The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Prices (+Strategies for Attracting Clients)

The freedom, even the craziness and ultimately the satisfaction of being your own boss is what drives most people to start their coaching business. Each is driven by a deep passion to help others which is what keeps you going through the emotional downs. As a bare minimum, don’t let coaching prices overwhelm you. Get them right by working through this guide.

Whether you call yourself an independent coach, an entrepreneur or even a freelancer, the fact remains that you don’t get paid leave anymore. Without the right pricing strategy, you won’t be able to afford any time off. You’ll suffer and so will your clients – no one benefits from a tired coach.

Pricing strategy isn’t just about getting paid for your time or the value you offer. It’s also about attracting clients. If you charge too low, they’ll wonder what’s wrong with your services. People want to pay for value so, more often than not, you can charge more than what you initially think.

In short, you need to strategize and we’ll go through the details of how to do that. In the meantime, don’t forget your client billing process. You don’t want to waste valuable time sending or chasing invoices when you could be working billable time.

That’s why you need a platform like Quenza. It’s both HIPAA and GDPR compliant and covers  your client management needs (with an extensive Billing feature in the works). Most importantly, it also optimizes client confidentiality along with a library of ready-made client exercises.

With the various Quenza features, you can create a deeply personal and experiential journey for each of your clients. You’ll naturally stand out from the crowd and your clients will keep coming back for more.

Why not see for yourself by signing up for the free, full-access, one-month $1-only trial?

Understanding Coaching Prices

How many times have you heard the question “why is coaching so expensive”? Everyone has a different idea of what expensive means. Moreover, not everyone is interested in working on themselves. As every good coach knows, those who are forced into coaching by a manager, for example, are unlikely to change.

So, how to price coaching packages? Essentially, you need to target those people who do believe in investing in themselves. They see it as an essential part of life’s journey of learning and discovery. The mindset and behavioral shifts they can and do experience are invaluable. That’s what you need to show them when you’re presenting your coaching prices.

Business Coaching Intake Form

One way to show the value of your coaching prices is by sending them at the same time as the intake form. Essentially, go with the assumption that they’re going to sign up to mentally engage them. As they then go through the questions in this ready-made Quenza form, they usually become motivated as they start imagining their goals and looking forward to the outcome.

Before we can answer the question “how much does coaching cost”, we need to understand the factors that influence coaching prices, as listed below:

 Experience and Expertise of the Coach: 

More experienced coaches will naturally command higher prices. Their track record will clearly show that they can guide clients through complex issues. To show this, coaches ensure they have the right certifications as a baseline. They will also have previous clients who can serve as references. Referrals are also key and as coaches, don’t forget to ask for them.

•   Niche and Specialization: 

Depending on your passion and background, you might choose to be a lifestyle coach, leadership or business coach. You might also decide to offer group coaching. Another option is to combine coaching and therapy qualifications as many are starting to appreciate the advantages of both disciplines. Within that, you might then define your niche based on your ideal client as well as specific issues they might be facing such as anxiety, depression, trauma, or relationship issues. All of these will have different coaching prices.

  Geographic Location: 

If you’re targeting high-cost areas, you can clearly charge higher fees, and vice versa. With online coaching now available these days, this becomes less of an issue. Competitive pricing is more relevant today and we’ll look at that in more detail shortly.

•   Demand and Market Competition: 

Difference niches have various demand levels which will fluctuate and change as markets evolve. Wellness and health are hot topics today but organizations will also always need coaches. Whatever your target, make sure you stay informed of how the market shifts so you can keep flexing your prices accordingly.

How to Price Coaching Packages

Before looking into how to price coaching packages, you need to understand the common pricing models. There are various models out there but the US Chamber of Commerce 5 pricing models is a good baseline [1]:

•   Flat-rate pricing – in terms of coaching prices, this is your hourly rate which can range from around $60 to $300 or more

•  Pay-as-you-go-pricing – you might decide to give one-off refresher sessions. One-off sessions in isolation without any previous work are generally not so successful when it comes to coaching. It takes time to unlock human behavior.

