Hey Coach - Pick a Number!
This blog is for newer coaches and more seasoned ones. If you are more seasoned (more than 3 yrs) scroll down, although you will get value in slowing down and reading all of this.
One of the number one questions coaches in the first 2-3 years of this profession want an answer to is:
What should I charge?
The (disliked) answer that I give is:
I don't know. What's your sense of what you should charge?
When we attempt to outsource this responsibility we miss something very important.
We miss the growth of navigating this question and determining our own answers - inside of us.
YOUR FEE is a STARTING point.
Our fees start where WE are. If we have little experience coaching and are really at the beginning of our professional journey, there's no "wrong" answer...$50, $100, WHATEVER - at the start. Your job at the start is to get practice coaching and get paying clients!
And because newer coaches like "being told answers" around this, here's something for you:
FEE GUIDELINES for NEWER COACHES
1. Pick a number that you can say without gagging or sweating profusely (because nobody wants, or hires, a nervous, sweaty, trembling coach. Nobody.). So pick a number, any number and relax! This is a beginning. As you work with a few clients and start to gain some experience and confidence, you'll start to think about raising your fees (It will happen, I swear).
Raising fees is a process, not an event.
2. Practice saying your fee anytime you are raising it. As Steve Chandler (the Godfather of Coaching and one of the guest faculty at the CFJ Coaching Success School) says, "You want to say your fee like you say your phone number" - meaning we don't cringe when we say our phone number and we don't keep it a secret!
3. Your fees are NOT a reflection of your worth and value as a person or as a coach. This isn't so much a guideline as a statement for you to remember and consider. Lower fees, higher fees, it's ALL part of the process in this profession!
MORE than 3 YEARS?
Now some of you are not newer coaches. Maybe you have been doing this for a few years and you are looking at raising your fees or wondering about it...
Here's a question more seasoned coaches often ask:
Should I raise my fees??
The (disliked) answer that I give is:
I don't know. There is no "should" in this business.
Then my answer is:
It depends. It depends on different things. Are you getting clients consistently at your current fee? Are you having the experience of your clients having transformational experiences, receiving great value?
A general guideline here is if all your clients are saying yes, it's time to raise your fees. If you are getting a lot of no's, it might not be time yet (or there are things not happening in your enrollment conversations that you need to work on).
Another thing to look at is are you earning an income as a coach that works for you and your life? Are you living life the way you want, paying your bills easily, saving appropriately, etc?
I'm not talking about having enough money to buy mansions or coach while living in Tahiti, which it can sometimes look like the profession of coaching is designed for based on what we see on Facebook or Instagram.
Don't get me wrong - there are coaches who earn a fantastic living as professional coaches. And if you are deeply called to work from Fiji, you can create that -
As Michelle Bauman, my business partner and best friend said over and over to coaches when she was alive, "This is a profession, not a lifestyle."
Creating significant earnings as a professional coach requires effort and willingness (FYI no 4 hour work weeks in my experience).
Here are a few guidelines for more seasoned coaches around fees:
1. Don't jump your fees so much that you are gagging or sweating profusely when you say them (because nobody wants, or hires, a nervous, sweaty, trembling coach. Nobody.).
2. Practice saying your new fee - in the car, in the mirror, as you open your refrigerator, etc). As Steve Chandler (the Godfather of Coaching and one of the guest faculty at the CFJ Coaching Success School) says, "You want to say your fee like you say your phone number" - meaning we don't cringe when we say our phone number and it's not a secret.
3. Your fees are NOT a reflection of your worth and value as a person or as a coach. Coaches are notorious for comparing themselves to other coaches (hello Facebook, Instagram, etc). As a good friend of mine says, "To compare is to despair".
Coaches despair over what other coaches charge, are outraged over what other coaches charge, and use what other coaches charge as evidence of their own unworthiness to be in this profession.
Repeat - NOT HELPFUL!!
Did you hear that?
At the CFJ COACHING SUCCESS SCHOOL
We talk about this. All of it - A LOT.
Because this is one of those areas that psych coaches out and that we make mean too much.
The area of fees can be "sticky" inside of us, it can put us in the arena of our own money stories and limiting beliefs.
Every live session at the CFJ Coaching Success School we do some work around the area of money and your relationship with money.
Because it helps. When a coach gets freer of their own money story they get more relaxed around fees, who they are, and what they offer.
A side benefit is they are also BETTER at serving their clients.
So that's it for now on the subject of fees, money, newer coaches, and more seasoned coaches.
Know that I love you and this profession. That's right- I love you and I might not even know you personally...so why on God's green earth would I say I love you???
(You might wonder- does she have boundary issues? Is Carolyn working through some deep-seated early childhood wounds or...??)
Nope. Well, maybe, it's possible, and generally - no.
I say this because I love anyone who is working to grow in this profession. This is a profession of serving people deeply in their professional and personal lives, in ways that change them forever.
I love you for putting yourself in this profession.
I love you for reading this long email.
I love you for being willing to look at your own internal areas of opportunity in service to growing yourself.
I'm rooting for all coaches everywhere. We say this at the CFJ Coaching Success School:
Every time one of us gets a client we all get a client.
Whether you ever come to the CFJ Coaching Success School or not, we all win when one of us serves someone well.
I'm rooting for YOU.
With loving encouragement, Carolyn
PS: here's a very short video of Crawford who attended the CFJ Coaching Success School in 2019. Listen to Crawford share about what happened for him: