What's it cost?

Coaching is expensive.

I charge $100 an hour for nonprofit leaders.

So let me ask you...

What would you need to get from your coaching to make it worth that kind of money?

And it's not just the money. You're going to put your time into it, you're going to put your heart into it, so what changes would you need to see in your leadership and your life?

Even though $100 an hour is indeed expensive it's also a deal—given that many coaches charge significantly more.

Two colleagues have told me to increase my fee because if I don't charge the going rate people will think my coaching isn't worth much. I get that. In our culture it's often assumed that a higher price means higher quality, though when I ask people about that they can easily think of examples where that's just not true.

Here's why I'm sticking with $100. I tend to work with leaders from small and mid-sized nonprofits who don't have big budgets with lots of consulting and training money. And what matters most is that we get results. That's what makes my clients happy and it's what makes me happy. I don't want leaders worrying about the money during the session. I don't want them cheating themselves by pushing too quickly through a hard issue or by staying on the surface when they really need to take the time to go deep.

There are times when we get big results in short order and that's fun. But there are many issues of personal and professional development that have to be slow cooked, otherwise you just don't get the result you need or it doesn't sustain.

I'd rather a client be able to sign up for two hours at $100 to work through something in greater depth than to speed too fast through the same issue in an hour at $200.


Risk-free initial session.
It's standard in the coaching field to offer "sample sessions." I don't do that. Right from the start I walk us into a real coaching conversation.

Of course we'll warm up first, maybe with questions like...

What do you love about leading?

What's your ambition for your future?

What challenges are you facing?

What do you most want from your coaching?

But the bulk of the first hour will be real coaching work to get real results.

What you experience of me in the first session is how I will show up as a coach in ongoing sessions. I'm not doing a special marketing demo, so you won't have to do any guess work about what kind of person I am. Also you can read around on this site. How I show up here is really me.

At the end of our initial conversation, there are two options...

If you decide the coaching I do is a match for you and you've gotten results that matter to you, then I'll invoice you for the time.

But if you decide that my coaching is not a match for you, then the session is free.

The most important part of coaching is getting the right match between client and coach, so...

The only thing that matters at the end of the first session is that you simply tell me what's true for you.

I know sometimes people are reluctant to say no person to person, and it seems like this is especially the case for nonprofit leaders who spend so much of their time trying to keep everybody happy. But I really don't want to take on a client who I'm not right for. And anyway I can usually tell before the end of the hour so please don't stress about letting me know if we're not a match.

Of course you get to take some time to think through what you want, and maybe shop around and try out some other coaches, which I encourage. Then once you've made your decision you can shoot me an e-mail. But let me say again, really and truly...

The only thing that matters is that you make the decision that's right for you.


Three key questions leaders sometimes ask me:

1.  Should I pay for coaching myself or should my organization pay for it?
About half my clients pay for their coaching personally:

Some leaders don't want their Board or staff to know they're working with a coach. They want it to be totally private. They don't want to ever hear any comments or jokes or anything at all about their coaching from anyone else.

Some leaders want to pay for their own personal and professional development because it gives them a stronger feeling of ownership.

About half my clients have their organization pay for their coaching or they have a funder who is willing to pay:

Some leaders can't afford it personally.

Some leaders feel strongly that the organization should pay because the organization is going to get significant benefits from their coaching.

You may have heard the old saying about therapy: "If the client doesn't pay for it himself, he won't get anything out of it."

But people are more complicated than that. I'm fortunate in that I seem to attract clients who are dedicated to personal and professional development. I don't see a difference between those who are paying personally and those who aren't.

From what I've seen, commitment to self-development trumps the commitment of money.


2.  How do I make the case to my Board that coaching is worth the cost?
Focus on the results you're going for and how they might pay off for your organization. For example...

In one session, Jennifer created a new strategy for a long-shot grant that was due the next day. The foundation was impressed, she got the grant and it brought in ten times more than the cost of her coaching for a full year.

By switching her energy and attention from her two problem employees to her eight top performers, Lauren was able to increase productivity by 50% and boost morale. One of the problem staff pulled up her socks and started performing. The other one didn't feel at home there anymore and got himself a new job.

By getting a bully off his Board, George kept his great Board members from quitting, the ones who were actually raising money.

Virginia was ready to quit being a leader until she got out of sacrificial mode and into sustainable mode, and then she decided that she loved leading. So her organization didn't lose her, which would have been a terrible loss.

There are so many outcomes that make coaching worth it financially. But personally I also think that a hundred or two a month is a pretty cheap price to pay to keep an ED happy.


3.  What if I'm blocked about spending money on myself?
Perhaps you've decided that coaching is something you want, but then you start hearing the voice of your inner nonprofit critic saying...

You don't deserve to spend money on yourself because there are so many other urgent needs.

You're the leader, your job is to give to others not take something for yourself.

Even if you're hurting, you still don't have the right to ask for anything.

If coaching is not what you need, please don't sign up for it. Go get what you need instead. But if it is right for you, then please don't let the nonprofit culture of sacrifice stop you.

And if this is an issue you're struggling with, you can used your initial conversation with me to work through it and make a decision about what you want to do.


Invitation to coaching

Shopping for a coach

How often, how long, how's it end?

Stories: The power of knowing yourself and loving yourself



© Rich Snowdon 2008