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  View this issue online at http://www.todayscoach.com/2002/100202.html

New format for Today's Coach launches today.  Each week, we'll be covering one aspect of the Future of Coaching.  Today's focus is "Making Coaching Affordable."  At the end of each issue, we'll be announcing the future of coaching topic for the next issue and invite you to send in a paragraph or two for possible inclusion.  And, we'll be setting up a discussion board for each topic at http://www.villecom.com/index.php where you can add your comments and read the comments of others coaches everywhere, organized by the topics covered here in the upcoming Today's Coach ezine -- the most read coaching-related ezine in the world.



T
hursday, October 3, 2002 


D
ear Today's Coach Reader:

Do you want coaching to go mainstream?

If so, our services
will need to be priced much more affordably in order for the general population to jump on board...

As caring as we coaches are, the price points we current charge make us a fairly elitist group:  "If you can't afford $2,000, $1,000 or $500 or $250 a month, I'm sorry, but I can't help."

Please hear me out...
Now, before you send me emails about this, please hear me out...

I believe that charging a fee for service rendered is a cool/smart thing to do.  Professional coaches are running commercial enterprises.

I believe that it's possible to offer "levels" of coaching/services to serve a wide spectrum of clients -- some paying and many not.  Technology makes no- or low-cost delivery of coaching possible, and increasingly so.

I believe that by being generous -- finding a way to deliver free or low-cost coaching to 1,000 or 10,000 or more non-paying 'clients' can be a commercially valid way to keep one's pay-oriented practice full.  

I believe that no- or low-priced coaching does not cheapen the profession of coaching but rather makes it mainstream, acceptable and desirable. Remember, 99% of the world needs to experience coaching in order to become believers in it.  If we keep setting the entry fee high to the public, 99% of folks will never experience coaching and they won't see the value in paying for it.


That's nice, but, we all have to make a living, right?  

I totally agree.

And...

I believe we can make a great living and still be extremely generous.  

I see a lot of coaches marketing themselves instead of spending their free hours actually coaching.  (We're like Realtors in that regard -- a lot of time prospecting and showing houses but not much time spent at the title company closing the deals.)  My view is that if you seek to coach 100 folks -- for pay or for free -- and you learn from them how to coach them better, that your practice will fill by itself due to referrals.  (Assuming you know what you're doing.)

I've seen too many coaches set the barrier of entry too high -- perhaps their coaching school told them to do this, maybe a class they took stressed this point, maybe they are still stuck in the quickly fading time-is-money paradigm or the "if-I-don't-charge-then-they-won't-value-my-services" mind trip.  (Remember, the ideal clients value their time a lot more than their money these days. And, yes, the ideal client will pay for your services.)



Have you updated your paradigm about coaching and its delivery formats?

1. If you believe that the majority of coaching will continue to be delivered using the traditional 1-1 based coaching format, you're in for a very rude shock.
Look at the legal profession and the tax preparation profession, even to some degree  the medical profession.  As there become more tools to self-educate, the consumer does their initial work themselves and then uses the professional, if at all, at a higher level.  This is becoming true in coaching.  Example: as clients learn about attraction or Clean Sweep or leadership or Small Business Checklist, they'll be stronger for it and use you as their coach more effectively. And, many of them will NOT use a 1-1 coach given the price point.  Yet by using your website as a solution center for your ideal market/customers, they will be coached by you -- and on a 1 to 1 basis -- but via your knowledge/wisdom, not necessarily via your individual phone call/meeting with them.  My view is that this is coaching.  True, a different flavor than traditional 1-1 coaching, but it is coaching nonetheless.

2. If you feel that it's "not coaching," unless it's in person or 1-to-1 on the phone, you might want to expand your definition of coaching.
When I write ezines or trainings or teach TeleClasses, I do my best to use a coaching/situational/personal approach instead of just sharing information or concepts. I speak conversationally to folks via my work and I stand in their shoes when I craft concepts and strategies.  My view is that you do not need to be in front of a person in order to be coaching them. Or better said, they don't need to be in front of you in order to be coached.

3. If you feel that coaching cannot be that effective unless you are personally delivering it to a client, that may be more about your box than about what the client needs.
Some coaches will attempt to 'protect' the status quo of history and tradition and define coaching as only a real-time 1 to 1 experience in person or on the phone.   I say, more power to them.  Every coach should do what's best for them and their clients.  And, that said, I already see new formats emerging (the extraordinary vantage point from hosting a network of 20,000 coaches from nearly 100 countries affords a perspective that I could never have gotten to in a lifetime of looking or experiencing). We're seeing coaches coaching via Instant Message, email, Video Messaging (VM), group conference calls, web and email-based goal setting and encouragement systems, PDA coaching, web-based mission design systems, ezines and ecourse-based coaching. 

4. And there's more coming...
At some point (after all, this series is designed to both chronicle and craft the future of coaching) we'll see these delivery formats for coaching:
-- Holographic coaching (hCoaching) where the client interacts with you as their coach, yet via a holograph.
-- Web-based life design systems where all aspects of your can be designed and supported.
-- Situational databases for 500 top life/business situations.


Will this be the end of coaching as we know it?

Hardly.

This will be the beginning of coaching as we know it.

Bottom line:  The more individuals who have had a positive experience of coaching -- in whichever format -- the fuller the practices of 1,000,000 coaches worldwide will be.



Now what?
If you are intrigued by this topic, here are some ideas...

Pass the word...
Pass this issue around your network and ask for ideas/feedback from your colleagues. Just hit 'forward' and send it to your network.

Add your thoughts on this topic at the Discussion Board...
To add your thoughts and read the thoughts of others (no log in or password needed), visit:  http://www.villecom.com/index.php. (You can create an account if you wish to post or just ignore that step and post a comment or reply by clicking on New Thread after you click on Future of Coaching: Affordability.

Join the CoachVille Institute (CVI)...
CVI is the coaching industry think tank.  Membership is free.  Details of their projects (which include the Affordability/Access issue) are described at their website at http://www.coachvilleinstitute.com.  You can join one of their research teams and/or join their announcement bulletin.  It's all free.

Join us at the Future of Coaching Conference in San Francisco...
Three days and 20 futures of coaching; all yours for the learning.  Initial details at http://www.coachvilleconference.com 


Best,


Thomas J. Leonard
CoachVille.com
thomas@coachville.com



Next week's topic:




Have a story?  An experience?  An opinion?  Please email 1-2 paragraphs to thomas@thomasleonard.com with FOC2 in the subject line.  Let us know if you want or don't want us to use your name and email address for attribution in the next issue of Today's Coach.

   
 

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