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6 Coaching Trends That Could Shape an Entire Decade

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coaching trends

This is a guest post written by Salma El-Shurafa

Over the years, coaching has grown from a relatively unknown sector into a multi-million-dollar industry. As 2020 comes to an end, the new decade is expected to usher new trends to shape the coaching business in the coming years.

Millennials and baby boomers are at the center of several changes that will shape the entire coaching profession. More importantly, the shifts are seen to bring more opportunities for coaches.

If you are thinking about starting a career as a coach, you should consider the following five trends when deciding on coach training in Dubai and how to set up your coaching practice.

1. Higher demand for human coaches

No, robots (a.k.a. artificial intelligence) will not replace human coaches.

In a 2018 survey published by The International Coaching Federation (ICF), it was confirmed that robots aren’t taking over the world  – at least, not the world of coaching.

This industry-wide research talked to almost 1,000 internal coaches, external coaches, and organization coaching practice managers to determine what they expect to happen in the industry from 2019 to 2022. It also discussed how the respondents reacted to various topics, including the possibility of artificial intelligence replacing human coaches.

Based on the survey, AI taking over the coaching practice is the least likely possibility, with only a 38 percent likelihood per professional coaches’ responses.

Moreover, believes that the total coaching market is expected to grow by 5.4 percent on average every year until it becomes $1.38 billion strong in 2022.

With these numbers reflecting the United States scenario, coaching in Dubai and other countries is expected to follow suit. This is because more and more companies perceive coaching as a significant part of individual and organizational success (more on this later).

Of all the coaching services available today, the following are expected to become most in-demand in the business sector:

  • Management development training
  • Professional development training
  • Quality assurance training
  • Comprehensive business coaching

2. Coaching as a necessity

With the benefits of coaching already becoming more well-known among individuals and businesses, coaches are expected to continue to be considered a necessary support for people’s achievements.

Because of the rising demand for coaches, the new decade presents new business challenges. One particular matter that will affect the industry significantly is finding ways to make services more available and accessible to more people.

With the industry shifting into a mainstream market, coaches must look for ways for their service to become available to more people through more meaningful practices and coaching techniques.

3. Virtual coaching

There is an expected generational shift in the coaching market today because of the growing number of millennials (surpassing that of baby boomers) as the biggest segment of the society. The U.S. alone reported a whopping 83-million strong millennial population.

This, combined with the growing need for more accessibility and availability of coaching services, paved the way for virtual coaching.

Since the millennial population is considered the generation most reliant on technology, the need for coaching services to be in a digital format has increased. With the help of smartphones, the Internet, and plenty of other innovative technologies, coaches can now help anyone, no matter where they are and when they need it.

But while digital platforms seem to open limitless possibilities for coaching, this setup also presents a few challenges.

For this virtual coaching to be effective, coaches need to learn the effective use of digital channels, such as coaching apps, webinars, and videoconferencing. They also need to practice building trusting relationships despite the limitations of the medium.

This is why student coaches – or even seasoned professionals who plan to take their business to a whole new level – would benefit from virtual coaching training. 

4. Higher focus on positive psychology

People seeking coaching services reach out to coaches for help with a specific problem in mind. But in most cases, that isn’t the primary issue that needs to be dealt with. Instead, it is only a symptom of something much bigger that is holding them back.

Remember that while clients ask for help with a “problem of the moment,” many of them are also looking for ways to improve an issue related to their overall sense of satisfaction. For this reason, coaching disciplines have now increased focus on being able to help individuals break negative patterns and overcome mental roadblocks that may keep success out of their reach.

This is where positive psychology is becoming more useful. In fact, it has become the default solution for such situations because it acknowledges that an individual as a whole.

If you understand the human mind, you’ll know that nothing promotes progress better than positive psychology. It focuses on what’s right (i.e., an individual’s potential) rather than what’s wrong (i.e., his shortcomings or weaknesses). When used in coaching, positive psychology often requires the following:

  • Empathetic listening
  • Powerful questioning
  • Focus on self-understanding
  • Problem-dwelling attitude correction

5. Niche-focused coaching

Besides higher demand, coaching as a necessity, virtual platforms, and positive psychology, another coaching trend that is expected to affect the industry in the coming decade is the focus on coaching niches.

This is one of the most encouraging developments in the sector, particularly for whole person coaches. It focuses on the uniqueness of a coach in helping out individuals and organizations.

Take parenting coaches, for example. As one of the most significant challenges people face today, becoming an effective parent has always been a popular goal for many people. Whether it’s about school matters, confidence issues, bad behavior, or disabilities, many parents are willing to be “trained” to become better at the job if it means ensuring a brighter future for their children and family.

Retirement coaches are also expected to do well in the near future. More baby boomers will be facing retirement in the coming decade. For the first time in their lives, they will be free of any obligation, both in their careers and families, leaving them asking, “What now?”

With the help of coaches, retirees will learn to come up with a plan that will help them maximize life in retirement. Coaches will help them understand that they can do more than just survive and find a renewed purpose for the twilight years of their lives.

Be it career coaching, parenting coaching, retirement coaching, or any other niche, keeping a specialization and continuously honing your expertise in a subject will ensure that coaches can help individuals achieve their goals and overcome any obstacle that may come their way. Plus, having a specialization makes it possible for coaches to command higher fees for their services.

A New Era in Coaching

The decade that began in 2020 presents plenty of opportunities for coaches around the world. With the trends shaping a new era in coaching, one thing is certain: coaching is here to stay.


Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.