How Much Does A Life Coach Cost - And Is It Worth It?
If you’re thinking about hiring a coach (or becoming one!), odds are you’re wondering what life coaching costs. And if you've done a little research already, you’ve no doubt discovered that there’s a wide array of services available out there, with prices ranging from a few hundred dollars into the tens of thousands.
So how do you know what’s reasonable to expect, and if paying for a life coach is worth it?
In this guide, we’ll dig in and get those answers! Read on for a closer look at the coaching industry: services, pricing, and what you can expect to receive from coaching.
By the end of this article, you have answers to the big question: "How much should I pay my life coach?" For aspiring coaches, you'll also gain insight into market rates, and how life coaching fees are set.
What is Life Coaching?
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential."
So what does that mean in practice?
Well trained life coaches understand theories and models of change, and bring tools for self-inquiry, focus, and accountability to the table. A coach’s techniques are similar to a therapist’s in that they are research and evidence-based, and rooted in positive psychology.
There are many different types of coaches practicing today: executive coaches, fitness coaches, self-love coaches, couples coaching, writing coaches, and more! While the interests and needs that life coaches serve are diverse, there are common threads that run through all forms of coaching.
Unlike counseling or therapy, coaching assumes a baseline level of emotional wellness, and focuses on the present and on co-creating the future. Choose a coach when you want to add some rocket fuel to the process of achieving your goals, aspirations, and dreams!
People hire a coach in order to:
- Change careers
- Set strategy for career advancement
- Get over a breakup
- Find a new relationship
- Make new friends or build community (when moving to a new city, etc.)
- Improve fitness and health
- Explore purpose, meaning and spiritual development
- Start or scale a business
- AND SO MUCH MORE
For more on seeing a life coach vs therapist, check out our blog The Difference Between a Therapist and a Life Coach.
What are the Benefits of Coaching?
According to the 2017 International Coaching Federation’s Global Consumer Awareness Study, clients who have partnered with a life coach report a variety of positive impacts across the board.
Outcomes from life coaching include:
- Improved communication
- Increased self-esteem/self-confidence
- Increased productivity
- Optimized performance
- Improved work/life balance
Notice the disconnect between what folks come in for vs. what they get out of coaching? Regardless of what brings you to coaching, the truth is that working to achieve one specific outcome will by default improve your whole life.
How Much Does Life Coaching Cost?
Coaches set their rates in a number of ways. Let’s take a look at the most common coaching fee structures.
Many life coaches charge by the hour, with rates ranging from $50 - $600 depending upon years of experience and their areas of expertise.
How much is a coaching session? The ICF study reports that the average life coaching session cost is $130.
Now here's the thing: you can expect this amount to increase based upon years of experience and additional professional credentialing. In North America, coaches with more than 10 years in practice are charging, on average, $300 an hour.
How much does executive coaching cost? Generally speaking, business coaching comes with a higher price tag. Sherpa Coaching’s Annual Coaching Survey indicates that business coaches with up to two years of experience charge an average of $300 per hour.
Why the cost differential? It's rooted in market rates, which has a lot to do with who pays for coaching. Business coaches are often employer-sponsored, or can be deducted as a business expense. In contrast, personal coaching is usually paid out of pocket by the client.
Does insurance cover life coaching? Unlike therapy, life coaching is not currently considered a medical expense. We anticipate this may be changing soon though! At the 2022 Global Wellness Summit, a new "care team" medical model was discussed, with coaches poised to play an important role in the future.
“Insurance companies (from UnitedHealth- care to Aetna) are now covering coaching. In the United States, the American Medical Association (AMA) has the coverage codes in place—they just need activation.” - 2022 Global Wellness Summit
In the future, it's highly likely that certain forms of health and wellness related coaching will be covered by insurance plans.
Most goals take more than a few weeks to achieve, and the benefits of a coaching relationship typically accrue over time. To that end, many coaches offer packages to support clients in achieving measurable change and momentum toward their future vision.
How are life coaching packages priced?
Coaches structure their services in a variety of ways. Some offer a series of sessions that are tailored to your individual needs, while others offer a coaching program that moves clients through a set curriculum designed to achieve a particular result.
Let's take a look at the types of coaching packages you are most likely to come across.
Life Coaching Package Examples
Session Bundles: Individual coaching is usually structured as a series of weekly or bi-weekly sessions for a specified period of time. Some coaches offer packages at a discount, resulting in a cost savings to the client when multiple sessions are purchased together.
Signature Programs: Many coaches offer a “signature program” that guides their clients through a particular coaching framework. Some create their own unique program and structure, while others may have been trained and certified in a specialized coaching methodology.
