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Life Coach Average Salary

Life coaching is a career path that appeals to a wide range of professionals from diverse backgrounds. Professional coaches come from backgrounds that range from full-time business owners/professionals to part-time side-giggers and even to working professionals who take coaching courses to complement their full-time careers or the implement coaching techniques into their work. There are all sorts of reasons to become a coach – but the most frequently asked question that we get is “how much do life coaches make?”

Because coaching offers such a wide range of career paths, gauging an average salary range can be tricky. However, a 2016 survey from the International Coach Federation (ICF) provides some foundational information. The survey used results from over 15,300 coaches from around the world to determine annual salary and expectations for the coming years. While these results from 2016 are not ideal for today, we will be sure to update this post when ICF publishes the results from the most recent 2019 annual survey, projected to be published in Q3 of 2020.

Until then this is the some of the best data available so let’s dive in.

Total Survey Respondents

The ICF Salary Survey collected information anonymously from 15,380 coaches from a variety of backgrounds across the globe.


ICF is an international organization of coaches. As a member of ICF, coaches abide by a code of ethics and gain access to tools and networks from around the globe. For this survey, there were no geographical limits on respondents, however, North American and Western Europe account for the lion’s share of responses.

  • Country
    • North America: 20,600
    • Latin American and Caribbean: 5,000
    • Western Europe: 21,400
    • Eastern Europe: 6,000
    • Middle East and Africa: 3,100
    • Asia: 5,200
    • Oceania: 2,800
  • Age
    • > 30: 3%
    • 31-34: 6%
    • 35-39:13%
    • 40-44:15%
    • 45-49: 19%
    • 50-54:19%
    • 55-59:14%
    • 60-64: 8%
    • 65+: 6%
  • Gender
    • Female: 67%
    • Male: 33%

Types of Coaches Surveyed (Self-Identification)

Coaches identify themselves in a variety of different ways, but this survey found two main groups based on responses: 1) Coach Practitioners 2) Managers/Leaders Using Coaching Skills.

These groups break-down further into subsets, detailed below:

  • Coach Practitioners
    • External Coach Practitioner – coaches that run their own business and are responsible for finding their own clientele and producing revenue.
    • Internal Coach Practitioner – coaches who are employed by organizations to lead internal groups and help managers and direct reports reach their full potential as individuals and as a team.
    • Both Internal and External Coach Practitioners – coaches who are employed and salaried as a coach with an organization but simultaneously run their own practice.
  • Managers/Leaders Using Coaching Skills
    • Human Resources/Talent Development Who Use Coaching Skills – HR related leaders who have taken coaching courses to develop their skills and implement them at their organization.
    • Manager/Leader Who Use Coaching Skills – non-HR related leaders who have taken coaching courses and are able to use those skills while managing direct reports.

Annual Income (By Region)

The average life-coach makes approximately $62,000 per year in North America. Right up there with Public Relations specialist, High School Teach and Conservation Scientist.  And when you consider that the survey results did not filter or remove part-time coaches, the actual number for full-tie coaches could be far more impressive. Below is the regional breakdown of annual salary as presented by the survey:

  • North America: $61,900
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: $27,100
  • Western Europe: $55,300
  • Eastern Europe: $18,400
  • Middle  East and Africa: $35,900
  • Asia: $37,800
  • Oceania: $73,100
  • Global Average: $51,000

Future Outlook

When asked about their outlook on the future, the majority of respondents were very positive about their potential client and income growth.

  • 75% of coaches with active clients expected their total clients to increase over the next 12 months
  • 75% of coaches with active clients expected their total annual revenue to increase over the next 12 months
  • 63% of coaches with active clients expected their total number of coaching sessions to increase over the next 12 months

Training and Credentialing

Nearly all respondents reported receiving some form of Coach Specific Training Hours (99%) with large majority receiving education that was accredited or approved by a professional coaching organization (89%). While there is no official requirement to receive formal training as a coach, the majority of respondents articulated that clients and prospects expect a certain level of education or training in the field. Only 1% of survey respondents did not have any formal training in coaching.

  • Type of Training
    • Accredited/approved program: 79%
    • Non-accredited/approved: 6%
    • University-based accredited: 7%
    • University-based non-accredited: 3%
    • Employer developed: 4%
    • No coach specific training: 1%
  • Total Hours of Training
    Among coach practitioners who reported receiving coach-specific training, more than two in three (68%) have completed 125- plus hours of coach-specific training.

    Fewer managers/leaders said they had received 125-plus hours of coach-specific training (42%). However, almost one in four managers/leaders using coaching skills (23%) reported receiving 200-plus hours of training.
  • Client Expectations
    The majority of respondents identified that their clients are expecting that they be certified/credentialed. Only 3% strongly disagreed that clients expected credentials or certifications, while an additional 8% somewhat disagreed.

    Additionally, 75% of respondents stated that they either strongly agree or somewhat agree that clients expect credentials/certifications.

ICF Credentials

Over 51% of survey respondents identified the International Coach Federation (ICF) as their credentialing organization.

Future Challenges

Several industry obstacles were identified in the survey. Most concerning to respondents were untrained coaches obtaining greater market-share and general marketplace confusion.

  • Untrained Individuals: 42%
  • Marketplace Confusion: 28%
  • Market Saturation: 9%
  • Under Pricing: 3%
  • Competing Services: 4%
  • Over Regulation: 3%
  • Other: 5%

Future Opportunities

The majority of respondents identified an increased awareness of benefits as being the greatest opportunity, coupled with the use of credible data to prove the results of hiring a coach.

  • Increased awareness of benefits: 38%
  • Credible data ROI/ROE: 27%
  • Improved general perception: 14%
  • Increased demand: 10%
  • Positive media: 6%
  • Other: 2%

Overall, this survey showed us that the average coach is doing well across the globe. The flexibility and work-life balance that becoming a coach offers, in addition to the potential compensation, makes coaching an extremely satisfying profession. Click here to view the full study. 

And if you’re ready to take the step to earning Approved Coach Specific Training Hours from home, check out the Coach Certification Training Academy’s online courses.  

November 14, 2021
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