I read an article by Sean D'Souza recently on why free training programs are a disservice to customers.
He says free training is great - up to a point, but no matter how valuable the progam is and how much customers like FREE, the engagement of free customers is only 10%. In other words, 90% of the people who sign up don't really get value, no matter how much the trainer tries to give them.
And those numbers are born out by School of Coaching Mastery's Free Coach Training program. The courses are taken directly from our Ultimate Coach Training Program and I knocked myself out to make them great.
In the 10 months since we launched it, we've had 1,633 sign ups. I estimate that that number actually represents as few as 559 individuals, which is the number of sign-ups for the single most popular course. Of those, only 98 have signed up for all five courses, which is the requirement they must meet if they want to take the free Coaching Certificate Exam. Out of those 98, 57% pass. So far, that's 56 who passed the exam, exactly 10%!
Out of 559 people, only 56 are engaged enough in the program to pass a moderately challenging exam. [UPDATE: DECEMBER 2012 - The Coaching Certificate Exam is no longer available with Free Coach Training, but the training itself is still free.]
Have I done coaches a disservice by offering coach training for free?
As a coach, I know the majority of my pro bono clients have been less engaged than the clients who pay my regular $700 per month fee. Like it or not, humans work harder when they pay dearly. It was the same principle that made my New York City personal training business so successful. It's also why animal shelters don't give puppies and kittens away for free. People take better care of pets that they pay for.
Of course, the engagement level of our paying students is virtually the reverse of our free students. 90% come to class and do the work (play?) of becoming master coaches, getting certified and attracting clients. Their investment in the program pays both financial and emotional dividends for life. That's a lot better then putting money in a piggy bank!
So going forward, expect us to be very forthcoming about what it takes, in terms of training, to succeed as a coach. Free training might be helpful, especially if you're researching the coaching field or pursuing it as just a hobby. Ultimate training is for the coach who wants to succeed and commits to doing what it takes. Read A Tale of Two Life Coaches to get the picture.
In the meantime, here are some simple questions to help you determine which program is for you: