If you’re considering hiring a life coach, you’ve probably encountered a wide range of pricing. Here’s a guide to deciphering what you should be paying and what to look for:
Compared to Executive Coaching, there is less comprehensive information available about the cost of life coaching, but you can expect to see rates anywhere from $100 per hour to $400 or more per hour. These rates for life coaching will be lower than those for Executive Coaching (see How Much Does an Executive Coach Cost.)
Life coaching is focused on achieving personal goals, while Executive Coaching is focused on business goals and normally includes some type of assessment at the beginning of the engagement. All coaching is used for personal development and goal fulfillment, regardless of the venue for those goals. Within the life coaching rate spectrum there can be quite the range: those who normally work in an executive realm or those with more experience both tend to command a higher rate, while life coaches just out of school may offer lower rates.
Regardless of the title a coach gives themselves (executive coach, life coach, career coach, personal coach), there are some things to look for in selecting a coach to work with:
- Are they certified? The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the independent credentialing body for coaches. You want to ask if your coach has one of these certifications: ACC (Associate Certified Coach), PCC (Professional Certified Coach) or MCC (Master Certified Coach). Those are the only credentials offered by the ICF. Any other certification a coach has is likely from the school that trained them; it may signal a certain amount of hours of training and that they graduated their program, but is not the same thing as the independent certification by the ICF. Programs vary widely in their rigor and graduation requirements, so look for ICF certification.
- Experience and training. This one is basically covered by certification: if they have an ICF credential, they have training. Which credential they hold signals their number of hours of experience, with MCC being the most. There’s a significant leap between ACC and PCC: ACC means 100 hours of experience while PCC means 750 hours or more – a huge difference. (For example: all Arden Coaching coaches are either PCC or MCC; they have thousands of hours of experience. Only 3.6% of coaches worldwide meet this standard. Most coaches who are certified are certified at the ACC, or lowest, level.) Of course, the number of hours aren’t the only significant detail: you’ll want to ask your prospective coach who they’ve worked with in those hours. Finding someone who works with lots of people on the topics you want to address can be useful, though not critical, since a coach is not there to give expert advice but to prompt your own process.
- Rapport. In many ways this is the largest factor. Regardless of the letters after their name, you want to select someone whom you trust and can open up to, and whom you’re willing to empower to provide you feedback.
Other Considerations Regarding the Cost of Life Coaching
- What do you want to accomplish? Is accomplishing that goal worth paying for the coach? If so, great, you’re all set! Find a coach you like and get started. If not, then consider if the goal is truly meaningful to you. You may be better off selecting something else to work on with a coach that means more to you so that you are fully invested in the process.
- Life coaching will take place over a number of months. Since it involves shifting habits and thought patterns to move through a project, you want to give yourself time to take those actions and make those changes. Be sure to account for coaching to take place over a number of months: at least three, and we recommend six. We find that clients usually make the first round of progress in the first three months, but that in order to sustain that shift, they need the next three months to reinforce it and not slide back to their old habits.
- If any coach seems out of range to your purse-strings, consider contacting a coach training program (there’s a list of accredited ones on the ICF website) to see if you can work with a coach-in-training. To accumulate practice hours, these coaches will often work at highly discounted rates or pro bono. If you’re patient and willing to work with someone who’s learning, this may be a good route.
Selecting an Executive Coach can involve some additional factors: see New York Executive Coaching Design for more detail on that process.
When you’re ready to get started with a coach (or think you might be) please contact us for a complimentary consultation with one of our life coaches.