Building a Successful Life Coaching Business – Part 2
By Rachel Eva, Integrative Life Coach and Founder of Integrative Wellness Academy
Part 2 – Coaching Models, Pricing & Structure
Now that you have read Building a Successful Life Coaching Business – Part 1 and are in the process of setting up the foundational elements needed to have a successful life coaching practice, how do you figure out how to price your services?
There are a number of elements to consider as well as research before setting your rates, guidelines and service offerings. Here are a few concepts to help you do this –
- Niche or Demographic of Clients
Understanding who your potential clients are, what their needs might be and what rates they can afford are hugely important to consider as you begin your coaching practice. If you are passionate about only working with a specific niche or demographic you will need to know and consider meeting their needs and budgets while also honoring your own value. Do some research on the types of people you want to see as clients and craft your rates accordingly.
If you are planning to have a more generalized coaching practice, meaning seeing a wide range of clients with a wide range of issues or problems they need help with it, is easier to set your rates more based off an industry standards for life coaching as well as based on what you realistically value your time at.
Either way, give some thought to the type of clients you want. What are your dream clients? Be intentional about crafting your business to align with your unique gifts, abilities, purpose and calling! Give yourself permission to create a business that will be deeply fulfilling and rewarding for you on every level. Also give yourself permission to NOT take on every client you possibly can, but to create a specific lane that aligns with your values and then stay within that lane (unless of course, you find yourself impassioned about a new issue or type of person that you want to explore and add to your personal definition of ‘dream client’).
- Industry Standard Pricing
The industry standards vary greatly depending on how you position and market yourself. For example, if you are an Integrative Life Coach trained through Integrative Wellness Academy, you offer more dynamic coaching that is both traditional life coaching as well as integrates therapeutic techniques. If this is the case, the industry standards for coaching align more with higher level professionals such as therapists, corporate coaches and doctors. Traditional session rates range from $150-$500 per session (typically 45 minutes to 1 hour).
If you are trained as a traditional life coach, the niche you choose and the effectiveness of marketing will determine your rate. For example, traditional life coaching rates tend to range from $60-$100 per session (typically 45 minutes to 1 hour) if the focus is on health or wellness coaching. Those rates parallel more to that of personal trainers. For traditional life coaches who specialize their niche on higher income clients such as performance coaching or career coaching can demand a higher rate more similar to those mentioned for the more expansive integrative life coach’s professional rates.
Whether you are trained as an integrative life coach or as a traditional life coach there are ways to maximize both the impact of the services you offer as well as the income you generate. I will go into this more below under coaching models.
- Service Offerings & Time Investment
I have had many students who are newer coaches and therefor set their rates extremely low because they don’t feel justified in charging the industry standards since they are a ‘newbie’. First of all, trust in your excellence and your unique voice! Also, trust in the training you received as a coach! Can you imagine if a medical doctor was ½ price because he had recently completed his residency? That would not breed confidence and trust for the patient and also it would reflect the self-devaluing of the doctors training. Trust in your greatness. You have much to offer! Mastering any science or art takes a long time. So give yourself permission to be IN the process of expanding your excellence while still honoring the value that who you are as a coach today is VERY valuable to your clients. Set your rates accordingly.
As you establish the types of services you offer and set your rates for these, make sure that you consider the time investment you will be making. I have also seen many of my students as they embark on their new coaching business end up giving away free ‘trial’ sessions, 30-minute phone consultations and also investing countless unpaid hours into calls and emails with their clients. First, this also devalues the worth of your services, second it communicates exactly that to your clients and negatively effects the coach-client relationship. It is easy to burn yourself out this way.
One of the goals of being your own boss might be to have more control and freedom in your schedule. If you do not establish your business practices in a way that both honors your value and time as well as respects your boundaries (the boundaries you set to meet your needs, these are up to you to honor) you will easily become overworked and underpaid or at the least, over stressed. As a coach, having your personal business reflect balance and health speaks volumes to your clients and loved ones! Be the change you wish to see in the world and apply your coaching tools to how you personally do business.