•   Tiered pricing – this is when you start looking at how to price coaching packages. These tiered, or tailored, packages are priced specifically for different target customers.

•   Price per user – in terms of coaching prices, you might tweak your hourly rate depending on whether you’re dealing with individuals or companies, for instance, or simply based on what you feel they can afford.

•  Subscription, membership and retainers – this is what provides your steady stream of income. The more of these you can have, the better your baseline will be. In terms of coaching, members can get exclusive access to online tools or content. Retainers might be more relevant for businesses and again, it’s about showing them the value of having you on their books.

Tracking Progress with Quenza

One way to demonstrate value is by showing businesses how you track goals and progress. With Quenza, you have data you can easily access as well as real-time progress updates per coachee, as in the picture above. Coaching in the workplace is made simpler with Quenza.

When it comes to strategizing about your coaching prices, there are two sides to consider. At one end, you have the pure mathematical calculation. For example, market size, demand and customer buying power all come together to give you a number.

Then there’s the perception of worth. How much can you punch above your weight whilst delivering true value to your clients? You might think you’re just delivering the norm but if they feel transformed beyond words, they’ll shout your name from the rooftops. That’s what you want to price but finding that price can also take a bit of trial and error [2].

Although, McKinsey calls this “trial and error” approach the Pricing Innovation Curve [3]:

The main takeaway is that you need to grow with your business. Just as you become a more experienced coach every day, your pricing and market expertise will grow and deepen. At the start of the journey, we are all forced to set competitive prices within the industry norm. As you mature and grow in brand and presence, you can start setting prices outside those norms.

Other Common Pricing Strategies

Pricing StrategyDescription
Cost-PlusThis easy-to-understand approach simply adds a percentage to your costs. The major downside is that your clients and market demand are not incorporated into the final price.
CompetitiveWith this approach, you look at your competitors and either price the same, above or below depending on your style and confidence. You might include incentives and discounts as well.
Price SkimmingThis is often used when launching new products. They are priced at a premium because of their avant-garde technology or, as in the case of coaches, the latest neuroscience coaching processes, for instance. Generally, this soon attracts competitors and you’ll have to lower your price and find new ways to differentiate yourself.
PenetrationIn this case, you set your prices lower so that you can more easily penetrate the market. The downside is that it can be hard to increase your price later down the line.
Value-basedYou need to know your customer deeply to understand where they see the value you bring. This comes back to perception being the key.
DynamicA simple concept where you keep changing your prices according to demand. This method can also be combined with any of the others.

How to Price Coaching Services 

Now we need to look at how to price coaching services. You might know which pricing strategy you want to use but how do you find the right client for your services to determine the right price? In short, you need a marketing plan.

You can find various resources online, including this marketing plan template or marketing plan guide. As a coach, you can and should leverage the digital world for your marketing and research purposes. The Digital Marketing Institute offers many templates for its members and it’s free to join. 

To give you an idea though, the American Academy of Family Physicians outlines the key steps to developing a strategic marketing plan from which you can determine your coaching prices [4].

OverviewDescription
Set marketing goalsEven if you change them later, it’s good to have an idea of how many coachees you want to aim for by which date. You might also decide to support your community activities with some free coaching to get yourself known, as an example of starting to get out there.
Conduct marketing auditThis is only relevant after your first year but it’s always good to review and reflect on the past in order to shape the future.
Market researchYou’ll need to first identify your target market and then research their needs, challenges and desired outcomes. This stage is also about exploring your competitors so that you can decide how to adjust your coaching prices in the next section.
Analyze researchAccording to your research, you can now apply some of the pricing models and strategies explained above.
Define customer personasBefore finalizing your coaching prices, you’ll need to define at least one and sometimes up to 3 or more ideal clients. It’s good to not have too many so you don’t spread yourself too thin.
Determine budgetThe good news is that the internet offers a world of free or very reasonably priced marketing. Every independent coach and business owner should have a website and the more content you create, the more traffic you’ll generate. If this is new to you, the Digital Marketing Institute offers a range of courses where you can start putting together your online marketing plan and budget.
Develop marketing strategiesOnce you know your preferred approach and platform, you can start defining the details of your message, content and promotional efforts.
Define implementation scheduleAs you go further into the details, you’ll start filling in your marketing calendar which includes your online posts and blogs.
Create evaluation processEvery great system has a feedback loop. Just like you ask your clients for feedback, so make sure you regularly check your analytics and compare them to your goals.

