Ballpark Estimate: $50 to $250 a session and up
You probably know that many professional athletes rely on individual coaches who help them perform their best and lead them to success. But even people who don’t play sports can still benefit from another person’s expertise in much the same way. That’s why many people today are turning to coaches who specialize in life experiences to give them advice and help them to achieve a variety of personal and professional goals.
A New Field
Life coaching is a relatively new field but one that is also gaining in popularity. More and more people are investing in the services of life coaches to help them resolve personal relationships, advance their careers and grow businesses. The idea behind this concept is that a life coach can bring out the best of his or her client and can help foster the necessary problem solving skills that the client needs to resolve pressing issues and be successful.
In a nation where self-help and motivational books, tapes and CDs fly off store shelves at a rapid pace, some sociologists say it makes sense that people are willing to spend money for an individual who can help them feel more in control of their own lives and reach their goals more effectively.
Offering a Unique Perspective
What makes life coaching different from seeing a therapist or counselor is the focus of the sessions. Therapist and counselors typically work with patients to look at things in their past that have affected them and to work on dealing with the feelings these past events have triggered.
Life coaches, on the other hand, deal specifically with your present situation and your future. This gives your sessions a more positive bent, according to people who work in the life coaching field, and also provides the encouragement and day-to-day advice you need to move forward on strong footing.
It is also worth pointing out that therapists generally give guidance to their patients, while life coaches work on a mutual level, more as an equal partner than as someone who leads you.
A Host of Benefits
If think the concept of having a personal coach on your side is intriguing but you aren’t quite sure if this is really something you need, here are some of the benefits that life coaches typically list for perspective clients:
- Personal and professional goal setting
- Time management skills
- Personal and professional growth
- Improved motivation
- Increased productivity
- Financial gain
- Stress reduction
Of course, not all of these benefits apply to every situation, but life coaches generally work closely with their clients to help them decide what areas they want to tackle and what improvements and goals they hope to accomplish. This means each person will have different results, depending on his or her specific situation, needs and desires.
What to Look For
Different life coaches bring different strengths and experience to the table. For instance, there are coaches who specialize in marriages and family relationships, career planning, business development and a host of other areas. Therefore, it is important to take the time to do some research and find the right person for the job. It is also essential to find out what training and experience a life coach has in the area that interests you, since you want to find the best fit that exists.
Today, there are various classes available for life coaches that serve as a training ground on the important theories and practices they will need to be most effective in helping clients. However, not all people calling themselves life coaches have actually received such an education, so ask lots of questions and check credentials and certifications when interviewing life coaches with whom you might want to work to be sure they are experienced in their field and will be able to make a positive contribution to you and your situation.
What You Can Expect
Life coaches also usually like to ask a lot of questions to get a feel for who you are and where you are coming from. A good life coach will be able to use the information you provide to help you think creatively about how to overcome challenges and excel in different situations. The best coaches are also usually able to offer a large degree of compassion and understanding that can make the process a positive and rewarding one. You can also expect your life coach to protect your best interest at all costs and to preserve your confidentiality as well.
Life coaching sessions typically last for 30 minutes and usually occur by phone. This is important, as it means it will minimize the time commitment required from you and it will also allow you to find the best fit for your needs, regardless of where the coach is located. That means you are not limited by geographic location and in fact can open up your search for the perfect life coach to anywhere in the country or even the world, if need be.
How to Find a Life Coach
There are many life coaches in the United States today, as well as in many other countries. Therefore, finding the right one for you may take some time and patience. You can work through one of the many membership services available over the Internet, such as The Coach Connection and Lowcost Life Coaching. Places like these usually offer access to a directory of life coaches. Some of them require membership fees but in return, provide discounted session rates for a specified period of time.
If you prefer to find a life coach on your own, you can do a search online to find some possible matches, or ask family, friends and colleagues for recommendations from people they’ve used. Some people recommend talking with several perspective matches to see who you feel most comfortable with.
What It Costs
Many life coaches don’t announce their fees up front because they prefer to talk to potential clients over the phone to explain the benefits they can bring before they talk about the money piece. This can make it difficult to compare prices when you are considering between several possible matches. But there are some general guidelines that can at least give you an idea of what to expect.
The typical going rate for life coaching in the United States is in the range of $50 to $250 for a half-hour session.
Since seeing a life coach can be quite a financial commitment, some life coaches (and also some of the membership agencies that provide the link between life coaches and clients) charge a set monthly fee that covers one session each week.
Monthly arrangements are often between $250 and $500 a month and can be a cost-effective option for multiple visits.
Just keep in mind that in some cases, coaches will offer a lower introductory rate for a set number of visits, then after that the fee will increase. Since some clients only need to see their life coach for a few months, this may not pose a problem. But if you plan to see your life coach for a long-term commitment, make sure you find out up front if the price will increase in the near future. In addition, keep in mind that some life coaches also require a long-term commitment from their clients. Make sure you are comfortable with this arrangement before you agree to it.
Some experts also recommend requesting a brief introductory session with a potential life coach at no charge, so you can make sure he or she is indeed a good fit.
Don’t Choose By Price Alone
Of course you can find coaches who charge more and also some who charge less as well. Some of the variables that can affect the price include what part of the country the coach lives in, the level of training achieved and what expertise he or she brings to the role. Experts also stress that the session fee may not necessarily be equal to the value that a life coach may bring to your life. In fact, some of the more reasonably priced life coaches can be extremely good at what they do, while some of the highest priced coaches may not even be a good fit for you. The rule of thumb, then, is that you should not select a life coach by price but rather to find the person with whom you feel most comfortable. Also keep in mind that if the “right” life coach is charging more than the competition, he or she may also be able to help you meet your goals in few sessions, so you still may come out ahead.
Life Coaching Services
If you would like to try using a life coach but can’t afford to take on the high expense, there are a range of budget-conscious options that exist. You can do a search online for low-cost life coaching membership websites. These work by linking clients with coaches who are willing to work for less in order to make more connections. The hope is that when the introductory rate wears off, you will see first-hand the cost-effectiveness they can bring to your life and you will be willing to pay their full rates.
Generally, such sites operate under a pay-a-monthly price format. These start at about $50 a month for three coaching sessions (so just under $17 a visit), and go on up to $349 for a block of six sessions (almost $60 a session), which is still on the very low end of the scale of life coaching rates and can be a great way to get your feet wet and reap the many benefits without getting in over your head.