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Q: Market research (small business coaching) ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Market research (small business coaching)
Category: Business and Money > Small Businesses
Asked by: coacheric-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 22 Jun 2004 08:09 PDT
Expires: 22 Jul 2004 08:09 PDT
Question ID: 364515
I need basic market research on small business coaching. I need to know:
1) the number of business coaches who cater to small and medium
businesses (let's say with 100 employees or less and/or with $10
million or less revenue).
2) The number of small business coaching firms (with more than 1
principal) broken down by number
of employees/consultants. Additionally, if any general coaching firms
cater to small businesses as part of their mix, I'd like their stats
broken out separately, including what portion of their practice is
small business coaching.
3) The revenues (per coach) of small business coaches & small business
coaching firms. I'd like to see these broken out, if possible, by
years in business. I'd like the stats for firms larger than 2 people
broken out separately.
4) A distribution of the longevity of small business coaches - i.e.
how many years they have been in business.
5) Information (i.e. URL, contact info, principals) on the top 10
largest small business coaching firms (assuming there are 10 with more
than 3 principals and associates). For example, I expect Action
International and Shirlaws might be on that list, but that Manchester
would not (I believe they cater to larger corporates).

Request for Question Clarification by cath-ga on 25 Jun 2004 13:42 PDT
hi coacheric,

Are you looking for this information for the US, or the world?

Also, can you tell me a little more about what you will use
the info for? It might help me get more of what you need.
I"m sending e-mails and making calls now, and the more I
know, the better.

Thanks, cath-ga

Clarification of Question by coacheric-ga on 25 Jun 2004 14:43 PDT
US would be preferable.

I am using this for my business plan for my business coaching practice.

Request for Question Clarification by cath-ga on 26 Jun 2004 08:18 PDT
hi coacheric,
Because your field is so new, hard numbers are not yet available to
answer many of your questions. The Worldwide Association of 
Business Coaches is about to undertake a study to compile those
figures, because they don't exist yet. I have spoken with
an official there who has given me some ranges on income, and directed
me to other knowledgeable sources who can give me estimates of
some of the other numbers you are seeking. Would you like me to pursue
this and get the best information available, though it is not what
you originally asked? cath-ga

Clarification of Question by coacheric-ga on 26 Jun 2004 14:11 PDT

Cath, when does the WABC expect to have the study done? If it's in the
next 3-6 months, let's hold off and get real figures. If it's longer
than that, let's go with the estimates.

Now, if we wait for real figures, do I cancel this question and re-ask
in 3-months...or do I just eat the $25 per month until the real
figures are available? I'd hate to pay the money significantly ahead
of getting the answer - the extra 50 cents for the second posting of
the question is immaterial.


Request for Question Clarification by cath-ga on 26 Jun 2004 14:38 PDT

The representative told me it hasn't started, and might not be
completed this year. I'm 90% sure sure it won't be in the next 3-6
So I'll go ahead and get you the best info and estimates I can.
By the way, when you say the top 10 largest small business coaches,
do you mean by revenues, number of clients, number of coaches,
etc? Thanks for your clarifications and patience. cath-ga

Clarification of Question by coacheric-ga on 26 Jun 2004 19:24 PDT
Number of coaches...

Thanks, Cath - give me the best you can, and I can always get the
survey results from WABC when published (I'm a member, for now).

Subject: Re: Market research (small business coaching)
Answered By: cath-ga on 30 Jun 2004 16:35 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Dear coacheric,

Thanks very much for your questions! 

After endless dead ends, I have finally found some comparatively
?hard? data for you! The International Coach Federation has 
actually conducted and published an 80- question survey on many of 
the areas you need, called the 2003 Coach Survey. If you want to 
skip my instant summary, and go directly to the horse?s mouth, you 
can find the survey on the ICF website, at

You will find that, although the survey questions are not framed 
exactly as you framed yours, the information can be manipulated to 
answer some of yours.