As you can see, coaching prices don’t just operate in isolation because you need to get to know your market. Don’t let this put you off from just diving in though. Sometimes we have to start operating in the market in order to get to know it.

Communicating Your Coaching Prices 

Another useful guide for how to price coaching services is the 2023 ICF Global Coaching Study. While they don’t quote coaching prices per hour, they do give you average revenue per continent. So, North American coaches average $67,800 per year and Western Europe averages $52,400 per year.

Although, it’s generally accepted in the industry that coaching prices range from $70 to $300 per hour or more. As we’ve explained, the rates you can charge depend on your niche, your experience and your potential clients. Clearly, executive leaders will be able to pay more than career coaches just out of university.

Coaching Client Agreement

All coaches know that each session needs a client agreement. Nevertheless, at the start of your engagement, you need a formal, written coaching agreement. Quenza has one ready-made for you in its library with all the important sections, including fees.

In terms of communicating your coaching prices, you don’t want to just throw them cold to clients. You want to ease potential clients into the idea that whatever price you offer, it’s a bargain. They are going to gain something that you simply can’t put a price on.

When it comes to “selling” your services, it’s worth remembering that you’re not actually selling yourself. You’re selling them their vision of their ideal future. Yes, you need the right coaching bio in place but a conversation that is about them rather than you is more powerful in making them dream. Then, you price the dream.

How Much Does Coaching Cost?

So far, we’ve answered the question “how much does coaching cost” in general terms. We can now look into the specifics depending on the niche. The following table of coaching prices per hour gives you an indication of how the different coaching niches compare to each other.

Type of CoachUSD / Hour
Life coach$75 – 100
Health coach$100 – 150
Relationship coach$100 – 150
Leadership coach$100 – 200
Executive coach$150 – 500

These coaching prices will vary depending on which site you’re looking at or who you’re talking to. They still give you a ballpark figure to benchmark against.

Another point to note is that a study conducted by an accounting software company found that women entrepreneurs underpay themselves by 28% [5]. So, if you’re a woman, make sure you recheck your coaching prices.

One way to do that is to be absolutely clear about your value proposition. In other words, make sure you can articulate why you are different compared to other coaches. It’s also good to be able to quantify success and show your track record.

Session Feedback Form

This ready-made feedback form from Quenza’s extensive library of documents and exercises is a good way to collate and track measurable results. For each question, clients are asked to give a score which you can later turn into a chart.

With Quenza, you can also put your business plan together into online forms with the Activity Builder to easily track your progress, as shown below. You can find more details for developing your value proposition on the Quenza platform with this Coaching Business Model and Templates.

The ROI of Coaching

So, are coaches expensive? Like everything in life, it depends on how you look at it. Rather than worrying about clients getting lost in those questions, shift their focus to what their future reality could look like. The more you help them paint the picture as something within their reach, the more they’ll just ask “where do I sign”.

All decisions blend logic and emotions so you do need to make sure you cover both aspects. Sell them a better future with your coaching prices but make sure you also know how to show the return on investment.

Most coaches grapple with this topic because after all, how do you place a number on mindset shift? Is it the coachee who rates it on a scale or should it be those around them? Turning an experiential journey into something tangible isn’t always easy.

