Secrets from an Executive Coach

How to be an executive coach
secrets from an executive coach

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a full-time corporate or executive coach?

Have you ever wished you had a roster full of CEO’s as clients?

Wouldn’t it be nice to be paid $25,000 per 6 month coaching package?

Of course it would!

But how do you begin?

Where do you start?

You likely have so many questions, like:

How do you sell executive coaching services? What is an executive coaching salary? How do you find executive coach jobs?

Bottom line: How does it all work?

Well, recently I did a free community webinar with one of my favorite successful executive coaches, Karen Burke of Corporate Navigator.

She specializes in working with CEO’s exclusively, and has a lucrative practiced based out of Boston, with clients all over the world.

(Psst: If you want to get access to these types of webinars, then join our community here.)

I pressed to her to open up on some of her trade secrets, and the below is a *very* condensed summary of our Q and A so you can take her best advice and run with it (you are welcome :)).

How much can an executive coach expect to make? What *is* a typical executive coach salary?

A newbie can expect to charge $10,000 – $15,000 per client (for a 6 month coaching package consisting of 12 ninety-minute sessions with a few extra on-boarding and closing sessions built in).

An experienced executive coach can make somewhere between $25,000-$30,000 per client.

Note: Keep in mind rates can vary depending on where you are in the world and the size of your client company, as well as your level of experience. Coaching an executive of a small business located in a 3rd tier city will likely mean a lower rate. Coaching a Fortune 500 executive in a larger city will likely mean a higher rate.

How many clients can you have at any one time?

Somewhere between 12-20 clients is usually considered a full load.

How do you sell executive coaching?

Well, it’s a two-step sales process, as you have to sell to the company/HR person who is approving the coaching, as well as to the actual client.

Usually you speak to the HR person first, and then you’ll end up chatting with the client.

These opportunities are going to come through your network in many cases, so NOW is the time to start networking (here’s some help with that!).

And if you want to connect with business influencers as a part of your network, and not just every day people, please read this immediately to save you pain and stress.

Her tip to get started networking? Update your LinkedIn profile so that you are instantly searchable for this field! And start researching companies and contacts using your LinkedIn network. It takes both time and effort to connect with and pitch companies for corporate gigs.


You’ll also want to connect with your local ICF city chapter to begin to make friends (and learn more!).

What should you bring to your first sales meeting?

Here’s a list of helpful documents to have:

  1. Your resume
  2. A speaker’s bio (if you speak, if not don’t worry)
  3. A document of how you have created success in other organizations (case studies/testimonials)
  4. A document outlining the art and science of coaching + your coaching process. In our Build a REAL Business Program, we call this the Journey. If you don’t have one, please sign up for our business help over here.
  5. A statement of work, and go ahead and put the company’s name on it like it’s already a done deal!
  6. Any relevant articles related to their goals/problems
  7. Your listening ears 🙂

What are the best tools you should have/know?

There are SO MANY tools out there, and many of them are good. So don’t stress too much.

Some tools to consider:

  1. Online 360 assessment tools
  2. LEA
  3. MBTI
  4. DiSC
  5. Hogan
  6. Emotional Intelligence assessments (EQ)

BUT BUT BUT, if you are starting out, here is where you should begin:

  1. Do your research and learn how to conduct great 360 interviews (this is free, just grunt work!)
  2. Get certified in either MBTI or DiSC. Pick one to start.

You can add the rest to your stable later. You don’t have to have everything on day one!

What about privacy and confidentiality? How do you handle that since the company is paying the bill?

You’ll need to deal with it on a case-by-case basis, depending on the company terms, their relationship to the client, and what everyone is comfortable with, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

However, a good place to start is with the ICF ethics rules which you can grab off of their website.

You can bring that documentation with you and use it as a basis for how you will treat confidentiality.

How many clients do you meet with per day?

Karen told us that executives are now much more open to working with you online, via Zoom and other web platforms.

If she is meeting with clients in person at their office space, she’ll schedule 2 per day so she is at her most focused and fresh, and allows for plenty of travel time.

If she is meeting with clients online, she’ll schedule up to 4 per day, but likely no more than that.

How long does it take to close clients?

It’s a process!

If you already have an agreement with a company you can start coaching a client with them in a matter of days.

But, if you are 100% new, then plan on spending months working through the company process before you are brought on board and actually begin to coach! Plan for a bit of lead time in your business and be patient. Building relationships can take time.

How do you take 10 weeks off per year, given you have so many high-flying clients?

This is a question I pressed Karen on myself, because she’s my vacation hero :).

She pointed out that she only meets with clients every other week, so it’s easy to take a week here or there.

But as to bigger vacations, her advice is also my advice:

  1. Set the intention that you are taking time off
  2. Inform your clients far in advance so they are prepared
  3. Then do it 🙂

What’s next for you, yes YOU, person reading this article!

You are probably wanting to know how to find all of these amazing paying clients, beyond the basic “you should network” advice, no?

Don’t worry! We here at Team Pony have put together an amazing FREE Marketing Masterclass all about how to find paying clients *just* for you! All you have to do to grab your seat and start finding paying clients is to sign up here.


How to be an executive coach | Coaching tips