Today, there is a trend of life coaches who are 35 years old or younger. With clients sometimes much older, the question arises of whether this will be appropriate. Jeannine Yoder, 27, is an example of a young professional who fits into this category. She began her life coaching practice initially to fund her acting career, but stepped out of the spotlight once her coaching career proved more lucrative and rewarding.
The International Coach Federation is pushing for the standardization of life coach accreditation and acknowledges the growing interest from young faces. This trend can be seen across different institutions such as Columbia’s Teachers’ College Center for Educational Outreach and Innovation. Coaching program as a whole have made their way into several universities in America such as NYU, Penn State, and Georgetown.
The push for the standardization of life coach accreditation is key because while some coaches spend years training, education, and workshopping their techniques, some simply take one online course and then begin to charge clients for their “expertise.” It’s absolutely a buyers-beware market.
While life coaches seemingly keep getting younger, they are, in turn, making 35+ year-old life coaches seem practically geriatric. They still represent a smaller percentage of the life coach population, but their numbers are rising exponentially, as is the demand for a life coach. And the main reason is technology.
Kurt Shuster, founder of Noomii.com, which is a centralized online coach directory, explained to the New York Times that “The younger generation is qualitatively different, using Skype and software products to help them coach.” Coaches are able to reach a larger pool of clientele when face-to-face meetings are no longer the only option. Additionally, speaking via phone or Skype is known to ease the initial shock of taking advice from coaches that could potentially be young enough to be a client’s child.
However, it’s important to remember that life coaches are unlike counselors, therapists and consultants, and are only there to assist their clients in cultivating a better life for themselves.
“The cornerstone principle of coaching is you and I are already whole, resourceful, capable and creative. Coaching is strictly peer to peer, expert to expert,” -Janet Harvey, who runs Invite Change, a life coach training firm based in Seattle, Washington.
Other experts in the field aren’t worried about their younger counterparts, as there is an theory that with each new generation comes greater emotional sensitivity, which is a key factor in being a successful life coach.
Regardless, young adults have noticed a need for their fresh, youthful outlook on life in the life coaching market and have cashed in on it, with college and universities closely following suit.
To learn more about young life coaches, read this New York Times article.