Moreover, how far into the future should you measure? It’s all very well if those habits are in place during the coaching but what about next year and the year after that?

While coaching is not training and there is a distinct difference, the models that measure the impact of training can be applied to coaching. The two most common ones are the Kirkpatrick 4-level model and the Brinkerhoff 6-stage model.

The Kirkpatrick model is easy to use and you might start with a survey to understand how your coachees feel about coaching. The learning is then tested which can either be done subjectively with a client questionnaire or objectively by reviewing the goals and progress.

The third level checks in on behaviors and typically includes a 360 feedback survey in the workplace. For other types of coaching, your client might be willing and open to getting feedback from their social circle. Finally, the results are analyzed.

Brinkerhoff 6 Stages

The Brinkerhoff method [6], developed in the late 80s, is similar but it adds two steps which involve checking after a period of time, for example, 6 months. From there, you can evaluate the longevity of the change you’ve worked on with the coachee.

Of course, you might not need to go deeply into all these details. Depending on your clients and market niche though, it’s good practice to have some form of feedback and data gathering process.

Putting Together Coaching Packages

Hopefully, you can now see that it’s not so much about the question “are coaches expensive”, it’s more about “what value does someone put on their personal development”. Once they’re committed and motivated, they’re then often keen to set a high frequency of sessions.

Generally, coaching sessions are every 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the issue. Another case could be for someone you’ve been coaching someone for a while. They might come back for some “maintenance” check-ins once a month.

You can now be creative with your coaching prices and offer a variety of packages. There are different ways to design coaching programs but here are a few examples of some common packages:

•   Life coaching program – 12 individual sessions over 6 months. You could price this anywhere from $1200 to $3000

•   Executive coaching program – 12 group coaching sessions over 6 months with 3 individual sessions at the start, middle and end. For group sessions, you might want to start with the end number in mind. So, if you want to make $10,000, you need to charge around $110 per session for 6 people and around $220 for 3 people.

•   Mindfulness coaching program – 8 group sessions over 2 months with daily guided meditations delivered through Quenza. Often, these types of packages, inspired by the MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) course, cost around $500 and up to $1000 or above. 

With Quenza, you can use the Activity Builder, shown above, to easily put together your own exercises, forms and worksheets to suit the details of your program.

Overall, there are many ways you can use Quenza, including leveraging coaching program templates. Another option is to put together a pathway, or sequence of activities, as in the picture below:

Example of Quenza Pathway

When putting together the different packages, remember that simple is always best. Most people come to coaching because they feel overwhelmed or stuck. The last thing they need is decision paralysis because of facing too many choices.

Make things easy for your potential clients and don’t ask for permission. Just set the coaching prices and you’ll soon see that you attract the type of client who can pay those prices.

Alternative Income Streams

As a coach, there are many other questions besides simply asking yourself “how much are coaching sessions”. You also want to consider how to make as much impact as you can. As such, you want to combine other revenue streams. The added advantage is that you’ll also increase your coach’s salary.

Other revenue streams could include becoming a motivational speaker, writing books, creating courses, delivering workshops and offering a membership-only podcast. These are just a few ideas but it’s up to you to get creative with how you can maximize your talents.

Last but not least, you need to be clear on how your coaching prices are impacting both your expected coach salary and profitability. You therefore need at least a basic knowledge of accounting. There are many apps out there if you want to do the books yourself but otherwise, make sure you hire a good accountant.

Another important factor to remember is to find the right balance between delivering your services and products while keeping existing clients. At the same time, you need to focus on acquiring new clients.

It’s a fine balancing act between delivering excellence and keeping your marketing activities flowing. Within that, you need to keep reviewing and refreshing your coaching prices.

Where to Get Coaching Clients?

Now for the million dollar question “where to get coaching clients”. As we’ve suggested, you need a strong online presence and it’s a good idea to leverage social media platforms. Although, make sure you use the right ones for your target customer.

