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How to Build a Flourishing Positive Coaching Business

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positive Psychology Coaching

Positive psychology coaching is on the rise, because it works. So have you ever wondered how positive psychology coaching can help your coaching business flourish? I'm talking about how actual positive psychology interventions can impact your thoughts and actions to bring you more success, happiness, and yes - more clients.

Curious?

Success occurs when you do the right things at the right times. Positive psychology interventions can help you do the right things at the right times with surprising effectiveness. And it's not precriptive (as in, 'You must do it my way to succeed.'), but rather points out what's worked for others, so you can customize it for your desires, strengths and values.

As a mentor coach who specializes in positive psychology coaching, I see this phenomenon, daily. Here are three recent examples:

  1. A new life coach who's building his business by leveraging his Primary Strengths. He's having a blast and his business is taking off like a rocket.
  2. Then there's the executive coach whose business has also taken off like a rocket, but she's not having a blast, even though she's living her dream life. She's still reliving negative thoughts and emotions about her past. In her case, we're using positive psychology and positive neuroscience interventions to help her mind catch up with her awesome life and business. This will help her sustain her success. Otherwise, she likely will burn out, or start repeating negative habits that could short-change her success. You're not flourishing if you're not having fun.
  3. Then there's the business coach who already thinks positively, but whose  business seemed to be stalled. What's up with that? We cracked through some blocks and limiting beliefs around making money and feeling ready for success, using Great Self Coaching (another positive intervention). You guessed it. Now his business is taking off like a rocket!

When I work with my one-to-one Elite Mentor Coach for High Achievers clients, their frame of mind is often the topic. At one end of the spectrum, the wrong frame of mind, for instance a limiting belief that it's too soon to expect success, can hold the coach back. At the other end, the coach may appreciate her incredible success, but still be stuck experiencing painful thoughts and feelings from the past. In my opinion, neither is experiencing a positive business, yet.

My definition of a positive coaching business is one that is both successful, as defined by the coach, and thoroughly enjoyed. My one-to-one mentor coaching may be financially out of reach for some coaches (although it's not expensive when you consider the training and certification that is included). However, this Fall, I'm putting together a new mentor group that uses the same positive coaching interventions to help coaches build flourishing businesses. It's quite reasonable and includes some training and certification, as well.

If you're a coach who is serious about building a flourishing life and business, click the link below to find out more and/or make an appointment to ask your questions.


Create Your Flourishing Positive Business Here

Topics: coaching business, group coaching, Coach 100, coaching success, Mentor Coaching, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching

6 Ideas That'll Change Your Coaching and Your Life

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positivity RatioI'm always looking for new ideas that'll upgrade, broaden, or deepen my coaching, so it's more effective. You too? Then you'll love this post.

It's a challenge to keep readers like you, well...challenged. You're a pretty sophisticated bunch.

But here goes: some of the best ideas I've encountered, which ultimately changed my life and the way I coach and may change your life and coaching too.

 

1. The Power of Negativity. This first one is possibly the most powerful idea to come out of positive psychology. It's the concept of the Positivity Ratio and the upper limit of positivity, which can be measured as both positive thoughts and feelings, as well as whether you're curious or defending your point of view, and/or focused on yourself or on those around you. To flourish, you, your relationship, your business, or your coaching, needs at least a three-to-one ratio of positivity to negativity. AND there's an upward limit around eleven-to-one, beyond which things go down fast. So, if you're a Law of Attraction Nazi, or if you focus only on the good stuff in coaching, stepping over the problematic stuff, or if you relentlessly reframe problems into opportunities, or (as one of my clients famously put it) FLO's (F*cking Learning Opportunities), you may hinder, rather than help your clients. (Read Barbara Fredrickson's Positivity.)

