Top 8 Coaching Trends for 2022
The coaching industry is expanding at a fast pace. It's more crowded and raucous than ever. And it’s not only that clients are growing more discerning (because they are), but they have more freedom in their schedules, and they’re ready to pay for coaches with excellent coaching skills who can help them get impressive results.
And they need the help! Environmental shifts, institutional and economic uncertainty and political instability mixed with the Covid pandemic’s effects on our collective psyche for almost two years now, has had lasting impacts on even the most resilient leaders.
As other fields continue to adapt to the shifting sands of the 2020s, the coaching industry is also being called to the mat to evolve — and the heart of this evolution combines our humanity with the power of technology. Luckily, our community of experienced coaches and industry observers are eager to share their knowledge on the topic. We took their wisdom of experience mixed in with a good scouring of the data graph of authoritative external sources to round up a comprehensive list of the top eight business coaching industry trends for 2022.
2022 Coaching Trends #1: Accelerated and Dynamic Virtual Coaching
Today's shift to hybrid and virtual workplaces has solidified the capacity to provide coaching from any location.
- While in-person coaching dropped by 74% following COVID-19,
- Virtual coaching saw tremendous growth, rising by 57%.
SOURCE: The International Coaching Federation’s 2020 Study on COVID-19 and the Coaching Industry
The same study by ICF revealed that 63% of coaches strongly disagreed with the statement: "After the pandemic, coaching will return to pre-pandemic methods." This indicates the pandemic’s long-term consequences, including a stay of service delivery methods like virtual coaching.
According to empirical studies on the positive impact online coaching can have on client outcomes, virtual coaching leads to:
- a much greater knowledge transfer (ideal for client training and education)
- enhances clients’ ability to articulate and clarify their goals (including work-life balance goals that so many professionals struggle with)
- and improves clients’ ability to define their ever-elusive priorities.
SOURCE: I'm Only Human: The Role of Technology in Coaching published in Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
Further research reveals that a competent virtual coach can mitigate the online coaching limitations that naturally arise when some physical cues or expressions are absent of emotion.
But, don’t fear. Trust your instincts. Your instinctive communication strategies like maintaining eye contact, facial expressions and empathic body language (like mirroring your client) are still effective even over an internet connection.
And if digital fatigue gets in the way, Bryan Rosenthal, principal of Jules Consulting shares a simple technique you can use:
"Take notice of the energy within the video call — there is energy flow, even if it is virtual. Take physical cues (posture, movement, breathing, talking tone and speed) from the person on the other end to notice where they are and adjust the tempo and content to their current needs."
2022 Coaching Trends #2: The Entry of Productivity with Pre-work
One trend the ICF indicates will be most effective when used in sync with digital coaching, is pre-work. Pre-work is essentially the work you clear out before the main task of coaching. You may need up to one hour of prep for a two-hour video call.
Suppose you’re preparing for a longer one-to-one or group session with your client or their business. Think about:
- How and what you can delegate to your team.
- Or where can technological or human virtual assistance come in to automate?
- Where can you reduce effort, touch or scale a process with scheduling and work optimization tools?
Don't get caught up by the technicalities. When you prepare in advance, you free up more time for effective coaching. Because pre-work is collaborative by nature, it helps you both engage. But, especially for your client, it helps them orient to your approach: your client knows what's coming before each session and is better set to cope with specific difficulties that the pre-work prepared them to confront.
2022 Coaching Trends #3: Integration of Digital Assistants and AI for all
The industry is ever-moving towards efficiency with the continuous evolution of service delivery technology. 2022’s coaches are leaning more heavily on cloud-based software built atop advanced artificial intelligence principles while being primarily self-guided and surprisingly simple to use.
A few of these must-have tools for your service business in 2022 include:
Integrated, Secure Client Scheduling Software
While there are various calendar and client scheduling tools on the market, these foundational servicing solutions are now expanding to assist growing coaching teams, coaching networks and organizations to scale in meeting the service delivery demands of a burgeoning digital market of clientele.
Screen Recording Tools meet AI for Repurposing Knowledge
One of the most valuable aspects of online coaching is that more grown-up 2021 technology enables you and your clients to record video sessions and maintain secure chats in a single source of truth. Now coaches can record their sessions and share them with clients later if they wish to go over the content again and provide ongoing value.
