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a perfect world, coaches would freely give of their time, energy
and wisdom, so this would not be a problem.
And, of course, we humans aren't "there" yet, nor is our economic
system, even if we ARE moving in this direction.
Now, I could bore you with the traditional comebacks to this
problem with lines like:
--Your time is valuable and you need to charge for it, bud.
--Time IS money, honey.
--Clients won't value your services unless you charge properly for
--You've got a mortgage to pay!
--blah blah blah.
I've actually never seen any of these lines help a coach who's
blocked about money to get unblocked.
to handle the money-block thing.
I believe that these 7 points will help...
1. Just because you
used to give-it-away before you became an official coach doesn't
mean you have to keep giving it away now that you are a coach.
you'll need to re-educate your network of friends and freebie
clients. You may find that 90% of them are unwilling to pay.
Which means you'll need to stick with the 10% who will pay and go
find more folks with whom you don't have a free history with.
2. Potential clients
DO want to pay. Don't deny them this pleasure.
like to exchange value. Like money for coaching. If there isn't
fair value exchanged, one party feels indebted to the other and
this can cause a rift (the person drifts away because they can't
handle the feeling of indebtedness). And, most 'good' clients
wouldn't want to coach with you if you didn't charge. So, wise
3. Only charge an
amount that you feel GOOD about charging.
coaches have an amount in mind that they would feel right about
charging clients. This amount is usually based on the coach's
perception of how good/effective they are, given the results of
their clients-to-date. If the coach charges too much, I've found
that they lose clients -- not just because they may outprice
themselves from their market, but because the coach doesn't feel
right about the higher price.
4. Have a "rack
rate" and discount as much as you would like from this rate.
Set a fee
like $250 or $500 a month and quote that as your fee. And, adjust
it downward for folks who cannot afford it who you really want to
coach. It's FINE to have clients paying different price points.
Works for hotels and airlines just fine.
5. If in doubt about
how much to charge, ask the potential client to set the fee for
the first 90 days.
first starting out, you want to make it as easy as possible for
people to start working with you. If you're not sure how much to
charge, Or, if you're not sure about charging at all, ask the
potential client something like this:
"Given your goals, what's should the monthly coaching fee that's
going to be a win-win for both of us?"
"You have a lot of stuff to work on. What's the monthly coaching
fee that will get your attention so you'll take our work together
6. At some point,
you'll feel good enough about your coaching to charge as much as
the market will bear.
got a track record or a waiting list, you'll start raising fees
pretty easily. You won't really have a choice. And by that time,
you'll probably be working with clients who can afford a healthier
fee, so it won't be a hardship for them.
7. Some coaches will
never be able to charge a fee for what they do.
this? Sometimes, it's because they don't feel right about charging
for their gift. Sometimes, it's because they don't want the
pressure to perform-for-pay so making it free keep coaching fun
and easy for them. Sometimes, it's because their marketplace
really does NOT have any money for coaching. Others do coaching
as a hobby, not as a professional service. It's FINE to not
charge for coaching.
And...Specific Examples of reasons why coaches think "I can't
charge for this."
In response to this lesson, 25
CoachVille members sent in their comments and questions.
Here are just a few of them:
My work is with candidates in career transition as a consultant
with a high-quality career management group in Dallas.
They pay me well for my services--a lot of time is one on one
coaching--but it's the company that picks up the tab. The
candidate receiving my skills pays nothing.
So it's hard to ask individuals to pay similar, or even lower,
rates for my time.
How can they afford what big corporations pay? I want to work with
them. Can I afford to? The individuals who seek my services really
want and need them. More than many of the corporate candidates who
don't use me fully, although my services are paid for.
Why not have
2-3 rates, even with a substantial difference between them (like
100-200%? Most coaches do. The only real question is "Do I want
to coach this person or not?" If yes, then work the money out and
get to work.
Your later sessions on costing and rates should be helpful. The
on-line material you've designed is great.
I think what trips me up is too much eagerness.
In the past three weeks I talked to 5 potential clients and got
hired by none. Here's what I do: I want them to have an experience
of being coached so they get a feeling of what they would be
paying for. Then, I get enmeshed in their process and ""forget""
to mention that I'm available to do this for a monthly fee of so
and so ... It is so much fun to watch how they resolve something
that they've been struggling with within 10 minutes. I don't know
how to pull myself out of that and get back to business. I'm
missing the language on how to move to the money part elegantly.
I've tried to come up with a plan, points that I want to cover in
any conversation with a prospect, but then I get so eager to do
the coaching that I forget all about it.
