How Much Does a Personal Coach Cost?
For no particularly good reason, the coaching industry tends to keep their prices hidden. It’s unfortunate because mysterious pricing just makes it even harder for potential clients to hire coaches.
So, in the interest of transparency, here’s everything that I’ve seen about how personal coaching is priced.
If you are in the market for a coach, you should keep in mind that the success rate of coaching is very high. So while it’s coaching is generally a good return on investment at almost any price, you shouldn’t be afraid to hire a more junior coach if that’s all your budget allows.
If you are a coach reading these prices, then I’m sure you have heard magical stories about coaches elsewhere getting away with charging much more. What I know about these coaches is that they are often embellishing in order to sell their advice to other coaches. But even when they aren’t, it’s often the case that they are short on clients. The prices below are more than fair and are enough to be well off if you put your focus on having a steady roster of clients.
Below I’ve listed out the range of prices for all the types of coaches I’ve worked with. These are business coaches, life coaches and habit coaches (but not athletic coaches).
The advice I’d give you is to hire the coach at the level that fits your current budget. If you and your coach are successful, you may find yourself with a bigger budget down the road.
Executive & Business Coaches
Most business coaches charge for time in the same way that a lawyer does. They may structure the charge on a per-session basis, although it’s increasingly common to see package deals or retainers. In all cases though, the underlying cost is based on the cost of a session.
Here are general guidelines for pricing for different categories of business coaches.
- $150–250 per session. Junior business coaches who are just getting started. Generally, these coaches are hired by mid-level managers or clients who are just dipping their toes into the world of coaching.
- $250–400 per session. Established coaches who are generally coaching small business owners, startup executives, or director-level managers at mid-tier companies.
- $500-$800 per session. Senior coaches who are generally coaching the top leadership inside small to mid-size companies.
- $1200–2,000. Corporate coaches, generally working with senior leaders inside highly profitable companies.
- $50,000 and up. The top hundred or so coaches in the world do get to command huge prices because they get to charge for value and are generally coaching people who make multi-million dollar decisions every week. A coach at this level often has a best-selling book to their name.
There’s some wiggle room. If you are a client, you should use the list above as a sense of what’s fair. The actual rate that a coach quotes you isn’t meant for heavy negotiation — it’ll differ from the above based on how full their schedule is, where they are located, and what they think is fair for your budget.
If you are a coach, look at these rates as a career ladder. You will earn higher rates as you get more experienced, get more referrals from past clients, and go deeper on the tactics of coaching.
Life coaches generally charge less than business coaches because it’s harder for clients to evaluate the ROI. Theoretically, the impact a life coach makes on a client’s feeling of purpose and happiness should command a higher dollar amount than an executive coach merely helping a business make more money, but the market doesn’t seem to think that (yet).
- $100–200. Most life coaches seem to be in this range because the market doesn’t seem to want to pay more and the coaches don’t seem to want to work for less.
- $200–300. Specialized life coaches, for example, relationships, do get to charge more.
- There is a luxury tier of coaches who specialize in high net worth individuals. If that’s you, then the coaches that work with other people like you are probably charging the equivalent of $500 per session or more.
Skill or Outcome Oriented Coaching
Many coaches will have specific skill or outcome oriented packages. These are a mix of educational materials and personalized coaching and are delivered over fixed time periods.
There are two nice things about these packages, you know what the outcome is going to be and you know what it will cost to get there.
For example, there are public speaking coaches who might work with you for as short as an hour or as long as two full days. There are coaches who will teach you a specific sales routine. There are hundreds of iterations on this formula.
You should expect that these packages are priced 50% or higher than what it would cost to work individually with the coach. That’s based on the value of their sales material. When the package has a clear financial value, sales coaching for instance, the pricing will trend even higher and start to approach a percentage of that perceived financial value.
There’s an emerging trend of habit coaches who are focused on short daily interactions, often over text messaging. My company, Coach.me, pioneered this for general habit coaching and then there are also a lot of weight loss coaching organizations who use the same model.
The prices for this model tend to be in the $60–150 per month range. That’s not very expensive for daily interaction.
It generally works because the coach is aided by technology in some way and most clients don’t need time intensive attention each day. Clients should look out for one thing, which is that there is actually a real person who is paying enough attention to you to personalize the coaching. Otherwise, all you’re actually getting is a pre-written training plan.