A question often asked by new coaches is about the ethical way to charge for services. Let’s start with the what, and then look at the how to charge for services.
You should know what the CLIENT is worth per hour.
A simple rule of thumb is to ask the client what their perceived marketplace value is per hour and double it. For example, if the client feels they can value their time at $100 per hour, then you assume 60 minutes time spent for the coaching session and another 60 minutes for the subsequent self-assigned “homework” per week (or month). You therefore determine the coaching is worth the same; i.e. $200 per session.
You should know what YOU are worth per hour.
This is a number that depends on your level of experience, training, and credentials. Here are some facts and figures I’ve noticed:
- Male clients pay more than female clients.
- Executive clients pay more than business clients who, in turn, pay more than strictly life coaching clients.
- Clients pay more for a coach with many years of experience and higher levels of credentials.
- A CCNI life coach charges $150/hour on average (based on our 2016 survey).
- An ICF life coach charges $225/hour on average (based on their 2016 survey).
So, let’s settle on a ball-park beginning price of $100/hour. Before you are certified and/or credentialed, this might seem a bit high. (Those reading this article with more than three years of experience will see this number as ridiculously low.) Nevertheless, you need to KNOW that you ARE WORTH at least this much to the marketplace. If you have had basic coaching training and ANY level of experience, this is a fair price.
For most new coaches the problem is not earning the money, it’s getting the “paid” hours which will count toward your certification and/or credential. Here is my tip: Discount. Say to the client: “Well, my market value is $100 (or $200) per hour. Yet I’m still in training and really need the logged hours. So, I’ll give you a 40% (60%, 70%, 80%) discount.” Sure, you might be taking home only $20, but at least you have a paid coaching hour which you can put on your log.
Most typically, coaches offer bundled packages of several coaching sessions per month which are paid in advance and contracted for at least six months. I do none of these for reasons best left explained in another article. 😊
If you have specific questions or would like to share with me your experience with pricing, please contact me at:
Michael J. Marx, MBA, EdD, PCC, CPCC.
About the Author: Michael is a Professional Certified Coach with ICF specializing in business coaching and corporate consultation. Dr. Marx currently serves as the leader of the ICF ‘Global Community of Practice on Ethics.’ He also serves on their Independent Review Board and on the Ethics Code Review Team. Additionally, he is a past-president of Christian Coaches Network International and the author of Ethics and Risk Management for Christian Coaches (2016).