2. The Tyranny of Mild Praise. This one also comes from positive psychology and it's about relationships. Let's face it, the relationship between coach and client does much of the coaching for us. Therefore, the concept called, Active Constructive Responding (ACR), is critical. What is ACR? It's an over-the-top form of acknowledgment that includes positive tone of voice (genuine excitement, awe, wonder), positive body language (smiling, eye contact, touching), repeating the specifics of what the other has said, commenting on it's importance to the other, suggesting a celebration; all of which leads to flourishing within the relationship. NONE of the other types of responses, including Passive Constructive Responding (Flat tone of voice, general praise, "That's nice."), Passive Destructive Responding (ignoring, changing the subject, turning away), or Active Negative Responding (showing concern, pointing out problems); I repeat, none of these promote relationships. In fact they ALL have a negative impact on relationships, which obviously can negatively impact coaching. I've listened to thousands of coaching sessions over the years. Even "good" coaches tend to rely heavily on Passive Constructive Response, or a hybrid of ACR and PCR, which  clearly limits the value of their coaching. ACR can be a challenge to weave into coaching and for some of us, it's a challenge to make it truly genuine, but master coaches do it all the time. For others, over-using ACR (see above) damages our credibility. This is a tool that we can't afford not to master. (Read Martin Seligman's Flourish.)

3. Change Your Brain to Change Your Mind. This one comes from neuroscience and it has profound implications for positive psychology coaches, as well as every other type of coach. As members of my positive psychology course know, the Positivity Ratio can be used to measure and increase your current potential for flourishing and it'sa nifty coaching tool. There are also tools, founded in modern neuroscience, that can change the brain to sustainably increase peace, happiness, love and other elements of positivity. Literally, you can grow some areas of your brain so that they become more dominant, relatively permanently. And over-developed areas that may be problematic (such as the over-sized amygdala of those who suffer from anxiety) can shrink, again causing sustainable change. Change your brain; change your life for good. I just took a neuroscience seminar on this, but you can read more about it. (Read Rick Hanson's Buddha's Brain.)

4. Coaching's Not Complete If It's Not Integral. I'm taking a course from Integral Philospher, Ken Wilber. Some people say he's the most important philosopher since Plato, but that statement begs an argument, so I won't say it. Suffice it to say, if you don't know his work, your evolution may be stymied. And that of your clients, as well. As coaches, we say our clients are whole, complete and perfect. Trouble is, we may be blind to some of that perfection. And our clients almost certainly are. Blind spots make trouble (see #5, below). Wilber's Integral Model, known as AQAL, is an elegant map that streamlines how we know anything and how we evolve. It's closely aligned with Spiral Dynamics, which I'll be teaching next month. But AQAL goes even further. The AQAL Map is a beautiful tool to use when helping our clients design accountability structures, supportive systems, environments and strategic habitats (or whatever you prefer to call them). With AQAL, we can easily see if we're leaving anything out, or if the client is blind to some aspects of reality (almost everybody is). Plus, we have an evolutionary framework. It makes the complex simple, when you understand it. I'll be teaching an introductory course on integral coaching soon, but start reading books on Integral Theory now. (Read Wilber's simplest book, Integral Vision.)

5. All Coaching is Shadow Coaching - Or Should Be. My first lesson from Zen Master, Genpo Roshi, included a joke - on us. To paraphrase, he said (with a laugh), evolved people like to say they're whole, complete and perfect, except the parts they don't like about themselves. But you can't be complete without all of it! So what parts of yourself don't you like? The part that overeats? The part that's naive? The part that gets tongue-tied at parties? It's not those parts that keep you fragmented, it's the fact that you try to disown them. Then they become blind spots, which grow into shadows, which undermine and sabotage you. That's what fragmentation really is. For many people, the first step toward wholeness is integration of the parts they formerly disliked. That's the underlying cause of stuckness and it keeps coming back until all aspects of the self are integrated (or Integral). Some people are so fragmented that they lose the ability to choose wholeness. That's what is known as mental illness and I'm not suggesting that shadow coaching can cure that. But even healthy people have shadows and we can choose to integrate them with assistance from a skilled coach.  I use this approach in my Great Self Coaching. Genpo Roshi is incredibly masterful at it from a Zen perspective. (Read Genpo Roshi's Big Mind/Big Heart.)

