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What Makes for Financial Success as a Coach: Part 1 of 3 - Value Perceived by the Client

By Elizabeth Saigal, Ph.D.

This series of three posts is inspired by findings published in the International Coaching Federation 2012 Global Coaching Study. Data was collected on attributes that clients identify as being important from the coaches viewpoint. This information gives us clues as to what to make a top priority for our coaching business. The findings were as follows:

Attribute and percent endorsed

Effectiveness of coaching process: 93%

Personal rapport with coach: 92%

Cost of coaching: 62%

Personal referrals: 80%

Explanation of coaching process: 78%

Client references: 78%

Level of coach-specific training: 66%

Coaching experience in industry: 55%

Curriculum vitae or resume: 53%

Level of formal education/schooling: 52%

Delivery method used: 50%

Other relevant experience/background: 49%

Coaching credential or certification: 49%

Number of years as a coach: 48%

Work experience in industry or job: 46%

Physical location of the coach: 34%

Number of clients served: 29%

I have grouped these attributes under three main themes which will be covered in a series of three posts: Value perceived by the client, Support from your coaching community and Level and depiction of coaching competence.

Theme Value perceived by the client
Attribute and percent endorsed Effectiveness of coaching process: 93%
Personal rapport with coach: 92%
Cost of coaching: 62%

Value is perceived by the client according to what they believe they get out of working with you against the cost of the service or indeed the cost of not moving forward on living the life they wish to lead. This has tangible and intangible pieces. The tangible includes the actual outcomes and goals achieved by taking actions following coaching. The client will be able to point to real quantifiable changes in such areas as their career, finances, health, environment or relationships.

There is also an intangible element in terms of the comfort of interaction. Does the client click with you? Is there a natural affinity in the coaching relationship? These qualitative elements might be expressed in how much fun the client has coaching with you, how at ease they are during the conversation or whether they are deeply touched through working with you. Another aspect might be how much enthusiasm they have for coaching with you and whether they look forward to it.

How much you charge for coaching and how this compares to perceived value is not as simple charging a high or low fee on the coaching scale. The amount a client is prepared to pay to be coached is tied to their beliefs around themselves and money. It depends on the money they deem that they have available and how willing they are to invest it in themselves. At the lower end of the fee scale clients do not need as much available resource to coach with you, but they may have also placed a lower amount on what they are willing to invest in themselves. The fees you set are related to your time in the industry and also to your own beliefs on what you are worth as a coach. To address this you can reflect on whether your pricing and payment plans reflect what you are worth. Also, consider whether you are providing a range of services that meet the needs of clients with different available resources and beliefs around spending on themselves.

In sum, one way to boost coaching business success is to maximize value. Provide great coaching so the client experiences successful completion of their goals and identify your system for maximizing rapport. What can you do in your coaching to develop that bond with the client? Be authentic in what you say and how you say it and immersed with interest in who the client is. Coaches that offer best value in terms of effectiveness and connection are masters at applying the coaching process and adapting it for the needs of the moment. They quickly build and maintain trust with a genuine and reliable level of service at a price that is right for the client.

Dr. Elizabeth Saigal has been an ILCT student since Spring, 2012, and is working towards becoming a Master Life Coach. Her ideal client is one who is intent on connecting with their inner truth and aligning with their intuition to live a life on purpose. You can connect with her by email at