This is a great question. Not surprisingly, it’s one we get asked a lot.
And the answer is…

There are many factors that influence how much employed coaches make.

Knowing reliable techniques and how to leverage your strengths and experience helps boost the level of service you provide, adding value. This directly impacts the salary you can expect, as well as your marketability.

Let’s start with some research.

Generally speaking, annual pay for employed certified professional coaches is currently just above $75,000 within the United States. This is according to Glassdoor, a leading source of information on salaries and workplace experience.

Glassdoor offers estimated earnings by averaging salaries that are shared through those currently within the coaching community. This gives us the “most likely range” you can expect to earn as a coach within the corporate world.

Interestingly, some have also reported earnings as high as $130,000 – a potential we’ll revisit shortly.

The difference between those who earn at the top of the ‘likely’ salary scale and those at the mid-range is attributed, in part, to corporate perks like cash bonuses, commissions, and profit sharing.

Another factor that may account for differences in salary is the fact that some coaches are employed full-time. Others use coaching as a passion project or reliable way to supplement their income or existing services through part-time work. This latter group may be working full-time in another occupation. People may also have family or various obligations that prevent full-time employment.

Within our community at Coach Training World, I have observed several coaches who work part-time for a coaching firm while building their own business. This is an excellent strategy to let go of a job that no longer works for you. It’s one of the smartest ways to lay tracks into the future without losing the stability of your income as you transition.

Traits employers are looking for in a coach

Let’s set aside full- and part-time jobs for a moment. There are three notable factors that position the highly paid coaches we mentioned earlier apart from others. These are the folks making $130,000 and more.

To earn among the top tier, focus on these three résumé builders:

1.) ICF Credential (preferably a PCC or MCC)

This is especially relevant if you are interested in working for others as a coach. Corporations and coaching firms seek highly trained, skilled ICF certified coaches. You’ll find this is now a requirement for most coaching positions.
Your ICF credential, along with your coach certification from a school like CTW, proves to prospective employers that you are prepared. It demonstrates you can deliver the best practices, results, and value they expect.

ICF credentialed coaches reportedly command nearly three times the pay when compared to their non-credentialed counterparts. This is according to a study

2.) Expertise and experience

Becoming a professional coach equips you with an amazing set of skills, techniques, and tools to create change. But future employers are still looking at the whole of who you are.

What additional experience do you have that helps you understand and address an individual’s needs?

If you’ve been working in the health and wellness industry and want to become a C-suite coach, you may be overlooked. They might miss the value of your experience, unless you strategically seek roles in companies looking for increases in balance, health, and well-being.

Don’t get discouraged. I’ve seen many coaches climb the company ladder into more influence and income simply because they are great coaches who get results.

In other words, every box on a job description doesn’t have to be “checked” if your services are backed by a coaching credential.

Ability to wear multiple hats

As an employed coach, you might be responsible for coaching, but also work with stakeholders to understand their needs. You may be tasked with co-creating metrics for success that gauge the outcomes of the coaching programs you support.

Your role may require specialized training in trauma-informed approaches, team coaching, communication models, or conflict management, to name a just few. At the same time, you will be expected to learn the technology that supports not only your employer’s coaching programs, but their business processes as a whole.

My point is: expect to confront a learning curve during your onboarding process into any organization. Being flexible and adaptive will be important. This shows your employer your willingness to learn and grow. And again, this is definitely something that gets noticed and rewarded.

Being employed as a coach can be very rewarding, especially if you thrive on working in organizations with individuals, teams, and leaders. An ability to work with the whole person makes it possible for you to generate the outcomes your stakeholders and clients are looking for.

Having an ICF credential showcases your devotion to coaching excellence on your résumé. But remember, you are a whole person. Your value comes from a lifetime of knowledge, experience, and expertise.

Tips for coaching job interviews

Lastly, there’s something important to understand. You are entering into the field of professional coaching as a “coach.” And the industry is booming. You will likely find yourself promoted, and often rather quickly, if you’re capable of producing the results employers are looking for.

At Coach Training World, we’ve witnessed countless graduates hired to work as internal coaches one-on-one with employees and leaders. Six short months later, they find themselves developing full coaching programs. This eventually leads to them coaching the coaches. Some even go as far as developing internal coach training programs and creating coach-like cultures.

During the interview process, I recommend asking what opportunities there might be for you to advance. Because training to become a professional coach isn’t just about your ability to coach others. It’s about your proficiency to cultivate positive change inside organizations, despite any challenge or form of resistance.

Go in with a broad, forward-looking mindset. You’ll often find the sky is the limit. Like any new career, start smart and be strategic with your future goals in mind.

Lastly, as you’re out there looking for coaching jobs, keep in mind there are many influential roles within organizations where an employer may be looking for a coach-like manager or leader. These don’t start off as a traditional coach-client relationship. Yet they contain many of the same supportive elements within a neutral, unbiased environment that you co-create.

Again, the title may not include or even reflect the concept of “coach.” But how you serve your team in a role of this nature might be coach-like. In many cases, this can transition into the opportunity to develop and shift the company’s culture.

As with so many things in life, all you have to do is ask.

Pivoting into the field of professional coaching can be insanely rewarding on many levels. But like any industry, you need the knowledge, training, and credibility to become a sought-after coach.

To establish yourself and succeed within this profession:

  • Become a skillful, agile, and creative coach – someone who can deliver the results your clients (and their bosses!) want most
  • Earn your ICF credential – the ICF is the global gold standard for our profession
  • Bring your own experience and expertise into your coaching – your unique perspective and process knowledge are the personal assets that give you value
  • Be prepared to wear many hats

Want to experience the transformative potential of Whole Person Coaching firsthand? Try our Coach, Transform & Prosper program.

You’ll learn how you can:

  • Invest in the best path to achieve your goals
  • Understand coaching credentials, why they’re important, and what each can do for you
  • Bring your whole self into your work (and the world!) through our Whole Person Coaching model and philosophy
  • Test-drive our FootSteps coaching intervention model to cultivate positive momentum in your life and for others
  • Avoid the three biggest barriers that prevent coaches from generating the results their clients want
  • Use our Archetypal Strengths Assessment to figure out where you belong
  • Learn the four most effective ways coaches get started, and how they achieve a six- to seven-figure income

Learn more and sign up here.