totally agree with that. I would say that not only this is the obstacle #1, but also it is #1 by a magnitude of 10, i.e. it is 10 times more serious an issue  than any other factor. Personally, I have been so frustrated by the number of untrained individuals who call themselves coaches that I considered re-branding myself – just to distance myself from that crowd. I also think that the main obstacle identified by another 30% of respondents – “marketplace confusion” – is strongly determined by issue #1.  I am happy to see the ICF taking steps in the right direction by changing membership requirements this year.

– I am also happy to see that the majority of respondents (53%) think the profession should be regulated. I am perplexed by the 23% who think it should not (24% have no position on the issue). If any of you readers  think coaching should not be regulated, would you be kind enough to post a comment or send me a note explaining your position? I am asking just out of curiosity…

– as it is clear to anybody who works in this field, the annual revenues earned from coaching show a considerable variation. While the average annual revenue for coaches in North America is US$ 50,400, the median is US$ 29,100. Which means that about half the respondents make less than US$ 29,100 per year from coaching. Something anyone considering coaching as a profession should think about before investing into it.

And what struck you as interesting in this Global Coaching Survey?

Quiet Strength

Yours Truly witnessing the Quiet Strength of the Pacific Ocean

Some insights come from serendipitous occurrences.

Like this one I just had: that “Solution-Focus” has the quality of Quiet Strength.

This insight was triggered by three unrelated events:

– via @dChickadee4Life, stumbling upon this blog post: Three Keys to Mindful Leadership Coaching. The three keys mentioned by Douglas Riddle are: an open mind; non reactivity; permissive attention. These are all characteristics of  the “Not-Knowing” Stance which is one of the distinctive features of Solution – Focus. One particular sentence by Douglas Riddle resonated deeply in me: How does a coach do that? By creating in the conversation with the coachee a sense of open, reflective exploration. The coaches who expand my mind, emotions and performance come to the coaching relationship from a place of inner calm. They have quiet minds. They are not beguiled by fancy techniques or elegant coaching models.

– reading the book: Quiet. The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I had a profound sense of recognition while reading it. I made peace with my style of coaching – I am definitely not a Tony Robbins. I do not talk much. I do not raise my voice. I am not “in your face” and I definitely do not pump my fists in the air!  I like to create space for reflection. Gently but purposefully. There is strength in quiet and deliberate effort.

– having to confront  the same misunderstanding about Solution-Focus three times in the past week. I discovered, in 3 separate conversations with fellow Executive Coaches, that “Solution-Focus” is understood as task-focused. One Coach characterized “being too solution-focused” as going straight to the solution and prescribing a task as opposed to patiently listening to the Client first. I was taken aback – because this is the opposite of what “Solution-Focus” is! But, alas, that is what those words evoke, apparently. So I had to articulate what “Solution-Focus’ is.

These 3 separate events listed above made me realize that Solution-Focus is Quiet Strength.

Quiet strength in the “Not-Knowing” stance and curiosity of the Solution-Focused practitioners; in our  faith that Clients have already experienced bits and pieces of the solution.

Quiet strength in not adding anything to what Clients bring, yet keeping them accountable. Leading from behind, gently but steadfastly, in the interaction.

Quiet strength in being a witness to the Clients’ strengths – and honoring those strengths with our compliments.

Quiet Strength.

I think I like that.