Exec coaching a growth industry

February 05, 2004, vol. 29, no. 3
By Diane Luckow

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Coaching for personal and business success is the fastest growing consulting practice in North America.

Assistant business professor Nancy Mackay and her colleagues recently completed some of the first research into this fledgling business sector.

An executive coach herself with a specialty in information technology, Mackay was curious to discover the key factors influencing the impact of website adoption in the coaching industry.

She surveyed 103 Canadian coaches with websites who were registered with the governing international coach federation and received responses from 95 coaches.

Her research reveals that coaches who invest in a website do enjoy greater business success. Survey responders noted competitive advantages, money and time savings, improved customer service, greater availability to their clients and an improved ability to attract new clients.

Most coaches, says Mackay, indicated they mainly use their website to attract new clients, provide information about their services and build relationships with potential clients.

While all of the 95 coaches surveyed had websites, MacKay says about 41 per cent of all federation coaches in Canada currently have a website. Still, she says, “That's a huge adoption rate for micro-entrepreneurs. I don't think you'd find that high an adoption rate among micro-businesses in other industry sectors.”

Most coaching websites were new, averaging 2.8 years on the web and 75 per cent of all coaches had been in business less than five years. Coaches indicated they work with an average of 10 clients per month and charge an average hourly fee of $200.

Overall, says Mackay, 98 per cent of responders indicated perceived business advantages from adopting a website. Of those, 67 per cent say their expectations were met or exceeded while 33 per cent say their website results fell short of expectations.

“Our results show that the more the coaches believed the website would have an impact, the greater business success they had,” says Mackay, who measured business success based on revenues, income, numbers of referrals and number of clients.

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