Discussions of price per hour just drive me crazy.  For example, if because of my demonstrable business acumen, I am given an opportunity and asked to develop a plan of execution with the necessary ‘prove ups’ to improve performance of an $8MM company by 4+ points / pre-tax net, gaining an additional $320K of operating profit, should I translate that value to some sort of hourly rate, like a bookkeeper, hoping my hourly rate is within the client’s budget and acceptable?  Or do I get to charge a commensurate flat fee for the plan’s execution?  After all, the client organization gets to reap the benefits of my work for years to come (5 year X’s $320K, etc.).

Or, regarding my career coaching program; take an individual who is working in a position earning $40K who is having a difficult time breaking through to the next level coupled with some of life’s personal challenges at home.  Do I not get to charge a fee commensurate with the value I can deliver to create a plan and to execute it with the client that lifts this person to earnings over time to 75K+, and enhancing a fulfilling home life?  How do you translate that value to some sort of hourly rate?

For me, that’s the big difference between a therapist and a coach.  Like the difference between a professional and an amateur.  The professional ‘knows’ he / she can do it and an amateur ‘thinks’ he / she can do it.

I turn down far and away the majority of business consulting and personal coaching client inquiries.  Why?  Because I want results for the client and I know from experience that during the ‘assessment / introductory phase [prior to a financial commitment], that unless I hear from the prospective client’s mouth (in their own words), admit 1) they have problems, 2) they don’t know how to fix the problems and 3) ask me for help – I’m gone!

Again you might ask why?  And again from my experience, 1) a career individual or business owner who does not flat out admit they have problems, can’t be helped2) a career individual or business owner who admits they have problems, but thinks they know how to fix them, won’t be helped, and 3) a career individual or business owner who doesn’t ask for help, will only accept or will only buy help at the lowest price.

Can you imagine Phil Mickelson, RG III or Anna Kournikova (who have multiple coaches and trainers) making that selection based on price?  No, it’s based upon a ‘body of work’, ‘value’ and confidence that the coach can and will deliver.  By the time I and the client have finally accepted each other, I am assured of achievement with the client, because we have jointly committed to an end result.

Sure, I have multiple degrees and initials behind my name (I have long ago dropped the initials), but none of that will get me a client and neither will a competitive hourly rate.  Like there’s always a bigger boat, there’s always a cheaper price!

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