Now, my coach tells me that I've planted a seed, etc. But, I know
that I missed a perfect opportunity.
correct. You opened a window and somehow the window is getting
shut before they hand you their credit card.
It's OK to make it all about the client, but not so much as to
knock myself out of the picture entirely. The only clients I have
are the ones who practically closed the deal themselves.
that line. My best guess is that you're trying to prove that
you're good instead of standing back and getting them to think
bigger. A possibility isn't being created, I'm guessing. Rather,
you're trying to do 6 months worth of coaching in 30 minutes.
Spend your time getting them to open up to what they most want and
keep them hanging there. Ask questions that get them thinking
bigger, not questions that solve their problem immediately. I'm
not being manipulative here, but you want the person to see you as
part of the solution/strategy to get from A to Z.
I think you're trying to hard, and thus doing most of the work.
This happens with 'eager' coaches who believe in coaching 'too
much.' Better to believe in people than believe in coaching.
I'm a [name of coaching school deleted] student (since 11/00) who
has just left my teaching career of 25 years to try my hand at
coaching. I've done the pro-bono thing with a few clients to get
some practice and I'm working on marketing now to get some paying
clients. But being the brand spanking new coach that I am, I'm
REAL uncomfortable with the charging business. Because of my
teaching experience, I believe a natural segue would be to offer
laser-coaching sessions to my former students. I could be the one
they'd talk to a couple times each week for 10-15 minutes a pop to
get them on track with upcoming assignments, goals they want to
reach, maybe some conflict resolution stuff, etc. But because I'm
new at this coaching thing, I feel some real insecurities at
charging their parents. I'm thinking maybe I need to do some
pro-bono work with these students for a few months to get some
more practice yet on the other hand, because I'm bringing 25 years
of teaching experience, I feel that I could be valuable to them as
a coach. (And, I do want to make a little $.) Yikes! I'm truly
So, what do you say to a new coach that has not worked with a
client yet? When is the time to start charging? (Yeah, yeah, I
know there are no rules here...)
**I** would do if I was I in your shoes. Again, just my approach.
1. Decide that you want to have coached 100 people within a year,
paying or not. This many folks will give you both experience and
confidence because you WILL see a couple of miracles in that 100
folks. That'll light you up. That'll get you feeling better
2. Make a list of the 25 ways you can help students. Ask each
student (via their parents) to set the monthly fee for 90 days of
support. Don't accept zero. It's got to be at least a buck.
"Force" the student and their parents to figure out what THEY feel
this service/support is worth.
3. One of the side benefits of this approach is that along about
client #30, you're going to get really ticked off at how folks are
taking advantage of you because the kid's grades went from D to B+
thanks to you and all you earned was $100. At some point, you
just flip over and charge what makes YOU feel good. And, it ain't
a hundred bucks.
I believe that I cannot ask for my $400 rate per month because
most people have been saying no to it. I am embarrassed or feel
like I am cheapening myself if I say “ok, I will charge less.”
Also, I cannot charge $400 a month because I have not been able to
find people to pay me that much so there probably are not people
out there who pay that much for coaching. Or, they can pay other
people this rate, but not me.
sentence tells the real story. Based on how someone communicates,
potential clients decide how much they are willing to pay that
coach. Why not find out why people are saying no to you? Make it
your mission to learn the 10 REAL reasons they are saying no.
Press them (nicely) to be cruelly honest with you. You'll learn a
lot. Have Kleenex handy. You'll need it. But you'll learn from
it and that will give you the blueprint for the new you.
My situation is that I am a new coach just getting started in the
field. Although my previous job was similar to coaching the title
was different. I have the experience but with my own practice I
am having trouble setting the proper fee. If I charge too much,
clients might think I'm over priced (Market price). If I charge
too little they may think that I am not good. So I end up giving
some service for free so that they see the value in what I can do
for them. I would appreciate your advice.
When I faced
this quandary, here's what I did. When someone asked me what I
charged, I said:
"Oh, my clients set their own fees. That's entirely up to them.
They know best how much the service is worth to them. How could I
possibly know that myself?"
Tongue in cheek perhaps, and you do want to coach your clients to
pay a decent fee, but this approach totally reduces YOUR
resistance to the situation, and gets the prospective client to
have a very honest conversation about their life/priorities with
you cuz money is no long this hovering black cloud.
Eventually, you'll set a rack rate, but if/when in this temporary
quandary, consider the approach above.
copyright 2002 by
coachville.com. written by thomas j. leonard. all rights
reserved. distribution welcome when attribution is intact.