[NOTE: This post has been edited after being notified of perceived inaccuracies in the previous version…]
How many of you have received emails from different organizations offering the next best thing in coaching?
At the risk of offending a few coaches, the fact is that there are two unfortunate characteristics of most coaches:
Most coaches desperately want to be part of the latest trends and fads, and are gullible when it comes to creating an atmosphere of “don’t miss out!”
Most coaches will sign up for anything to further their learning – except for programs that give them the hard truth about what it really takes to attract clients with substance, and then deliver outstanding results to these same clients.
The real fastest-growing trends in coaching are not related to what coaches are evangelizing to each other. The real trends come from understanding the growth in the market and client challenges. This means understanding what coaching clients want and how to get them the kind of value and impact that blows them away.
In other words, the real gold in the coaching market comes from focusing on what clients – not coaches – want.
If you are not like most coaches, if you are not another lemming in a crowd of lemmings, it will be easy for you to stand out. All you have to do is focus on clients and what they want.
Here are a few examples of the fastest-growing coaching trends I am seeing, presented from the client-centric view that we take at the Center for Executive Coaching:
Trend One: Coaching scientific, medical, and technical experts to be better leaders.
The world continues to shift to a knowledge-based economy. Unfortunately, many technical experts lack the softer skills to know how to build effective teams, resolve conflict, and create a strong organization. They experience a lot of frustration, sub-optimal performance, and suffering because of this state of affairs. You can help – if you know how to ask great questions about the frustrations that these professionals face, and if you can position yourself as someone who can help. That’s why the technology and healthcare sectors continue to experience the fastest growth in hiring coaches, based on the hundreds of successful coaches that I survey every quarter.
Trend Two: Coaching leaders of growing entities to develop their organizations for the long haul.
Many leaders get frustrated as their organization experiences growing pains. Roles get confused. New leaders are too caught in the weeds to develop successors who can continue growth. The executive team gets overwhelmed as they juggle multiple priorities. Conflicts start to fester. Coaches who can engage these leaders can make a huge difference by helping their organizations mature, build systems and infrastructure, and reach new levels of growth.
Trend Three: Leaders taking over new roles in organizations, and who have extremely challenging job descriptions.
For instance, I work with the President of a publicly traded company who has been in his role under a year. His task is to quickly integrate seven (yes, 7!) acquired entities into one industry-leading company. He engaged me to help him assess and build his team, set and communicate direction, and manage relationships with his parent company and board. I am seeing more and more of these opportunities emerge. They are challenging, yet fun and with the possibility of creating a huge impact.
Trend Four: Overwhelm, overwhelm, overwhelm!
I have yet to have a coaching assignment in which the client wasn’t overwhelmed with too many priorities. Overwhelm seems to be the common theme in almost every coaching engagement most of my colleagues and I have. The industries differ. The titles differ. The strategic plans differ. However, that feeling of overwhelm – -whether due to blindingly rapid change or having to do much more with much less – isn’t going away. Good coaches can help leaders get results, develop strategies, and stay resilient even with multiple priorities and limited time. One of our many successful graduates of the Center for Executive Coaching focuses on this area. Her practice has gone into the stratosphere since she starting focusing on overwhelm for executives in highly-visible companies.
There are more trends to share, and I hope to do so in upcoming issues. The important thing is that if you want to be a trendsetter in coaching, you should focus on the marketplace. What are clients asking for? Don’t worry about what coaches are evangelizing. Worry about delivering value to clients.