Coaching Income – Let’s Get Real

Coaching Income – Let’s Get Real

Dec. 8, 2023

Coaching has become mainstream and more life coaches, wellness/health coaches and business coaches are entering the profession every year. It’s an easy field to enter, no license required, and services can be delivered from home, virtually and by phone. Although many coaches do get trained and certified, virtually anyone can call themselves a coach.

There’s a saying about coaching: “The  money is not in coaching but teaching people how to become a coach, or scale their practice.”  Therein lies the problem. You’ve probably seen the ads and videos on Instagram and Facebook touting so-called experts who sell courses and training on how to scale your coaching business to $30,000 in revenues per month, guaranteed. That’s $360,000 per year! Not so fast. Don’t believe all the hype. 95% of the time, it’s not going to happen. These courses may involve setting up sales funnels, heavy paid advertising, and complicated systems – a LOT of work. To generate $360,000 per year, you’d probably need to spend $5,000 per month on paid ads, or more.

The ICF (International Coaching Federation), which is the most legitimate coaching organization around, does an extensive survey every few years, performed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The latest survey found that the U.S. coaching industry was worth $2.0 billion, with 34,200 U.S. coaches. The average U.S. coach earned $67,800. 68% of them are female. There has been pressure on fees and more customers are looking for a definite return on their investment.

This $67,800 is the more realistic figure, which comes out to $5,666 per month – not $30,000. The average coach has perhaps 4-5 clients, each paying $500 to $1,000. Life coaches make less than business coaches. In addition, most coaches do other things beside coaching to produce income. They may do consulting, sell books or online courses, do webinars, speeches, etc.

The ICF survey also found that there was a 55% increase in the number of active coaches. The profession is getting more crowded and competitive.  The overall average fee per one-hour coaching session in 2022 was $244, representing a 9% increase compared with 2019. In 2022, the average active coach practitioner had 12.2 clients, representing a 4% increase on the 2019 average. Consequently, if the typical coach performed two coaching sessions per month at $244 each, x 12 clients, they’d earn $5,856 per month (or $70,272 per year). That’s a far cry from $360,000 that so-called social media training experts are claiming that’s possible.

20% of coaches are life coaches, and life coaches make between $100-$150/hour, according to CNBC.

As always, don’t believe everything on the Internet and social media. Trust the research and statistics from legitimate sources.


See Marketdata’s 2023 report: The U.S. Market for Self-improvement Products & Services. This report contains a major chapter about the coaching profession. This specific 25-page chapter can be purchased for $300. Call Marketdata M-F, EST at: 813-971-8080. A Table of Contents for the Self-improvement market study can be found at: