Many types of coaching positions exist. People can become an athletic coach or a life coach. Athletic coaches can work as volunteers at schools or for community programs, and they can also work at advanced levels for collegiate and professional teams. Life coaches either work with individuals or businesses, acting as a mentor to guide a person or organization toward productivity, stress management, and transitions.
Why Become A Coach
Coaches must be passionate and knowledgeable about people and their respective fields. Each level of athletic coaching requires specific skills. People who work with younger children will need to know about their developmental needs and abilities, as well as the fundamentals of the game. High school coaches need to have more advanced knowledge regarding the sport, and they need to be willing to act as a disciplinarian and mentor for adolescents. Collegiate and professional coaches will have some of the same requirements as high school coaches, except their coaching is typically held to a higher standard and the competition is more intense.
Life coaches work to help individuals and organizations sort through complications and meet specific goals. A life coach will help people—as a personal or business coach—identify their obstacles, clarify their objectives, and create a path toward achievement. They support others; they do not solve their problems. The ideal coach provides people with an opportunity to share information and receive encouragement to meet their own challenges themselves.
Coach Work Environment
Athletic coaches can work for communities, recreational programs, public and private K-12 schools, colleges/universities, and professional organizations. Coaches maintain irregular hours, and depending on the level of play, can work up to 40 hours or more per week for several months (for full time collegiate and professional coaches). High school coaches also work many hours and are usually teachers, although this is not a requirement. Coaches work outside or inside depending on their sports and are responsible for equipment, traveling, and holding practices.
Life coaches can work in a variety of settings. They can create a private practice, where they act more as a counselor. They can work in schools, at all levels, community centers, churches, health and wellness centers, or in a particular business. There is no limit to what type of life coach a person can become. People need mentors for pregnancy, physical health, career, finances, retirement, parenting, spirituality, family planning, small businesses, etc. Some are self-employed and may work out of their homes, coaching via the telephone or Skype.
The salaries of a coach vary widely. For athletic coaches, some may volunteer, while others may receive a few thousand dollars as a stipend to a teaching job. However, some people may be able to acquire good paying coaching positions that are full time and require more experience. The median income level, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $28,360 annually. A bachelor’s degree is usually required for this level of salary.
Of course, there are outliers as collegiate and professional coaches are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions. These people have extensive coaching experience and have been working in the field for years.
Life coaches have a better chance at obtaining and retaining a reliable source of income. Typically, executive coaches can make about $325/hour, business coaches can make about $235/hour, and personal coaches can make about $160/hour. This means that a life coach can make anywhere from about $55,000 to $116,000 annually. The amount a life coach changes depending on their credentials and experiences, as well as whom they coach.
Coach Career Outlook
The outlook for both athletic and life coaches is higher than most occupations, at present. There is always a need for athletic coaches, especially at the high school level. Currently, the trend toward finding a life coach is on the rise. People may want the aid of an objective, trained, and confidential source but don’t require or desire psychotherapy. Again, coaching is a broad field and many people seek advice for various aspects of their lives.
There is no one way to obtain a coaching job but a degree does help. For athletics, usually a bachelor’s degree or a teaching certificate is required. People typically become coaches through their personal experience and knowledge. Unless you become a collegiate or professional coach, a job will typically be an extra opportunity beyond a current profession. The best degrees for coaching are in sport coaching education, physical education, and exercise and sports science.
For a life coach, many certifications exist. Although a degree or certification is not required, it is a good idea to obtain as much education and professional development as possible to become an expert in your field of interest. Community colleges, universities, and online institutions offer programs of study and certificates.