The State of Life Coaching in 2021

This post on the state of life coaching in 2021 will help any new or wannabe life coach get a handle on the industry he or she is stepping into.

It may kick off all doom and gloom, but stick with it until the end because it really isn’t.

According to figures issued by the ICF (International Coach Federation) recently the number of coaches worldwide is around 71,000.

Of those 71,000, supposedly 23,300 are based in the USA.

If you know anything about the coaching industry you will know that the Flat Earth Society has a better grip on reality than the ICF, if they really believe those stats to be true.

I have about 12,000 coaches in either the Coach the Life Coach Facebook Group or the sister group The Coaching Exchange set up to help newer coaches to refine their skills, or on my newsletter list. 

And I am in a LinkedIn group for coaches that has over 75,000 members and another Facebook group with close on 20k (although the latter has a lot of people who are marketing to coaches).

There are close to 500 companies that offer training for new coaches in the US and that doesn’t include dubious sources like Udemy who have people offering certification for about the same as it would cost you to buy a copy Co-Active Coaching.

Whereas some training companies are small and maybe only train a handful of coaches per annum, many are large, charging big bucks and turning out hundreds of coaches every year.

And that doesn’t take into account the coaches who start coaching without any training. Their number is considerable.


Covid-19’s Impact On Life Coaching in 2021

That’s a lot of new coaches starting up every single year and COVID-19 has greatly accelerated an already rapid process.

How do I know the pandemic will a huge effect on life coaching in 2021?

Because it has in 2020 and nothing is going to change in the short-term.

I read all the bios of the people looking to join my Facebook groups and that number has been climbing steadily since the first shut down.

I do this primarily because I don’t want internet marketers getting into the group and pitching to the members.

I want it to remain a ‘safe place’ for coaches to interact and help one another.

But, there has been another unexpected benefit – that of getting a much better feel for the industry and the people looking to join it, or who have recently joined it.

I ask the following question of everybody looking to join:

What type of coach are you? (It’s ok if you’re a newbie or thinking of being a coach, just say so. But if you work with other coaches in any way your application will be declined, and we do check profiles).

Only a year or so ago the majority of applicants were already coaching, whereas now the majority are newbie coaches, or people thinking of becoming a coach.

And a lot of their bios say things like, previously working as a beautician, ex-bartender, or, former hotel manager. 

In other words, people who have lost their job because of coronavirus and through no fault of their own.

In that situation, it’s easy to look at coaching and see what is apparently a low bar to entry in terms of cash required and think, ‘I’ve been told I’d make a great coach, let’s give it a go’.

Furthermore, reports like the ICF’s  (link at the bottom of the post) which goes on to suggest the average coach in the US earns over $62,000 (my guess is the real figure is less than $20k) only ramps up the appeal.

As such, I’d be utterly stunned if there isn’t well in excess of 150,000 people calling themselves a coach in the US alone, and I’d not be in the least surprised if that number were closer or even over 250,000.

Forgetting about the explosion of life coaches on social media, there’s another way you can tell if any industry is expanding quickly.

By watching the growing number of people targeting those joining it.

I cannot move on LinkedIn without tripping over an invite to connect with somebody who helps coaches scale.

I have had almost a dozen in just the last week, this was the last one and is pretty typical:

We Teach Coaches How To Consistently Fill Up Their Calendars W/ 30-50 New Pre-Qualified Sales Appointments Each Month.

Facebook is the same as my feed being dominated by people looking to sell quick-win systems to coaches.

Note: These invites seem very tempting to a struggling coach, but 99% of them will not deliver and the ones who do know their shit will charge you accordingly.

And when I say the industry is expanding quickly, I only mean in terms of people becoming coaches not necessarily in the demand for coaches. 

Rather, demand for coaches from the general public appears, if Google is to be believed, to have been reasonably static for 16-years!

You would think there would have been a huge surge in people searching for the term life coach or life coaching with a rapidly expanding industry, but that’s not the case.

Below is a graph comparing the two search terms since 2004 in the United States and you can see there has been very little change.

life coaching 2021 comparison

Life Coaching in 2021 v 2004

You can see the term life coach is marginally up, but still below its peak in 2005 (I wonder what happened then to stimulate that spike? (If you know or can guess please leave a comment) and the term life coaching is marginally down

Now, of course, those figures will be somewhat misleading because they don’t take into account the rise of social media and the massive amount of marketing done there that cuts out Google.

