Well, we wish there was a simple answer, but the truth is that it depends! 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 life coaches can make.
In this article we’ll share those considerations, how they impact the money a life coach can earn, and hear from some of the Animas community on their own experiences.
How much should a life coach charge?
How much to charge per life coaching session is a big question for new coaches to answer, and one that comes up a lot for people undertaking life coaching courses as they seek to recoup their investment.
Do you go for an “average” market rate, as far as that exists? Start low and work your way up? Or start where you want to continue?
Anecdotally, our Animas coaches suggest that in personal coaching a new coach will charge rates of £30-£50 per hour upon qualification and relatively quickly, as they gain confidence, they will charge £50-£100 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 life coaching session fees
In a recent survey, our Animas coaches cited many other factors influencing their charging structures – here’s a synopsis of each:
Case Study 1: Libby Davy
“A coach’s potential to have triple bottom line impact (People, Planet & Profit) is immeasurable.”
Since completing her diploma with Animas 4 years ago, Libby Davy has created a coaching business focused on people who want to create positive change on any scale – in life or at work. She creates bespoke 6 or 12-month packages for her clients based on their needs and uses a sliding scale to calculate fees based on affordability. In addition to 1:1 coaching, Libby has a lifetime of experience in stakeholder engagement, ethical business development, activism, education and Buddhism practice. She is currently leading numerous coaching-for-good projects.
Ways a life coach can earn more money
Many coaches will look to 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.
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:
Increasing your life coaching rates
It may sound obvious, but one way to earn more money as a life 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.
Case Study 2: Liz Goodchild
“If you can’t fit your clients in, it’s time to put up your prices.”
Liz Goodchild has been a full time coach for 5 years, having trained with Animas in 2014. She works with a range of clients including other life coaches. Liz offers a 9-session package costing £1350 with the option of a payment plan to spread the cost. When starting out she treated her coaching business as an apprenticeship, charging £30 per hour and learning on the job. When she had too many clients, she put up her prices. Liz now earns between £80k and £100k from her coaching business.
Ways for life 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 life coaching packages & programmes include:
1. 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.
2. Length of relationships – 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.
3. Programmes tackling specific coaching 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 & tested tools to work through with the client over a given format of sessions, and self-learning.
4. 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.
5. 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.
Case Study 3: Mia O’Gorman
“Pricing can vary quite widely. It depends on the industry sector, size of the client organisation and seniority of the coachee.”
Coming from a leadership & organisational development background, corporate coaching was a natural fit for Mia O’Gorman. Working with mid to senior level leaders, often when transitioning to the next level, Mia offers a tailored package of coaching, evaluation, diagnostic and feedback tools. Typical hourly rates in the corporate coaching market range from £300-£500.
In Mia’s practice, a common assignment structure for a senior leader in a large private sector business including a 3-way contracting meeting with the sponsor of the coaching to agree the agenda, diagnostic tools, 360 feedback, six 2-hour coaching sessions, and an evaluation meeting could be package charged at £6,400 (excluding VAT and expenses). In addition to her coaching services, Mia offers organisations other services such as leadership development and culture change programmes.
Although in comparison to life coaching the fees may seem attractively high, the actual amount landing in the coach’s pocket may be significantly less after business tax and travel time are taken out. Also, when working as an associate coach, a portion of the fees will be retained by the lead consultancy to cover their costs in developing and managing the programme for the client 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 life 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.
But a life coach salary 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!