Research reveals increase in HR professionals switching to coaching careers

Research from leading executive coaching firm, Acuity Coaching, today revealed that HR professionals hit by the job market downturn are increasingly turning to independent coaching careers. 

In the last twelve months, the firm reports that 25% of its HR contacts employed by clients in various sectors have either been made redundant or have not had interim contracts renewed. 

Of these, half have focussed themselves on coaching – either as consultants or as coaches themselves

The web based campaign, which attracted over 300 respondents, examined how coaching is deployed and managed in businesses. 

Of those responding, over 40% reported an interest in switching to a coaching career – with 60% of these individuals currently working in HR. 

This is a marked increase, as Acuity Coaching reports that at the moment approximately 20% of business coaches have an HR background.

Says Simon Coops, chief executive of Acuity Coaching:

“The feeling we get from many of our HR clients is that they often yearn for the freedom of an independent role which includes coaching at the heart of it.  This is great news for Acuity Coaching, as we deliver managed coaching solutions that utilise them as either deliverers of coaching services or managers of coaching programmes.

“However, there are obstacles to be faced by coaches coming from an HR background.  Unfortunately, some clients are wary about overly relying on coaches that have made the switch from HR, and some don’t consider an HR background as valid for certain business coaching assignments. 

“From our point of view, the great thing about entering coaching from an HR background is that you have good visibility of when a coaching intervention works and how it should be utilised. 

“That said, despite being exposed to coaching more than most people, coaches from an HR background still make mistakes when building a coaching business – these mistakes include selecting the wrong coach training course through to lacking stamina in leveraging their network to get assignments.”

Simon Coops concludes:

“Clearly there are a huge number of people out there who want to be coaches.  For people considering this career path they need to think carefully though the options and be aware of the critical fact that competition in the coaching sector is increasing daily. 

“We have a network of over 1,500 coaches worldwide and are constantly approached by coaches seeking work in the global market.”

Advice from Acuity Coaching on how to avoid the pitfalls when making the leap from HR professional to coach:



  • Seek independent advice before signing up for a course and consider your options carefully. 

  • It is important to plan your business development campaign and test your network before you commit.  

  • Consider the fact that only a small proportion of coaches make a decent living and that it takes two years to get established – and most crucially, be aware that the competition is increasing. 

  • Be prepared to secure the mainstay of your initial work through your network, as large organisations are getting more selective about who they allow to coach in their business – particularly when it comes to experience, so it’s often a case of catch22 when it comes to getting your foot in the door

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