Coaching Models, Pricing & Structure
- Individual Sessions
Individual sessions simply mean a client schedules, attends and pays for one session at a time. Your sessions can run for as short or as long as you would like to set them for. The average is an hour and I have also seen effective session times at 45 minutes and even 1 ½ hour sessions.
- Coaching Packages (3-6-12 Month Options)
An effective way to create safety, support and stability for both you and your client is to offer (not sell or attempt to force) coaching packages. This helps give everyone a clear perimeter for what to expect, what it will cost and how much and what type of services and support the client will receive. Coaching packages include a certain number of coaching sessions per month, a certain amount of follow up, research and support (depending both on what you offer as well as the needs of the client). These should be clearly outlined and agreed to by both parties upfront.
An example of a monthly coaching package is:
1 Month Coaching Package – $3,000
1 weekly ‘touch base’ 15-minute call
2 weekly support text interactions
1 hour of support research
I recommend establishing coaching packages for 1, 3, 6 and 12 months in order to provide options and different commitment levels. You or your client may not want to commit to an entire year or that may be exactly what would serve you both the most. Remember to remain flexible!
- The Clients Return On Investment
When anyone invests in something they want to see a return on their investment or an ROI. People tend to see a life coach versus a therapist because they want to SEE tangible results as an outcome of their investment of time, energy and money into the coaching process. It is critical to your business and the well-being of your clients that you are making sure to set achievable goals, acknowledge and celebrate the small steps along the way AND to also get feedback at the end of each session to make sure that your clients are achieving the results they want.
If a client is achieving the results and benefiting from a return on their investment, most likely they will continue to invest in themselves and the coaching relationship. On the flip side, if the return on investment decreases or disappears all together, that client will seek another resource elsewhere to meet their needs.
After taking everything into consideration that I have mentioned, as well as doing your own research, you will be ready to set your rates. Remember that you can change your rates in the future to continue to expand and cultivate effective business practices. Your clients’ responses to your rates will be very helpful feedback to pay attention to!
Here are some general recommendations when it comes to rates –
- Individual session rates
Industry standards range between $60-$500 plus per session. Don’t get greedy, it will limit the amount of people you are able to help. Also, don’t undervalue yourself! My recommendation to coaches is to not go under $100 per session unless you are serving a sliding scale or service based client (see below). A good average session rate is $200.
- Coaching packages
Here are some general industry standards for coaching package pricing –
- 1 month- $2,000 – $10,000
- 3 month- $6,000 – $30,000
- 6 month- $12,000 – $60,000
- 12 month- $24,000 – $120,000+
Keep in mind the ROI for your client. If you are coaching a CEO and the return she sees is to increase profitability by 3 million dollars while decreasing her time investment at work while increasing quality of life, the ROI on an annual investment of $100,000 is well worth it!
Get creative, keep your clients’ needs and budget in mind, keep your own value and services offered in mind, then create packages that serve the greater good of both you and the client!
- Sliding scale
I am a person who is deeply committed to being of service, while also honoring my own value! One of the ways I had incorporated those values into my personal coaching business for years was to offer a sliding scale. A sliding scale is when you offer some flexibility in your rates to allow accessibility to those less fortunate or on serious budgetary limitations. I would have 2 sessions per week that I would allot for sliding scale clients. For example, if your normal rate is $200 per session, your sliding scale rate would be less and based on what the client can afford to pay. This way I could help clients whom I was passionate about helping but who were unable to afford my full rates. ALWAYS charge something for these, it will keep your client invested in the process and serve them better in the long run.
- Service work
Service work is FREE work we as coaches donate in order to be of service to the community and the world. I personally try to schedule service work into my life on a weekly basis. I have organizations that I work with in order to achieve this. When it comes to service work FOLLOW your passion. If you have a great passion and empathy for single moms, underprivileged youth, cancer survivors, veterans or anyone else in need listen to your heart and find a balanced way to be of service. If you would like to read more about the local and global service work that I personally participate in, here is a link for more information. If you are interested in coming alongside of me in service, I would love to see you involved in one of our service events! https://iwacoaching.com/service-programs/