First, let me give a caveat to the survey?s findings: Jennifer 
Corbin, President of CoachU, referred me to the survey, and says 
she thinks the findings are somewhat skewed. As she put it, REALLy
successful coaches will not have time to answer questionnaires, so
this survey may be skewed toward the newer, less-successful, lower
income folks who received it. Nevertheless, the data is based on
2,530  respondents, so it does give you some proportions to work 
with when envisioning the world of small business coaching.

Let me respond to your numbered questions:


1) Number of business coaches who cater to small and medium

I will do a little shaky math for this one. Question #36 of 
the survey asks who the primary target of the coaching firm is.  
14.1% said small business, mid-sized business, or startup companies 
and entrepreneurs.

If you use the Business Wire figure below of 15,000 job coaches in 
the US, then 14.1% X 15,000= 2,115 coaches who cater to small and medium business.

Here?s the source I based the 15,000 number on:

?According to a recent report in the Business Wire: "..the number of 
US job coaches has grown from 5,300 in 1998 to approximately 15,000 
in 2003. Business coaching has become a $500 million industry and shows 
no sign of slowing. And it's a worldwide phenomenon."


As I am writing, the number of coaches is growing. Here are some 
estimates as to just how fast:

"Executive and Business coaching is growing by about 40% a year."
-The Economist. Dec. 2002.

" coaching, a trend that's exploding among small businesses
and organizations nationwide. It's estimated that up to 20% of
American small businesses are using them, up from 4% just four years

"Business coaching is a major growth industry. At least
 10,000 coaches work for businesses today, up from 2,000
 in1996. And that figure is expected to exceed 50,000 in
 the next five years. Business coaching is also highly
 profitable; employers are now willing to pay fees ranging
 from $1,500 to $15,000 a day." -The Economics of Executive
 Coaching.  Harvard Business School Journal. July 2002


2) Number of small business coaching firms, broken down by number 
of coaches:

Probably would be impossible at this time, but the
ICF survey does a stab at something similar on question #32.


3) Revenues for small business coaches and firms:

This answer is for all business coaches in the survey, not just small 
business coaches. The rule of thumb, though, is that small business 
coaches are not going to be charging the whopping rates that corporate 
coaches are.

Question #44 of the survey shows that 49.8% of the coaches charged
between $75 and $199 per hour. (Its broken down further there, and 
there is another question which details the number of hours coaches 
are working.)

Elsewhere on its website, the ICF states it in terms of monthly 

?Most coaches working with individuals charge between $200 to $500 
per month for one half-hour call per week. Executive coaches charge 
more and have clients who work with them for an hour or two a week. 
Average hourly fees range from $100 to $200 per hour. Corporate 
coaching or other coaching related programs are substantially higher.?

Above from the ICF Fact Sheet. Contrast that with what Time 
Business News says below:

"Business coaches are in great demand by small, medium and large 
businesses alike . Such is the demand Corporate coaches can charge 
from $600 to $2,000 a month for three or four 30- to 60-minute 
conversations. Some charge as much as $400 an hour. So a lot of 
them are earning far more than psychologists or psychiatrists. 

"Business coaching is also highly profitable; employers are now 
willing to pay fees ranging  from $1,500 to $15,000 a day." 
-The Economics of Executive  Coaching.  
Harvard Business School Journal. July 2002

Question #45 deals with gross revenues of the businesses, but 
doesn?t break it down by small business or longevity. The largest 
number, 37% are making less than $10,000 in revenues from coaching. 
16.8% make $40,000 to $99,000 a year, and 9% make $100,000 to $500,000. 
The survey further breaks it down. Remember, Jennifer Corbin believes 
these numbers to be skewed low.


4) Distribution of the longevity of small business coaches- i.e. how long
have they been in the business?

Jennifer Corbin estimates that of successful coaches (those whose 
primary income is coaching) most have been in business about 3-4 years.
She says most haven?t been around more than 5 years, since the industry
is so new.

