We think of life coaching as something for middle-aged executives, yet 17- and 18-year-olds are increasingly signing up. Is it for career advice or because they help assuage loneliness?
When Josh Dixon was excluded from school for antisocial behaviour, he thought the prospect of a happy life was over. He was in his mid-teens, after a period in which he had been bullied. It felt like everyone had given up on me and that Id either end up in a life of crime, like my other friends who were excluded, or in a dead-end job, he says. Now 20, Dixon runs his own recruitment consultancy, which he says has an annual turnover of 2.5m. He credits this swift change of fortune to an unlikely, but increasingly common, path for young people: hiring a life coach.
The professional marketplace Bidvine recently reported a 280% year-on-year surge in life coach bookings on its site, with 54% made by those aged 18 to 22. In its 2017 Global Consumer Awareness Survey, the International Coaching Federation (ICF) found that 35% of Generation Z respondents (those born after 1995) already had a coach. The service is usually associated with executives looking to advance their careers, so why has life coaching become so appealing to young people?