That struck me. That was my insight. I was in the Rich Litvin Intensive a few days ago, surrounded by some of the most amazing and talented coaches on the planet. Yet, this insight sounded like an awakening for me.
I always loved to give, offer, and help people to become better, happier and freer. I loved to be reminded that I could coach the way I love to while being generous. In the intensive, I met a coach based in L.A. who charges her clients up to $500 000 per year. Yet, she told me she also has a client who pays her $75 an hour, and that she loves her so much that she just “wants to wrap her arms around her.” That touched me deeply, and I called that a Mega Sliding Scale. I love the idea of a profession where you can serve the elite, who have a tremendous impact in this world, and get paid amazing sums of money for the value you deliver, yet, when you chose to, you can also serve whoever you want no matter their income, and find ways to work with them so that money is never a problem.
Rich Litvin told us about having 3 different millionaire prospective clients say that they couldn’t afford his services. Yet, in my own experience, one of my first paying clients was a woman who had transitioned back from living in Singapore, and wanted to land her dream job in a top position in one of the leading aerospace companies in France. Her bank account was running very low, yet she decided to invest half of what she had left to be coached by me. In 3 sessions only, she had landed that job, gone through all the interviews, and was hired. She has been working there ever since. I remember her sending me an email asking me to correct her English.
“Once you are a Director, will you still ask me to correct your English spelling mistakes?”
She simply answered:
“You are a wonderful coach.”
As a coach, your clients pay you so you remind them how powerful they are.
As a coach, you also get to select with whom you want to be generous. There are clients who will suck up your energy, and not do the work. Some clients are highly uninspiring. These clients deserve to be served too, and there are dozens of coaches out there who would be happy to coach them for free. If you want to build a sustainable and prosperous coaching practice, and most of all feel amazing at the prospect of serving your clients when you wake up in the morning, you need to filter out your clients.
For me right now, I love to work with clients who are visionaries, already have a track record of success, and are leading an organization which makes a significant positive impact in several areas of the 5Ps of Conscious Business. These clients are fun to work with, committed to their growth, willing to invest the time, energy and attention into their coaching, and willing to do the work. I also noticed in my coaching journey that the higher you place the bar, the better you feel. When you have a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation after the coaching session, that is a good sign you can continue with this client. If you think: “I love working with this client so much, I would be happy to coach them for free.”, that is a good sign too. If you feel frustration after a session, check in with yourself and see if you made clear agreements with your client.
“Coaching is the most generous profession in the world”… and it has a phenomenal R.O.I ! It is estimated that coaching can have an R.O.I. of 500 to 800% (David Rock and Linda J. Page in Coaching with the Brain in Mind as cited in Steve Chandler’s 37 ways to boost your coaching practice).
In your intention to serve your clients deeply (and not please them), Coaching allows you to be generous. You get to send them books, articles, videos that can support them on their journey. You can refer them to other coaches, healers and experts who can help them too. Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin call this the art of Client Astonishment. Who can you send a hand-written note right now? Who could you thank for a service they made to you or a collaboration you had? Which current client can you astonish before, during or after your next coaching session?
3 ideas for client astonishment:
- upgrade them to a longer session
- invite them to a lovely location, and propose a novel coaching experience for them
- ask them if they would like to be introduced to a key contact that could leverage their business
One key is that you get to be generous… with yourself !
I remember when I was transitioning to coaching while having a full time job, I would wake up at 6am and perform my morning routine, have a window of 30 minutes to read about coaching or connect with clients before I went to work to be operational at 9am. In the evenings, I would come home and sometimes have a coaching call with clients in the U.S. I would disconnect from the call, jump in the shower and go to bed. I remember the stress I felt, and how I was on the verge of burnout on multiple occasions. I worked on Saturdays too (and even on Sundays at some point). Today, I give myself a real break, including during the week where I have the luxury of having created free space in my calendar. As a coach, you are the true Creator or your time and space. You get to choose how you want to play. You get to experience how less is more. Less meetings, more space. More time to think, imagine and create. More time to appreciate, including doing nothing ! You get to put yourself first so you can serve others better and deeper. You reprioritize your life based on your goals and needs. You stop pleasing others. You build deep and meaningful relationships because you want to, not because you have to. You also get to be materially generous with yourself too.
You can pay yourself as much (or as little) as you want.
You can purchase any equipment that feels important to you (I invested in an amazing laptop which beats anything I had previously).
You get to choose what you feel like eating and do not have to stick to what the corporate canteen has to offer.
Choosing to become a professional coach has helped me reach a new level of freedom.
Yet, Coaching not only a label for a profession, it is a skill in your toolbox. As a leader, you get to coach. You don’t need to be a professional coach for that. In your generosity as a coach, you get to support the causes that really matter to you. You get to coach leaders who have a tremendous impact in that field, and if you choose to, can do it pro bono. However, you might discover that even non-profit clients are willing to pay when they see the magic of your coaching and the impact you have to help them make an even bigger difference. I am grateful to count among my clients leaders who have a phenomenal positive impact in the fields of diversity and inclusion, citizen dialogue and democracy, worldwide afforestation and reforestation, spiritual development, and others. You get to choose how and with whom you want to play.
How about you, how would you live the most generous life as a coach?