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How to Fill Your Unused Coaching Capacity

October 11, 2018

Last week, we at Learning in Action, turned our attention to what we could do to help you fill your unused coaching capacity. (That time when you could be and would want to be coaching, if you had the coachees to fill it.) We are passionate about helping coaches thrive in their chosen profession.  

And we believe that both coachees and coaches can languish because of the challenges in finding each other. Marketing, sales and promotion are not necessarily a strong suit for many coaches. And most coachees don’t know the first thing about coaching, coaches, what they are looking for or where to find them.

That’s why we hosted our monthly podinar, Coaching At Capacity: How to Fill Your Calendar with Paid Coaching Time. We invited Chip Carter, Senior Advisor with LeaderJam and the Institute of Coaching, to talk with us about platforms that match coaches to coachees. If you’d like to watch and/or listen to our 90 minute conversation, you can tune in here.

Note: We’re grateful to Chip Carter for providing all the platform information in our podinar, and for verifying the information. This blog is based on that information.

 

Coach Platforms

Some of you reading this blog may have no idea what we mean when we talk about Coach Platforms. So here is a brief description that I’ve made up (because this space is so new I haven’t seen it referenced anywhere):

A coach platform is a platform that matches potential coachees (people who want coaching) with coaches.   

For purposes of this blog, we’ll focus on three primary types of platforms:

  • B2B (business to business)
  • B2C (business to consumer)
  • Coach companies


We’ll describe each of these types of platforms below and give examples.

 

B2B Coach Platform

B2B coach platforms match companies who want to offer coaching to their employees with coaches who they’ve invited onto their platform. Examples of B2B platforms include BetterUpCoaching Right NowProfitable Leadership, and LeaderJam, which is soon to be launched.
 

Platforms like these approach companies who want to create a consistent coaching program throughout their company but don’t have or want to invest in the expertise to do it themselves. Or companies who want to democratize coaching as part of their culture, and make it available to a broader cross-section of their employees.

Also, these platforms find coaches with excess coaching capacity who want to be part of their network of coaches. Many of these platforms are looking for coaches at all experience levels who have more coaching time than they can sell themselves. And because the prospective coachees in companies on the platform are at all levels of the organization, these platforms need coaches at all different price points (and therefore levels of experience).   

Each platform’s vetting of coaches is unique. For the most part, coaches submit information to these companies about their background, experience, education, certifications, credentials and areas of expertise. The platforms will perform some kind of interview and background check.

As a condition of bringing a coach into their network, the platform might require the coach to follow certain processes or procedures around coaching engagements and/or get some additional education in certain assessments they use frequently (e.g. MBTI, DISC, StrengthsFinder).

 

Side Note/Soap Box: Do yourself and everyone who would benefit enormously from working with you a favor! Discover, create, develop YOUR unique expertise in the coaching space. Determine a compelling way to articulate it. (Read my blog about it here.) You can focus on a specific target market (e.g. I focus on CEO/business owners); you can specialize in a type of coaching (e.g. wellness, Narrative, mindfulness, neuroleadership); you can develop an expertise that cuts across all coaching (e.g. Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Conversational Intelligence (CiQ), Neuroscience, Somatics). There are unlimited options. Use one of them!

 

Many of us got the impression from coaching school that we shouldn’t or need not specialize – which is the quickest way to commoditization of our industry, as far as I can tell. (You can even get your unique expertise from us at Learning in Action. We frame, teach, measure EQ like no one else on the planet. Learn more.)

B2C Coach Platform

B2C platforms create a marketplace for people who want coaches to find coaching. Examples of B2C platforms include LiveCoachAce-UpCoachMarket (focuses on career coaching).  

These platforms provide you with a place to list yourself and your work to be reviewed by potential coachees (either within companies or the public) for matching.  

The difference between B2C and B2B is that with B2C, you have to promote and differentiate yourself and you are effectively competing with many other similar coaches in the marketplace. A B2B platform will likely have fewer coaches than a B2C platform. It is in the best interest of those who run a B2B coach platform to curate the expertise and experience level of the coaches for diversity (and less overlap). 

