The little-known (& never talked about) reasons why most coaches never feel secure about what they charge, how they coach or whether their clients are really happy.
Even though most of the business guru’s would have you believe that the reason you struggle to charge what you’re “worth” is because you need to work on improving your money-mindset in order to start making “real money” as a coach? That’s actually just a very small part of a much bigger story. The thing is, there’s a lot of opinions circling the online business coaching airwaves these days impressing upon you a very black and white picture of how you should be setting your programs up to be successful. But in my experience? When someone speaks in absolutes, rarely is that actually the best way to go about things – at least it never has been for me. So then, what I hope to offer you in this article is a refreshing new way to look at the way you’re pricing your programs, how you view your own value, and the impact these seemingly small things have on the work we’re actually capable of with our clients.
Not Sure What To Charge? Here’s Why Setting (& Saying) Our Price Feels So Hard
Simply put? We fully buy into the belief that there is a right and a wrong way to charge for our services. And if we take it a layer deeper, this means that we have been conditioned from key learning moments (and people) throughout our coaching journey to believe that if we don’t follow a specific set of unwritten rules, then we are most likely going to fail. And the worst part about it is that we can’t stop it! This process works entirely unconsciously – we automatically take in information and adopt it into our own belief system as our own if our mind decides it “makes sense” for us.
To that point, one of the most limiting belief patterns many of us fall victim to is our habit of calculating how much time or energy we are spending compared to how much money we are making. This is a well adopted social normal that fits many different industries. But in our unique coaching space? This model is outdated and extremely toxic for us mentally. To illustrate this for you, tell me >> have you ever broken down how much you charge per month into a dollar per hour amount? For example:
If you charge $250 a month…and you talk to your client for 30 minutes every week on the phone…plus about 30 minutes of additional random support…and if it takes you about 30 minutes each week to adjust their plan…then that works out to 6 hours total work per month per client which = $41/hour
Sure you have. We all have. But the reason why this is so toxic for you mentally? Is because it pushes you into a state of always feeling like you need to “do more” to justify that $41 per hour. It causes you to self-criticize whether or not the service you provide each week is worth more or less than $41…and it causes you to pressure yourself to do more (unnecessary) things to make yourself feel good about the money you’re charging.
To illustrate this, let’s take the example of a client missing a coaching call with you. If a large chunk of the value you associate with charging $41/hour comes from running that coaching session – you are more likely to let your boundaries drop to reschedule, or to overcompensate with that client until you internally feel like the scales are tipped back into balance. When the truth is? The fact that you felt misaligned with how much you were charging because of that missed call is simply your perception of what makes up your worth (hint: it’s actually not the 3o minute coaching call).
There is no rulebook out there to tell you how much a coaching call is worth!
So then, in the end we usually end up chasing an illusion of validation by constantly trying to match our own perceived value to our price. Which ultimately leads us into a state of burnout, resentment, overthinking, self-doubt and guilt. Because lets face it – rarely to do things ever go “by the book” so to speak — there will always be some clients getting more time or attention from you than others. So if we ever want to feel good about what we charge…and we want to trust that we are actually enough without always needing to “do more” to prove that we are…we need a perspective shift – fast!
“Value” & “Cost” Are Not The Same Thing
Let me ask you a question: how much is this season’s newest Louis Vuitton bag worth to you?
There are thousands of people in the world who wear Louis Vuitton as a symbol of status…they invest in this brand because they feel it represents a part of their identity…and so naturally they would immediately attach a higher value to owning that particular item. Compare that to someone who has never heard of Louis Vuitton before…or even someone who struggles to put food on the table for their family…the value of owning that bag would be almost non-existent.
This is to illustrate the fact that the value someone places on something has nothing to do with how much it costs. Attaching value to an object, an experience, or a service is an entirely subjective process that is rooted in our beliefs, values, rules, and the meanings we have been conditioned to attach to them. Knowing this then, it might make more sense why some people you talk to will throw you their credit card…while others will scoff at how expensive it is to work with you. It’s not YOU or your PRICE that they are rejecting…its simply their interpretation of whether their perception of whether the value you’re offering is more or less than the price you are charging.
