(This post is an excerpt from the book “Thomas Leonard’s Full Practice for Coaches – 100 Time Tested Lessons From Coaching’s Founding Father“)
In 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 them.
- 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.
Seven ways to handle the money-block thing.
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.
Of course, 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.
Most people 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 up.
3. Only charge an amount that you feel GOOD about charging.
Most new 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-todate. If the coach charges too much, I’ve found that they lose clients — not just because they may out price 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.
When you’re 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 seriously?”
6. At some point, you’ll feel good enough about your coaching to charge as much as the market will bear.
When you’ve 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.
Why is 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 keeps 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.