What are the challenges of coaching in a third world country

by Teuns van der Mescht
(Lesotho)

Coaching in a third world country (developing country) must have unique challenges. What is the realities of coaching within the South African context compared to different global challenges?

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Feb 23, 2015
Coaching in a developing nation
by: Bill Burridge

Hi Teuns,

This is quite an in-depth question and not something I can do complete justice to here. I see you are from Lesotho but you are referring to South Africa so I will answer from a South African perspective.

Firstly you should understand that we are still at a fairly early point on the growth curve for the service we call life coaching. Although many more people have heard of life coaching compared with, say, 5 years ago, there are a great many who still do not know what it entails. The nature of life coaching is such that one could reasonably argue that every person could benefit from a life coach – so the upside potential for growth is enormous.

One of the primary challenges for life coaches, therefore, is to promote a thorough understanding of what they offer and the benefits of life coaching to their chosen target markets. The other challenge is to clearly define the market that they wish to target.

Of course, being a developing nation, there are a large number of people for whom daily life is a struggle to make ends meet and to whom life coaching might be seen as an unaffordable luxury. Life coaches who choose to target these markets need to be innovative in their approach and look to charge low fees but to make up their income through targeting groups of people.

I am sometimes confronted by people who live in rural areas who claim that there is little demand for life coaching where they live. I have two answers for this ... one is to redefine/reposition the way they project their services (so perhaps talk about yourself as a 'personal development specialist' rather than a 'life coach'). The other is to consider marketing your services beyond the area you are in. Telephone/Skype coaching is very popular nowadays. Many South African life coaches have foreign clients who benefit from their relatively low fees.

I'll stop there for now. Please be more specific in your question if I have not provided the answers you wanted.

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