I have been reading some musings of coaches in a few groups I belong to. One in particular that made me blink in surprise was one coach who said ‘my ideal client simply can’t afford a professional rate of £xx so I’m having to drop my prices’.

The reason I blinked in surprise is that if they can’t afford to pay you, what is it about them that you think is ideal?

What Is An Ideal Client?

First and foremost, an ideal client is someone who can and will pay a professional rate for your coaching services.

There’s nothing ideal about a client who can’t pay. If they can’t pay, they won’t ever actually get to be a client, will they?

It doesn’t matter how passionately you feel about wanting to help someone, if they can’t pay you, they’re not an ideal client. It isn’t that they’re not worthy as a client, there is no value judgement in my saying that they’re not an ideal client.

Pro-Bono Coaching

Let me jump in here and talk about pro-bono coaching.

There is obvious merit in pro-bono coaching both in terms of the benefit to those who couldn’t otherwise afford coaching and in terms of the feel-good factor it induces in you, the coach.

However – and this is really important – you can’t build a financially sustainable business on pro-bono coaching.

If there is a particular group you want to coach for free, that’s wonderful, but remember that a coach who is dreadfully worried about paying their bills is not a coach who can be present in the moment with their client.

Find Paying Clients First

Just like the air steward’s instruction to put your own mask on before helping others on with theirs, you need to cover your financial bases before you give your coaching away to a good cause.

Basically, to begin with, you are your good cause. Charity begins at home, right?

A Viable Ideal Client

Identifying a client who can and will pay is a chunky piece of work. It is however the very best piece of work you can do in terms of the financial viability of your business.

I’m going to outline the bare bones of it.

In order to be able to find that elusive ideal client, you need to identify a particular kind of person, with a disposable income that means they can afford your fee, and (and this is crucial) a problem that is so big that they will pay you to help them remove it from their lives.

To be clear, the problem has to be something that can be resolved with coaching. It has to be something that keeps them awake at 3am and it has to be something that impacts their lives so much that they need it to be gone.

What Kind Of Thing Constitutes A Problem?

The thing that keeps your potential client awake at night might be

  • a career-based problem
  • a relationship problem
  • a day to day life problem
  • a health problem
  • a parenting problem

You get the idea?

Whatever the problem is, I repeat that it has to be big enough that they will pay you a professional rate to have support to get rid of it.

What If My Ideal Client Works In A Corporation?

Interestingly, the same principle applies. You need to figure out what problem your potential client has that they’re prepared to pay to get rid of.

If you’d like to find out more about how this works, don’t forget that we can always chat. It costs nothing and it’s always friendly! You’ll find a link to book a call on most pages of our website.