How should you set your life coaching fees? Is $50 too little and is $1,000 too much? The tips and information on this page will help you decide what's right for you.
One of the most common questions you are going to be asked is about your fees. "What does a life coach cost?"
It's a question so many new coaches have trouble answering easily and congruently. Why? Because they are not sure of their value or what they should charge.
So let's discuss:
The truth is fixing your life coaching rates often depends as much on your confidence and background as your coaching skills.
It can also be influenced by the perceptions of the demographic of your clients - and where they live, city or regional.
The fee you are able to charge can also be affected by the coaching niche you choose - and whether it will attract high paying or budget clients.
Comparisons don't work:
Coaches may set their life coaching rates as little as $USD50 an hour for individual face to face coaching while some corporate and celebrity coaches can achieve $USD1500+ a session.
There will always be a coach who charges more or less that you do, so don't fall into the trap of making comparisons and thinking "I should be charging more/less". That is only gong to cause you stress. You really don't know what they have used to justify their fee or if, in fact, their fee is justified.
A lot depends on how you place yourself in the coaching marketplace and go about choosing your niche or specialty and what your target market can afford. For instance if you want to coach single mothers or students you can't expect to charge what you might get from corporate executives.
You also need to consider your ROI (Return on investment) so you can keep track as to whether you are actually making any money. Of course in the initial stages of your coaching business, when you are setting things up, your investment will most likely far outweigh your return.
Maybe set up a spreadsheet to keep track of investment and income.
Many coaches in the US, Europe and Asia charge life coaching fees either by the month for a series of sessions or by the hour - the latter being more common in corporate coaching situations.
If you are aiming to coach in India, China or one of the other countries where the profession is comparatively new, you may need to use your local judgement as to what the market will accept.
I can't give you a blanket figure to cover all currencies, but in the US and Australia average life coaching fees for individual are somewhere between $100 and $500 + a session - maybe less in rural areas. And some executive coaches who work with large organisations are charging upwards $700 an hour.
If you are marketing yourself worldwide you should consider having a currency converter on your website so that prospects can immediately see your fees in their local currency.
Coaching in Asia is available on Amazon and has some good endorsements and guidelines for working in that region whether you are based in Asia or working remotely from the USA, UK or other countries.
They key to being able to charge top rates for your target market is the perception your clients have of your value and again I highly recommend you examine Cindy Schulson's work to help you identify your specialty and be seen as an expert. She has loads of free help and templates on her website.
And as Life Coaching Online becomes more viable for distance coaching via programs such as Skype it is becoming quite common to put a loading on life coaching fees for face-to-face sessions. This is to cover the substantial travel and location expenses that can be involved.
Ask Around: My suggestion is that you ask around or look up on the web various coaches offering similar services in your area (which can be local or global). Use their fees as a guide as to what is an acceptable rate for life coaching income for your level of experience and gives you a good profit margin after expenses.
Bottom line is to start charging fees for life coaching that you feel comfortable with and be willing to keep raising your rates so your coaching business is making a profit.
You may be in coaching because you love it, but you have to eat!
If you get taken on as internal coach with a large company, a recruitment agency or are employed by a provider of life coaching services, you may find yourself on staff at fixed salary. If salary on offer seems low, take into account you may now get holiday pay, sick leave and all the other benefits that go with being employed as against having your own practice. And you will most likely have a steady flow of client without the need for marketing yourself.
Try to find out what other coaches on staff at the company you are negotiating with or other organisations directly employing coaches are getting paid. You will then have a benchmark for negotiation..
Many coaching schools recommend you start practicing pro bono as part of your training. And even if you do hold off until you are qualified, there is often a dilemma as to how much you should charge as a trained but, as yet, inexperienced coach.
If you come from a related discipline such as psychology or counseling, where you have simply added coaching techniques to your skills, you may have no problem charging full fees straight away.
But if you are coming into coaching without any related experience, then offering to coach people for free, or at a reduced rate can be a good idea as you gain experience and confidence. However, if you are really confident you know what you are doing, go for it and start charging a full rate straight away. Again it's whatever you feel comfortable with and whatever your niche will bear.
Make sure there is something in it for you!
I do recommend you should ask for some exchange for your practice coaching. Even if you are inexperienced, you are trained and qualified and you will be adding value to your practice clients. If the practice client is paying you a token amount, however small, they will be more inclined to take the process seriously.