6. Your Business Model May Be Too Infantile to Last. I've also been studying Adizes Management Methodology of late. Ichak Adizes is a legendary management consultant who deftly identified several different stages of a business life cycle. His theory explains, among other things, why the US Government is floundering these days (no, it has nothing to do with Republicans vs. Democrats). One thing that strikes me about it is that most coaches base their businesses on one of three early-stage levels and expect their businesses to continue at that stage forever. It won't happen. I'm happy to say, I saw this even before I studied Adizes and I'm ready for it. I'll write more at length on how you can design your business to last in a future post. But this issue could explain why our industry is so successful, but some coaches never enjoy that success. (Read Ichak Adizes' Corporate life cycles)

We all have access to too much information these days. But there really is no substitution for knowing the right stuff.

Topics: coaching business, Coaching, Coaches, Law of Attraction, master coach, Great Self Coaching, Spiral Dynamics, Ken Wilber, Genpo Roshi, Big Mind Big Heart, Integral Philosophy, acknowledgment, coaching tool, Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman

Life Coach Salary Rate: the Free Guide to How Much Coaches Make

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life Coach Salary Free eBookHave you ever wondered about life coach salary rates or how much money executive or business coaches make? Or are you setting up a coaching business and wonder how to set your own coaching fees? Or are you wondering if you should become a coach? If you said YES to any of these then you need to read the new information-packed FREE eBook: Life Coach Salary.

We took several of our most popular coaching blog posts and added the 'How to Set Your Coaching Fees' worksheet, previously only available to SCM students. Then we combined them into an information-rich free ebook. It's a quick read that will help you understand how much professional coaches make, how coaches set up their businesses for profitability and how to set your coaching fees with confidence.

Let's face it, confusion is the enemy of success. This free eBook can wipe out your confusion about coaching costs and help you take the next step toward becoming a successful life, business or executive coach.

You'll learn:

  • Worldwide trends in executive, business and life coaching
  • How much do executive, business and life coaches make?
  • How many clients does the average business, executive or life coach have?
  • Why every coach needs a steady paycheck
  • Why coaching costs so much
  • Why setting your fees too low can backfire for you and your clients
  • How to set your coaching fees so your clients get what they want and your coaching business is successful
I reference large-scale coaching surveys from the ICF and Sherpa Coaching, plus information on setting fees from three top mentor coaches, Donna Steinhorn, Barbra Sundquist and Mattison Grey.

If you want a full coaching practice, you can't afford not to read the FREE Life Coach Salary eBook:

Get the FREE Life Coach Salary eBook

 

Topics: business coach, coaching business, executive coach, coaching blog, mentor coach, become a coach, Free, ICF, Life Coaches, life coach salary, Mattison Grey, How to, Donna Steinhorn, Barbra Sundquist

3 Reasons to Not Participate in Affiliate Marketing Programs

Posted by Julia Stewart

Affiliate marketing programs

This Spring I made a conscious choice not to participate in an affiliate marketing program that made School of Coaching Mastery some money last year. In fact, I've decided to avoid future telesummits and most marketing partnerships that come my way and...maybe it's none of my business, but I think you should, too. Here's why...

Actually first, let me answer the question, "What is an affiliate marketing program?" Affiliate marketing programs are strategic partnerships which "leverage the power of the list", meaning they leverage the combined power of mailing lists when two or more coaches/internet marketers/gurus team up to promote products. A key example of this is the coaching telesummit, which usually offers free teleclasses or webinars, that upsell to paid information products. 