While these platforms aren’t exactly TinderForCoaches, for coaches to be successful in gaining clients on these sites, they are going to need to either 1) stand out in some way – particularly in their unique experience, education, or expertise or 2) charge below what similarly experienced coaches charge. (Refer to SoapBox, above.)

Coaching Companies

These organizations are less of a coach platform and more of a company that hires coaches to be part of their team, full or part time. Examples include Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and LHH/Knightsbridge (which I believe has a strong focus on career transition). These are excellent organizations, IMO, and working with them would likely feel more like working for a company than working for yourself.  

Pros and Cons

The overview of these services provided by Chip Carter with LeaderJam lists the pros and cons of each type of platform and you can see them on this grid. In short, the more freedom you want, the more responsibility you have for promoting yourself. And the more money you want to make, the less freedom you are likely to have. And the better you are at articulating who you work with, what they get from your work and the reason to believe it’s true (because of your deep expertise and experience doing that), the more money you’ll make and the more freedom you’ll have. (Are you detecting a theme? 🙂 )

How to Pick a Platform

We asked Chip the question, “How does a coach pick one of these platforms? What are the factors they should consider?”, and he created this document for us. Thank you, Chip.  

I encourage you to read through the options, consider the pros and cons and determine the best answer for yourself. And I’m going to do something we coaches don’t usually do: give you some advice. (I’m cringing even as I write the word advice.) Here goes:

Choose the platform (or no platform) that will allow you to do the most coaching. 

The more coaching you do, the better you’ll get and the more likely you’ll be able to create a specialty and/or articulate an expertise. The more able you are to articulate exactly 1) what it is you do 2) who you do it for and 3) what they get from it, the more coachees you’ll attract. When you can articulate what you do, who you do it for and what they get from it in a compelling and unique way, you won’t need any of these platforms. You’ll need an assistant to keep all of your coachees and calendar organized!


Good luck!  And let us know how it goes.

Join the conversation.

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– Alison
Alison Whitmire
President | Learning in Action

 

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P.P.S. Do you coach teams? Do you want to?? It brings its own challenges. You asked for help to unpack teams – and now it’s available! The same EQ Profile that you rely on for individual coaching, can also be used for teams. We’ll answer your questions and clarify any confusion. Join us Wed. Oct 24th  live to ask whatever is on your mind about using the EQ Profile with Teams! Click for details and to register – FREE.

 

Not an EQ Profile practitioner? 
Click here for information on the EQ Profile. Too much to chew on? Click here for a Taste of the EQ Profile.

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Posted in: Business of Coaching|Growing Client Base|Industry|Learning in Action

How To Price Coaching: Your Responses

July 12, 2018

The topic of money is all too often taboo, including among executive coaches. How we price our services can feel like a touchy subject. (And we LOVE touchy subjects!)

We received a lot of positive feedback from our blog post about How to Price Coaching.

Still, perhaps because the topic is largely off-limits, only 22 readers responded to the blog’s anonymous survey. We’re grateful for those who took the time to answer our questions – thank you! And your responses were quite enlightening.

While the results from such a small sample of coaches don’t qualify as statistically valid, we found the answers intriguing and helpful. We hope you do, too.

Executive Summary:

The majority of respondents identify as executive coaches and work mainly one-on-one with their clients, who are C-suite and senior executives in businesses, large and small. The majority of coaches bundle their services in six and three month packages (41% do six months and 18% three months). Most packages include 360 feedback, one or more assessments and meeting with the client every other week.

As you might imagine, coaches reported quite a range of pricing for their packages, charging anywhere from $6,000 to $20,000 for a six-month package. A sizable minority of coaches charge a monthly retainer versus a package. One respondent reported charging $10,000 per month plus $25,000 if the client also wants an in-depth assessment/360. 

The average hourly rate (when calculated out roughly based upon time spent) across all respondents was $334/hour.   

While we didn’t get enough responses to know for sure, my sense is that the factors that impact the price a coach can command include:

  • The experience and/or credentialing of the coach
  • The size of the company sponsoring the client
  • The title/scope of responsibility of the client
  • The geographic market of the client.