If you do take on some practice clients for no fee at all, then I recommend you work out some form of exchange that is of value to you. Do they have a service you would be interested in as an exchange? Will they commit to giving you a testimonal or referring you more clients. You can read how to elegantly get life coach client testimonials here.
I've put together some really important considerations if you are thinking for swapping or bartering your coaching for another product or service. You can learn from a readers conversation on swapping, how a virtual assistant does swapping and a swapper who has over 30 years of successful bartering.
And it's a good idea to let those practice of swap clients know what your full life life coaching fees rate will be for future clients you take on. This will make them more appreciative of the opportunity to be coached for no fee or at a reduced rate that you are offering them.
Many coaches and coach providing organizations offer a free 'try before you buy' session as one of their business marketing strategies. The rational being that people don’t understand what life coaching is and need to experience it, and the coach, before they make a decision. There are two schools of thought around this and I’ll attempt to cover them.
On the pro side, a free introductory session does give the prospective client a chance to discover what they want to achieve and a real taste of what is to come and what they can achieve if they continue. It also shows that the coach is willing to give their time freely to ensure they are a good match with the client.
Conversely, unless the lead is really well qualified, and the session timed and structured you can waste a lot of time with people who simply want a free session, to pick your brains, and have no intention of engaging you.
Or, as I found on several occasions – the free session turns out so well, the prospect thanks you profusely, decides they are clear on their path forward and don’t think they need any more coaching!
Great for the ego, but not great for both your spirit and your pocket for feeling in exchange for the time and expertise you have given them.
The knack for a successful introductory session seems to be to give them a taste of coaching, but leave them hanging enough that they want more. (More sales than coaching!) A tricky balance if you are committed to helping others become more able and likely to get carried away.
Instead I and many coaches offer give a free “assessment” or "discovery"
session. This session is about discovering what the prospect wants from
coaching, giving them a taster of how you coach to discovering how you both feel about working with each other.
The free introductory session rules:
The session is strictly timed and the prospect is aware before-hand how long it is going to be, what is going to be covered and has already been advised of the various coaching packages. They have also been asked to fill in a brief questionnaire to discover what they would like to achieve with coaching and a few other things to make sure they are really interested.
This last point is especially important if you are
offering free sessions via the internet. So many people are happy to
"click here for a free introductory session", because it is free without any real intention of being coached long term.
In fact they may be hoping to get all the coaching and solutions to their problems they need from that free session.
Another dilemma coaches often face is whether of not to publish their life and business coaching fees on their website or in printed brochures. Lets look at the pros and cons for both strategies.
In favor of publishing your costs is it tells the prospective client right up front what you charge and saves that "money conversation" that you may find uncomfortable at the end of an introductory session.
Once my clients have booked a Discovery Session with me, I send them a short questionnaire which includes "Have you looked at the programs I offer so you know what could work for you if we go ahead?" I have a link in the question to my programs. This works for me and you may want to experiment a bit.
Until you have had an introductory session, the prospective client might not realise the value of your offering and why you are charging that amount, and decide against coaching even before speaking to you . However, if your website has properly engaging content the prospect should be pretty well sold before you speak to them
I did publish my fees and offered several different program options so there was something for several needs and budgets. The variations in your programs can be for length of sessions or number of sessions in a series and whether you include in between session email contact or brief telephone calls. A lot will depend on your demographic and your niche or specialty.
Often when a prospective client starts pushing you to reduce your fee with an "I really want to do this, but can't afford it" story, it's often more about their priorities than whether or not they have the money.
On two occasions early in my career I fell for this and, anxious to sign up the client, seriously discounted my fee only to discover that the clients were actually in a much better position financially than I was at that time.
In the first instance the client was saving for an extended overseas holiday and in the second carrying out major house renovations. When I discovered this in the course of the coaching, I have to admit it left me feeling somewhat undervalued and cheated. Not the best place to be coming from as a coach!
So again I stress, much better to change the structure of the program to fit what the client is willing to pay, than discount your time and skills.
There are many ways to establish Life Coaching Fees.
Will you share yours?
New coaches will be really grateful for information
on how you started charging and what you did
to get your fees to where they are now.
Please share your experience...
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