Number 1 Reason to Avoid Affiliate Marketing Programs: The program may benefit you financially in the short run, but be a disservice to your clients and members of your mailing list...and that could be a financial disservice to you in the long run. 

Here's an example: Recently, a client of mine mentioned something that he could use that a coaching colleague of mine does very well, so I mentioned her to him, not for an affiliate fee, but because I know she could help in this area. My colleague happens to be involved in a lot of telesummits. My client was already familiar with her and said, "No thanks. I used to be on her list, but I got bombarded by email marketing messages from her and from a lot of other people, as well, so I unsubscribed from all of them." He was tired of getting several marketing come-ons everyday. They were confusing and annoying and turned him off from potentially working with this talented coach. Now, I've decided not to recommend her anymore. That's what I mean about affiliate marketing being a disservice to your potential clients and ultimately to you, as well.

Number 2 Reason to Avoid Affiliate Marketing Programs: Unless you know all the people involved in the program, you may inadvertently be recommending low-quality products and services that reflect poorly on you. In my case, if a fellow coach, who has a track record for only recommending the best, recommends someone to me, I follow up on that recommendation and if it turns out well, I think even more highly of them. But if a colleague recommends a coach who disappoints, I think a little less of both of them and I make a mental note to ignore future recommendations.

For example: Last year, I signed up School of Coaching Mastery as an affiliate of a large coaching summit, because some good people were involved. I emailed my list to try out the free teleclasses and I tried out some of them, myself. With only one exception, I thought the teleclasses were just the usual cr*p. Several of my students mentioned being disappointed by them, as well. 

Here's something you need to know: once you decide to become a professional coach, you are ripe for the picking by untold numbers of coaches, consultants, marketers, webmasters, trainers and more, who know you're going to need products and services to build your business. There are a handful of folks who do extraordinary work...and there are thousands of me-too folks who want a piece of the action, even if they have nothing of real value to offer. Too often, telesummits are larded with the latter.

The telesummit in my example was well designed and they paid promptly. It was just enough money for me to consider doing it again, but it didn't pass my personal test for whether I should market something: Does it offer genuine value to my clients and potential clients? Or will it likely confuse them, waste their time, or talk them into buying services that aren't useful?

Number 3 Reason to Avoid Affiliate Marketing Programs: You may waste your own time and never get paid. Last year I was contacted by a coach I knew via social networking who pitched a product to me that she said would help my students. Normally, I would have ignored an email like that, but a student of mine had just ask me if something of that sort was available, so I checked it out. It was business-management software for coaches that included a coaching website. It looked pretty slick, so I agreed to talk to her about it.

Long story short: she offered me a free membership and what seemed like a great affiliate opportunity and it really looked like it would be helpful to my students. I spent six months promo-ing what I called a coaching-business-in-a-box to my mailing list. Quite a few people signed up, although a few of them told me they didn't like it, because it was too clunky and they could do the same tasks more easily without it. I eventually dropped it for the same reasons and...the company never paid me. I emailed the owners about it a couple of times and they never even replied to my emails! In my book that is: Really. Bad. Business. So now they're on my sh*t list and maybe, just maybe, I'm on someone else's list because I recommended them. I can say I'm sorry, but it might be too late.

So there you have 3 reasons to think twice before participating in affiliate marketing programs. Because they may be a disservice to your clients, or reflect poorly on you, or simply give you a lot of unpaid work to do.

It may surprise you (or maybe it won't) that School of Coaching Mastery has its own affiliate marketing program. Why?

Well here's an example: recently, a former member asked me if he could join my affiliate marketing program for Coach 100, because, as he said in his message to me, “Coach 100 was the best thing I ever did to get off to a fast start in my coaching business!” He knows me, knows the program and has seen the results and wants to share it. That's the kind of referral that works well for everyone involved and I'm happy to pay a fee to members who recommend us.

But here's the thing: you can make more money and experience more fulfillment by coaching your own clients. Recommend others based on value and supplement your coaching income by serving instead of leveraging a marketing scheme.

