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Charging What You Are Worth

Have you ever had the following battle in your head (be careful, this is treacherous territory you are venturing into)?

I’m fresh out of school and just starting my coaching business so people won’t pay as much for my coaching services as they would a more experienced coach.”

OR

“If I can just get them to understand how coaching works, i can justify my prices so they’ll want to hire me.”

If you have ever had these thoughts (and by the way there are many others) then you are not alone.  Many coaches buy into these two myths when it comes to setting up their coaching model and establishing their prices and, as a result, lose hundreds and even thousands of dollars each month.

This article will bust through these myths and equip you with what is necessary to charge what you are worth and what you deserve.

First – stop selling coaching.  If you attempt to sell coaching as a service you will immediately create the resistance within the prospect of, “Is this worth spending my money on?”, and the only battle in front of you is to overcome ALL of the objections the prospect has as to why they shouldn’t spend their money on your services.  Start selling the end results.  Remember those MasterCard commercials when they portrayed two or three examples of how much something cost, and the final example (which by the way was always the end result) was always “…priceless!”?  When you help the prospect paint the picture of the end result they will accomplish in their life as a result of working with you, your services now become “…priceless!”

Second – stop discounting all that practice coaching you did with your peer coaching buddies while in school.  Did you know on average that when a coach finishes their coach training they will have acquired over 350+ hours of coaching?!  That isn’t anything to dismiss, yet when you have the thought of “I’m a new coach so I should charge less”, you are doing exactly that – discounting the time, energy and investment you made in your coach training.  Start owning all the hard work and investment you’ve put into yourself and account for those hundreds of hours you completed during your training.

Third – implement systems and processes so that you are 100% sure that you can and will deliver on what you’ve promised your prospects.  Many coaches attempt to get their clients without having a solid business foundation in place.  What they don’t realize is that when they run their business this way, the often unconscious energy within themselves is, “Oh crap, now what do I do?!” when it comes to servicing their clients.  Nothing wreaks havoc on a coach charging what they are worth than an underlying worry and doubt about making sure their clients are getting what they deserve.  If you do not have systems in place and you are not 100% confident you can deliver for your clients, you will diminish the fees you charge – because you have to; you’re only providing mediocre services to your clients so they should only pay you mediocre prices for what you do.

So how do you establish your prices?

Here are a few pieces of information that will help you formulate your model and your fees:

  1. On average, a successful coach in this industry is charging in the upper $300’s to low $400’s/month for private 2-3 coaching sessions/month.  And $150 – $200/month for group coaching.
  2. The average one-on-one coaching agreement duration is for 6 months. The average group coaching duration is 3 months.
  3. New coaches should charge no less than $350/month for their services (that is my personal opinion and not backed by any research other than the hundreds of coaches I’ve worked with over the years)
  4. Pro-bono and Barter clients should be limited to a set number (1-2 clients/month at most)
  5. “Friends & Family” discount should be limited to a set number (1-2 clients/month at most)

A few Key Points to know you’re on the right path to charging what you are worth:

  1. When you think you’ve set your fee, double that number (now we are getting somewhere); I’m serious!!!  Most coaches, without realizing it, charge only HALF what their services are worth!  Double the number and stand fiercely for the difference coaching makes in this world!
  2. When you think of the dollar amount you’ve set as your monthly fee and you have this slight sensation of vomiting – you’re close.  Then practice saying that fee into the mirror to get used to the number rolling off your tongue.
  3. When you hear a prospect say, “That’s all you charge for your services?” – You’ll know you’re on the right path because what you actually charge ($400/month) is considerably less than “…priceless!”
  4. When you can proudly (even though it scares the crap out of you) stand for the fees you are charging and think, “Damn, I’m getting paid this much to do what I love”, you’ll also know you’re on the right path!

Be fierce when it comes to setting your business model and prices.  You, better than most, know how powerful the impact of coaching is on someone’s life.  Be fierce and be greedy because the business of coaching is changing lives, one person at a time. Demand nothing less than what you deserve. Demand nothing less than what the client deserves. And you both will walk away knowing the world is a better place because of it.

Posted in: Business Operations, Finance Management

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11 Comments

  1. Gena Yuvette Davis June 9, 2011

    Hi Melinda,

    Thank you for a great article! Do have a question though: Do you mean $300-$400 per HOUR and not MONTH? I always thought you charge by the hour? I charge $800.00 per month and I offer a discount if someone buys 3 months or more of coaching. Please advise. Thanks!

    reply
  2. Teri Dawn June 10, 2011

    Hi Gena,

    Your article was great. In regards to pricing, I think you are right on the money.
    Of course pricing takes into consideration: 1.who you are coaching, corporate, business/entrepreneur,or personal 2. the duration of the coaching program, ect. I also believe we must be careful not to price ourselves out of a profession.

    reply
  3. Teri Dawn June 10, 2011

    Hi Gena,

    A powerful article. I left a comment above, however, I
    missed the part about being “greedy” when setting your fees.

    Greed is what got this country in its present economic state.
    Greed says you take more than you need, it supports gouging, sort of what
    the gas companies are presently doing to us,ect.