For example, if we circle back to the example above…if you told a Louis Vuitton lover that this brand new bag was only $100 – they would run to the cashier credit card in hand. But if you told a single mom who is working 3 jobs just to pay her bills and put food on the table that this new bag was only $100…she would scoff at the obscene idea of wasting $100 on a BAG.
So what does this mean for you?
First, you must stop questioning yourself, your program and your prices based on how some people perceive your value
If you’re getting more “no’s” than you are “yes’s”, there are 3 possible things happening:
(a) the person you’re talking to isn’t aligned with the value you provide
(b) you’re not clear yourself on the value you truly provide
(c) you’re not talking about the value you truly provide
Second, you need to get clear for yourself where your value truly lies…and attach a price to align with that
This👆👆 is often the hardest part for coaches because it requires radical trust in ourselves without turning to others to “figure it out”. Since value is a fully subjective experience, it’s actually impossible to look to others for the answer – we must take the time to turn inwards, strip away our conditioning and ask ourselves the hardest question of all: why me? 😳
“Why Me?” – And Other Hard Questions We Can’t Keep Avoiding
Learning, accepting and fully embracing what makes YOU more valuable than every other coach in the world is not an easy feat. In fact? The reason hardly anyone has discovered this for themselves comes down to one very simple truth >> its massively uncomfortable to look for it. In order to find why you are valuable, you naturally also need to admit why you aren’t. You’ll need to release your expectations of what you think a coach should be…and redefine for yourself the kind of coach you really are.
Sure, just reading this makes it sound easy enough – but I must warn you. This process takes a raw willingness to step out of your cozy little illusion and wake up to the truth that even the people we have been parroting…the people we have been looking to as our models to tell us why we “must” do things one way or another…have also been conditioned. They are likely also not grounded in their own unique value because they, too, looked to someone to learn who they needed to be in order to be successful, accepted, and to feel enough.
This chain ends with you. Its time to stop looking to others and begin turning inwards first to establish what it is that sets you apart.
Here’s some suggestions of where you can start your exploration:
- How do I currently justify my price to myself? What must I do or accomplish in order to feel good about what I charge?
- When do I feel fully recognized by my clients or my peers? Who do I feel I need to be in order for this to happen?
- What comes naturally to me/what do I do with my clients that I don’t have to prepare for?
- What are 3-5 unique things that you are experienced at or have had the experience of that might be valuable to someone else, or someone else can learn from or feel inspired by?
- What are 3-5 unique things that you have learned and/or mastered?
- What are 3-5 unique things that you are extremely knowledgeable with that most others aren’t?
- What are 3-5 talents (or the result of your talents) that can be used inside of your business and what you do for others (these are things that come naturally to you, not things you have spent time to learn and master)
- What are 3-5 unique things that are unique about your personality?
- What are 3-5 strengths that you feel are unique to you?
- What are 3-5 weaknesses that you feel are unique to you?
- What are 3-5 qualities, skills or attributes you feel you need to develop or attain that would otherwise hold you back from success?
- When I feel like I am not doing enough for my clients, who/what is the benchmark am I comparing myself to and why?
- When I question how much I charge am I looking externally at the things I am doing, or am I looking internally at the things that I embody?
- What do I need to let go of in order to value myself first – and then translate that value into the work I do with my clients?
- What needs to shift for me to fully believe that I am enough and that my value is not found in the things I do, but rather who I am?
It’s important to realize that this journey inwards is never “done”…we cannot simply write out what “makes us valuable” and expect that to feel true forever. The real truth of it is that as humans we are ever-evolving. For example: you aren’t the same person in this moment as you were when you first started reading this article. As you expand, shift and adjust to the changing world around you, so does your value. As you learn and grow…what makes you valuable grows too. No two people will ever live the exact same life, which is such a truly beautiful concept when you take the time to look at it. That said, adopting a life of flexibility will be one of the greatest gifts to give yourself. Practice getting into the habit of mentally and emotionally “checking in” with yourself regularly and taking inventory of outdated beliefs/habits/rules/reactions…and replacing them with new, more empowering alternatives will work wonders to prevent stagnation and comparison. In other words ⇣⇣⇣
Where are you getting stuck doing things or thinking certain ways because that’s what you see others doing…and what feels true to YOU???
