For over a year now, there has been no escaping COVID-19. It has had an effect on almost every area of our lives, all across the globe. From accessing healthcare to the way we all work, seeing our friends to going to the supermarket, everything seems to have changed in some way. But what about changes in the world of business coaching? What has been seen in this industry, if there have been any changes at all?
This blog post aims to explore whether COVID-19 has changed the business coach definition. It’s fair to say that some change have certainly taken place, but what are they? Are said changes positive or negative? Will there be a long term shift in the way business coaches and their clients work together? If you’re a coach yourself, are interested in the industry, or are thinking about taking coaching services on for your business now or in the near future, this post should be useful for you.
What’s the current business coach definition?
Before we investigate how COVID-19 may have changed the definition, let’s take a look at what a business coach is currently defined as, according to the Cambridge Dictionary’s ‘Business English’ definition. This is:
“the job or activity of providing training for people or helping to prepare them for something”
This is a definition that can encompass many forms of business coaching. As it’s such a broad definition, it can be difficult to imagine how even a huge global event such as COVID-19 could change it that drastically. But, there have definitely been some notable changes in the coaching industry caused by it. But what do these changes include?
How has COVID-19 affected the business coaching industry?
Clients felt more cautious
At the start of the pandemic, it was undeniable that most people were flung into a state of panic of some kind. This was especially true for business owners. Government restrictions meant that many businesses were forced to close for months at a time, and the future started to look very uncertain. As a result, lots of business owners made the sensible decision to cut back on spending for their companies. After all, they didn’t know what the future was going to hold, and it’s better to be well prepared than to have regrets in the long term! However, this certainly had an impact on the business coaching industry.
With businesses either temporarily closed or cutting back on spending, many couldn’t justify the expense of a business coach. This was a natural decision. After all, if you’re not operating, or are scared for the future, why invest your precious resources into a coach whose role is to help your business to thrive under more ‘normal’ circumstances? According to a 2020 report by the International Coaching Federation, almost 1 in 2 (49%) coaches reported reduced income due to the pandemic. So, while businesses themselves were experiencing the negative effects of the pandemic, so were many of the business coaches.
But, things are looking up
However, restrictions are now easing up quite a lot, especially in the UK. Businesses have survived a very tough period in their operating history. They have either adapted well and come out stronger, or they are still struggling from the constant setbacks. Either way, the idea of business coaching is starting to become more appealing to many business owners again. Businessses are starting to have a bit more spare cash again, but they want to ensure that it is put to good use. And, coaching is a great way to do this. Lots of company owners are looking into ways that they can future-proof their operations, so that if a similar situation was to happen again, they would be far better prepared. As a result, the business coach definition is perhaps being pushed more towards helping businesses to become more resilient rather than focus on traditional goals such as improving profitability or hiring new team members.
More people are looking to become coaches themselves
Over the course of the pandemic, lots of people who previously had time-consuming job roles found themselves on furlough or otherwise unable to work due to restrictions. So, they had a lot more time on their hands compared to usual! This led to many of them considering a new career path. After all, they’ll probably never again in their career history have so much free time available to re-train. So, some people made the decision to try business coaching as a new career. So, expect to see even more coaches pop up in the coming year or so. A word of warning, however, if you’re considering a coach for your business. While there are no formal qualifications required to become a coach, it’s vital that you choose one who has plenty of genuine experience and a passion to help you improve your business. Ensure that any coach you work with is transparent about their skills, career history, and how this can help you and your business.
Existing coaches are also looking to improve their offering
According to the same report mentioned earlier from the International Coaching Federation, almost half of coaches (48%) said they had increased the number of hours spent receiving training of their own since the pandemic started. Of course, any good business coach will be dedicated to training so that they can continue to improve their offering. The pandemic has been the perfect time to do so, as many people have had more free time- including existing business coaches! And, as more coaches who made the career change during the pandemic start to arrive on the scene, it’s vital for existing coaches to keep on top of things so that they can retain their market share and stay ahead of the competition.
Furthermore, 36% of coaches made one or more changes to their service offering specifically in response to the pandemic. This just goes to show that while the pandemic has definitely had an impact on the coaching industry but coaches are willing to be agile and adapt what they do to better suit the current climate.
The way business coaching takes place is changing
When you think of the business coach definition, you probably think about the concept of face-to-face coaching. However, this is another way in which the coaching industry has changed since the pandemic started. With restrictions in place to limit face-to-face contact, coaches had to come up with new ways to connect with their clients at a crucial time. As a result, the International Coaching Federation report notes that 80% of coaches said their in-person coaching methods decreased, while 74% said their audio-video platform coaching increased.
Coaching over video platforms certainly takes some getting used to, but it also brings with it some benefits. For example, it’s more convenient for both the client and the coach, as they can do it from anywhere. And, it reduces travel time and costs, as well as being a flexible option that is easier to schedule according to the needs of the client or coach. Some people love video coaching, while others hate it, but there’s no denying that it has had a huge surge in popularity over the course of the pandemic.
So, has COVID-19 actually changed the business coach definition?
The short answer to this question is, no, not really. The basic definition of a business coach is still someone who helps businesses and the people within them to reach their goals, whatever they may be. Having said this, it’s clear that the industry itself has changed somewhat from the points outlined above. But will this be a long term change? Truly, only time can tell. There probably will be some changes that stick around, such as an increased focus on coaching businesses to be more resilient. However, some other changes may not stick around. For example, some of the new coaches looking for a career change may decide that actually, this is not the right path for them at this time.
Overall, it is clear that coaching is going to remain an important part of the business world. After all, business owners and their companies can gain so much from it, in good times as well as bad. Of course, the business coach definition may start to change in the future, as nobody can predict what’s going to happen next in the world. However, it is unlikely to change to a huge extent. Businesses will always have a need to learn from coaches, and so it’s likely that talented coaches will always be around to provide these services.
Here at Chrysalis Partners, I pride myself on my approach to coaching that helps businesses to make more money. After all, that’s the bottom line of why anyone’s in business! I like to see the companies that I work with thrive, so I use my extensive experience in business performance to help you do just that. Does this sound like the sort of coach you want to work with? Then I would love to hear from you! Simply click here to find out more about what I do, or get in touch today at firstname.lastname@example.org.