Check Your Pricing Mindset - International Coaching Federation
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Check Your Pricing Mindset

Posted by Beth Buelow, PCC | March 24, 2020 | Comments (2)

“I dread the moment when they ask me how much I charge. I’m confident in my value, but it still feels so awkward.”

This was a successful client with more than 25 years of experience. We were exploring her block around creating a new services outline. Then, we had a breakthrough: Many years ago, after sharing her rate with an eager prospective client, they ghosted her. Just disappeared. She felt shame and embarrassment. She wondered if the prospect didn’t think she deserved her fee. And those feelings were still with her, years later.

Even if we have a healthy relationship with money and know our services are valuable, we can still feel challenged when we’re called to stand fully in our worth. There’s natural tension between two desires: keeping our ego in check (humility) and knowing that our coaching is transformative and powerful (abundance).

Humility says that we know people have many choices when it comes to who they work with. We aren’t going to be the right fit for every prospective client. We craft our offerings based on the totality of our experience, commitment to continuous learning and the expertise we’ve cultivated over time. Humility reminds us that we’re always growing, even as we trust our own authority.

Abundance wants us to know that we teach others how to treat us. If we feel we are worthy of a certain fee or agreement terms, then we need to clearly communicate that through our words and actions. When we hesitate or hedge during the money conversation, we’re teaching others that we aren’t confident in our offer. They will reflect that back to us by hesitating, hedging or, as in the case of my aforementioned client, high tailing it out of there.

When we combine humility and abundance and lean into the tension, new possibilities emerge.

We’re able to keep our offerings simple, focused, and easy to say “Yes!” to.

One of the best maxims I’ve ever encountered is, “A confused mind always says ‘no.’’” Here’s a perfect example: I received a speaker pitch for our chapter that boasted, “I can present on over 100 topics!” That’s not a selling point; it’s a red flag. When we come from abundance, we’re confident offering only what we are excited to deliver. We don’t have to be an expert in 10 assessments, create a dozen packages, and offer multiple price points. Too many choices and lack of focus causes confusion, which leads to “no.”

We anchor our pricing as well as our mindset.

We ask for what we want, and we don’t say “yes” out of scarcity or fear. It’s OK to include, “ability to pay my rates” as an ideal client trait! A colleague once shared with me that it was only after she had a steady flow of clients that she could afford to do pro bono or reduced-rate coaching. That’s the opposite of the way many coaches think of it but coming from abundance, we can be generous with our services once we’ve established our baseline.

We practice radical transparency.

I make my rates easy to find on my website, and I send them to prospective clients before the info call for good measure. The reason? I don’t want to compete on price. The choice to work together should be about fit, not finances.

We’re willing to say, “No, but…”

One of my clients, a leadership coach, found she was attracting queries from a lot of job seekers (despite having a clear niche!). Instead of second-guessing herself, she created an informative, resource-rich blog post to send to the seeker queries. She was clear that career transition coaching was not her happy place, and an abundance mindset helped her release angst about saying “no.”

We stretch without breaking.

Your pricing sweet spot is just a little more than what feels comfortable. Let your rates apply subtle pressure to keep your standards high and skills sharp.

We appreciate that coaches are interconnected and interdependent.

When we practice scarcity pricing, we’re making a choice that impacts our peers. The coach who charges appropriately seems expensive compared to the coach who doesn’t charge enough. That warps the perception of coaching’s value. Charging what coaching is worth is an act of self-respect, as well as respect for your clients and colleagues!

We’re all trained to look for the both/and. When it comes to our own work, however, we sometimes forget that possibility. We can do work we love and be well paid for it. We can be generous with our skills and ask for what we’re worth. We can practice humility and abundance. Just as we hold that both/and potential for our clients, we need to remember to hold it for ourselves.

beth buelow headshot

Beth Buelow, PCC

Beth Buelow, PCC, is committed to supporting leaders and communities in creating cultures of healthy communication, productive conflict and meaningful connection. She specializes in interpersonal communication and mentor coaching, facilitation, mediation and conflict resolution. Beth is proud to serve as Education & Training Champion and President-Elect 2021 for ICF Michigan. She hosts the podcast, “How Can I Say This…,” and is the author of The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms (Penguin Random House, Nov 2015), which was named one of the 100 Best Business Books of 2015 by

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

Comments (2)

  1. says:

    Hey Beth,
    This is a great piece about pricing our services. The humility & abundance approach plays out practically in each of the fee proposals. Strategies laid out by you in handling them both are simply remarkable as well as practical. Thanks for this insightful article.
    Regards, Anil.

  2. says:

    Thank you.

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