Building in permission-granting to your coaching process can turns a one-time, unscalable group session or user-generated program content into content that can be repurposed multiple ways across 2022’s plethora of short-form video channels, extending its value indefinitely. With a simple session or group webinar recording, and a video AI tool like Descript, demonstrate your process, your approach and energy (while offering value to prospective clients) with real-world scenarios and social proof already captured in existing client sessions.
Learning Management Systems Meet CRMs and Services
There’s no doubt we’ll see a continued trend in productizing our coaching practices in 2022 into programming that allows coaches to scale past individual sessions. And managing to the client relationship using technology is more important than ever given you may not interact physically with your clients in 2022.
Luckily, advances in technology that combine client servicing and learning needs across the coaching, consulting and training industries mean that both program training content, client profiles and services can be integrated to deliver learning and create a more seamless coaching experience.
Take Profi’s integrated platform shown above, for example, where new clients can be onboarded virtually using the program’s feature, virtually sign a coaching contract or informed consent agreement, complete your intake form and then immediately schedule their first individual or group session based on your ideal cadence as a coach.
Client and Team Goal Management: 2022s Ongoing Challenge Area
Executive coaches on their own or managing teams of coaches want fully customizable digital tools for 360 feedback, check-ins, self-reflection and overall survey management.
This feedback can then be used to generate and share reports with stakeholders and program sponsors and trace each coach-to-client engagement — including client or coaching team progress and goals against milestones.
Service Delivery and Revenue Analytics are no longer Nice-to-Haves
Similarly to goal management, the numbers around an executive or wellness coach’s service delivery: from number, length and type of sessions and the revenue generated (compared to the upfront investment) are crucial for proving the value of coaching in an organization.
Open source predictive analytics tools, like one of the most popular open source tools: Orange data mining, allow beginners up to more advanced analytics geeks the ability to “perform simple data analysis with clever data visualization including statistical distributions, box plots and scatter plots, or dive deeper with decision trees, hierarchical clustering, heatmaps, MDS and linear projections,” according to Orange data mining’s website.
2022 Coaching Trends #4: Niching Will Take Center Stage
The future of the coaching industry belongs to coaches that concentrate on specific niches.
Coaches with a particular set of abilities, experience and knowledge in a specialized field will have more career prospects in 2022. There is now more activity in the more specialized niches. Parents employ life coaches to help their children cut down on their screen time, while baby boomers are engaging life coaches to help them re-imagine their future.
After the year that we’ve all been through, most clients, teams and organizations have a new (albeit forced) level of clarity on the aspects of their lives and businesses they have the greatest need in.
And as our world quickly evolves into a more globalized ecosystem, and we acknowledge our interdependence over our independence, individuals, teams and organizations face increasingly complex business challenges. The result is that our clients will require niche-specific coaches who can accommodate their specific requirements.
The founders of JRNI Coaching Training Programs suggest that you meet clients where they’re at with these three initial steps:
Step 1: "To succeed as a coach, you'll need to figure out what problems your ideal client wants to solve, and Step 2: define how you are uniquely positioned to help them meet their goals. Step 3: The most direct path to achieve this is by narrowing down to one or two specialties for your coaching practice."
2022 Coaching Trends #5: Coaching Becomes Ubiquitous From the Top Down
Businesses are operating in a challenging and competitive climate. The recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is putting more pressure on businesses of all sizes to improve their efficiency.
And Coaching industry trends in teams and enterprise organizations show a massive, reactionary need to integrate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion mindsets, models and business practices into their workplace culture… yesterday.
Layer on workplace wellbeing and a mental health crises from sudden, forced life and work shifts for our global family, and you’ve just exponentially expanded the coaching market.
Now coaches can cross traditional boundaries: like business location, size and work roles. And grow into the lives of everyday people, becoming solopreneurs and just taking the leap into defining more meaningful lives and work for themselves.
"Mental wellness overall has become a touchstone issue for companies," said Jenifer Berman, CMO of Insider, who moderated a panel discussion of executive experts on Building a Mentally Resilient Remote Workforce. "Pre-COVID it was a central theme. At the World Economic Forum at Davos it seemed to be one of the topics that seemed most prevalent across the board. The last few months have only accelerated that conversation."
Regardless of their primary specialization, 50% of coaches agree that Life Vision and Enhancement Coaching will become more common. Coaching has matured well past the sphere of corporate leaders and big business. The past two years have seen many people languishing in their lives and careers trying to bridge the gap between burnout and flourishing. Anyone going through a major life change can benefit from working with a coach.