The majority of coaches (54%) feel adequately paid, while a sizable minority (27%) felt (and IMO probably are) underpaid. Some respondents admitted that they could (and should) probably be charging more.

That’s about it for the results of the survey. And while we didn’t have the number of respondents we would have liked, based upon my experience, the results seem typical. I have many dozens of friends and colleagues who are coaches, and Learning in Action serves hundreds more coaches. And what I’ve been told by my friends, colleagues and coach clients is consistent with these findings.

Editorial Note:

I have a genuine passion for helping coaches to make a thriving living coaching. (And frankly, I’m still figuring out how best to do that.) In my opinion, for us coaches to make a thriving living coaching, it’s on us to:

  • Clearly and narrowly identify our target clients who we LOVE LOVE LOVE working with
  • Tailor our coaching, our development, our offering, our services to that target client in a way that meets their needs, uniquely and spectacularly
  • Bring more of ourselves to our coaching (That’s a much bigger topic than I can speak to here)
  • And/or create a program that we take clients through that consistently delivers extraordinary value (e.g. Tony Robbins and others)


And when we do these things and price for the value we are creating, we’ll make a thriving living coaching.  

I think many of us are scared to increase our price for fear that we couldn’t “do something” worth that.  

So, here is a thought experiment to consider: Identify a price at which you’d make a thriving living coaching, and then reverse engineer the experience you’d have to create for your client to be in fair exchange with that. We’d love to hear what you come up with.

I’ll be talking much more on these and related issues at the next podinar: “UnLearning Coaching: Challenging ‘the Rules’ to do More of What we Love.”

Join me for it and register here.


See Below for the Detailed Survey Results

 

Which best describes how you identify professionally?

 

 

Which best describes your main area of focus?

 

 

 

Which best describes the size of the organizations you most often work with?

 

 

 

Which best describes who you work with most?

 

 

Which best describes how you package your initial services? (i.e. for first time clients)

 

 

What’s included in your package of services?

 

 

What do you typically charge for your package of services?

Answers from our coach respondents varied widely, from a low of $125 per hour, to $30,000 for a package of unspecified services or duration.

The range of comments covered anywhere from $6000 for six months to $20,000 for six months.

One coach priced at $1000 a month for four 55-minute sessions.

Several coaches mentioned that they charge additional fees for assessments they offer.

Two respondents noted that they don’t offer packages.



How and when are payments made?

This question brought perhaps the most variety of responses, with the majority of coaches using their own unique timetable for billing. 

The answer with the most coaches responding in the same manner: Four respondents said payments are made twice: at the beginning and the end.

Three respondents said in thirds: at beginning, middle and end.

Nearly all else said once per month, varying when within the month.

Some coaches mentioned invoicing, but most did not specify how payments are made.

One respondent said payment schedules are determined individually with each client.



What is your average hourly rate?

Responses ranged from a low of $150 to a high of $1500 per hour, and all points in between. (Only one respondent reported an hourly rate over $1,000.)

The majority of coaches came in at $250, followed by $300 per hour.The average hourly rate across all respondents was $334.
 





Would you say that you feel…

 

 

Why do you feel this way – in regard to the preceding question?

“It’s what [my state’s] market will bear.”
“Coaching is a passion and I still find getting paid to do something I love to be quite a remarkable thing.”
“I cannot coach full time and earn my living.”
“I vary my rate by the client, both my interest and their budget. I am trying to have a diverse set of clients so I am willing to be flexible to diversify my client base.”
“I’m aware of what other coaches charge, because I have managed a coaching program in a company.”
“Other coaches and consultants seem to charge more and not lose clients over it.”
“[Because of my level of] experience and feeling that I undervalue myself.”
“Some of my clients tell me I under charge — my peers charge more.”
“Probably for the same reasons most of us undervalue ourselves… feeling like an imposter, not good enough, it’s challenging or measure.”
“It’s what I have read is the norm.”
“Feedback from clients is positive. No pushback re: fees.”
“I price my services at a level the folks I work with can afford and use sliding scale depending on the situation.”
“I think the whole coaching practice got priced too high. Are we really worth more than therapists – I think the executive coach range set the price and got carried into other levels of the organization.”
“I’ve been at this rate for a while and I am told I deliver big value. Also, my credentialing and certifications have continued to increase.”
“Fees are all over the map, and quite dependent on the client industry- so I flex to fit.”
“I think it’s time to raise my rates. And I would like to get into more team full day retreat facilitation for a chunk of change rather than just the hourly rate.”
“I really enjoy my clients and also want to make good $$$$.”
“Being in the market of education, this is what they can afford. I could charge more but I wouldn’t have the amount of work. I am working to change this model and educate educators/institutions on the importance of a coaching model for their school(s).”
“I’d like to select both ‘overpaid’ and ‘underpaid.’ Overpaid relative to what I think most C-suite coaches get paid. Underpaid relative to what else I do with my time at [my company]. (e.g., Finalist assessments on CEO searches).”
“I am very experienced and add a lot of value, so it is commensurate for my clients pay a premium for it.”
“My clients are happy and I get referrals.”