If you'd like to know more about Coach 100...

Download Your Free Coach 100 eBook

 

Topics: coaching business, School of Coaching Mastery, Coaches, Coach 100, coaching clients, webinar, testimonials, teleclass, Marketing for life coaches, marketing, internet

Life Coach Fail: Are You an Unpaid Helpaholic?

Posted by Julia Stewart

life coach fail

A good life coach can be everybody else's best friend and their own worst enemy if they don't know how to say NO at the right times. Why? Because people will naturally want your help and will eventually, accidentally even, suck you dry. (Imagine what would happen to Sookie Stackhouse if she didn't take a "Back off!" attitude towards most vampires.)

A dried-up grape = a raisin. A dried-up coach = useless.

But saying NO requires discipline, because it feels good to help. And it feels really good to help for free. And it's real easy to get clients when you're doing a great job of helping everybody for free. But it's unprofessional.

Charity is a beautiful thing under the right circumstances. Coaching isn't one of them.

Charitable coaching is unprofessional, because when you coach clients for free, or for too little, it undermines their potential. People play small when they don't have enough skin in the game. That's just how we're wired.

It feels challenging - scary even - to ask people to pay for coaching. But get paid you must, unless you're independently wealthy. So that's another reason why coaching for free is unprofessional.

Here's a third reason why coaching for free is unprofessional. It allows YOU to play small, because coaching for free lets you off the hook when it comes to delivering great value.

I'm not saying that coaches should never coach for free of low fee. It's okay to do that at first (I even recomemmend it), or later if you're changing your business, but be sure you know what you're getting in return, such as experience, learning, referrals, or something else that will pay off in the long run.

Bottom Line: People reach their Greatness when they are givers, but you can receive even while you're giving. And if you don't receive for your coaching, the other people (a.k.a. your clients) won't reach their Greatness.

And isn't Greatness what coaching's all about?

Get Paid to Coach. Join Coach 100. 

Image by Bradleygee

Topics: coaching business, life coach, Coaching, coaching clients, Free, life coach salary, greatness, getting clients

How Do You Brand a Coaching Business When It's Not All About You?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Your coaching business is all about your clients, not you. So how do you market and sell Brand YOU? Below is an info graphic with some of the secrets of branding in today's world.

At the bottom is a link to register for the new Q&A class called, "What Adele Can Teach You About Marketing". Learn the subtleties of branding when it's about you, but it really isn't. We'll look at some of the ways the singer, Adele, has mastered this for mega-success. And if you'd like to attend this one-time-only class for free, help us promote the class on Facebook or Twitter and we'll thank you with a guest pass!

infographic Branding 02 resized 600 resized 600

Branding a coaching business is subtle. The success of mega-star, Adele, can teach you some lessions about branding. If you'd like to join the upcoming class, click below. To get it for free, join School of Coaching Mastery on Facebook or @MasteryCoach on Twitter and share or RT our announcements about this one-time-only class. We'll give you a guest pass to say, "Thanks!"

Join What Adele Can Teach You About Marketing

Topics: coaching business, coach training, School of Coaching Mastery, coaching class, marketing and sales, coach marketing, marketing

Beyond Selling Your Coaching: The Art of Asking

Posted by Julia Stewart

Sales-impaired coaches sometimes hide behind the yuck-factor and claim they don't have enough clients, because they hate to sell. That's a lie.

Not selling your coaching boils down to one thing: your refusal to own your own fear and vulnerability.

Sure, integrity and sales skills matter, but there's a risk you'll be judged when you sell something intangible like coaching and it's safer to hide.

Learn from the 8-foot bride, the art of asking. Then challenge yourself to trust that much.

