How To Get Paid What You’re Worth – Part 1

How to Get Paid What You're WorthCreate A Growth Plan So You Can Get Paid What You’re Worth

No matter how great your clients’ results are, there is always room for improvement. What skills can you improve that will help your clients get even better results with you? How can you gain more valuable expertise? Don’t forget to include the value of the training and coaching you’ve invested in when you set your rates. Here are some steps you can take to assess and improve your skills and expertise.

Step One: Estimate Your Own Value as a Coach

Online coaching has taken off this last decade as never before. Everyone wants to be a coach and make the big bucks. There’s been a considerable shift in standard prices: Monthly group coaching memberships that sat for ages at a fairly average $29.00 USD per month a few years ago suddenly all shifted up to $47.00 per month; then $97.00. While people were still getting used to adjusting what they expected to pay for a membership, $197.00—$297.00 per month prices became the norm.

$397.00—$997.00 per month memberships are now standard, with coaches charging in the thousands becoming more and more prevalent – most of these in the areas of marketing, business, and life coaching. (And we haven’t even touched on 1:1 coaching prices.)

The truth is, although there are pricing trends, there isn’t one single dollar figure that’s “right”, although different dollar figures do attract different demographics and types of clients.

Coaching prices should never be entirely about what other coaches are charging, nor solely about ‘what the market will bear’. Those factors are valid to a point, but here’s the real secret to charging prices YOU feel comfortable charging:

You can charge any fee you like, as long as you feel your client is getting appropriate and fair value and your client agrees with that assessment.

So, how do you estimate your own value as a coach?

We can summarize where results and case studies come from and boil it down to experience. You can’t just go buy a coaching certification and expect to be a dynamic coach who is able to command thousands – not if ethics and integrity are important to you.

If you’re a brilliant salesperson, you might be able to convince people to buy, but you won’t see a return on your efforts if you don’t have the skill and experience to help them gain positive, concrete results.

Coaching certifications are not the be-all and end-all either. They can be helpful in proving you are trained in one of the following:

  1. A specific method or process so you can be a proxy for the founder of the method
  2. Understanding and able to practice the discipline of coaching
  3. Trained in a specific type of coaching

Certification gives you knowledge and confidence, but it doesn’t provide you with experience in (a) doing the work you’re helping others do (b) coaching real live people. There is no substitution for having walked the walk and actually experienced the same pain points your clients are struggling with.

But here’s another side to consider: You CAN coach anyone you are a few steps ahead of… as long as you set your prices accordingly. But you cannot expect to charge – and get – big bucks for coaching people if you have no real-world experience either in doing what they want to do or in coaching itself.

Marie Forleo tackled the qualification issue of people who have no real-world experience but want to coach in one of her excellent, short TV episodes.

Marie Forleo

She suggested getting started by coaching someone for free – the more, the merrier. Her blunt observations are aligned with the idea that experience is queen when it comes to coaching. At 5:43 minutes, it’s well worth listening to this Marie TV episode if you are actually just considering becoming a coach.

Coaching, lucrative though it can be, is not for the inexperienced and definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme.

 

Step Two: Build Your Expertise

Increase your value as a coach by augmenting your expertise and building your skills. What this does, in addition to adding value to your coaching, is to also boost your confidence to the point where it can cause real paradigm shifts in mindset. (Your mindset, if you’ve been having a problem in that area!)

There are various ways to build your expertise, no matter what type of coaching you do, and not all of them involve taking courses, going on retreats or gaining new coaching certificates. In fact, you can build your expertise right now by adopting these five strategies, if you haven’t already done so.

  1. Practice deep listening.

If you think you’re a great listener, you may not be. Too often, coaches start out really listening, but as one develops more strategies and conversational tools, the listening stops and trotting out rote responses or questions begins.

All sorts of articles have been written about deep listening, but the ability to practice deep listening really consists of four specific conditions.

You need to:

  • Make sure there are no sources of distraction around you
  • Be present and in the moment
  • Focus on the speaker
  • Don’t anticipate

Anticipating includes:

  1. Thinking about what you’re going to answer while your conversation partner is still speaking
  2. Making a judgement about a situation or about your conversation partner before she has finished sharing all the facts

If you’re getting ready for a Skype or Zoom session, make sure your phone is shut off. Noise-proof your room. Test all your technology first so that you don’t get distracted by any minor glitch, mid-conversation. Tell people you will absolutely not be available during the session time. Shut all tabs on your browser. And remove or negate any other possible source of distraction.