What else would you like to share?

“After an initial 3 month contract, I move to monthly upfront payments. These are less than 1/3 of the initial contract but do not include assessments. I feel the hourly rate is equivalent.”
“It is more difficult to gain access to clients who would pay higher rates in the international development world.”
“Coaching in organizations is more time consuming for the coach because there are so many additional meetings, such as chemistry meetings, negotiating the corporate contract, the 3-way meetings with the boss, etc. Coaches should anticipate this in their pricing.”
“Good work on this. Thanks for your efforts and information.”
“Focus on your niche. My niche is taming senior leaders who are perceived as abrasive. I also do facilitation of groups, conflict mediation, and training in cringe moment conversations. It is critical to have several assessment tool credentials such as the EQ Profile, 360 assessments, Myers Briggs etc. The more & varied the coaches arsenal of tools- the broader the opportunities. Multi industry work experience is a plus.”
“The survey is going to be misleading, the forced choice answer is problematic, often I felt I was misleading you.”
“Thank you for leading this discussion.”
“I have definitely tried out a few different package options over my years of coaching, and I also have had my clients for many many years.”
“Thanks for the article. It was great.”
“Even though I’m late, I would love to get the results of the survey!”



The thoughts shared with us were insightful and significant. We’re thankful for all the information gleaned that we now share with our larger readership.

Missed participating in the survey? It’s an ongoing topic. We’d still love to hear your thoughts! Share with us online.



Join the conversation. 

Button to click to share reader's thoughts on Facebook page.

 

P.S. Want to receive our blogs in your inbox? Subscribe to our Friday Conversations Blog.

 

P.P.S. Sometimes we need to break the rules to forge ahead. Learn why it’s important for the success of your coaching business. Register for our July 31st podinar, “Unlearning Coaching: Challenging ‘the Rules’ to Do More of the Coaching We Love.” Did we mention it’s FREE?

Not an EQ Profile practitioner? 
Click here for information on the EQ Profile. Too much to chew on? Click here for a Taste of the EQ Profile.

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Posted in: Business of Coaching|Industry

Our Favorite Books

September 25, 2012

This portion of our website is new. We hope to have this interactive so we can post items and invite you to do the same. We are beginning this with a list of some of the books we use often and find them highly relevant to Emotional Intelligence and the different dimensions of Emotional Intelligence. Please post your favorite books and tell us why they are most useful to you as a coach, consultant, or leader.