Topics: coaching business, Coaching, coaching clients, TED, sales and marketing coaches, sales training for new coaches, Brene Brown

Life Coach Salary: 15 Reasons Your Coaching Fees Are Too Low

Posted by Julia Stewart

 

Life Coach Salaryby Julia Stewart, MCC

Last night, I taught a Q&A tele-webinar on How To Set Your Coaching Fees for my clients, students and guests. They asked great questions and I know the class was a real eye-opener for them.

The class was inspired by questions from one of my Elite Mentor Coaching for High Achievers clients and is also included for members of the new Just In Time Coach Training and other School of Coaching Mastery Programs.

Bottom line? Life coaching is an expensive, highly personalized,  high-end service. Attempts to make coaching more affordable and hopefully, easier to sell, tend to fail. Compass Coaching is an example. All logic to the contrary, sometimes a service sells more easily when it's expensive. (Just ask a behavioral economist how logical people are about spending money!) And of course, all of this applies to business coaching and executive coaching, as well.

Long story short: if you missed the tele-webinar, or even if you were there, here's a list of 15 reasons your coaching fees are probably too low. I've divided the list between A. Your probable reasons for undercharging, B. Why that doesn't work for your clients, and C. The reality check. I hope it's helpful!

A. Why You Charge Too Little For Your Coaching:

  1. You don't see the value in coaching. This is way more common than you might think. In fact I didn't see it until I'd been coaching a while. What changed? I worked with incredible mentor coaches who helped transform my life. Then I watched myself transform my clients' lives. Then my clients started saying things like, 'If I weren't paying you $350, I'd find a way to pay you $10,000!'
  2. You have a disempowering story about why people won't pay you more. Yes, a lot of people have been out of work for a long time. But 90% are still working and many of those are making more money than ever. And coaching continues to be the 2nd fastest growing profession in the world. But those are generalizations. The truth is, people who see for themselves the value in coaching will find the money to pay for it. For example, if you're a career coach who has a great track record helping people get hired, an unemployed person will pull together the money to hire you.
  3. You're trying to sell coaching to people who don't value it. For one person, $25 per month will be too much to pay for coaching. But for someone else, anything less than $500 may be too little, because they want the best coach they can afford. Like it or not, people frequently measure how valuable something is by how much it costs. And in the case of coaching, clients actually put more effort into their own results when they pay more, because they want their money's worth. So don't waste time on the 'client' who's interested in coaching with you, but not interested in paying, unless you sense they are that rare person who will knock themselves out even if you coach them for free - and you really want to coach them.
  4. You don't think you're worth it. Okay, let's say you're a new coach and you've seen the credentials and track records of your competition. Pretty intimidating? It may be tempting to compete on price, but will that really satisfy you? A better strategy is to do everything in your power to get results and credentials as quickly as you can, so you can compete, period. Coach a lot of people for free for a set period of time, but be sure each client knows you want a testimonial from them in exchange. Become a certified coach quickly. Join the IAC and ICF.
  5. You're trying to coach too many people. When I first became a life coach, I thought 30-40 clients was a full coaching practice. And to make a good living, I really did need a lot of clients, because I was only charging $100-200 per month for each. That left me in a chronic state of always needing more clients. I wish someone had told me that most successful coaches have less than ten clients
  6. You don't know how much money you need to make. As I showed my class last night, your coaching fees aren't your life coaching salary. When you subtract the money it takes to make money, including your business expenses, taxes, and benefits you'd normally get from a salaried position, it takes a lot more money than you might think, especially if you only have 6 clients. Be sure you do the math.
  7. You want to coach low-income people who could benefit from coaching. Nothing wrong with that, unless you put yourself out of business. Better to charge a fee to most of your clients that's high enough to allow you to offer some scholarships. You can also volunteer your coaching services to an organization that provides coaching to low-income people.

