Survey results of the expatriate and cross-cultural coaching niche

by Margarita

Thank you to those of you, expat and cross-cultural coaches, who took the time to complete the survey. Here are some of the results that came out of this very informal survey and you can download the full report here.

Of those who responded (69 people in total):

  • 17.4% were expat coaches
  • 26.1% were cross-cultural coaches
  • 60.9% were both
  • 89.8% coach for LESS than 10 hours per week
  • 83.9% make LESS than 30,000 USD per year from one-on-one coaching
  • 15.9% offer products such as e-courses/e-books/etc to their clients and 88.2% do NOT make any money on products
  • 76.8% offer workshops/group coaching to their clients and 85.5% make LESS than 30,000 USD from those workshops

Coaches — what do you think about the vitality of our niche?

I am  discouraged and surprised at the same time.

Discouraged because almost 85% of coaches in our niche do not make a living wage.

Surprised because I hear so much about the “needs” of expats and I hear so much complaining on the part of those expats — yet it appears not many expats are interested in working with a coach to resolve those complaints. What gives?

Your thoughts?

BY THE WAY, COACHES!  There is still time to sign up for the licensing and certification webinar for the Culture Mastery 4C’s Process™ — culture-emotion intelligence methodology that you can use to help your clients work successfully across culture.  For more info and to sign up, go here.

3 responses to “Survey results of the expatriate and cross-cultural coaching niche

  1. Thanks for sharing the results of this survey. I’m not an expat coach, but know quite a few. On the face of it you’re right, their income is not a living wage, but I’m curious to know how many are working part-time through choice? Most of the coaches I know are expat partners (trailing spouses) and many are parents of young children. One of the reasons they chose this career was because it’s portable and flexible enough to allow them to work as and when they are available. I also note that more than a third have been coaching for less than 3 years. In any profession it takes a number of years to establish a track record and build a client base. In my former career as a real estate appraiser it took me 5 years to build a solid client base because much of your business comes from referrals, and that takes time to develop.

    Having said that, I can also see that it is not an easy task to generate business in the current climate. The trend for companies to offer less support continues (except for a few top executives) and I think there are a number of barriers for expats seeking support for themselves. Those barriers would include lack of awareness about the industry, the wide variety of education/certification for coaches and cost. The time when expats are most likely to need coaching is in the early part of an assignment, and yet that is a time when money just seems to fly out of your bank account for unforeseen expenses (deposits, registration fees, minor household items, etc). If it is a non-working working partner who needs help, they may feel even less inclined to add to the expense burden because they don’t have a paycheque. There is a huge amount of information out there for expats which is free on the internet and so many will choose to “soldier on” on their own, even though it may not be the quickest or best strategy.

    What would be interesting is to actively seek out those who have been coaching for 5 or even 10 years to find out how they developed their business and how they find their business now (growing, stable or declining).

    • Thanks, Judy, you have some really good points. It’s true that many coaches choose to be part-time — although it’s also true that many would prefer to make a living wage rather than continue to coach as a “hobby”. Time is also of essence and it does take time to develop a thriving practice. From my experience three to five years is the sweet spot but it may, of course, take longer. As I browsed the responses one by one, I saw that the majority of those who have been coaches for 7+ years were making $30,000 or less. 😦

      The reason I did this survey was to see how viable this niche is for coaches. I’ve been part of the coaching community for many years and one of the first things that’s recommended when choosing a niche is to consider how willing (and able) is your target audience in contracting and paying for coaching services. There are some niches that are easier than others and expat niche at first glance seems like a very interested and able-to-pay audience (considering the amount of complaining and unhappiness we hear about as well as relatively comfortable socioeconomic level). And while the survey is by no means perfect, there is a clear indication that it’s not the case. The numbers of coaches with paying clients is just too small, it seems, to make this a viable niche.

  2. Or are there too many expat coaches out there? I see so many on social media and of course many combine it with cross-cultural training, family therapy and other specialties.

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