A couple of years ago I mentioned that I did business coaching. Then in 2009 I had someone talk about the benefits she got from coaching, and two days later I had the opportunity to post the responses someone else gave to coaching receiving coaching assistance as well.

So, there’s no doubt that the benefits of coaching can be pretty neat. The question then becomes why coaches will charge the way they do, both in pricing and time. I’m going to take that one based on some of my own history.

One of the things you realize as a coach, at least initially, is that people come to you for answers. Now, I do tend to believe that there’s a lot of self introspection one needs to do when it comes to the coaching process; if you don’t take the time to learn something about yourself, then what are you planning on changing?

Yet, one of two things happen. One, people want coaches to solve their problems for them. Well, it doesn’t quite work out that way, although coaches can help solve some problems long term. But coaches will make you do most of the work yourself, and work on guiding you through the process.

Two, the process scares a lot of people. Most folks really aren’t skilled in the process of looking at their history and in defining their goals, and thus, it’s work to them. And it’s work that’s going to produce some scary things here and there; sorry, but that’s just the way it is. It can be uplifting as well, but it all depends on what the person is hoping for and what their goals ultimately turn out to be.

Now, you see I’ve mentioned the word “process”. Coaching is a process, no matter what it’s related to. You don’t go to basketball practice once and suddenly know how to play the game like a pro. You don’t go to the gym and work with a trainer one time and suddenly know everything there is to working out. With each of those, you’d pay for it in some fashion in advance, and at that point you’ve committed to getting it done and putting the work in.

But time doesn’t stop for anyone; if you don’t put the time in, coaches don’t go back and say “hey, that’s okay, let’s move it to another time”. At least they don’t do it often. Sure, there are times when one has to change things up because emergencies occur. But it’s up to the person who’s receiving the training to contact the person and try to work things out. It’s also up to them to call ahead of time and let the coach know so that no one’s time is being abused. One of those things I really hate is waiting for someone and having them not show up or call and then I hear about it days later.

It’s because of things like this that coaches charge for services up front. Some charge a month in advance, others charge 3 months in advance. I usually have 3 month contracts, though it depends on the type of issue we’re going to be working on, and expect to be paid for it all; I also offer a discount if all 3 months are paid in advance. That way, if you skip a session we’ve already got our money, and if you decide you don’t want to follow through you knew there was a no-refund policy and we’re covered as well.

Every coach decides on their rate based on what they think their assistance is worth. I know some coaches who charge the equivalent of $50 or less a session, and I know some others who charge upwards of $3,000 per session. Overall, coaching is worth whatever you put into it and whatever you want to pay to try to get there. Probably the more you pay, the more you’re really going to push yourself for change.

What do I charge? You’ll have to ask me privately, but I’ll tell you this; I’m closer to the $50 than the $3,000, and that’s as much as I’m giving away. 🙂