B. Why Charging Low Fees Doesn't Work For Your Coaching Clients:

  1. People perceive life and business coaching as a highly-personalized, high-end, expensive service. That's what they're looking for and it's usually what they want to buy. When you charge less, you look like a bargain-basement coach (who may deliver bargain-basement results). One-to-one coaching delivers dramatic results and if the price tag is inconsistent with that, you run the risk of confusing people (and confused people don't buy).
  2. When people buy a high-end service, they're saying to themselves, 'I'm worth it!' That feeling is what they want. And when someone decides it's time to get a life coach to help them upgrade their life, that feeling is a big part of their resolve. They may actually be disappointed if you don't charge enough to make a statement that from now on, things will be different for them.
  3. People want their money's worth, so the more they pay, the more value they'll get. Your high-paying clients will work harder and achieve more. And you'll be less likely to slack off, too. As one of my colleagues told me, every time she signs on a client with her new higher fee, she thinks, 'Holy crap! Now I have to deliver that much value!' and that's a good thing.
  4. Your clients deserve better service from you. I tell my clients that it's my goal to give them exactly what they need. They're all high-achievers, so I'm confident they won't become needy just because I'm extremely supportive. But a coach who's trying to make a living with 30 low-paying clients is spread too thin between serving clients and constantly needing to market and sell in order to keep the numbers up. That means less attention for each client. And it may mean that you're needy, because you always need more clients. A needy coach is never at her best.

C. The Reality Check:

  1. Coaches worldwide average around $200 per coaching hour. Even if you choose to discount your fee, you don't need to charge a lot less than that.
  2. According to Sherpa Coaching, most professional coaches average just six clients per week. That means each client needs to pay a hefty fee in order for the coach to earn a substantial salary.
  3. Even if you have only 5-10 coaching clients, you will need to spend some time and expense on marketing and sales and you need to be paid for your entire week, not just the time you spend coaching.
  4. When you add up what it costs to be in business, including business expenses, income tax, retirement investments and, if you live in the US, health insurance premiums and 100% of you Social Security and Medicare payments, you may find that earning a $100,000 take-home salary from coaching may easily require $150,000 in annual income.

Well there you have 15 reasons why your life coaching fees are probably too low. What are you going to do about it?

Set your coaching fees with confidence. Get the new FREE eBook:

Get the FREE Life Coach Salary eBook

 

Image by richiemontalbo

 

Topics: professional coach, coaching business, life coach, executive coaching, money, mentor coach, coaching clients, ICF, Business Coaches, life coach salary, Life Coaching, IAC

Life Coach Salary: How to Set Your Coaching Fees

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life Coach Salary

 

Post by Julia Stewart, MCC

A really cool problem to have (in the sense that it's the kind of problem you WANT to have) is to not know how to set your life coaching fees (or business or executive coaching fees, as the case may be).

There are many approaches to setting your coaching fees, some psychological (what's the highest fee you can say out loud without gagging?) to financial (how much do you need to cover your business and living expenses, plus benefits, etc.?) to whimsical (how much do you WANT to charge?).

What most new coaches really want to know is, 'Am I worth it?', 'Am I credible?', 'Will they laugh at me?' These are great concerns to talk about with your mentor coach.

If you don't have clarity about your fees, you probably won't sign on paying clients. Either people will shy away, because you seem uncertain, or you'll hold back on offering your services, because you're confused. That's expensive, so get it cleared up.

One of my EMCHA clients asked me about this recently and I decided to design a class for him that covers it thoroughly, because coaching around a topic like this is important, but sometimes some plain, old-fashioned information helps, too.

This live one-time-only class is free to SCM members and it's also available for a small fee to others.

[UPDATE: This class is now over and is no longer available to non-SCM coaches. However, you can learn some of what we covered by downloading the FREE Life Coach Salary eBook, below]

Learn to set your coaching fees with confidence here:

Get the FREE Life Coach Salary eBook

Topics: business coach, coaching business, life coach, executive coaching, money, coach training, life coach salary

Why the Best Life Coaches Don't Offer Money-Back Guarantees

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life Coach Money Back GuaranteeThis week, a new life coach asked me whether she should offer a money-back guarantee. Some life coaches (as well as other personal coaches, like business and executive coaches) offer money-back guarantees to make it easier to close sales. The thinking is that few people ever ask for their money back, so you'll increase your sales and make more money.