    If we are truly committed to the field of coaching we will do what it
    takes to become great, excellent at our craft, including asking for a “righteous compensation for what we offer. This might require some personal coaching for those who have a problem asking and expecting to get what is due them. After all, isn’t coaching about bringing out the best in you?

    reply
  4. Elliot Zovighian June 13, 2011

    Fantastic article. I’ve been waiting for someone to come out and be honest and straight forward about the value that coaching provides and how the industry in general (not the big guys) sell themselves short.

    If you don’t believe in your worth then you’re surely going to ensure that you won’t be successful. Sometimes it’s not about the monetary amount. It’s about a commitment the client makes to the process and ensuring they follow it through.

    Great article and thank you.

    reply
  5. Zenobia Garrison June 13, 2011

    Great article Melinda. I encourage all new coaches to determine their rate based on both their worth and value they provide clients. Both are struggle points for new coaches because they narrowly measure their worth based upon coach training/experience — mistake! The bottom line, if you are an expert in a process (notice I said expert in a process not expert as a coach…) or steps you take a client from point a to point b to achieve results, you should be compensated handsomely for it — irregardless of how many hours of coach training you’ve acquired.

    The big elephant in the room is that you don’t have to be certified or formally trained as a coach to label yourself as a coach. There are a number of gurus in our industry who fit this mold, and still make high six figure incomes/millions. So what’s their worth? It’s their ability to deliver results. And they are charging BIG dollars for their knowledge and expertise in how to do just that.

    Bottom line new coaches, focus first and foremost on your step by step “process” for how you help your clients achieve results. It should be a turnkey system (e.g. proven system, one that works every time). And secondly, think about value in the context of the client experience (what high level experience should they have or feel with you as their client or customer). Always over deliver on your service/product promise, and you will be able to finally make what you’re worth!

    Great discussion all.

    reply
  6. teri June 16, 2011

    this was just what I needed to read right now. Thank you. I love “When you think of the dollar amount you’ve set as your monthly fee and you have this slight sensation of vomiting – you’re close. ” because that’s how I feel, just starting out…and yet I agree with all you say.

    thanks!

    reply
  7. Andrea June 23, 2011

    Thanks for the article. This is great to hear for coaches at any level, but especially those new to the business.

    Zenobia – Thanks for your input.

    Thanks!

    reply
  8. Stephen Mwanduka June 24, 2011

    Kudos Belinda

    Thank you so much for tackling this issue to its full conclusion. I am one of the few new and upcoming Career Coaches in Kenya. The problem of how much to charge as a new Coach is indeed purplexing and challenging. On a number of ocassion we end up charging less that what we ultimately deliver. With your timely advise I am now in a better position to charge right for every coaching package.

    Indeed, if you can not package it correctly you may not always price it correctly too. As pioneers in this field in East Africa, soon we shall embark on establishing Career Coaching pricing standards for this reagion.

    You have realy helped me in my endeavour to ensure I charge the right price for the real value my prospects will gain for every coaching product i put forth to my clients. I will ensure my prospects visualize the ultimate value they will realize for the career coaching investiment they are making now.I bet if this ulimtate value is greater than the investment outlay a client is embarking on now, will pricing be less of an issue

    Thanks agaim!

    STEVE

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  9. Beth M Ramsay July 10, 2011

    It’s value.

    If the client receives value in exchange for their check,m then it’s all good.

    You have to choose which you are (and there is nothing wrong with any of these – they all have a rightful place in the marketplace):
    – Wal-Mart
    – Saks Fifth Avenue
    – a boutique on Rodeo Drive

    Whichever you are, price it as such and don’t apologize or feel guilty. But DO feel guilty if you don’t provide the value that is commensurate.

    reply
  10. Veenu July 11, 2011

    What an encouraging, and timely article, and resonates so much with me. However it begs a new question.

    I am studying to be a holistic Health coach and am at that point in my education when we are equipped to and (many of us are also taking on clients. Personally, I am struggling with this though. The reason being I have about 50 pounds to lose myself, and while I am at a much better place emotionally and with my food and exercise choices, the fact remains, I am still overweight.

    My question is:
    How can I justify to myself that I am ready to coach. In most instances the client may not even see me as we can work on the phone or via skype, but how do I overcome my sense of guilt which says that I am not ready because I’m not walking the talk. At least, not yet.

    Any inputs will be greatly appreciated?

    Thank you,
    Veenu.

    reply
  11. Melinda Cohan July 12, 2011

    Hey Veenu,

    That is the precise reason that (my own personal opinion) as a coach we must also have our own coach and make sure that we are walking our talk. The best way to move through your own guilt is to work with a coach, develop your skills and expand your resources and accountability to “be the change you wish to see in this world.” People come to you, or to any coach not necessarily because you are where they want to be (i.e. 50 lbs less), but because they truly get that you know how to equip them on the journey from point a to point b. It is through your coaching that your clients will become equipped to navigate their own path and accomplish their own desires. So work with a coach on your own stuff, because you are right, if you aren’t “taking care of your own business” you can never ask a client to do the same.

    Melinda

    reply

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