The big question: how do I pay for a coach?
It's no secret that coaching, especially private coaching, can carry a hefty price tag. That being said, there is actually a vast range of answers to the question "How much does it cost to hire a coach?"
Some coaches, especially ones who are very high profile, have decades of experience, or who are very exclusive with who they bring on as clients, charge up to 6-figures per client per year. I've heard of coaches who take on only 5 clients a year for US $100,000 each. At the other financial end, there are brand new coaches who are still finding their footing either as coaches, as business owners, or both, who will gladly take you on for a few months at little to even zero dollars, in exchange for the experience and a testimonial.
If you're seeking an experienced private coach with great client reviews who isn't Tony Robbins or Martha Beck, you can reasonably expect a 5-figure investment. Over the years, I’ve noticed that clients who are not fazed by the financial investment tend to not show up fully for the coaching process: they don’t do the homework, they drag their feet booking sessions, they are less willing to get vulnerable or stretch themselves.
Those clients who come to this work and invest at a level that establishes mental significance for them (REGARDLESS of what their disposable income is) are often the ones who experience the most transformation. They make sure to pay attention, to follow through on their actions, to put the teachings and discoveries into practical application, and to prioritize their growth and development.
If this investment causes you to feel uncomfortable, GOOD, it should. Typically private coaching is a significant financial commitment, and it should play a factor in how seriously clients take the work they’re entering into.
While this post could easily divert into a discussion on market value, how prices of coaching packages are calculated, fluctuations between what coaches charge regardless of experience, etc., I'm going to assume that if you're reading this, you currently are actively in the process of hiring a coach, you have an idea of what it will cost financially, and you're looking to get help around making that investment, so let's get you some ideas to get you going!
1) The Counter Offer
Offer to put down a deposit and commit to a manageable monthly payment, with the stipulation that boosting financial empowerment will be one of the main pursuits you focus your work on with your coach. This doesn't mean that you ask your coach to change her prices, it simply shuffles around the payment structure by which you fulfill the investment.
You might wish to use phrasing such as: “I don't believe I'm in a position to commit to the payment plan you've laid out, and as a way of demonstrating my commitment to this work, I'd like to propose this payment plan instead.”
2) Explore Employer Budgets
Reach out to your employer to better understand budgets that may be available for you to expense your coaching investment from. Often, private coaching can qualify as reimbursable (or partially reimbursable) professional development, education, even health and wellness expenses. Make sure that you can clearly articulate what you are seeking to gain from working with your coach, and how it relates to you being a greater asset to your company.
2A) Bring Your Coach to Work
Connect your coach to your employer to propose a coaching package for your entire team or department that includes an element of private coaching. Some coaches work with groups as well as private clients, and many would be open to putting together a package of workshops, group coaching sessions, private sessions, etc. You might not get as much of the private coaching as you would if you hired your coach personally, but if you are truly not in a position to invest in that way, this is a great way to still grow under the guidance of your selected coach, and to have your employer cover the financial investment.
3) Use Credit to Create Some Flexibility
Commit to the full investment, or a substantial portion of the investment using a credit card or personal loan so you can pay it off as you choose to. Not only will you be able to begin receiving coaching support right away, you’ll often get a discounted rate by paying in full (I offer my clients 10% off as an All-In Reward).
A powerful example of this I experienced a few years ago was when a woman who works as a public school teacher decided that she needed the coaching, she was motivated and ready to get started right away, and she wanted that 10% reward, so without any hesitation, she pulled out her credit card and gave it to me. She could have leaned into letting her wages or financial responsibilities or scarcity mindset dictate the decision to decline the offer entirely, to lean into her story of being an underpaid educator, or to try negotiating a lower price, or to wrestle with the stress of "How can I afford this?" - all of these would have been reasonable to expect to hear, but she chose instead to stand in her knowing she had the ability to pay off her investment over time and pay in full for 12 months of coaching.
4) A Second Discovery Call
Ask your coach for a second free discovery call, 15-30 minutes, where the focus is on coming up with a payment plan that works for both of you. It’s a very good chance your desired coach will be amendable to this idea, because if they have made the offer to you, they also believe that you would work well together and make real progress toward your goals.
This request demonstrates your willingness to 1) take action toward reaching your objectives, and 2) request and use support. Also, it allows your coach to actually coach you through a specific challenge to a desired outcome! (We love that stuff.)
5) Marie Kondo Your Life
Use this opportunity to release some material things in your life that are no longer serving you to pay for some or all of the investment. When you work with your coach, you’re going to practice releasing and shedding old habits, beliefs, and behaviors in exchange for ones that serve you better anyway, start this process of releasing + replacing by selling some physical items in exchange for money to make headway on your coaching investment. It’ll serve you financially, it’ll also feel like a weight has been lifted by intentionally parting with items that no longer serve.
Something to note is that this does not mean going and selling everything you own or your most prized possessions to get the most cash you can. This means really taking inventory of things that perhaps you’ve held onto thoughtlessly or out of habit, things that no longer have an active role functionally, aesthetically, or sentimentally, and selling them to allow them to serve someone else instead.
BONUS #1: Money Beliefs aka Money Mindset
Explore what this “I can’t afford this” thought really is saying. Examine the real implications of the decision to invest: will you be at a tipping point where your safety and security are at risk by hiring this coach, or will you be on a slightly tighter budget than you’d prefer? Clarity between preference, comfort, and actual financial ruin is powerful in making decisions like this.
BONUS 2! The *Actual* Cost
Evaluate the cost of NOT hiring a coach. People who hire coaches are at a point where they realize it’s time for something, or many multiple things, to change in their lives. They’re done with the results they’re getting, they’re tired of the ceiling that they’re bumping up against in their relationships, their work, their sense of Self and purpose, and time is ticking by staying right there every moment that something isn't done differently. Too often we evaluate our financial decisions from how low our bank balance will go, as opposed to what’s lost from staying running the old habits and routines we’re tired of running.
The most important thing is that, regardless of how you manage your financial investment, in order to get the MOST from your coaching work, show up, listen, get vulnerable and be willing to get uncomfortable as you grow, and put what you discover in your sessions with your coach into practice in your everyday life. The most overpriced coaching investment is one in which the client didn't follow through.