There are many factors that influence how much coaches earn and so being able to state a single figure is impossible.
Coaches are not paid in the same way as say a nurse, store manager or civil servant. In most case, coaches are self-employed and so what they earn will depend on how well they can build their practice.
However, we can certainly put some ballpark figures to how much a coach earns on average.
If you Google the topic, suggested rates per hourly session vary enormously, between £30 – £2,000, and coaching incomes range from a few thousand pounds to over £500k.
The working hours, rates per session and the number of clients a coach has are key factors in determining actual earnings, but underpinning these obvious elements are other considerations that influence how much coaches can make.
In this article we’ll share those considerations, how they impact the money a life coach can earn.
How Much Can A Coach Charge?
How much to charge per coaching session is a big question for new coaches to answer, and one that comes up a lot for people undertaking a coaching courses as they seek to recoup their investment and grow their coaching business.
Do you go for an “average” market rate, as far as that exists?
Do you start low and work your way up?
Or do you start where you want to be?
Anecdotally, many Animas coaches suggest that in personal coaching a new coach will charge rates of £40-£75 per hour upon qualification and relatively quickly, as they gain confidence, they will charge £80-£120 per hour. More experienced coaches (3+ years) will charge more around £150-£200, though many remain around the £80 range for longer.
In the executive or corporate coaching space, we find Animas coaches typically charge roughly £200 per hour, though sometimes significantly higher. Often their work will be contracted on a daily basis of £1500+.
Factors Influencing Coaching Session Fees
In a recent survey, our Animas coaches cited many other factors influencing their charging structures – here’s a synopsis of each:
Experience and accreditation: Years of coaching experience, niche or sector knowledge, plus other valuable skills the coach can bring to their clients. Similarly, recognition from a reputable body such as the International Coaching Federation can also help boost credibility and confidence, which can feed through into prices.
Results achieved: – The value a coach has brought to previous clients’ lives, from income changes to time saved, to feeling more confident about their situation.
Creating a LIFE: Coaches like everyone need to pay their bills. “LIFE” is an acronym designed by Animas founder, Nick Bolton, that stands for Lifestyle, Impact, Finance and Emotions. Coaches use this tool to describe the outcomes they want in each of these areas, to help define their coaching business, including their fees.
- Charging based on appointment type – Some coaches adapt their pricing based on the types of appointments they offer. Face to face or weekend and evening work, may be charged at a premium, whereas remote, mid week sessions are not.
- Comfort levels – Many life coaches want to make a difference to peoples’ lives and find it hard taking money from clients at first, so can fall into the trap of charging as little as possible in an attempt to offer coaching to everyone. Often, this reluctance to charge is hiding a limiting belief around the value the coach can bring to their clients. At Animas, we teach our coaches to hold space for their clients, offering a place where they can be truly heard, and this in itself is a unique and extremely valuable service we can give from the start of our practice.
- Ability to pay / sliding scale – pay what you feel is fitting – To ensure they are able to reach the people who need their services most, some coaches have a different approach to fees. A sliding scale based on the clients’ income means clients who earn more, pay more. Alternatively, some coaches let the client decide the fee based on the value they felt they achieved from the coaching relationship.
How Coaches Can Earn More
Many coaches expand the services they offer in a way to diversify their business and attract more clients. Examples include:
Corporate Vs. Personal Coaching
No longer reserved for C-level executives, offering coaching in the workplace has become standard practice in many organisations.
Many coaches are attracted to the world of corporate coaching, lured by the draw of a “steady income” and higher rates. However, getting into organisations can be more difficult than finding personal clients, due to the lengthy procurement processes, competition from established corporate coaching companies and also cultural fit.
You should note that when it comes to coaching in the corporate world, ICF accreditation or an equivalent certification is often a prerequisite to help demonstrate the credibility you bring as a coach.
Many Animas coaches engage in associate coaching in which, as well as building their own practice, they join larger organisations who manage a roster of freelance coaches whom they place with clients within companies worldwide. Whilst the hourly rate may be less that the coach would charge independently, the frequency of the work, the lack of marketing efforts needed, and the exposure to blue-chip organisations can make this an excellent additional service.
Diversifying Your Coaching Services
Adding complementary services gives a coach the opportunity to earn more, whilst also attracting more clients.
Based on the experience of our Animas community, here are some regular add-ons to a coaching practice:
- Holistic Services: Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness and Meditation can all be complementary to a coaching practice, to help your client relax, and open up to the coaching.
- Business coaching/mentoring: Coaches with business experience may add mentoring as a service, offering help on how to navigate typical situations from someone who has been there before.
- Group coaching / Facilitation: Adding a one-to-many to your one-to-one coaching can build an income quickly whilst creating a “funnel” for one to one clients who come from the group experience to private work.
- Training and Workshop Leadership: Creating workshops, training courses or facilitating groups is also another option for coaches with experience or interest in these areas.
- Retreats: Exciting opportunities exist in creating and running retreats either at home or abroad. These can be high-ticket items within your coaching services whilst also being a highlight of your year.
Increasing Your Coaching Rates
It may sound obvious, but one way to earn more money as a coach is to charge more per session. Some coaches use this as a demand management tool – when their diary is fully booked, they’ll increase rates to reduce the coaching hours needed to reach their income goals.
Ways For Coaches To Secure Their Income
Charging and booking clients hour by hour can be time-consuming for coaches, taking away precious coaching time.
Once established, many people running a coaching practice introduce packages or programmes to their coaching business in order to secure more regular income and reduce the administrative side of client management.
Coaching Packages And Programmes
Typical coaching packages & programmes include:
Minimum Sessions: Many coaches work with a minimum session package, to ensure there is time for the relationship to develop, and to help their clients move forward. Typically, the minimum we’ve seen from our Animas community is 3 sessions, but many extend to 6 or 9 sessions. Payment plans allow some clients to spread the cost, or alternatively discounts may be offered for upfront payment.
Length of Relationship: Rather than choosing a specific number of sessions, some coaches work with clients for 3, 6 or 12-month packages. This gives the coach the ability to hone their offering to meet the needs of these clients.
Programmes Tackling Specific Issues – Coaches may offer a package to tackle a specific presenting issue for their clients, such as starting a business, writing a book, or more emotionally specific packages tackling overwhelm, procrastination or perfectionism. The coach will offer tried and tested tools to work through with the client over a given format of sessions, and self-learning.
Bespoke Programmes: Following initial consultation, some coaches design a package based on the individual client’s needs presented and their experience in that area. This may fall into the minimum session or relationship length patterns mentioned above, and could also include additional add-ons such as mentoring, holistic services and self-study.
Corporate Coaching Packages – Based on the outcome the organisation wishes to achieve, a coach working in the corporate sector will either charge daily rates for their 1:1 or group coaching work, or design a bespoke package or process to take their employees or leaders through that tackles the need of the organisation.
To summarise, and as we’re sure you would have guessed by now, there isn’t one definitive answer to the question “How much can a coach earn?”
From the Animas community, we have learnt that earnings will generally go up over time and most coaches will work with clients for at least 3 sessions.
For those who have the drive, patience and persistence to become well-established, earnings of £80,000 and £100,000 are eminently feasible, although according to the ICF’s global survey, the average life coach salary is £42,000.
Ultimately, a coach’s earning is determined by the choices they make and the services and value they offer their clients.
Most importantly, there should be no doubt that there’s no shortcut to creating a coaching practice that provides you with the income you desire. It takes persistence, patience, tenacity and a mindset of growth!