The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not compile nor maintain data on salaries for life coaches. Life coaches are a unique type of counselor and therefore hard to classify in a generalized manner. According to the International Coach Foundation 2019 Global Coaching Study, the average salary for a life coach working in North America is $62,500.
Here, we will discuss how much you can expect to earn if you decide to become a life coach.
Hourly Rates for Life Coaches
According to the ICF’s study (dated 2019), the average hourly fee for a one-hour-long coaching session is $231. As many life coaches work on a part-time or contractual basis, they rely more on tabulating hourly fees than annual salaries.
Hourly fees for life coaches do vary based upon coaching experience, however.
- Coaches with less than one year of experience earned $128 per hour
- Coaches with one to two years’ experience earned $152 per hour
- Coaches with three to four years’ experience earned $194 per hour
- Coaches with five to ten years’ experience earned $256 per hour
- Coaches with ten or more years’ experience earned $321 per hour
Annual Salaries for Life Coaches Around the World
As mentioned above, the ICF’s study found that, as of 2019, the annual salary for life coaches working in North America was $62,500.
What are the salaries for life coaches working in other parts of the world?
- Life coaches working in Eastern Europe averaged $19,100 annually
- Life coaches working in Latin America averaged $20,900 annually
- Life coaches working in Asia averaged $33,600 per year
- Life coaches working in the Middle East/Africa averaged $34,900 annually
- Life coaches working in Western Europe averaged $51,100 per year
- Life coaches working in Oceania (including New Zealand and Australia) averaged $61,100 per year
Salaries for Life Coach Niches
Business coaches assist their clients in developing business-related knowledge and skills. They often help clients to start, operate, and grow a business. The Sherpa Executive Coaching Survey of 2018 notes that business coaches in 2018 earned an average annual salary of $61,000. This figure had increased by ten percent since 2014.
Executive coaches work directly with companies and their employees on enhancing business skills and behavior. The Sherpa Executive Coaching Survey of 2020 unearthed the following salaries for executive coaches:
- Executive coaches with 15 or more years’ experience earned $160,000 annually ($450 per hour)
- Executive coaches with 10 to 15 years’ experience earned $122,000 annually
Most new business and executive coaches see fewer clients, often just two per week, which lowers their annual salaries. Both business and executive coaches saw their hourly rates increase from $200 per hour in 2015 to $300 per hour in 2018.
How Job Setting Contributes to Life Coach Salaries
Where one works also is a big determinant of their salary as a life coach. There is a difference between internal and external life coaches. Internal life coaches are employed by an organization as its employee. External coaches, on the other hand, are self-employed or employed by an agency and contract with organizations to offer services.
The Sherpa Executive Coaching Survey of 2020 found that 94 percent of life coaches in 2020 classified themselves as external coaches. Twenty percent of life coaches work as both internal and external coaches. Those who work as both internal and external coaches tended to make more money than those working strictly internal or strictly external.
How COVID-19 Has Affected Life Coach Salaries
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the profession of life coaching in various ways. According to the 2019 ICF Global Study, 49 percent of life coaches experienced reduced income as a result of the pandemic. Thirty-seven percent found their hours reduced. Thirty-four percent, however, said that they experienced no negative effects from the pandemic on their employment and salary.
Business coaches felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic more acutely than other types of life coaches. Because many of them worked directly with companies, they were more likely to experience a loss of income. Fifty-four percent of business coaches reported losing income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, life coaches reported that they are seeing fewer clients in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fifty-one percent have seen a decrease in their number of active clients. Forty-eight percent experienced a reduction in their number of coaching hours.
There have been some positive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic felt by life coaches, however. Smaller percentages of life coaches have said that they actually have benefited from the pandemic. Twenty-one percent of life coaches have seen an increase in their number of clients since the pandemic. Twenty-seven percent have seen their hours increase, while 14 percent have experienced an increase in income since the pandemic began.
Marketing for Life Coaches
One of the biggest motivators that will help life coaches increase their salaries is marketing.
Many life coaches must find creative ways to market their services to the public, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Business life coaches, for example, have found that they can increase their salaries by offering other services in addition to life coaching. The ICF study found that 94 percent of life coaches offer other services, in addition to coaching. They include consulting (60 percent), training (60 percent), and facilitation services (54 percent).
Some methods that life coaches have used to make the public more aware of their services and increase their business include:
- Offering specials for one-on-one coaching on certain days of the week/month
- Starting group life coaching programs
- Hosting webinars and seminars
- Conducting workshops both online and offline
- Hosting coaching retreats to network with other life coaches
- Doing motivational speaking in front of various groups
- Selling self-paced life coaching programs to the public
- Contracting with companies to work as a corporate life coach
- Combining their regular life coaching services/job with consulting/freelance life coach work
- Beginning a mentorship program
- Starting a membership website
- Starting a life coaching blog
- Starting a life coaching YouTube channel
Amatullah, Ayisha. “Life Coach Salary Update.” UniversalCoachInstitute.com. 13 November 2020. Accessed 11 January 2021 at https://www.universalcoachinstitute.com/life-coach-salary/.
“Coaching Survey.” Sherpa Coaching. 2020. Accessed 12 January 2021 at https://www.sherpacoaching.com/annual-executive-coaching-survey/.
“ICF Global Coaching Study.” International Coach Foundation. https://coachfederation.org/research/global-coaching-study.