Career Management
Job Hunting
Going Back to School
Thriving at Work
Finding Balance

Search Ms.Money
Search this site
powered by FreeFind

Coaching on the Cheap

By Alicia Potter

Your career’s in flux, your finances are a fright, and you can’t 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 story.

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). “It’s 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 your savings:

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. “There’s 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 the ICF’s 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 she’d 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. What’s 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. “It’s a great way to customize your training and really retain the information,” says Reynolds. If you boss hedges, see if she’ll spring for a coach to speak to your department about a topic that’s 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 Richardson, Philip Humbert, and Diane DiResta.

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 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 you’re charged the cost of the one-hour call). You might also type in “teleclass” to the “Find a Coach” search area of Coach University’s 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 they’re 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. “There’s always more than one way to do something,” observes Low. “With coaching, nothing is set in stone.”



Site Map | About | About Tiffany Bass Bukow | Contact Us | Privacy | Terms of Use


Copyright 2006, Inc. All rights reserved. is a trademark of, Inc.