Question number 34 of the survey confirms that. Of the respondents,
just 28.3% had been in the business more than 4 years, and that was the
most experienced category. 44.3% have been in the business 1-4 years.
The survey further breaks it down.


5) Contact info on the top 10 small business coaching firms.

Finding the top 10 would be a couple week?s work, if it can be
done at all, I believe.

Jennifer Corbin says there are probably only a handful of small
business coaching firms that are ?large.? The one that came to her 
mind immediately is:

The Pyramid Resource Group. You can find them at:

General Inquiries:
919.677-9300 [phone]919.677-9005 [fax]

DJ Mitsch:
Barry Mitsch:
Courtney Davis:

The Pyramid Resource Group
1020 Southhill Drive, Suite 150
Cary, North Carolina 27513

Here is another that responded to my many e-mail inquiries:

Professional Marketing International - 

They responded to my e-mail and said almost all their business is
with small business. They employ ?about 50 coaches? and have been
in business about 8 years. 

ADDRESS 360 S Technology CourtLindon, UT 84042

Action International is, as you suspected, aimed at small to medium
businesses, and they look to be huge. You can find them at:

To contact them, go to their contact page, and select your state:

Shirlaws is Australian, but has US offices, and does specialize in small

You can contact them at:

Head Office 
Shirlaws USA Inc
400 Montgomery Street Suite 600
San Francisco CA 94104USA 
Phone Number: +1 415 341 6052Fax: +1 415 276 6310
USA Contact:Marc Johnstone (Partner)
Phone Number: +1 415 341 6077Fax: +1 415 276 6310

Manchester, which you mentioned, has mostly clients in the Fortune 1000,
so wouldn?t qualify as small business coaches.

If you?d like to contact coaching companies yourself to find more large 
firms, here is the Open Directory page for Business Coaching. There are 
296 entries:

Als, Google Directory, small business> consulting

As I mentioned in our first contacts, the World Association of 
Business Coaches hopes to do detailed research this year. 

The International Coaching Federation is also holding a Coaching 
Research Symposium at its Conference in Quebec City in November, 
which could be a good source of information for you. 

To find out about the conference go to:

Some Other Resources:

Small Business Development Center, National Information Clearinghouse

Marshall Goldsmith?s website has a wealth of coaching articles:

There are some 20 industry associations for coaches worldwide.
Here are some of the top ones I found.

Worldwide Association of Business Coaches
c/o WABC Coaches Inc.
8578 Echo Place West
Sidney, BC V8L 5E2

International Coach Federation
1444 I Street NW Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005 
Phone: 888-423-3131 or 202-
Fax: 888-329-2423 or 202-
Web Site:
Description: The International Coach Federation is a non-profit 
professional organization comprised of personal and business coaches. 
Their Coach Referral Service and PR plan help to build and support 
the coaching profession.

International Association of Coaches
Also of possible interest to you:


While not technically  ?business coaches,?  SCORE has 389 chapter 
offices across the country providing free counseling to small 

I hope this answer gets you off to a good start on your business plan.
If anything is unclear, please don?t hesitate to hit the 
'Clarify Answer? button before you rate my work.

Good luck with your business!
Google Answers Researcher

search strategy:

?business coach ? + association
market research + small business coach
business coach + small business

Clarification of Answer by cath-ga on 02 Jul 2004 10:32 PDT

thanks for the tip! I got a late e-mail from the National Independent
Business Federation, stating that : "NFIB's National Small Business
Poll on Advice and Advisors should be helpful.  However, the big thing
your client should understand is that a large source of small business
counciling for start-ups are the publicly funded Small Business
Development Centers.  They will be THE major competitor if the target
market is new firms."

I tried to get the URL for you for the study, but I'm having major
computer problems. I hope it's useful. cath-ga
coacheric-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $25.00
Nice job. Saving the time was quite worth the investment. Finding the
breakouts was important to me - thanks!

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