Hannah McNamara explores the question to that age-old question: How much should I charge for coaching?
This is a question that comes up ALL the time when I'm mentoring clients on building their coaching practice. It's not an easy question to answer because there are so many factors involved:
- Your coaching experience
- Your prior experience, e.g. as a trainer, HR manager, therapist, nurse, business manager, etc.
- The market you'll be coaching in, i.e. private clients, small business, corporate, government, etc.
- Your niche or specialisation
- Who's paying the bill – the client, a family member, the client's employer or a government grant
- How many billable coaching hours you have available
- How much YOU want to earn once you've deducted your running costs
- …and your confidence levels
Marketing is made up of a number of components, usually referred to as the 7 Ps of Marketing. They are Product, Price, Place, Promotion, Process, People, Physical Evidence. This isn't the time to go into detail on all of them, but let me tell you, Price is a significant factor in your Marketing. The price you charge positions you in the market and it positions you in the minds of your clients. But first you must position your worth in your own mind.
Provided that you know you're offering a good service to clients and you have a fair idea of appropriate local rates for coaching, then the only thing stopping you getting rates at the upper end of the scale is your confidence in your ability to ask for them.
Now, I don't say this to boast, but to illustrate the point: when I launched as a coach, my first coaching client paid me 150 pounds + VAT per hour (approximately US$300 plus tax). It wasn't a big corporate client – this was a sole practitioner running a small professional service firm. When he asked what my fees were, I told him. I looked him right in the eye and didn't apologise. He booked a series of sessions with me and never once complained about the price.
How did I get this rate? By targeting the right kind of client, who was used to investing in training/development (he had to do CPD – Continuous Professional Development) and was in 'pain'. I showed him that I could help with his 'pain'.
Experience has shown me that the price you charge MUST be uncomfortable for your client. It must stretch them. If they can easily afford your rates, quite simply they won't put as much effort into the process as someone who's thinking, "I'm going to make darn sure this works".
However, as we know with comfort zones, there's a fine line between moving someone into a 'stretch' zone and moving them into their 'panic' zone. You don't want to push clients into having to make a choice between paying your fees and paying their mortgage. If you are constantly being told that you're too expensive, you're targeting the wrong market.
A word of caution, if you set your prices at the upper end of the scale, you had better be confident that you're up to the job and have access to a section of the market that's willing to pay those rates.
If you were expecting this article to tell you how much to charge for your services, I'm sorry to disappoint you. This newsletter is read by coaches all around the world where the coaching market is at different stages of maturity, so there is never going to be a one-price-fits-all answer. If you do want to know what coaches around the world are charging, then the recent ICF survey may be a good place to start and this survey states that the average price per hour for coaching is US$205.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? Have you your own experience in this area that you would like to share? We welcome our members contribution. If you have a success story or something to add please feel free to add your comments below.