Crowdsource Coaching: “How do you handle friends and associates who want to be coached for free?”

Editor’s note: “Crowdsource Coaching” is a new feature of CCMag where coaches offer their answers to a question posed by one of our readers.

This issue’s question was submitted by Tiffany Crosby. Tiffany received a free one-year subscription to CCMag for having her question chosen!

If you have a question for our readers and the CCNI community to answer, please submit your question here. Your question may be featured in an upcoming issue!


“How do you handle friends and associates who want to be coached for free?”


Because I am a part of the creative music community here in Portland, OR I have found the creative exchange as a useful and effective way to help me and my creative friends get some coaching sessions in. Like for example, would you be willing to exchange a couple of hours of recording time in your studio for a couple of coaching sessions with me? Or I would be more than happy to give you some singing lessons in exchange for a couple of coaching sessions with me. This helps them and helps me. The creative coaching exchange. It’s a win win for everyone.

Martin Torres, Jr.  – www.martintorresjr.com


I honor their request with a special rate that might be smaller than my regular rate. I help them know effective coaching is built upon “skin in the game” commitment. I will be their friend or family without a coaching relationship; yet to be their coach, I must honor my commitment to creating the most effective coaching relationship with a fee-based structure. It’s part of the commitment to the effectiveness of coaching in a person’s life.

Ken Kessler – bgav.org/staff-members/ken-kessler/


I coach friends for free and do it while I’m on a walk so it’s a win-win situation!

Barb Raveling – barbraveling.com


I run into this more through the ministry my husband and I lead.  I try to use a coach approach and wouldn’t consider anything but free when they are connected to me via the ministry.

Debbie Luxton – debbieluxton.com


I tell my friends that the organization that credentialed me requires that a majority of my coaching be paid or bartered. Most of the time they understand this and they offer to pay or at least buy my lunch. People will invest in what they value.

Mary Selzer – www.maryselzer.com


“I’m here to support you. Coaching is my professional and the kind of support that you need is done through my coaching business. I don’t facilitate pro-bono coaching currently, as much as I would like to make that possible.”

Mary Verstraete – centerforcoachingexcellence.com/team/mary-verstraete


Initially, if client finances were challenged I took them on as pro bono. Over time, I’ve come to create a limit on the number of pro bono clients I can handle. That has helped me make better decisions on how much time I can afford to give away.

Kelly McClelland – advanceglobalcoaching.com/kelly-mcclelland/


“I would love to work with you. I have a special family and friends discount that I could give you to lower the cost of our sessions.”

Mitzi Tompkins – www.tompkinslifecoaching.com/


I often use humor in this kind of situation, so I usually say “Do not ask me to give for free what I do to earn money.”

Dorothy Irigaray – br.linkedin.com/in/dorothy-irigaray-7b649165


I don’t mind coaching my friends for free until they ask for “free” coaching.  The value of my coaching is not valued by how I coach because I coach to my highest level every time I coach.  But, when the client does not view my coaching with the same value than I do, they are actually taking advantage of the very nature of coaching as a discipline.  As I said, I do not mind coaching for free but if they want anything “for free,” they will most likely get advice and not coaching.

Bruce L. Martin – blmlifecoach@gmail.com


I don’t advertise heavily that I offer pro bono coaching. I do however, make pro bono sessions available on a case-by-case basis especially since I’m looking to log hours and gain experience as a professional coach-in-training. Because I am working towards earning ICF certification, I offer my coaching sessions at 80% off what will be my standard rates after I earn my professional coaching credential. // If I was approached by friends or associates who want to be coached for free, I would first want to have a conversation to better understand their interest in coaching and what they’re looking to get out of working with me specifically. I might offer them a 30 minute trial session, but would communicate that there’d be an expectation that they’d pay for future sessions.

Rebekah Osteen – www.rebekahosteen.com


I suggest them buy me a cup of coffee and I’ll give them a one time complimentary session. Or they can send me a gift card of their choice or ask if they can pay me $10. Let them know this is a business and you need to have some sort of remuneration for bookkeeping purposes.

Cindi White – www.facebook.com/heart2heartcoach/


Our next “Crowdsource Coaching” question:

“What are your primary key learning(s) in hosting virtual coaching groups?”

  • How tightly do you to hold to a curriculum?
  • How much do you charge per participant?
  • What’s the length of group / number of weeks?
  • What are the best days and times of day?
  • What online platform do you use? (Google Hangouts? Zoom? GotoMeeting?)
  • What are your greatest challenges?

Please share your insights via this Google Form! Your answer may be published in the next issue of Christian Coaching Magazine!

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