Dave’s Blood is Boiling!!

Hi, Everyone!

I’d like to share an email I received from Dave Miller earlier today with the subject line: “This makes my blood boil!!!”. (Yes, that’s THREE exclamation points!)

In it, he quotes a posting he found on one of the coaching boards. I’ve omitted the specific identifiers, although I don’t know WHY, since this is already up on the internet for all to see.

Hi T,

In the vein of our discussion of the “helping business”, I frequently see these type of postings on Coaching forums:

Hi Everyone:

This is a request from a realtor friend of mine. Thought it might be helpful to those who are looking for coaching hours.

I am an accomplished Realtor of 15 years, seeking a coach who wants to do some pro-bono work for a few months. I’m looking for 2 half hour coaching calls a month. I’m organized and driven, and respect our coaching call time. A coach with any real estate background would be a bonus! Please contact (her name) by phone or web: (her telephone) or (her website).


(Coach’s name)

What’s the point of having a coaching business if even the coaches don’t defend the value of our services?   I’m so glad this realtor is doing us all a favor and letting us coach him for free for a few months.  Do attorneys have such forums?  Are they all out pawning off pro-bono work to each other? I know someone going through a divorce who would love to get 3 hours of legal fees waived!

This posting makes coaches look like a bunch of hacks!!

Your perspective?

All the best,


So, what do all of you think of this?  On the surface, it seems to be nothing more than an opportunity for someone who’s looking to practice their coaching skills — but when someone starts specifying the background they want in the coach who’s going to be working for free, it no longer seems like a generous offer to help a beginning coach get some practice time in.

Let me (and Dave) know what you think, preferably by leaving a comment here on the blog.



12 Responses to Dave’s Blood is Boiling!!

  1. Dave Miller says:

    Okay – although I’m not backing off my position, I may have misspoke when I said this makes coaches look like “hacks.” More accurately, these constant requests on forums make coaches look “unprofessional” and “totally desperate”.

    Or I guess I could be more positive and believe that an outsider would see these posts and view coaches as “independently wealthy” and, thus, have plenty of time to give away their valuable services:)

  2. Dave, I understand your perspective. If coaches continue to give away our time, we don’t appear to value our contribution.
    On the other hand, as a coach, I believe that we are all in choice. The realtor friend is asking for what he/she wants. Great! And, coaches in training do look for committed coachees. So, now there is an opportunity for negotiation so that both people get what they want and need.
    Thanks for the opportunity to explore this issue.

  3. Rex Gale says:

    There’s no realy pressure when you agree with most of what’s been said. As a consultant, we’re often faced with the challenge of how to communicate the value that we add…when to discount services…when to give a “test drive” for free. The realtor is making a request. The “value” of the service he receives will be commensurate, ideally, with the price he pays. If he finds someone to take him up on his offer, and is a realtor to boot (seems like lots of realtors are moonlighting these days??) it’s likely he’ll get some guidance, but perhaps not all that he’s looking for. It’s a classic case, as Betsy says, of negotiating so each party gets what they want…or what the think they want.

  4. Bryan Dilts says:

    This could be a great opportunity for ANOTHER coach in 2-3 months.

    I’ve learned to be patient when people want me to work for free or at a steeply discounted rate. I stay in touch, wish them well, and sometimes get to rescue the person later.

  5. When I first started coaching, I did it for free just to practice and get myself going. I likened it to interning. I remember when I converted those clients to paying clients and I kept my fingers crossed they would want to keep coaching – they did. What I charge now has been an evolution, which I am comfortable with,,but it wasn’t an instant switch. I had to “grow” into my worth. All people seem to have their own “relationship” with money and as coaches, we’re no different. I see many coaches struggle with asking for what they’re worth. I can remember a senior coach saying you charge what you can get out of your mouth with hesitation. I’m not sure that when it comes to our fees that we have come out of the closet too much. Like sex education, it may be time we coaches have money education.

  6. John Hadley says:

    This is a common phenomenon, and from my perspective particularly so with coaches. People often lack a perspective for what is the ‘value’ of coaching, and many coaches do a poor job of expressing it, compounding the problem.

    The friend did no favor here – just posting a request for pro-bono coaching, with no clarity as to why or the goal. Real value could have been added into the posting and discussion if the friend had made an attempt to linked what would be accomplished (results achieved / challenges overcome) to the coaching needed, then there would be a much better discussion.

    I see similar postings in a similar vein to a variety of forums in which I participate. “I need a web designer who will do X, and I want someone who will do it cheaply.”

  7. Shags says:

    Good comments — nothing to share but that it’s very difficult to read light gray letters on a dark gray background on this blog. Is there any way to increase the contrast or brighten the text?

  8. Hi, Everyone!

    I’m glad this entry is getting so much discussion!

    I am looking for a wordpress designer to create a custom blog template for us — and I’m DEFINITELY going to insist that the new theme displays DARK characters on a LIGHT background.


  9. Jayne Garrett says:

    Thank you Dave for sharing this. As a coach for 16 years, the fees issue bubbles up often. Recently a relatively new coach shared with a group of peers that they were charging less than they expect to earn when they have more experience. My gentle response was that by discounting their fees they were doing a disservice to other coaches and the industry as a whole. I suggested they decide if they want to make it a hobby or have a business. We continued the conversation offline and this person “got it.” Yay!

  10. Veronica says:

    I see this discussion as highlighting how we value the services we provide as coaches relative to opportunities that present themselves to us. To value our service offerings as seasoned coaches means that we don’t ‘give it away for free,’ unless we make a conscious decision to do so. When someone is genuinely interested in receiving coaching and has a limited ability to pay, I offer to refer them to a student coach in training; this is a win-win as students need clients to gain experience and the client wants coaching. I also have a personal pro bono coaching policy and suggest that all coaches do the same; define when/where you will ‘give it away,’ andn don’t deviate from your policy!



  11. Katie Gailes says:

    This potential client is trying to get a deal. Most likely, regardless of what they say, they are not reaching their goals as a real estate agent. Getting the coaching for free is probably one way to keep their expenses down. I situations like this, I sometimes offer some type of bartering arrangement. This realtor could sign over some future commission. It they refuse to make that commitment, in my opinion, they are not really convinced that coaching will help them improve their business or their life. That makes them a tire-kicker.

  12. You all have made some wonderful points here — thank you so much for commenting!

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