Now that you better understand your value in terms of pricing and programming…there is one final piece to this puzzle we need to unpack. Have you ever noticed yourself react in session with a client if you felt like they weren’t listening to you or taking your advice? Have you ever fallen into teacher-fixer-expert-mode in response to a struggling client? If you sheepishly answered “yes”, there’s nothing to feel ashamed by – this is human nature at its finest! But this is also causing us to devalue ourselves with our clients (and ourselves). Let’s look a bit deeper…
The 4 Ways We Sabotage Our Own Value (& How To Stop)
The last piece to this value pie boils down to what we unknowingly do when we detect our value being challenged or put into question. There are 4 key coaching moments where we are vulnerable to feeling de-valued – in no particular order, these are:
- Anytime a client is succeeding and we feel like they don’t really need us/we aren’t sure what to do to be valuable
- A client is struggling and isn’t listening to us or following the advice we give
- A prospective client says we are too expensive and doesn’t invest even though they “clearly need us”
- A client leaves us before they reach their goals or doesn’t resign with us even though they’re not where they want to be yet
To fully grasp where we’re going wrong in each of these scenarios (and how to stop reacting in the ways that we are) its key to understand that you are hard wired to protect your own unique model of the world – and that when this feels threatened we immediately “armor up” to maintain the internal representation of right and wrong. The ways we do this are varied and plentiful, but for the purposes of understanding our “armoring up” tendencies from a coaching standpoint, here are the most common ways we tend to do this:
(a) we defend our thoughts, our advice, our plans, our perspectives and the results we are seeing (even if this feels illogical)
(b) we fall into teacher-fixer-expert-mode because this is where we feel the most in control and where a lot of our value originally came from
(c) we get frustrated with our client (or with ourselves)
(d) we justify the outcomes from the decisions we made, even if those outcomes are not optimal or empowering – we will find evidence to support why our decision was correct
(e) we compare ourselves to others and bury ourselves in to-do lists to create an illusion of value
So then, understanding this, lets look at each of the above coaching moments one at a time and apply this concept directly to them:
#1: Anytime a client is succeeding and we feel like they don’t really need us
It’s difficult to feel useless in a coaching dynamic when the client is doing great without our constant intervention. And even though this IS the ultimate end goal with every client we work with, that fact doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable to navigate when they are still a paying client. Typically we will respond to this by over-teaching, over-meddling, and searching for tiny things to pull apart as a way to feel like we are “being valuable to our client”…but all this really does is shift the client into a place of “never good enough”, self-doubt and mistrust in themselves.
A better way to navigate these scenarios is to:
- become aware of your emotional reaction, and recognize where you habitually tend to look for areas to “insert yourself” and fix the wheel that isn’t broken
- ask yourself “what is it about the way they are currently behaving that feels permanent versus temporary”
- ask your client to explore with you what actions they are taking that feel easy, and which ones require a good deal of mental effort
- explore possible scenarios where old patterns may re-emerge to prepare them to navigate those if and when they come up
- explore their reaction to success on the scale – especially if the goal is a neutral reaction to body weight – now would be a great time to dive deeper into their relationship with the scale and some internal work to shift their perspective here
Our value in these scenarios comes from being able to anticipate 10 steps down the road, and initiate meaningful conversation with our client while they are feeling mentally, physically and emotionally resilient about how to better prepare for the common pitfalls that are sure to present themselves eventually.
#2: A client is struggling and isn’t listening to us or following the advice we give them
We’ve all had that one client who fights you on everything, never takes action on what you discussed, and comes to your coaching sessions every week with the same handful of excuses and sob-story about why they couldn’t “do all the things”, right? When this happens its very natural to shift into a place of defensiveness…habitually falling into teacher-fixer-expert-mode to give them a reason to listen to you. When in reality? This reaction is simply your internal navigation steering you down the road that feels safe to travel because there is no risk or threat of being wrong. And in doing so? Our client feels as though we don’t truly hear or understand them…like we don’t see their struggle…and like it is entirely unsafe in the future to be as vulnerable with us when they struggle again.
