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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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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?