Jan Johnson

  • Daring Greatly
    Brene Brown, 2012
    Brene Brown has emerged as the international leader for her work in vulnerability and shame. She discusses the challenge and power in owning our vulnerability.  She says “to live in courage, purpose, and connection-to be the person we long to be-we must again be vulnerable. We must…show up and let ourselves be seen.”She says “We all have shame. We all have good and bad, dark and light, inside of us.” Developing Shame resilience is the answer. “Often not being good at vulnerability means that we’re damn good at shame.”
  • Facing Shame – Families in Recovery
    Merle Fossum and Marilyn Mason
    I have learned the power of shame in our lives through our work in Emotional Intelligence and how it can have a crippling impact.  I have read many books and for me, this is the best. It teaches us about shame, the power of shame in individuals and families. While this is written for therapists, it provides insight for all of us and gives some suggestions for facing our shame.
  • The Emotional Energy Factor
    Mira Kirshenbaum
    I found this book to have profound insight into emotional energy and emotional depletion, why emotional energy is critical to our well-being and ways to increase our emotional vitality. Her research with experts revealed that “physical energy can supply at most 30% of our total energy….the remaining 70%….must come from your emotional energy.”  I often recommend this to client’s who are challenged with low emotional vitality (Joy).
  • Listening To Bodies – A Somatic Primer
    Suzanne Zeman
    I love this book for its practical focus.  She says “The body is where we experience life.” Somatic work builds awareness and methods for effectively using our bodies, along with our minds, and emotions. This teaches the value of using the intelligence of our bodies to enhance our well-being.While this book is written for coaches, managers, and executives, the practical approach with focused practices makes it easy and helpful for anyone. It cuts to the chase on understanding and making it happen, now.
  • Coping with Anxiety
    Edmund Bourne
    Dr. Bourne says “25% of adults in the US suffer from anxiety at some time in their lives”. Anxiety gives the gift of clarity. When it is high, it can also be destructive, ranging from making it harder to think clearly to panic attacks.I like this book for its practical nature. It is an easy read and provides concrete ways to work with our own or our client’s anxiety.
  • Building Trust in Business, Politics, Relationships, and life
    Robert Solomon and Fernando Flores
    This is my favorite book on trust because it goes to the foundation of understanding trust and its nature. The writers define “authentic trust”, which they describe as “trust that is fully aware, cognizant of its own conditions and limitations, open to unimagined possibilities…based on choice and responsibility”.”Authentic trust is not a matter of feeling, but it is an emotional phenomenon, involving emotional skills. It is frank, even blunt, and nothing is more alien to it than cordial hypocrisy”. Authentic trust requires self-awareness, self-responsibility, and acknowledgement of the real risks of trust while choosing to authentically trust.

    Authentic trust is a way of living in relationship.

  • The Thin Book of TRUST: An Essential Primer for Building Trust at Work
    Charles Feltman
    I appreciate this book for its practical application for building trusting relationships.  It provides concrete ways to use in working with others. It is an effective primer. My caveat for recommending this is that these practical suggestions are implemented within the context of authentic trust, which is described in the book above.
  • Taming Your Gremlins- A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Your of Your Own Way
    Richard David CarsonI love this book.  It is an enjoyable read yet profound in its contribution to our self-awareness.  One reviewer said “Taming Your Gremlin is a great book because it helps us to confront our own demons and overcome them”. The writer’s voice is clear in describing our Gremlins and the many ways we tend to sabotage ourselves. He says it begins with noticing!  It also asks us questions about our own gremlins and how they show up.  It was very revealing.  This book is an easy, fast read that may provide you profound insights about yourself and be valuable in working with your clients

Ron Short

Founder and Senior Consultant

  • Incognito, The Secret Lives of the Brain
    David Eagleman, 2011Two quotations disclose why I’ve listed this book.  “Imagine that your desktop computer began to control its own peripheral devices, removed its own cover, and pointed its webcam at its own circuitry. That’s us.”

    Then, after reviewing considerable research, this: “… reality is far more subjective than is commonly supposed. Instead of reality being passively recorded by the brain, it is actively constructed by it.”

    We create our reality. Knowing this is the foundation of Emotional Intelligence. If you want to understand brain research that supports this proposition, Incognito is an excellent resource.

Jeannine Hall

Manager Client Services & Operations

  • Living in Balance: A Dynamic Approach for Creating Harmony and Wholeness in a Fragmented World
    Joel Levey, Michelle Levey and Dalai Lama (Jan 1998)This book is a great reminder of important “Self Care” principles, especially when work–life balance needs an adjustment. It can be read right through or put on the night stand for some meditative reading before going to sleep.  It is full of inspirational quotes that caused me to pause and do some reflection.
  • The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work
    Shawn Achor (Sep 14, 2010)Achor highlights the research that supports personal and professional development theories and ideas that many of us in the field have held for years. It is a fun read, validating and has some surprises.

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Posted in: Corporate|Industry|Learning in Action