So even though on the surface it feels like you’re helping in the best way you know how…you’re really corroding the relationship, their trust in you and your ability to reach them on the level you need to in order to fully grasp why there were struggling in the first place. As you well know, a lack of education is not the reason why your client isn’t achieving their goals…its implementation of what they’re learning that’s the real problem. And the only way to better help them implement the things you know they need to? Is to better understand why they aren’t already.
You will find a detailed article on exactly how to do this right over here ⇣⇣⇣
#3: A prospective client says we are too expensive
As you have already been made aware, when someone puts our price into question we often perceive that to mean they are putting our value into question. This can often push us into a reactionary state where we contemplate dropping our prices, we offer discounts, or we find ways to make our programs “appear” less expensive so we can avoid this scenario all-together. But you must remember – the price they are rejecting is simply not aligned with the value they perceive. This might mean:
- that you aren’t the best fit for them
- that their life circumstances has caused them to value their own health and wellbeing at less than you do
- that the amount of money you charge is simply more than they have available to spend on such a service
- that you were not sharing with them why you are truly valuable (and were simply parroting others)
- that you do not yet understand for yourself what makes you valuable
But what none of these mean? Is that your price is too expensive (if that price feels aligned to you). The only time you should adjust your price is if you feel, without outside influence, that you are either charging too much or too little. Take any cerebral math calculations out of it – how much do you feel you are worth? Whether you feel that’s $50, $500 or $5000 – you’re right. But remember, you’re also going to expand this with time. The reflection practice I shared with you earlier is a great time to reassess whether your price still aligns with the perception of your value, or whether it might be time for an upgrade.
#4: A client leaves us before they reach their goals or doesn’t re-sign with us
This is particularly hurtful because ultimately it reflects that our client experienced a loss of trust and belief in us as their coach. Another way to look at this is through the lens of admitting our clients expectations were not met. Ultimately one of the biggest errors coaches make that sabotage our ability to hold onto our clients for the long-term journey is a lack of expectation-setting or pre-framing for what this journey is going to look like for them. Let’s face it, its not particularly sexy to tell your client that they’re going to have hard days…that progress might be slower than they want…and that there’s going to be moments where they want to quit all-together. But this is actually exactly how to cultivate a deep sense of value in the service you provide so that you can easily maintain your client roster even if results are less than earth-shattering.
In other words? Your value isn’t in how fast you generate results…but rather how you make your client feel throughout the process. Do they feel safe to struggle? Do they feel seen, heard and understood? And do they trust you to help guide them through their barriers so that together you can cultivate deep and meaningful change (compared to the fleeting, superficial successes they have experienced in the past)? If so, you’ll never feel your value be put under the microscope by a client leaving prematurely simply because they have invested in YOU…not your program.
For a complete guide to client retention, check this article out ⇣⇣⇣
For a bit more hands on support to navigate the most turbulent coaching conversations you come up against, I created the Coaching Conversation Revelation for you to download for FREE ⇣⇣⇣
With this, you’ll quickly be able to dig into the top 15 “make or break” client conversations without ever worrying about saying the wrong thing or suggesting the wrong strategy.
And lastly, when you feel ready, I’d love to help you with this more closely inside of TriggerMapping – my certification and mentorship program where I work hands-on with a group of nutrition coaches to show them how to graduate from “just another nutritionist”…and become known as the go-to expert for creating life-altering transformation at the deepest level in every client they work with…
…plus show them how this level of mastery organically allows you to…
🤑charge the kind of money the pro’s do (we’re talking 1K/month here, love)…
📣keep your clients for as long as you want so you can escape the revolving door of clients coming in and going out
🙋🏼♀️have a waitlist of people who will pay you in advance just to save their spot in line
🌟only work w/ the clients who are ready for the deep work you’ve always wanted dig into without battling resistance or pushback
💫align your coaching program with how you want to serve your clients and live your life
💖walk away from every single coaching session with a deep knowing that you left your client a different person because of what you just did with them
I mean, just think about it like this for a second.
You know that old saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink?”
Well what if…you really could make it drink?
That’s exactly what I’m going to be teaching you to do with your clients.
So if you feel ready to be so much more than what you were traditionally conditioned to think was possible for you?
I’ll reach out to you and ask you a few questions to see if I can help…If I can, I’ll shoot all the details over to you.
Thanks for reading! And be talking soon.