by Robert Gerrish
If you look round our cities and suburbs, you’ll have seen the new breed of worker. Hunched over a laptop in a café, lounging in a coworking space, riding along the pavement with someone’s lunch, or sitting alongside you on the train, work is being done very, very differently. And the opportunities for coaches are huge.
As we hurtle into a New Year, let’s take a look at a few key trends and how you can benefit.
1. Tech dev, apps and AI
I do a lot of work with bookkeepers and small creative businesses. Both are being kicked around hugely by developments in the world of tech and the impact of artificial intelligence.
Many embrace the changes and recognise the need to improve their own value proposition, but many more are hesitating and missing out.
Take for example a bookkeeper. Historically this person played a support role to an accountant. Sitting in their client’s office every couple of weeks, the archetypal bean counter made the box of receipts go away and buried the business owners lunch bills under ‘client entertainment’.
Not anymore. With cloud accounting and a plethora of plugins and apps, data entry is a thing of the past and remote working is the norm.
As a consequence, savvy bookkeepers have morphed much more into the ‘trusted advisor’ space and are having great success as many accountancy practices were a little asleep at the wheel and struggling with the practicalities of delivering on such a promise.
And it’s a similar story with say, a graphic designer. With genius businesses like Canva, who needs them?
Well happily, the world still does. If only our creatives could see that. If there’s one thing AI will never replace it’s human creativity, even excepting that bonkers sale at Christies recently.
Yep, it’s that unsexy ‘value proposition’ stuff again.
If you’re no longer doing the easyish commodity stuff (because Canva has pinched it), what are you doing that people will pay you handsomely for?
It’s a good question, and one we as coaches can and should be asking.
The Coaching Opportunity
These people and many, many more like them need to be challenged to ‘up their game’ and will benefit by being held accountable to a new and exciting path.
Our job is to understand their challenges, have the courage to speak up about them and lead them to a brighter future.
2. The big end of town wants to be like us
If there’s one thing the people in the tall buildings hanker after, it’s the freedom and agility we enjoy.
They want it so much they’re busy creating, funky little project teams and entrepreneurial hubs and filling their floors with bean bags, table tennis tables and plywood standing desks.
Sadly though, many are finding it takes more than interior design and casual Fridays to truly create the energy and power familiar to a small group of like-minded souls.
Er, we can help with that.
The Coaching Opportunity
The corporates need our guidance.
They need us to show them the way. Take the group out of the office, hold a ‘retreat’ or better still, grab some backpacks and take them hiking.
When they come back with 60% more ideas than they had before, I think you’ll find the HR Dept. will speedily settle your account and book you in again next month.
3. Free more freelancers
Projections suggest that within a few years, freelancers will noticeably outnumber employed people in most of the modern world. An Upwork ‘Freelancing in America’ report from 2017, estimates there’ll be 3 million more in the US alone.
And with over 4 million Australians already getting a taste of freelancing - albeit many as a ‘side hustle’ - our balance will equally shift.
While work is clearly trending towards freelance, large businesses have been slow to pick up on this trend. But they’re catching up (or catching on) fast.
It’s perhaps no surprise that Uber reports 87% of their drivers love their work because they can set their own hours. What’s more 85% use it for the work/life balance it provides.
But no-one earns much money as a freelancer, right? Wrong.
Upwork’s study showed that more than half of people who left traditional employment now earn more and, of those, 69 per cent said they topped their previous income within a year.
The Coaching Opportunity
There are so many gaps here, we’re going to need a Tradie from Airtasker! I reckon the majority of freelancers fall into what I think of as ‘accidental’. In other words they’re working, they’re loving it, but they lack any kind of vision or plan and are effectively at the whim of Uber and the like. When the legislation changes (as it surely will), I foresee a mass of people who have escaped the cubicle, but are now lost and largely unemployable.
Put your cape on coach!
I’ll conclude by saying that while these opportunities exist for us coaches, none of them are going to fall into our laps.
IMHO the coaches who will do well in 2019 and beyond will be those who nail their expertise to a flagpole and live by it. If all you do is raise another flag, I fear you’ll end up blowing in the wind.
As Seth Godin has said, “It's much easier to spend a lot of time making your microphone louder than it is working on making your message more compelling.”
What’s it going to be for you, coach?
Robert Gerrish is the founder of Flying Solo and author of the new bestseller, The 1-Minute Commute published in mid 2018 by Pan Macmillan.
He works one-on-one with a small group of independents, presents at conferences and events and hosts a handful of podcasts.
Powerful Stories, Tips and Amazing Insight
Ready, Set, Go! Everything you need to know to start coaching from the legends in the field. As well as the Business and Life coaches, our launch edition features David Parkin (AFL), Lisa Alexander (Netball Australia), Adam Commens (Hockey Australia), Simon Cusack (Swimming Australia), Sean Douglas (FFA) and many more!