The situation I’m about to describe happens with unhappy frequency to coaches who are trying to make coaching pay: They’ve got a client in the offing and they’re very excited, they are finally on their way to becoming a full-time coach – but, what about fees?

Then, the client comes back with ‘I think your fees are too high’, or worse, says ‘HOW MUCH?!’ when the coach sets their fees. What does the coach do?

A Race To The Bottom

Dropping your fees, like coaching for free, never works out the way you thought it might. Actually, let me rephrase that; it never works out in the way you justified it to yourself when you were slicing chunks off your fees.

Coaching isn’t cheap. It isn’t supposed to be cheap – part of the accountability is in the client having skin in the game. I’ve personally had clients who have said that they achieved milestones because, even though they were finding it challenging, they weren’t ‘prepared to waste their money’.

If the coaching game was about who charges least, then none of us would be making a living. Dropping your fees is not the answer.

How Do I Justify My Fees?

It’s simple. You don’t.

If you have profiled your client properly, you will have set your fees accordingly. Your fees will reflect the value of the outcome your client can expect to achieve from working with you. The more experienced you become, the more outcomes you can point to, the higher your fees.

There are two ways that coaches mess this up.

One is to decide that they need to earn £X.XX and so they set their fees accordingly. This doesn’t take into account the ability of their profiled client to pay.

The other is that they think “I wouldn’t pay £X.XX, so why would anyone else”. This is the coach who fails to understand the importance of profiling their client.

(A potential third way is when you are delivering someone else’s stuff and they set the price. Unless they have carefully profiled the client, this doesn’t work. Back to those overseas organisations with ‘proven systems’.)

My Client Can’t Afford My Fees

If your client tells you that they can’t afford your fees, what does that say to you? A) Your fees are too high? B) You didn’t profile your client properly? or C) Your client doesn’t see the value in what you’re offering?

This is actually a trick question, because the answer could be B or C – it is rarely A.

If it’s B, you need to revisit your client profile.

If it’s C, you need to revisit your marketing message.

The Value Of A Mentor In The Fee-Setting Process

Sometimes, setting appropriate fees can feel overwhelming. Our mind monkeys come to the fore and imposter syndrome kicks in; “I can’t possibly charge £X.XX I’m not good enough”.

If you selected A, B or C in answer to the question in the last section you may well need some help.

This is where it is SO useful to have a mentor. A mentor can help you recognise both the mind monkeys and imposter syndrome for what they are – limiting beliefs. Isn’t it interesting that although we can see limiting beliefs in others, we can rarely see them in ourselves? Mentors can help you to identify priorities too.

If you’d like to talk about having mentoring from The Coaching Revolution mentoring collective, why not book a time to talk to me? We can have an informal chat about you, your coaching practice to date and where you want to go. No obligation on either side.

Here’s a link to my diary.