Networking and collaborating with other coaching businesses can also be lucrative. Moreover, you gain partners with whom to compare notes, including coaching prices. The support you also receive to get you through the downs of managing your own business is invaluable.

As we’ve mentioned, referrals are a common way for coaches to get new clients. Although, sometimes we forget that we can ask our good clients for referrals. Not everyone always thinks to refer you as a coach but once asked, they actively think about it.

Finally, you need to keep your knowledge and expertise up to date with your own development. In fact, the major coaching organizations all encourage their coaches to do a set number of hours per year of some time of developmental work on themselves.

Maximizing Your Value

While coaches work on themselves as part of their training and often operate in selfless and enlightened ways, we are still human. Just like everybody else, we worry about things, including our coaching prices and where to get coaching clients.

Just like you might guide your clients to mindfulness and self-care, so you too can step away from fearing the question “why is coaching so expensive”. Instead, focus on the value you bring to people. Guiding someone to transformation is truly priceless.

Acceptance Letter to Self

Both you and your clients might enjoy this Quenza exercise taken from its vast library of activities. Knowing our value is also about accepting who we are and who we are not. 

In more practical terms, you can also remember the hours and tears spent training, learning and changing yourself. Coaching skills and the need to lose the ego take time to develop but once you do, you offer a calm, caring and safe space for people to become themselves. That’s what you should focus on to give you the confidence you need to set those coaching prices.

Quenza can further support your confidence and give your clients that professional experience they expect. With our platform, you offer a digital space alongside your face-to-face time. That means accessing hundreds of ready-made exercises that you can put together into tailored sequences so that your clients feel heard and supported.

In terms of logistics and coaching prices, Quenza also has you covered. Scheduling, billing and documentation can all be done automatically. You’ll easily be able to track your invoices and keep an eye on your profits.

You can give it a go for 1 month by signing up for the free, full-access, one-month $1-only trial. See for yourself how Quenza can give you the edge you need to increase those coaching prices.

Final Thoughts on Coaching Prices for a Successful Business

Coaching prices are a core part of any business’s marketing and overall strategy. Whatever niche you choose, you need to get to know your market demand and target customers. From there, make sure you strike the right balance between spending time retaining your current clients and working on acquiring new ones.

Naturally, to be successful, you need to find the right pricing to be both affordable and motivating for clients to sign up for your services. If you undercut your prices, they won’t trust that you’re good enough. Finally, you need the right digital tools to be professional and stand out. By signing up for the free, full-access, one-month $1-only trial with Quenza, you can start today by building your business plan on the platform. Why wait to up your game?

References

  1. ^ Heaslip, E. (2022). 5 pricing models and what they mean. US Chamber of Commerce. https://www.uschamber.com/co/start/strategy/types-of-pricing-models.
  2. ^ Mann, M. (2008). Start your own coaching business. Entrepreneur Press.
  3. ^ Chan, K., Jubas, J., Kordes, B., & Sueling, M. (2015). Understanding your options: Proven pricing strategies and how they work. McKinsey. https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/growth-marketing-and-sales/our-insights/understanding-your-options-proven-pricing-strategies-and-how-they-work.
  4. ^ Anwar, R., & Capko, J. (2001). Nine steps to a strategic marketing plan. Family Practice Management, 8(10), 39-43. https://www.aafp.org/pubs/fpm/issues/2001/1100/p39.html.
  5. ^ Lapchuk, L. (n.d.). New research from FreshBooks discovers a 28% wage gap among self-employed women and men. Freshbooks. https://www.freshbooks.com/press/data-research/women-in-the-workforce-2018.
  6. ^ National Youth Council of Ireland. (n.d.). Brinkerhoff’s six stage model for effective HRD evaluation. http://www.youth.ie/sites/youth.ie/files/brinkerhoff.pdf.

About the author

Anne is a coach-counselor with a background in neuroscience, mindfulness, Gestalt therapy, and adult developmental theory.

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