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Wendy Buckingham  /  Creator, Life Coaching Professionally

How To Get A Good Deal If You Barter Or Swap Your Coaching

Page Summary

If you are going to barter and swap your life coaching for another product or service, there are traps to avoid. To make sure you are getting a good deal and don't end up feeling resentful and out of exchange, read the information and questions to ask on this page. 

FYI: I may receive commissions at no cost to you. Please see my affiliate disclosure for more.

How  bartering and swapping can work for coaching?

To exchange your coaching with another coach or for something else can seem like a good idea. Especially when you are starting out as a coach and want to get as much practice and experience as you can.

Swapping your life coaching for what someone else is offering instead of coaching can also present as a good solution to get what you need or want, without actually having to come up with hard cash. 

However, as you will see, there are traps. You need to make sure you will really benefit from the deal and don't end up feeling our of exchange and resentful.

Handshake on a barter or swap agreement

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, preferably in writing, what you are giving and getting both in value and time so there are no nasty misunderstandings down the track. The swap 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  exchange with your eyes open, firm agreements and no room for misunderstandings.

Buy from Amazon: The Art of Barter, How to Trade Almost Anything - a great read for coaches.

Karren Hoffman and Shera D. Dalin have written a great book that really explains more about how to swap or barter successfully. The Art of Bartering - how to trade almost anything gives some great tips and inspirational ideas on how to use barter in today’s tough economic world:

  • Determining your tradable” skills
  • Initiating a trade
  • Figuring out a fair exchange
  • How to close a deal
  • Incorporating barter into everyday life 

Questions To Ask Before Agreeing to Swap Your Coaching

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 the questions below, be sure to have a look at the comments and experiences from other coaches at the end of this page.

1. Are you swapping for something you really need or want?

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.

2. Would you consider using the service offered in exchange  if you were paying.

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.

3. Are you happy that the value is pretty equal?

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 to give or receive half an hour of coaching in exchange for two hours of folding brochures. 

4. Does the person really want to do a swap for your coaching?

When you are offering to coach in exchange for another service or product, make sure the person really wants that coaching, understands what it is and what commitment may be required of them to take it up. Treat them as you would a paying clients with firm written agreements.

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.

5. Does the barter for coaching cover extra expenses?

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 swap agreement in writing including a dollar value and time limit for each of you to honour the exchange. This is essential if the barter trade is not simultaneous and your coaching is being provided first!

Tools For Creating Barter and Swap Agreements

When you have completed your coach training you may be looking for tools, forms and templates to help get you started even if you are only swapping practice coaching. I can recommend you check out the kits created by my colleague Emma Louise of The Coaching Tools Company which can be branded to your coaching name to give you that professional look. 

Illustration of the Coaching Tool Company Welcome Pack

In particular the Welcome Pack for clients could save you loads of time in working out an agreement, an invoice and lots more.

If you are swapping sessions with another coach to get your hours up for a credential, you can swap agreements and also invoice each other so they show up as paid sessions rather than swaps.

I suggest you also join the The Coaching Tools Company newsletter mailing list so you can receive a monthly free coaching tool, which again you can adapt and brand for your coaching practice.

 Why swapping coaching for a testimonial may not be authentic

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 after the free session they spontaneously show their appreciation for your good work and then ask if they would give you a testimonial.

What's your experience with
bartering your life coaching services?

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!

What Other Visitors To This Page Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Over 30 Years of
Successful Bartering
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 -
A Conversation
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 …

Click here to write your own.

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Created and written by Wendy Buckingham, Class One Productions P/L. Sydney

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