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7 coaching trends for the new decade

Globally, coaching is a rapid-growth, multi-billion dollar industry. At the dawn of 2020, there are more coaches worldwide, professional coaching bodies, options for coaching education and published coaching research. Certain trends are shaping the industry that will continue to have a lasting impact in the new decade. If you are considering a career as a coach, what should you be looking out for as you choose where to study, or as you begin to set up a coaching practice?

Coach educators at Sacap (the South African College of Applied Psychology) highlighted seven notable trends for the new decade:

1. An age of accountability – As the coaching industry develops and matures, expectations of coaches and their services have changed. Regulation is on the rise, and professional standards are becoming clearer cut. Aspiring coaches want accredited (preferably internationally accredited) education to meet clients’ demands for certified, results-driven coaches. The coaching certification you choose is going to become ever more important in the 2020s.

2. Virtual coaching – Tech opens up exciting opportunities to coach anyone, anytime and anywhere. Virtual coaching is already a vital component of many coaches’ work, and this trend will only be amplified in the coming years. While virtual coaching opens up seemingly limitless opportunities, coaches also have to consider its particular challenges. To be effective, virtual coaches need to be highly skilled at building trusted relationships in spite of the limitations of the medium. “It helps for student coaches to have practical and interactive experiences of virtual coaching during their training,” says Sacap coach educator, Nicky Wilson-Harris. “Participating in recorded and observed sessions with feedback from expert coaches and coach mentors helps them to develop both the face-to-face and virtual competencies and skillsets recommended by global accreditors such as the ICF (International Coaching Federation).”

3. Coaching as a basic, not a luxury – The broad-based benefits of having a coach to support people’s achievement of a wide variety of goals and challenges is now well-recognised. As we move into a new decade, coaches will be challenged to find ways to make their services more accessible and available to more people. In this way, coaching can shift from the elites into mainstream life, opening up greater opportunities for the industry as a whole, and for individual coaches to develop meaningful practices.

4. Results-driven demands – More and more, clients want coaches that help them deliver measurable results. “As a new coach, you need to start building a portfolio of evidence about the results that you get with your clients,” says Conroy Fourie, another Sacap coach educator. “At Sacap, we focus on providing student coaches with an excellent foundation from which they can deliver high-quality, effective coaching that enables them to build a portfolio of evidence once they start coaching. Internships, where they receive mentoring empower them to put learning into practice, and our research modules teach student coaches to critically examine the coaching experiences of their clients.”

5. Positive psychology focus – Across coaching disciplines, there is an increasing focus on the coach’s capacity to help clients overcome mental roadblocks and negative patterns that keep their goals out of their reach. As a leader in applied psychology education, Sacap roots its coaching education courses in this rigorous framework. Nicky Wilson-Harris says: “This creates additional perspectives so that the coach can help orientate the client towards being able to address their concerns from a base that is grounded in their own strength and potential.”

6. Relationship-based coaching – We can expect that in 2020 and beyond, the focus on the coach’s abilities to form trusted and authentic bonds will stay strong and sharp. This trend should influence your choice of coaching education. Coach training that ignites and fosters your own personal growth will enhance your capacity for building effective relationships with your clients.

7. Niche coaching – The proliferation of coaches led to the emergence of niche coaching as a way to differentiate oneself in a busy marketplace. However, it is also a strategy that helps coaches be more effective and results-driven. Sacap’s Conroy Fourie points out: “Focusing on specific types of clients with specific concerns – in other words, a ‘niche’ – means that you will be in a better position to be effective in coaching your target clients as they uncover solutions. As a new coach, do not worry about finding a niche immediately. Start coaching and then explore what typical clients and situations resonate with you and where you tend to get results. Play to your strengths. Reflect on your work life and personal experience. Ideally, you want a niche that resonates with your experience and passion.”

Join us for the first Sacap Coaching Twitter Talk of the year #CoachingTrends2020, on Tuesday, 3 March, from 12pm to 1pm. We will be discussing coaching trends that will affect the industry over the next decade, from virtual coaching to niche coaching and relationship-based coaching. We will also be focusing on coaching becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity, as well as the importance of measurable results, accountability and the enhanced focus on psychology in coaching. Follow us on Twitter for further updates @SACAPGrad_CL and join the conversation #CoachingTrends2020

Sacap aligns its range of accredited coaching courses with the competencies of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and Coaches and Mentors of South Africa (Comensa). Offering a unique blend of rigorous theory and applied skills, as well as workplace internships and mentoring, Sacap has been training coaches since 1997.




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SACAP SACAP offers you a wide range of qualifications in the fields of psychology, counselling and coaching with our one-of-a-kind approach to learning.
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