The pricing for signature coaching programs is most often value-based rather than calculated at an "hourly" session rate. In such programs, the coach is offering expertise in some aspect of the human experience. Their pricing is a reflection of the process they have developed, and the outcomes you can expect from participating.
What does it cost?
Coaching packages cover a wide range of services. As a general guideline, you can expect to see pricing in the following ranges:
- $500 - $1,500 for a set of five sessions
- $1,000 - $3,000 for a 3-month coaching package
- $2,500 - $6,000 for a signature coaching program.
Group Coaching Programs
Participating in a group coaching program is another way to access the benefits of coaching, and usually costs less than hiring a coach to work with you one-on-one.
Group coaching usually involves one or more coaches supporting a number of participants. It offers a systemic approach to working through a particular topic, with the added benefit of peer support and accountability.
Group programs vary in length, from 4 weeks to 6 months or more. Pricing for group coaching ranges from $250 - $2,500 and up. As a general rule, you might expect to pay around 30% of the coach’s individual session rate when participating in their group programs.
The retainer model is often used in business and executive coaching, and for longer term coaching engagements. It may include a certain number of sessions over a set period of time, with access to your coach between sessions. In some cases, retainers include an unlimited number of on-demand coaching sessions within the contract period.
The cost of a coach on retainer depends upon the type of coaching being offered. You’re likely to see fees range anywhere from $500 - $2,000 per month.
Another popular model in the coaching industry is a dedicated day of coaching. You'll often see this offered by business coaches as a way to turbo-charge strategy, planning, and results. VIP days offer a way to focus intensely on a particular issue, challenge in a concentrated burst. You receive dedicated attention and support from your coach while immersed in the VIP experience.
VIP Days are structured in many different ways, and may span a few hours to an entire weekend. Pricing will vary widely depending upon what is being offered. Expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 - $5,000 for the VIP experience.
How To Find A Life Coach
If you’re thinking about hiring a coach, it’s useful to take some time to clarify what you’re hoping to gain.
- Are you primarily interested in pursuing a personal, professional, or business related goal?
- How much time are you willing to dedicate to the coaching process?
- How much support will you need with accountability and follow through?
- Do you prefer working on your goals one-on-one, or within a group that shares a similar interest?
- What expectations do you have?
- What are you able and willing to invest in your growth?
When researching life coaches, there are a few things you may want to take a look at. At this time, coaching is an unregulated industry, which means that anyone can call themselves a coach… whether they have the training and experience to deliver results or not.
To determine if a coach has the skills you are looking for, check out:
- What training and expertise do they have in the area you are seeking coaching?
- What professional coaching credentials or certifications do they have?
- What is their track record of success as a coach? (You can assess this through personal referrals, from client testimonials, and in their stated coaching outcomes.)
As you’re doing your research, be sure not to overlook newer coaches!
If someone has graduated from a reputable coach training program, they may not have a long list of client testimonials yet… but they will have the skills necessary to coach you effectively!
New life coaches generally charge between $75 - $200 per session, depending upon whether they offer personal or business related coaching services. For the budget-conscious, hiring a coach who’s newer to the field can help you build momentum toward your goals at a price point that may be easier on your wallet.
When considering coaches, finding the right fit is important! Many coaches will offer a complementary introductory call that may be anywhere from 15-60 minutes in length. This is an opportunity for you to get a feel for the coach’s personality, style, and approach to see if it is a good match for you both.
Ready to explore? Check out Lumia’s Alumni Directory to find the perfect coach for you!
What To Expect from Coaching
Once you’ve selected a coach, you may be asked to sign a coaching contract or agreement. It’s a coaching best practice, and helps to lay the foundation for a strong partnership.
The contract will outline the terms for coaching, along with the coach’s fees and policies. If you are purchasing a package or program up-front, it’s important to know what the terms are! Make sure you understand and are comfortable with how your coach handles confidentiality, rescheduling appointments, cancellations, and refund requests.
Once coaching is underway, your coach will guide you through the process! You are likely to have both a long term goal or vision, as well as shorter-term areas of focus. At the start of each session, you'll work together to clarify what you are focusing on that day, and your desired outcomes from the appointment.
Coaching is client-directed, which means that you are in the driver’s seat throughout the process. Your coach will facilitate a process of visioning, investigation, discovery, and experimentation. It’s ultimately up to you to put those insights into action!
Considering A Career in Coaching?
Launch your coaching practice right! Check out Lumia Life Coach Training - a program that's every bit as unique as you are. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, and fellow students dedicated to becoming a force for good in the world of coaching.