Can I Make It As A Coach? Part 1: How Much Do Life Coaches Earn?

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March 19, 2021

The Everything Life Coaching Podcast, featuring JRNI Coaching founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, is a deep dive into the experience and business of being a life coach. In this 3-part series, we explore the #1 topic on the minds of aspiring coaches: personal income potential.

“Is it really possible to make a living as a life coach?” 

If you’re asking yourself this right now, you’re in very good company. It’s the #1 question most aspiring life coaches have in common.

In the hunt for hard facts about coaching salaries and viable careers in the life coaching industry, straight answers can be hard to come by. Let's untangle it together.

ALWAYS start with trusted sources of information!

There are so many sources online that talk about life coach salaries. From the Bureau of Labor to PayScale, you’re going to see a wide range of figures. 

It's not that average salary data is difficult to find - the challenge is in discerning which figures are most credible. 

What we look for:

  • Where did the data come from? 
  • How many coaches were surveyed? 
  • Does the sample group adequately represent the coaching industry as a whole?

Team JRNI analyzed a broad range of reliable data sources, and we're here to take the guesswork out of coaching income forecasting for you.

In our view, the International Coaching Federations’s ICF Global Coaching Study is THE go-to source for industry information and analysis. Conducted once every four years, this expansive research study analyzes responses from more than 22,000 coaches worldwide. 

The ICF’s most recent results were published in early 2020. We’re also drawing from a follow up study conducted in 2020 that examined early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the coaching industry.

For executive coaches, we also recommend checking out Sherpa Coaching’s Annual Coaching Survey

According to the International Coaching Federation, the average annual salary for a coach practicing in North America is $62,500.

How does the average salary for coaches stack up against other professions? Pretty well, as it happens! In the United States, the average salary across all professions currently stands at $48,672.

Check out a few related points of comparison from the U.S. Bureau of Labor:

  • Marriage and Family Therapist = $50,090
  • Human Resource Specialist = $48,410
  • Fitness Trainer = $57,370
  • Real Estate Sales Agent = $56,290

Comparatively speaking, career opportunities in life coaching look not only viable, but downright comfortable.

And this is where many articles covering the topic of life coach salaries end.

But stopping here could turn out to be a big mistake! 

What average salary figures cannot tell you is whether or not you are likely to earn this amount on your own coaching career path. 

What to consider:

  • The average rate for coaches worldwide is $244 per hour. Sounds great!
  • Does that mean $244 is what you should be charging? Not necessarily.
  • Coaching rates are tied most directly to your specialty and years of experience.
  • Personal reputation and market demand for what you're offering can also play a big role in your success.

Experience pays: In North America, coaches with more than 10 years in practice are charging, on average, $300 an hour. 

Niche makes a difference: Business coaches who work primarily with executive clients command $330 per session. In contrast, life coaches serving individual clients are earning an average of $130 per hour.

Here’s something else that’s really important to know!

The majority of successful coaches drive income from multiple revenue streams. Life coaching career opportunities aren’t limited to one-on-one client sessions.

Other income sources might include:

  • Books
  • Speaking engagements
  • Apps
  • Brand sponsorship
  • Training and mentoring
  • Content driven offerings such as in-person and online classes
  • Group coaching and membership programs
  • Retreat facilitation 
  • AND of COURSE... individual clients!

Hungry for more details? In Episode 2 of this series, we tackle the question of how all of this actually works in real life as we explore income pathways. And finally, in Episode 3 we put it all together with a discussion of the current coaching industry outlook, and the mindset it takes to succeed in this field.

Ready to dive into a career in life coaching? 

Grab your copy of our guide: 6 Steps To Start Coaching Today!

Booklet cover: 6 Steps to Start Your Life Coaching Practice

This free publication, written by JRNI Coaching co-founders, will give you the tools to discover your niche, find clients, and get started on your path to becoming a successful coach.

Plus, when you sign up below, we'll keep you up to date weekly with coaching techniques, and the occasional much-needed kick in the pants to keep you motivated on your coaching journey.

So, what're you waitin' for? Let's get started!

‍JRNI Coaching: Vibrant community. Evidence-based life coach training. Lifetime support.

[Free Guide] 6 Steps to Start Coaching Today

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