Coaching on the Cheap
By Alicia Potter
careers in flux, your finances are a fright, and you
cant even remember the last time you did something for
the fun of it, like bowling or baking brownies. What you need
is a personal coach--a helpful hybrid of therapist, career
counselor, and cheerleader. Affording one, however, is another
Costing anywhere between $250-$900 a month (for just 4 half-hour
phone sessions), a personal coach is, for many women, as realistic
as head-to-toe Gucci. Yet the budget-bound need not go it
alone. So many coaches offer something for different
income levels, says Marcia Reynolds, a Phoenix-based
coach and president of the International Coaching Federation
(ICF). Its definitely available.
Here are some ways you can get personal-coaching guidance--on
everything from goal setting and career transition to financial
fitness and the work/play balancing act--without sabotaging
Snag a sliding fee: Many coaches will lower
their rates for a limited amount of time (say, 3-6 months)
for new clients who exhibit a strong drive to succeed. Theres
always room for negotiation, says coach Marshon Donley,
of Longmont, Colorado. It comes down to the dynamic.
Think your go-get-em attitude might work for you? Visit
Web site and fill out a request-for-proposal form detailing
your coaching needs and budget; interested coaches will then
contact you. If you already have a particular coach in mind,
ask her if shed be willing to take you on for a reduced-rate
trial run until you can swing the full price.
Buy a book: Not surprisingly, an offshoot of
the rise of personal coaching is a mini-boom of coaching books.
Whats the best buy for your buck? Take Time for Your
Life by über-coach Cheryl Richardson. This well-written
read distinguishes itself by packing in loads of action-steps,
life-scrutinizing quizzes, and advice on initiating your own
coaching support-group. Also worth a look: Take Yourself
to the Top by Laura Berman Fortgang.
Hit up your boss: Instead of schlepping to
an expensive and tedious seminar, ask your manager to subsidize
3 months of one-on-one coaching. Its a great way
to customize your training and really retain the information,
says Reynolds. If you boss hedges, see if shell spring
for a coach to speak to your department about a topic thats
important to everyone, such as improving communication skills
or resolving conflict. This may pave the way for private consultations.
Subscribe to an e-newsletter: Many coaches
publish newsletters that, while unabashedly self-promotional,
deliver advice and inspiration to your e-mail box on a weekly
or monthly basis. The kicker? Most are absolutely free! Among
the most helpful are those authored by Cheryl
Humbert, and Diane
Join the group: Group-coaching, which is conducted
over a telephone bridge-line with anywhere from 4-100 clients,
depending on the topic, is another cost-effective option.
To wit: Coach Harriet Simon Salinger, of San Francisco, offers
clients 2 hour-long group calls (with 3 other coachees) and
a half-hour one-on-one session for $150 a month.
Take a teleclass: Check out www.teleclass.com
to peruse upcoming seminars you attend over a
telephone bridge-line. Many--such as Avoiding Office
Chaos and Profitability for Small Biz Owners--are
free (though youre charged the cost of the one-hour
call). You might also type in teleclass to the
Find a Coach search area of Coach
Universitys Web site to call up a parcel of pros
hosting their own virtual seminars.
Sign up for cybercoaching: Boston-based coach
Elaine Low advises folks in New Zealand, Israel, and Switzerland--all
through e-mail. For $150 a month, clients send Low messages
about issues theyre facing, and she provides feedback
within 24 hours. One caveat: Cybercoaching works best
for those people who express themselves really well in writing,
says Low. You need to be concise.
Trade your talents: Propose swapping your expertise--be
it graphic design, computer-consulting, or interior decorating--in
exchange for coaching.
Creativity, it seems, is the key to cost-effective coaching.
Theres always more than one way to do something,
observes Low. With coaching, nothing is set in stone.