That approach makes sense if you're selling flashlights, but if you're pouring your heart and soul into a personalized relationship that leads to extraordinary results for your coaching clients, the unintended consequences may outweigh any extra sales you make.

Below are some of those consequences and a suggestion for what to offer, instead. But decide for yourself. No one approach is right for every coaching business.

As I said above, the plus side of offering a money-back guarantee is that it can make it easier to 'sell' your coaching, initially. The big minus is that your clients may be less invested, both financially and emotionally. Clients who are highly invested get the best results and stay month after month, which increases your income without the pressure to constantly make sales, and it increases your clients' satisfaction, too. I call this 'the sweet spot'.

Un-invested clients get poor results and tend to ask for their money back. I learned this the hard way when I was a new coach who offered a money-back guarantee. One of my new clients quit after a month and told me the only reason she signed up was because she knew she could get her money back. You'd better believe I felt burned.

Which would you rather have: Fewer sales or more clients, but no more money? Actually, getting burned is the least of the negative consequences that stem from offering money-back guarantees for professional coaching.

Here's a bigger one: Anyone who decides to go after a big goal will have at least one crisis of confidence along the way. And people who hire professional coaches are going after big goals.

A crisis of confidence sounds something like this: 'Oh my God, I'm making a huge mistake! I just spent thousands of dollars on a life coach so I can reach my dreams. Who am I to think I can do that? And all my coach does is ask questions!? My wife will kill me if I waste that money. My friends will laugh at me if I fail. I'll feel like a loser for the rest of my life...I'd better ask for my money back and forget the whole thing. (For a real-life example of a dream nearly derailed by this type of thinking, read how Olympic Gold-Medalist, Gabby Douglas almost quit qymnastics a few months before winning the all-round female gymnist title.)

When you offer a money-back guarantee you're promising to pay your client when s/he inevitably chickens out.

The irony of money-back guarantees is that they can communicate confidence from the coach. But the most confident coaches I know don't offer them - because they don't need to. Their clients sing their praises for them and that carries much more weight than a guarantee. If you don't have great testiminals, reviews, ratings, certifications, referrals or buzz yet, maybe a money-back guarantee will help you get started.

Instead, I use what I call a Value-Back guarantee. If a client isn't completely satisfied, they're encouraged to tell me asap and together we'll design a plan for them to get the value they paid for. Both coach and client win and this way. Not only does the coach make more money, but s/he learns how to serve more clients better and the great outcomes that clients get result in testimonials, buzz, and referrals that make sales much easier than will any guarantees. (I use this approach for School of Coaching Mastery, too.)

Does this mean it's always wrong to give back a client's money? No, sometimes you may find yourself trying to coach someone you just can't help. That could drain you and your business and make it harder to serve your other clients. If you wind up firing a client, giving their money back may makes sense. (Here are some tongue-in-cheek examples of coaching clients that might need to be fired.)

Here's my last word on life coach money-back guarantees: As attractive as they sound, the truth is, no serious client really wants their money back. What they want is to get what they paid for in the 1st place. If you give back their money, both of you failed. If you work together to give them what they paid for, you both succeed.

What are your thoughts on life coaches offering money-back guarantees? I welcome disagreements! If you offer a money-back guarantee, how is it working for you? If you don't, why not?

If you have questions about launching a successful coaching business, you're in luck! The next Coaching Groundwork Advanced course is about to start and it's designed to answer your questions, so you get off on the right foot:

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Topics: professional coach, coaching business, executive coach, School of Coaching Mastery, Coaching Groundwork, coaching clients, coaching success, Business Coaches, Life Coaches, personal coaching

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