Coaching Industry Crisis: Are You Making These Mistakes?

By Paul Donkers, creator of the Ikigai Coaching Institute


I'm active in the professional coaching industry since almost 30 years. I absolutely love the industry and the people that are in it. As a young professional, I started out as an outplacement coach in the late nineties. Assisting employees that were laid off by their employer. Assisting them to land a new job or enable them to start their own business. As we grew our practice, under the umbrella of a global Fortune 500 company, my role also changed. After some years, I was leading our teams of consultants and coaches in three countries. An intrapreneurial journey.


After I started my own firm in early 2009, my assigments also started to change. I ended up working more and more with leadership teams and their top managers. Not only on coaching issues, but at the crossroads of coaching and consulting. Not only with the individuals, but also for the entire organisation. In other words: I became a business coach.


"I was increasingly perceived as a business coach"


I believe that the coaching industry is broken. There are many more coaches then there is demand for healthy paid coaching in the market. The quality and consistency of the coaching service is often questionable. The market is extremely fragmented.


I know many coaches from all corners of the world. And almost all of them are really great people that want only the best for their clients. But the reality is that many of them are hardly able to make a healthy living from their hard work. So, many end up seeing it as a side hustle. Or stop after some years after they found a real job again. The key issue here is that, usually, they love to deliver the coaching, but struggle to grow their practice into a recurring and profitable revenue stream. And that's not sustainable. It's not helpful for the reputation of the industry either.


I want to contribute to change how coaches develop their practice and offer them an exclusive and programmatic approach to work with their clients. An eco-system bringing together some of the best -in house- developed unique tools. Based on my 30 years of industry experience combined with state-of-the-art creative product development. Pragmatic, elegant and effective!


To bring this vision into reality, I created the Ikigai Coaching Institute some years ago. We have two goals.



  1. The first thing we do is to assist ambitious coaches to grow their healthy coaching practice.
  2. We're enabling at least 100.000 people worldwide to unlock their Ikigai before the end of 2025.



I know from real life that it’s a challenge to be successful in this industry. I've lived in it for decades, and still do! To be credible, you must have the right background and you must continue to deliver added value.

Many coaches that I meet are very successful from a delivery perspective. But many of them are not necessarily also great business people. It's a different skill set. What happens is that coaches miss out on the return of the value that they provide to their clients.

Through the Ikigai Coaching Institute we bring some of the finest professionals that are out there together. They are the coaching experts, we partner with them by giving them a unique, pragmatic and proven toolbox. We actively provide them with ongoing guidance to sell and market their business better. So they can make a difference for their clients, enjoy a healthy profit, invest this back into their practice and make a difference to their clients.


Deep down, I truly believe in the added value of purpose driven and pragmatic coaching. I really think that we need more coaching in this world. But it needs to be of better value, better priced, more pragmatic and it needs to have more predictable quality.


Meet our current global community of Licensed Ikigai Coaches here. If you want to participate in an Ikigai Coaching Programme, you can reach out to any of them directly.


If you believe this is something for you, and if you're interested to join our global community, please click here for more information. Or drop us an email via for a chat first.


Paul Donkers

Creator Ikigai Coaching Institute



Better career | Better life | Better planet