While it feels huge and messy, it’s a major coaching opportunity: to craft new coaching techniques that help guide the status quo into new directions. To shake up business rigidity. To offer leaders new possibilities that help them:
- question their own mindsets and the belief systems driving them.
- approach their businesses, teams, stakeholders, operating procedures and customers from a place of generativity rather than extraction.
- examine the role of unconscious bias in the business and all the people it impacts (internally, externally, upstream and downstream).
"Coaching is going to be one of the critical tools for supporting and making a positive impact – a crucial asset in the multi-layered complexities organizations are going to face in their new expanded role."
2022 Coaching Trends #6: Social Media Takes Center Stage
Moving into 2022, social media has etched itself into our collective stone tablet of coaching commandments as a powerful medium for coaches to promote their businesses and cement their online presence.
You can cultivate a larger, more engaged community and find more clients for your firm with social media. And, the technology has advanced with the use of Artificial Intelligence, to help solopreneurs up to teams with limited resources automate repetitive social tasks using tools like Meet Edgar or CoSchedule’s Marketing Calendar ReQueue feature.
Take LinkedIn for example, where solopreneur coaches, coaching teams and coaching organizations are engaging more qualified prospective clients rapidly. Almost 60% of LinkedIn’s users are between 25 and 34 years old (in other words, prospective coaching clients just establishing and then maturing in their careers).
A lack of oversaturation combined with maturing features like live event and newsletter distribution, reliable yet straightforward analytics and competitive set benchmarks, and targeted advertising by key business demographics make LinkedIn an ideal place for coaches to engage their audiences – who are actually still engaging (rather than habitually yet mindlessly scrolling and reacting).
And social media can introduce you to new client demographics that you may be missing out on. Platforms like Tiktok, for example, provide a fun and creative way to engage with young audiences.
TikTok commercials are effective for your coaching business as they allow coaches to participate in the audiences' native experience. TikTok artfully weaves ads into users' feeds instead of intrusive pop-up advertising or unskippable video ads on TikTok.
You can convey your company's message without disrupting the overall user experience. So it’s your choice whether to blend in with the rest of the suggested content or stand out to gain more attention.
And these are just but a few powerful social media channels to consider in your 2022 business coaching strategy.
2022 Coaching Trends #7: Getting and Staying Real
As the curtain falls on 2021, another trend that has picked up tremendously is the increasing importance of getting and staying real. This has been spurred, in part, by declining faith in institutions and the type of corporate language that obscures or blurs the message. As a trustworthy and dependable coaching brand, you know your target demographic, what they cherish, and why they look out for you. You don't employ cheap marketing gimmicks to lure consumers who aren't in your target market since you recognize that this betrays their trust. You also understand that being genuine entails establishing and preserving trust.
They want a genuine, humane coach who has invested time in proper training and is knowledgeable about their subject. They want a coach with whom they can identify with, trust, and have a strong connection. Someone they don't feel threatened by or wary of.
As Sheila Carmichael of Forbes Coaches Council says:
"Authentic coaches are also courageous and respectfully share observations about their client's insights without harping on their own point of view."
2022 Coaching Trends #8: Humanity Goes Digital
As coaching shifts to a digital sphere, it's more vital than ever before to promote engagement through interactive chat, live sessions, and personalization that can scale efficiently while still feeling human to both coaches and clients.
The key to achieving this is developing a relationship-based framework. As we noted earlier, facetime and meaningful interactions are more critical than physical closeness. It will be crucial to keep striving to create an authentic, client-centered approach to your coaching practice.
According to Forbes, customer-centric organizations are 60% more profitable than companies that overlook this approach. And Superoffice reports that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. This evidence emphasizes the significance of compassion, empathy and genuine connection in business and all interpersonal encounters, especially if you desire tangible outcomes.
Over the past two years, the executive coaching industry's fortitude and impressive benefits have highlighted the tremendous influence professional coaches have had amid global social, environmental, political and health system breakdowns.
Indeed, IPEC research shows that 9% of people and businesses who hire a coach say they are "happy or extremely satisfied," and 96% say they would do it again. The pandemic altered life as we know it and turned around the coaching industry. The obstacles we faced this past year have spawned new trends and opportunities, and it's up to individual coaches to seize these openings to revolutionize their practices and teams.
For coaching teams and firms or networks of coaches, schedule a demo with us (or contact us and tell us about your challenges moving into 2022). We’ll work together to get you set for the future of coaching. At Profi, we’re sending you best wishes for scaling your service business in 2022!
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