Some people find it also helps to practice deep breathing right before the session, and even during it.

  1. Customize your coaching.

Sure, coaches have their own unique methods – but even if you’ve invented a super-unique coaching process, don’t assume one size fits all. Customize it to suit your client. Employ strategies such as:

  • Using different examples for each client, tailoring these to each client’s interest and experience
  • Adapting questions, tools, and examples to each client’s unique learning style combination
  • Paying attention to language style and cadence
  • Mirroring your client’s communication style to increase connection even more

Note what gets results and what doesn’t, but most of all, make sure you never slip into ‘shortcut’ habits of communication and end up treating each client as if they were cardboard clones.

  1. Adjust your feedback strategy.

Not every client accepts feedback in the right way, so this is an excellent time to assess your own feedback routines. Are you giving feedback the same way to every client (e.g. always the “tough love” approach or always the “question after question until they get it” approach)?

If so, stop to consider whether or not changing your feedback style might be beneficial – but also consider whether changing that style might confuse existing clients. (Another way of putting this is “never take any communication style for granted”.)

A powerful feedback style is essential to your clients getting results, but if you’re oblivious to the fact that one particular client isn’t responding well to it – and especially if you blame the client – then you’re missing an opportunity to deepen the connection between you.

If you’re still trying to find the right style with new clients, try the “sandwich”:

  1. A positive observation
  2. The ‘unpleasant truth’ you need to say
  3. A compliment (genuine, of course)

This works especially well if you’re dealing with clients hampered by a lifetime of toxic criticism, which can make them oversensitive. What the “sandwich” does is take much of the ‘judgement’ they see out of your observations or questions and help these observations and questions to feel objective.

  1. Find a role-playing partner.

The next best thing to increasing your skills by coaching real clients is to find a role-playing partner and practice coaching scenarios out on that partner.

If you have problems in certain areas – for example, talking to clients about raising prices or calling out a client on something the client is not going to like – actually ‘rehearsing’ potentially uncomfortable conversations can be a huge help.

It might take a while to (a) find someone willing to play the role of the client (b) find one that does it in a useful and realistic way – but if you can acquire the right partner, role-playing can be a great tool.

TIP: Try role-playing with fellow coaches. Create a role-playing workshop or group.

  1. Practice self-evaluation.

Evaluate yourself regularly – once a day, week or even month – just the way you evaluate your clients. Ask yourself the same questions. Take yourself seriously when you do this.

  • Make a list of your coaching and personal strengths
  • Make a list of your coaching and personal weaknesses
  • Make a list of your coaching achievements

Pre-schedule time to work on what needs shoring up – whether that be in a class, getting coached yourself, taking a course, or reading a self-help book on the topic.

Go through the list again to measure progress. Once you’re aware of what you can and should change, working on these areas will benefit your coaching and your personal life too. Uncover these hidden opportunities to improve in every area.

 

Step Three: Review Your Past

Another easy way to reinforce your worth: Review what you have invested in your business and coaching in the past.

Start with the obvious. List all related or relevant:

  1. Coaching courses you’ve taken
  2. Certifications or degrees that you have earned
  3. 1:1 coaching for yourself that you have invested in

Be sure to add up your financial investment in learning, such as courses, workshops, live events, retreats, et cetera too. And add in your monthly expenses – what you need to pay for to run your coaching business at a professional level.

Next, make a note of relevant:

  1. Awards you’ve been given
  2. Significant interviews you’ve given in authority platforms (radio, TV, magazines)

Then continue beyond these obvious areas, going back in your life. List related or relevant:

  1. Volunteer positions you’ve held
  2. Causes you have been involved in
  3. Friends, colleagues or relatives you have helped (or been asked to help)

 

Study your best cases… and your worst. Analyze what mistakes you’ve made in your coaching career then immediately write down:

  1. How you dealt with or corrected them
  2. What you do differently now

Write down what you hate about coaching… and what you absolutely love.

By the time you’ve completed this self-evaluation, you should have a better appreciation of the value you bring to your clients.

Download the workbook for this article HERE.

(Stay tuned for Part 2 next month.)