Owning Your Value as a Coach
Several months ago, I was contacted by a large coaching company. They were facilitating a four-day leadership development program with a national company and were looking for local coaches to support. The request was a simple one: Could I spend two half days with them, supporting leaders to learn and practice using the coach approach in their communication? The email continued by saying that the company appreciated my experience and presence, and it asked me to provide my services at no cost. I read that line a few times to let it sink in.
A few points of context. One of my business values is contribution. I love helping people. That is one of the reasons I was drawn to the profession of coaching. And, I am a huge proponent of the value of pro bono coaching as a way to support professional growth to emerging coaches or leaders in not-for-profit organizations, or during crises like COVID-19, to empower social good organizations and to drive social change.
For me, this request was not about contribution. It was about maintaining a high profit margin.
I politely declined.
Defining my value as a coach is not a natural place process for me, and likely for many others; it is foundational to creating any type of business where you and your services are the product.
If You Don’t Believe in Your Own Value as a Coach, No One Else Will
As with many things, starting with self is the most important place. Start with an inventory. Add things like your training, your previous work experience, your successes, your achievements, things that light you up professionally (and personally if you think it fits), things you have written or contributed to, courses you have taught, webinars you have led, passion projects. If you have recently updated your CV or your website, you likely already have this list compile. Having this all in one place reminds you of your accomplishments, your impact, your journey—what makes you unique (or as I like to call it, your Secret Sauce as a coach).
Don’t Just Take My Word for It
Keeping your value a secret does not serve you, your business, your clients or your passion.
If you are not comfortable tooting your own horn (or even if you are), let others do it for you. Asking current and former clients, colleagues and peers to share their experiences is a powerful way of letting the world know about your value. Asking for a LinkedIn endorsement or a written testimonial for your website and promotional materials goes a long way. They are usually willing supporters, and they add a level of credibility to your messaging.
Pricing Your Value
One of the questions I see most often related to the business of coaching relates to pricing coaching services. It can bring up emotions and narratives around a person’s relationship with money, worth and confidence issues to a name a few. Or, it can be a matter of not knowing where to start.
Pricing your services involves bringing together market research, a valuation of your services and your comfort level. Market value is how much the market is willing to pay. The growth of the coaching industry has increased the information available about how coaches price their services. Doing internet searches, asking other coaches, reviewing global research like the ICF Global Coaching Study (the 2019 survey results are due to be published later this year) will begin to paint a picture of the range of pricing options and comparisons to coaches with your experience, serving the clients/areas you are serving. Then it is a question of personal comfort: What price would you be comfortable charging for the value and impact you create? For this step, you may find it valuable to enlist the help of a valuable thinking partner.
Continuously Add Value
Your value as a coach continues to evolve as you do. Be mindful of how you cultivate and grow your value as a coach. You can continuously add value to your client groups by sharing interesting articles or resources you come across, or by creating or sharing resources they may find valuable. Pulled together some content related to a specific topic? Share it with others you are working with who may be interested. Used a reflection tool with a leader you are coaching? Share the tool with others. It is leveraging effort you are already putting in to continuously add value to those you serve.
Looking back, I am grateful for the request. It reminded me of the value I bring to those I work with and the value that I get back (which is usually a lot higher) from being able to use my skills and talents to impact others.
©Copyright 2020 Fiamma Coaching and Consulting and Rosa Edinga