The Death of Free Coaching

Michael hosted master coach Terri Levine today on his Think Big Revolution call. The call had some valuable gems (subscribe to the podcast to grab it once the audio is up).
Terri makes no secret her views on coach certification. She says that in all of her work with Fortune 100 clients and companies, her certification or training has never been a deciding factor in a gig. She does stress that training is great for coaches just starting out because it give them ‘some meat’ and the calls aren’t just telling the client ‘well you have the answers!’
Terri mentions a coaching program she knows of that is $60K. Holy crap! If you want to spend that much – just go get an MBA!
She edges close to my peeve of prosperity coaches who are broke. I think anybody that calls themselves an abundance coach should be forced to post PDFs of their 1040 forms each year. I can hear the ninnies saying, ‘There’s more to prosperity than wealth.’ Then why do you keep quoting Robert Allen?
Free sessions degrade coaching. BULLSEYE. Time spent offering free sessions to coaches is much better spent securing speaking engagements to reach more people. I am finding as my own profile starts to rise that I am no longer able to do lots of freebie klatches about blogs. Suzanne is already railing at me that my prices are still too low.
And in keeping with the Multiple Streams, Book Yourself Solid and Product Factory folks: her main source of income is from products and group coaching.
Terri does mention that her first year she spent all of her time coaching (she’s now one of those unicorn-like seven-figure coaches). And I think this is a dirty secret of successful coaches – they work their butts off for the first few years. Thomas drove around in that RV because he liked to travel but also because he couldn’t stop working. Successful coaches also hire staff, interns and make service trades.
Great call Terri and Michael!
The one thing I come back to again and again is how much the coaching industry is like the theatre industry:

  • Lots of unemployment (+ ‘real jobs’)
  • Lack of marketing smarts
  • Lots of money made from training programs
  • Mythic/icon gurus

4 thoughts on “The Death of Free Coaching

  1. Mitch

    I used to love Terri Levine, but then the innundation of emails selling all this different stuff drove me nuts, so I finally had to discontinue my subscription. I still believe there’s a place for the freebie, and I still offer a free coaching session, as much for myself as for the person I speak to. I do it because the overwhelming majority of people have no idea what coaching is all about, and I think it’s important and fair to show them the distinction between coaching and counseling. Ellen Britt says she’s gained more from giving a free “90” minute initial coaching session than she ever would in charging from the beginning; I’ll go with that for the time being. 🙂

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  2. Maryam Webster

    Mitch I’ll agree with you that coaching – especially Energy Coaching which I do – is poorly understood by the public. But I also agree with what Andy is saying that we just don’t have the time anymore to give out five, ten or more free sessions a week. I give people a good taste of me by having free telegatherings and doing public speaking. Providing MP3’s on my website too lets people know how I coach and gives them a good dose of my voice. Personally, I don’t know how Ellen or anyone else gives a free 90 MINUTE session – whew! That’s a lot of time and space. I do have a free consultation to decide whether the person is a fit for my services, but that’s it and it’s not coaching but a conversation. Good post Andy!

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  3. Anne Duncan

    Count me in… I agree with everything that’s been said so far. When I started my coaching business it seemed offering free sessions was the way to go. It didn’t last long for me. What with “no shows” and people looking simply for free advice I soon stopped. It was a very demotivating experience for me.
    Instead, I give away lots of free information as part of my marketing and like Maryam, always have a conversation with potential one-to-one clients to make sure we are a good ‘fit’… much better for my conversion rate!

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  4. Alvin

    I definitely agree with your last 2 points.
    – Lots of money made from training programs
    It seems that the people making the most money aren’t the coaches themselves, but training companies who produce the coaches and turn them out there to fend for themselves. With some of the attitudes of the people I’ve seen doing these programs it makes me question their ethics.
    – Mythic/icon gurus
    Oh yea! A few I know who’re building themselves as gurus, assuming the top-down position and presenting their lives as pristine and perfect, when their own private lives are nothing to brag about.
    On the other hand, I have great respect for a few trainers I know who are going the real route, openly sharing their own blunders and coming across on an side-by-side level rather than top-down.

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