Online coaching: Experienced professionals in surge-land!
We have all seen this happen to family members, colleagues, and friends, time and time again: corporate professionals, who after giving years of good performance are being laid off, as companies look to hire younger people at lower pay. Experienced professionals in their late 40s and early 50s are especially vulnerable: with kids going to school and parents needing care.
So, experienced professionals in Nigeria have rightly worried about the vulnerabilities in their 9-5 jobs. Less noticed, however, is the growing demand for online coaches in its own midst! It is time to pay attention to the surge in the online coaching market.
For sure, the online coaching market is surging right now. It generated $35.6b in revenue in 2011. It was projected to reach $107 Billion in 2015, and it did. Now, Research and Markets, a market research firm, projects that the online coaching market will grow to $325 Billion by 2025, a triple of 2015 revenue, (source: Forbes)!
But what is driving the surge in the online coaching market; and the growing demand for experienced professionals as online coaches?
The primary growth drivers are an abundance of online learning solutions and continuous improvements in these solutions. The rapid growth in the demand for these platforms, plus the huge growth in the number of internet users, and growing access to broadband service with mobile phones and online capabilities are also fuelling the growth of the online coaching business.
Another thing is the huge advantages it offers to end-users. These have attracted more online learners. Learners now have the flexibility to learn from the comfort of their living rooms or on the road, and with convenience; they are able to establish their own learning goals – decide how, when and what to learn, and their choice of coach.
But as the online coaching market gets bigger and bigger, finding a good coach is equally becoming a bigger and bigger issue. Hence professionals from all walks of life are being sought-after to create and launch online coaching programmes: business coaching, wellbeing coaching, and life coaching, among others. This is an advantage for the experienced professional: he already has the experience and the drive.
Also, the impact is really starting to matter. More learners are looking for learning experiences that share real-life scenarios that create a real impact on them. They are looking for leaning opportunities that put the concepts and experiences that they will encounter into practice. Again, experienced professionals are uniquely qualified for this role: they “have been there” and “done that”; hence in a good place to share firsthand experiences and ideas with learners.
One high-level shift I have also seen is that shaping and supporting the learner’s context is becoming as, or more important than just providing content! For instance, coaches need to identify and understand their audience pain-points, in order to create learning experiences that are targeted, and relevant to the learners’ needs, and the solutions that they seek. So online coaches now have to think much more about quality, and about how to personalize learning experiences. This is one reason I am big on the self-hosting platform, so you have complete control of your learners’ experience (more about this in future write-ups).
Finally, the market for online coaching is clearly becoming more sophisticated. This trend has a number of implications. It means, for example, going beyond the “one and done” transactional model, into finding ways to add meaningful social elements – mentoring, curate content, among others- to help supplement your coaching experiences and create more value. The experienced professional is in a good place here too: he has strategized at business retreats and corporate weekends on how to respond when the market is getting more sophisticated.
Taken together, more and more experienced professionals today, are making the switch to full-time online coaching business, leaving behind the vulnerabilities in their 9-5 jobs. For some, the transition is seamless. For others, it is not that easy. Many in the latter tend to feel that the online business space is not real; they tend to see the online business as a fad. But this is a losing proposition. Because professionals, who are still attached to traditional business tools at the expense of the online business opportunities, are really placing their brand value at risk!
Now, it’s your turn. Knowledge is power, they say. But knowledge without action is nothing. So if you are experienced professionally worried about vulnerabilities of your 9-5 jobs, it is up to you to decide: whether to wait for another leap or take it now!
For additional reading, you can request “The Experienced Professional Online Coaching Checklist”, at www.mikehunder.com
Hunder, a former executive in corporate Nigeria, turned online business coach, is CEO MH Productivehabits.