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Wendy Buckingham / Creator, Life Coaching Professionally
To barter or swap your coaching services, can seem like a good idea when you are starting out as a coach and want to get as much experience as you can.
Exchanging your life coaching for what someone else is offering can also present as a good solution to get what you need or want, without actually having to come up with hard cash.
However, there are traps and swapping your coaching for a product of service needs to be done carefully if it is to work for you and not leave you feeling out your got the raw end of the deal.
When you are exchanging solid goods, such as say a fridge for a dining suite, it's fairly straightforward because there is an agreed exchange of something solid and tangible.
But when it comes to exchanging your coaching for another service, such as marketing, PR, graphic design, massage, hairdressing etc., or even a mix of goods and services there is a lot to consider before you go ahead.
For the system to work well for coaching there has to be a real business agreement. You both need to agree what you are giving and getting both in value and time so there are no nasty misunderstandings down the track. From your perspective, the deal needs to be presented just as you would for a session where the exchange is cash.
So the bottom line, as with any business deal, is caveat emptor – buyer beware. Go into the barter exchange with your eyes open, firm agreements and no room for misunderstandings.
Getting clear about what's in it for you and whether the exchange offered is what you want and not what you feel obliged to accept, will help you decide whether or not the deal on offer is for you.
And when you've read how to make bartering and swapping work, be sure to have a look at the comments and experiences from other coaches at the end of this page.
I was once offered a case of red wine in exchange for a coaching session.
Now I like an occasional glass of wine, but this was not what I wanted or needed as exchange for my coaching at that time, so I declined.
You need to have real confidence in the person and the quality of what they are offering as a trade. If you don’t, you may be dissatisfied with your end of the exchange and end up going somewhere else where you have to pay anyway.
Or does it involve more from one of you than the other? Discuss this up front and reach an agreement. Otherwise there may be misunderstandings and resentment.
However, keep in mind that sometimes it is the value of the exchange and not the time needed to give it, that should be considered. For instance, you may happily agree on two hours to fold promotional flyers in exchange for 30 minutes of coaching!
When you are offering a coaching barter or swap, make sure the person really wants that coaching, understands what it is and what commitment may be required of them to take it up. If they are half-hearted about exchanging for coaching, it may not work for either of you and you will both end up feeling frustrated and cheated.
Be clear about what the barter does and does not include and put it in writing. For instance there may be time and materials involved.
Maybe your coaching includes a career or personality profiling that has to be paid for. Or one of you has to travel a distance and spend money on fares or fuel.
Put your coaching barter and swap agreement in writing including a dollar value and time limit for each of you to honor the exchange. This is essential if the barter trade is not simultaneous and your coaching is being provided first!
It can be tempting when you are just starting out to offer coaching in exchange for a testimonial. Even to offer to play swapsies on this basis with other new coaches. It's called quid pro quo which literally translated means something given in exchange for something else.
In my view this is actually out of integrity in a profession that is about integrity. Someone who is offered a session for free with this condition is not going to give a completely honest or negative review. Much better to wait until they show spontaneously show their appreciation for your good work and then ask if they would give you a testimonial.
Do you have a great story about this?
Did bartering your coaching really work for you?
Did you ended up feeling cheated and dissatisfied with the deal?
Please share so others can benefit from your experience!
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Over 30 Years of
I have bartered, successfully, for almost everything in my life for over 30 years. The system of exchange we generally use in life: "money" is merely …
Bartering for Coaching -
When I asked on LinkedIn for people to comment on their bartering experiences as coaches after reading Should You Barter and Swap Your Coaching Services? …
Virtual Assisting for Coaching
Hi Wendy, I'm not sure if this is helpful to you, but I'm a Virtual Assistant / Online Business Manager who works with coaches and can give you my experience …