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The Benefits of Putting Your Corporate Coaching Clients on Retainer

Posted by Dez Stephens, ACC | February 4, 2019 | Comments (10)

As professional coaches, we are usually looking to land long-term corporate clients and, then subsequently, their team members and colleagues. Once you start coaching a corporate employee weekly, the rhythm becomes natural and the expectations become cyclical since the corporate clients are now in a comfortable weekly routine of meeting with you.

But instead of meeting with your corporate clients week after week as an à la carte service, you can harness the power of multiple coaching sessions by putting your corporate clients on retainer.

Bundling services for your corporate clients is easiest when you put your corporate client on retainer, especially if the employee’s company is “sponsoring” the coaching. For example, if you coach an executive once weekly at a rate of $150 USD per hour, you can offer to put this client on a retainer. Now the company (or the client) pays once monthly, and you discount services while adding value.

You can propose to facilitate a lunch and learn event once monthly with 10 executives to do some group coaching onsite. These interactive sessions are educational and inspirational presentations on topics like delegation, communication, stress management and leadership development. One of the obvious benefits of this practice is that these 10 monthly attendees are new potential clients of yours.

Then you can add in “24/7 access to me via email and the client will hear back from me within 24 hours” so that corporate clients feel like they have a way to reach out to you between sessions. Executives rarely use this option, but it “feels” like a huge value because it creates a lifeline of sorts. When my corporate clients email me, they are usually processing ideas and checking in. My response is typically very short like, “Great work. I’m looking forward to chatting more about this during our next coaching session.”

Your retainer proposal totals the “retail value” of these parameters like:

$600 for coaching once weekly
$450 for the 90-minute lunch and learn (once monthly)
$350 for email access
$1,400 monthly “retail total”

By offering a monthly retainer for a discounted price of $1,200, the employer appreciates the savings and streamlines the coaching budget for themselves. This transaction also relieves you and your individual clients from having to do a money exchange each and every time you schedule a session.

One huge benefit to you, the coach, is that you create a consistent stream of income. Once you get your first corporate client on retainer and the sponsor starts to see tangible benefits, you can then add other executives to the retainer, e.g., middle managers, C-suite executives or executive vice presidents. Retaining 10 executives now becomes $12,000 monthly, so you can circle back to the sponsor (employer) to bundle 10 executives at a time for a deeper discount. They continue seeing the added value, and you can build your coaching practice within just one organization.

Gathering analytics on the front end of this process is crucial for future proposals since you can show data that proves the efficacy of the coaching you’re providing to the company. Sponsors expect empirical data to prove the worth of the monies they are paying you to coach their employees. Surveying both sponsors and clients is vital before, during and after coaching contracts—ideally gathering information over a quarter or two. Providing a summary of these results is a surefire way to continue your coaching agreement with the corporate sponsor.

One of the most common reasons that employees quit their jobs is because they don’t like their boss. In your monthly lunch and learns, you can offer to coach middle managers and first-level supervisors on how to delegate, instead of dictating, to their teams. You can coach them on using a “coach approach” with their teams instead of hierarchical antiquated forms of management. This can greatly improve the bottom line of a company because retention rates go up.

Also, Human Resources departments enjoy the extra referral stream to professional coaches because oftentimes they do not have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). When employees come to HR with personal issues like money, stress or relationship problems, they are not well equipped to handle them the way that professional coaches are. The company’s bottom line is greatly affected by low productivity, absenteeism, theft, and “presenteeism” (when employees come to work sick). Having professional coaches on retainers reverses the effect of these common money-sucking and bottom-line lowering activities.

Putting your corporate clients on retainer is a win-win-win situation. Your clients benefit from a steady stream of coaching sessions. Your sponsor (employer) benefits from improved productivity. You benefit from a solid base of coaching clients—sometimes all in the same location.


©Radiant Publishing

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Dez Stephens, ACC

Dez Stephens, ACC, is the founder and CEO of Radiant Coaches Academy, a social enterprise and prominent international coach training school that certifies holistic life coaches, wellness coaches and business coaches. She is a master trainer, marketing strategist and professional coach. She invites you to visit her website at:

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

Comments (10)

  1. Great insight Dez. I appreciate using a retainer service with my coach. It’s easier to budget for and I know what to expect in terms of service.

  2. Love this advice! As a new coach, I’m currently exploring package options. This retainer model makes sense. Thanks!

  3. Great article! Being on retainer is the best solution for all service based businesses. It’s a win win for all.

  4. Jen Hastert says:

    This is a great concept!

  5. Elisa Negroni says:

    Great article. I have started offering packages/retainers – it makes it so much easier for all concerned. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Misti says:

    Great article! It’s so helpful as a coach to understand the value of what we offer and how to charge corporate clients so they see the value and results!

  7. Great insights and advice. Thanks so much for sharing Dez!

  8. Paras says:

    Great article and very helpful as well for the life coaches. I liked your idea of retainer and would like to start it for my corporate clients. Keep sharing your valuable tips with the readers. Thank You!

  9. Mona says:

    Very helpful article. How long is the retainer usually valid for? As an example, would you require a minimum length (ie. 6 months or a year)

  10. As professional coaches, we are usually looking to land long-term corporate clients and, then subsequently, their team members and colleagues. Once you start coaching a corporate employee weekly, the rhythm becomes natural and the expectations become cyclical since the corporate clients are now in a comfortable weekly routine of meeting with you

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