Life coaches: They’re not just for celebrities anymore. In fact, life coaching is one of the fastest growing wellness industries in the world.
The definition of a “life coach” depends on who you ask, but it’s generally agreed to be a person who uses action plans to help people achieve their goals, find happiness and reveal their best selves. Put another way: It’s counseling without the stigma – and growing by leaps and bounds.
According to a 2012 study by the largest life coach licensing organization (the most recent available), the International Coach Federation (ICF), there are more than 47,500 life coaches worldwide and 15,800 in North America – and they’re growing in popularity as more people turn to these professionals for help with their career, their relationships, or life in general. In the three years since the study, ICF’s membership has grown twenty percent.
Another report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2012 even predicted that two of the fastest-growing industries between 2010 and 2020 will be “individual and family services” and “community and vocational rehabilitation services.” Life coaching could fit under either category.
It’s Life Coach Season
At the beginning of each year at Thumbtack, we always see an uptick the number of people looking to hire life coaches and it’s been growing year over year. So with 2016 fast approaching, we wanted to know: where in the country are people most interested in hiring life coaches?
To find out, our data scientists looked at the thousands of requests we get for life coaches each year across the country all year and assigned 101 cities with a healthy supply of coaches a “Life Coaching Index” score from 0 to 100. The higher the score, the higher the demand for life coaches from consumers in that market and, generally, a greater number of life coaches available for hire, meaning the cities with high scores on this index are both a great place to find and be a life coach.
Our analysis of the data showed quite a few surprises. While the New York City metro area has the most life coaches in the country (and ranked number 9 overall), it was Bend, Oregon that turned out to be the place with the highest demand for life coaches, once market size is accounted for. If was followed by other smaller metro areas including Gainesville, Florida and Santa Cruz, California.
Interestingly, several of these are major college towns: Gainesville has the University of Florida, Santa Cruz has UC Santa Cruz, New Haven has Yale, and San Luis Obispo has Cal Poly. And, of course, New York has thousands of college students across NYU, Columbia, CUNY, and other campuses.
Some other surprises were Miami and Dallas that had lots of life coaches available but relatively few takers given their large market size, putting them at a low 29 and 14 respectively out of 100 on the Life Coach Index. The worst places to hire a life coach? Colorado Springs, Colorado, Charleston, South Carolina and Indianapolis, Indiana where there was both little demand and little supply for life coaches.
Career Advice Is Key
Fitting that narrative, the most popular area for those requesting life coaches was career counseling, with almost two-thirds of life coaching requests on Thumbtack expressing an interest in career goals. It seems that many college students getting ready to enter the workforce for the first time are using life coaches to ease that transition and give them that extra boost to start their career off on the right foot.
Want to know how your city ranks on the Life Coach Index? You can explore how different cities in the U.S. rate for life coaches on the interactive map below. The darker the green circle, the higher an area rates on the Life Coach Index; the bigger the circle the more life coaches are in the area.