Can You Afford Coaching?

A friend of mine recently asked, “Do you find that the people who most need coaching can least afford it?” and it got me thinking about money and about the value of coaching. The question of what you can afford it highly subjective and value-laden. Look at any budget — your own or the government’s (okay, maybe you don’t want to look at that)  — and you will find choices and priorities based on implicit or explicit values. One person who can “afford” to spend 30% more on organic products may not feel she can “afford” a $100/month gym membership. Some people buy fancy coffees. Some travel. Some buy expensive gifts for others but never treat themselves. Many of us place such a high value on home-ownership and education that we actually borrow most of the money required to pay for them because we see them as an investment in the future. So when someone tells me they “can’t afford” coaching, I know there is a lot behind it — much of it unexamined assumptions and reactions.

Can you “afford” coaching? Before you answer, consider the following:

  • How much money you have. This seems fairly straightforward on the face of it, but you would do well to explore your beliefs and attitudes about money and what constitutes “enough.”
  • Your other expenses. How are you spending your money? Identify your essentials and your discretionary spending and consider other allocations.
  • The value represented by expense. Consider what purpose the coaching serves, and what personal or family values it supports. Is the coaching directed at career, personal development, sustainability, balance, happiness, family harmony, financial security? Are these areas worth investing in?
  • What you think it is worth or what your return on investment (ROI) will be. What if investing in career coaching meant that you got a job that paid $5000-20,000 more than you would otherwise have gotten? or helped you get a job (and a paycheck) a month or more sooner than you would have on your own?  Career coaching offers a clear potential return on investment, and it is tied to your financial security. It is harder to quantify the ROI on personal development coaching, but it is there — reduced stress, happier children, better relationships, healthier habits, better sustainability, more joy. Do you regard these as luxury items or necessities? What are they worth to you?
  • What is the cost of not making a change? The status quo is not working in some way or you would not be thinking about hiring a coach. What is it costing you — financially, personally, or in terms of your health or relationships, to continue on your current path?
  • Your relationship with yourself. Coaching is an investment in your career, your life balance, your self. In order to make that investment, you have to believe that you are worth it.
So it boils down to whether you believe coaching has value and whether you feel you are worth investing in. Now, can you afford it?