People Don’t Pay for Life Coaching (Part 1)

Let’s talk about how to sell coaching services.

“People don’t pay for life coaching.”

Have you ever heard that before?

“Not true!” you might be thinking.

“I know of plenty of successful life coaches. People are paying them for life coaching!”

But…are they?

Let’s back up for a second.

I was sitting in a conference room a few years ago, listening to another life coach talk about her business.

She kept coming back to the same point, which was this: “Nothing is working. I just can’t sell life coaching. Should I try some more social media or an ad buy? I need *something* different. I’m at a total loss. People just don’t want to pay for life coaching.”

I felt for her.

But I had just sold $5000 worth of coaching that day, so I also knew people were buying coaching.

(I’m clearly not special, but I have done a few things in my time and I’ve been supporting myself as a life coach for 7+ years full-time, so I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t).

So I asked her “What kind of coaching do you do?”

And she said “What do you mean? I’m a life coach. I help women with confidence and change. I do life coaching.”

And then I said “hmm, I’m still not sure I understand what you do – can you tell me more?”

And she said “I empower women to make changes. I coach them.”

Trying a different tack, I asked her this: “How are you talking to potential clients about what you do?”

And she said “I simply tell them about the power of coaching and how it can change their lives and bring abundance.”

Do you see the problem?

We as life coaches love to help.

And most of us got into coaching to change lives.

And we tend to be pretty transparent, open people.

So when we go out and get paying clients, we focus on what we know and share that, i.e., that life coaching can help people change their lives.

We aren’t trying to hide anything. We aren’t trying to push anything.

We are just sharing what we know – that life coaching can lead to personal transformation and growth.

But oh man…

It doesn’t work.

You know it. I know it. We all know it.

But we can’t help ourselves. We’ve drunk the life-coach Kool-Aid (me included, you aren’t alone in this).

“Wait – selling life coaching doesn’t work?!!!”

If simply saying to someone “I’m a life coach, I can help change your life” worked to get paying clients and build our coaching businesses, we’d all be millionaires, no?

But look around – how many struggling coaches do you know?

Probably a few.

Or you’ve heard the many true stories of the coaches who just give up after trying desperately to get one or two paying clients.

In my coaching cohort of 30+ from my life coach certification from 10 years ago, there are only 2 that I know of who are supporting themselves full-time, for real, as a coach.

Less than 10%.

That’s *not* awesome.

No one wants a failure rate of 90%.

Now, to be clear, not everyone wants to be a coach-entrepreneur and run their own coaching business. So if we assume that at least 30% of folks in my program had no intention of doing coaching full-time, we are still left with plenty of folks who didn’t make it as coaches.

So it’s a problem.

One that crops up again and again.

Most coaches don’t make it as business owners

In the master-level coaching education I took the next year I saw the same: plenty of eager coaches, few who were able to do it as a real profession.

They couldn’t sell their life coaching services, even to people who clearly needed them.

And it’s not as if life coaching isn’t a growing profession.

In fact, coaching schools are churning out 1000’s of new coaches every year, all around the world.

These coaching schools often encourage us to share our stories as our main marketing method, all while focusing on working broadly with a variety of clients, giving them full license to set their agenda.

And we all embrace this approach to getting clients, because it feels right…especially in the context of learning how to coach.

In fact, this is what great coaching schools should be and are focused on first and foremost, because they are certifying us as coaches, not as entrepreneurs.

(Frankly, expecting your coaching school to also teach you how to be an amazing entrepreneur is like expecting your favorite college biology teacher to also teach you how to be an amazing psychiatrist).

Here’s the bottom line: Just telling people they need a life coach doesn’t always work in the real world.

The masses aren’t lining up, showering us all with money and praise.

So…again, if just saying you are a life coach is enough, and talking about the power of coaching is enough, then why aren’t more coaches having success in their business? Why aren’t more people paying for life coaching?

What’s the missing element? What are we all doing wrong?

Well, it starts by not doing what everyone else is doing.

It’s time to step off the beaten path and approach your coaching business in another way.

To do that, let’s go back to the beginning: What are those successful life coaches really selling?

(Pay attention, because it’s definitely not what you think!)

Click CONTINUE to read the second part of this article!

Key points to keep in mind as you eat chocolate:

  • People don’t pay for life coaching
  • If they did, we’d all have a million clients and a pile of diamonds
  • But we as coaches can’t help ourselves, so in our openness and commitment to help people, all we focus on *is* selling life coaching
  • Good news! There’s no magic bullet, or fancy ad that you need to run to get paying clients. The secret to do it as absurdly simple, but it’s a distinct shift from what you’ve been taught. Saddle up, let’s ride! (So…click!) ☝️