Monday, January 9, 2012

Pricing a blended coaching offering

Posted on Monday, January 09, 2012 by International Coach Federation

I have just about begun to familiarize myself with the world of coaching and the possibilities it has to offer are exceptional and so very energizing!
What has been playing on my mind of late, is the possibility of providing blended coaching.

I have been in the field of learning and development for over 13 years now and I can see that blended learning has never been taken as seriously as it is today. We talk about a learning continuum and various ways in which the same skill or topic gets reinforced in the life of an individual, through various media.

Applying that construct to coaching, I have been thinking what it would be like if we were to offer our clients, a blended coaching model and have a differentiated pricing for that.

I know many of us might argue that well, that is what we have been doing all this while though the question I have to ask, really, is how does your blended coaching model then impact your pricing model?

From what I understand, most coaches still charge per hour of coaching, or per set of classes. Some even offer free trial classes, which makes a lot of sense. How about we become purposeful about the way we coach? We all know the implications of varied learning styles – the fact that different people respond better to different forms of learning. Maybe we have data to prove that tele-coaching is the most effective – maybe we don’t. I am still learning so would love to hear from the people out there who are much more aware about this field.

What would I want to offer to my clients? A varied experience which is predictable and does not make me question the amount of time I spend on a client.


Let’s say, we start with a tele-coaching session, which is usually a free or optimally charged trial session. If the next class is a week later, we could consider offering to our client, depending on their openness to this, of course, a daily or twice / thrice a week text or a daily ping on chat or a daily email (I would avoid a daily call) – whichever works most for them.

This would reinforce some things that have been discussed, keep the discussion alive in the mind of the coachee and also remind them that needed to do some work which will help them achieve their goal. Elliott Masie refers to this part of coaching as Nano-Coaching. I think it is a powerful way of providing the client a window to reach out, a window to think and a moment to follow through.

I would perhaps add a fraction of my cost on top of the amount I would charge for the tele-coaching in case a client would like to go for this kind of a blended coaching model.

Some options might look as follows:
  1. Weekly teleclass costs ‘x’ per week (for an hour long class or whatever duration is agreed upon)
  2. Weekly teleclass + contact twice a week via one chosen mode of communication costs ‘x’ + ‘y’ a week
  3. Weekly teleclass + daily contact via a blend of options costs ‘x’ + ‘z’ a week
What other pricing models do we have in prevalence? Any best practices / learning from practioners?
Namrata Arora

Namrata Arora is a learning and development professional and has been working with MNCs for over 13 years in India. She has been involved in various aspects of learning and development from learning design, development and evaluation to learning organization design, learning strategy and innovation. Namrata is passionate about issues related to women and is an active member of women related forums in her organization and in her city. She is currently pursuing a coaching certification course from ICA and intends to specialize in coaching working women who go through choosing to take up alternate careers or give up their careers owing to their personal circumstances. You can follow Namrata at
http://whatiamiswhatichoose.wordpress.com or reach her at namrata.arora.singh@gmail.com.

4 comments:

  1. Interesting read. I feel coaching is all about helping the client achieve the goals, so most clients would appreciate if the cost is goal oriented. So in addition to some teleclass cost x + goal achieved cost y can be associated with it. While the follow up calls, reminders should be free, a small penalty should be added for the client not performing the tasks by the given dates. ( Though this can be detrimental and have to be taken on case to case basis). This is the model that works with most of the services oriented business. This would give a bigger push to the coach to ensure that the client is indeed doing some work, while keeping the coach interested in the final fish.

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  2. Thank you very much for sharing your perspective. It is in discussing our thoughts that we learn the most and I appreciate your making the time to share yours.
     
    I am sure many coaches might have varied opinions on this though the way I would distinguish a coaching relationship with any other result-seeking relationship in a service oriented or any other organization, is that a coaching relationship is nurturing and is about the client setting his / her own pace to achieve the goals which they have defined for themselves. If we were to penalize the client for not accomplishing the tasks they committed to, maybe we are missing a key perspective about a change in their circumstances or are losing an opportunity to understand why they chose to not complete their task.
     
    My key belief, as reflected in my blog which you might have read (http://whatiamiswhatichoose.wordpress.com), is that everything we do is a matter of choice - sometimes it is a conscious choice and sometimes an unconscious one.
    As a coach, I think we can be closer to client if we let ourselves be open to the way the clients move ahead in the direction of the results. If slow progress means we propose additional coaching sessions, they would need to incur more cost anyways. What is key, however, is that we propose this as a way of helping them get nearer to their goal and not to reprimand them for a task not done.
     
    Recently, a client of mine shared no progress against a goal we agreed and when we started talking, I realised, she was busy with other critical tasks and what emerged was another new goal which got her excited. As a result, we are now working on two goals and I think it has already resulted in an extended coaching relationship for us.
     
    As for what we offer free is really up to us and that is the power of coaching I think. It offers an opportunity to create a flexible arrangement and something that works best for the client and the coach in a given situation and could be unique for every client.

    Namrata

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