Similarly, it precludes people searching locally for say Life Coach New York, and people searching for perhaps, mindset coach which I’d imagine is more common than in 2004.

But we’re looking at trends here and this isn’t a good one because even taking into account the above, that graph should be rising exponentially with the number of coaches online.

None of that makes very good reading for the average life coach, but none of it has to be applicable to you if you’re determined not to be the average life coach.

The beauty of statistics is, they are just that, statistics.

There will be lots of life coaches who will fail in 2021, but there will also be coaches who crush it.

And in 2022, 2023, and way beyond for that matter because coaching is here to stay.

You can have a great 2021 and generate enough paying clients to make you think becoming a coach was the best decision you ever made.

But, you cannot do that without working hard and putting in the hours.

And unless you have the resources to pay somebody else to do it for you,  you MUST, learn how to market yourself properly, effectively, and sustainably.

Getting clients is way harder than learning to be an effective coach and the latter is pointless if nobody can benefit from your skills.

The life coaching industry is as competitive as any on earth, there simply isn’t anything like enough people looking to hire coaches to exhaust the current supply.

But, here’s the rub.

There is always room at the top for those coaches prepared to do the work.

You just have to ensure that’s you, and this may just be the thing to make sure it is……

mastermind group

The Coach the Life Coach Mastermind for 2021

The Coach the Life Coach mastermind is a chance to make game-changing progress in your coaching business with the help of myself and a small group of seriously-motivated and like-minded coaches.

The mastermind will run for 28 weeks and include 2 one-on-one sessions with me to use as you wish, as well as a bonus session where I will teach you The Clarity Method core values process.

We’ll also set up a new Facebook group for the 6 coaches chosen to join where they post updates about their progress and help each other out.

And that last bit is crucial.

I’m only interested in people who genuinely want their peers to succeed and are willing to contribute to that success.

Masterminds work so incredibly well because of the fact that it’s a coming together of minds, skills, and points of view.

Every person on the mastermind will have something to offer.

It may not be coaching skills or even marketing skills for that matter, but there will be something special each person brings to the table.

It could be business experience, a background in sales or design, or a gift for out-of-the-box thinking.

Similarly, a knowledge of PowerPoint, Word, or Excel, or any other number of things that others can benefit from in expediting their coaching success will be a positive.

What matters the most is your determination to succeed and your willingness to share your gifts with others.

So, why should you be excited about joining a mastermind run by me?

Well, I’m now in my 16th year as a full-time coach having built two successful coaching practices, written 11 books and I’ve trained over 350 coaches, and run 24 live courses.

Not only will you be able to tap into that experience, but the skills and experience of five of your peers too.

The cost for the 28-week mastermind will be $2,495, broken down into one payment of $1,000 due within 5 days of your application being approved (that will be non-refundable unless I cancel).

Then there will be five payments of $299 that will be due at monthly intervals starting in February.

However, if you are super committed to the project and driving your practice forward then I’ll match that commitment.

If you pay in full before the end of 2020, then you can do so for $1,999 and save yourself $500.

The 2-hour long sessions will start on Saturday, January 23rd at 5 pm GMT (12 noon EST, 9 PCT) and run on alternate Saturdays for over 6 months.

If you have questions, please email

But please understand that wanting to join doesn’t guarantee I will choose you because group fit is paramount and I do need you to fill out the application form here before we schedule a call.

But rest assured, that if you do apply you are NOT committing to anything other than chatting with me, so don’t feel pressured – I don’t work that way.

If you’d like to read a copy of the executive summary of the ICF report I referred to at the start of this post click here.


  1. Tim – Really love this article. There do seem to be more coaches than clients! I don’t know how the owners of coaching schools can sleep at night…or maybe they are working behind the scenes on some great master plan to help all the coaches they are churning out, to actually have a chance at realizing their dream of having a profitable coaching business…???

  2. Tim Brownson

    Hi Benay, thanks for stopping by. I think they sleep fine by just not even thinking about it. TBH, if they are upfront about how tough it is (which few are) I don’t even think it’s their fault.

    Those who lie about the state of the industry really do piss me off though!

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