Questions About Life Coaching:
How Much Does a Life Coach Cost?
How much does a life coach cost? A reasonable question — If you’re shopping around for life coaching services, it’s only natural that cost would be a consideration. After all, no matter how badly you need help with your career, your relationships, or just getting unstuck, coaching still has to fit within your budget, somewhere after food, shelter, and keeping Amazon in business.
Within the life coaching industry, costs vary widely. Life coach prices will depend on the type of coaching you need and the coach you choose to hire. You may be able to find free or low-cost career coaching at a local workforce center, for instance. Or you could shell out a thousand dollars per session to work with a popular executive coach.
The huge variation in life coach cost makes it tough for first-time coaching clients to know what a reasonable rate for the service would be, and the quality of coaching they can expect for that price.
First, it’s important to note that a high price tag does not guarantee what the coach does will be effective — some of the most expensive coaches have no relevant background or credentials and do little more than push their clients through one-size-fits-all coaching packages. You can find an online life coach that charges thousands for their services. Meanwhile, many experienced, well-trained and reputable Denver life coaches offer surprisingly affordable rates for coaching services.
Rather than focusing solely on the price of coaching, I find that it’s more helpful to consider a potential coach’s value to you, including their educational background, specialization, coaching credentials, and years of experience. More on that later.
But first, there’s another factor to consider: the cost of not hiring a life coach.
Think of it this way: If you’re shopping around for a life coach, you’re probably dissatisfied with the current state of some area of your life. What is that costing you? Money, if it’s related to your career? Happiness, if your relationship is spiraling? Decades spent not living as you’d like to be living? It’s likely costing you all three, plus money spent on short-term fixes to alleviate and cope with your disappointment (hello, retail therapy). All of this can add up to much more than a typical life coach cost per session!
At its best, transformational life coaching is invaluable. It’s a path to achieving your goals, personal growth, conquering your obstacles, and better understanding of yourself. Luckily, quality coaching is also well within reach, whatever your budget. I hope this article gives you some perspective on the true value and benefits of life coaching, in addition to the price.
My Coaching Success Story
I know what it’s like to feel stuck, and to worry that you’ll never overcome the struggles that hold you back, time and time again.
I’ve always been a creative, hard-working person, but organization was not a natural gift of mine. Honestly, I used to be kind of a mess. I spent my twenties in a frequently frazzled, stressed-out state, accomplishing some tasks with ease while completely spacing out others. My energy came in bursts, and I would apply those bursts in a haphazard fashion to whatever immediate goal I had set for myself. But I couldn’t stop running late to appointments, or keep track of my belongings, or stay on top of my ever-expanding to-do list and get things done.
Like many people do when they don’t know how to handle some difficulty in their lives, I sought out therapy. Because that’s what you do, right? I did it not once, but three times.
Even worse, it was taking a toll on my relationships. Some friends thought I was flaky, or simply didn’t care enough to show up on time or remember their birthdays. In reality I cared deeply, and was endlessly frustrated with my disorganization. When I looked back at the unfinished projects, missed deadlines, and damaged relationships in my past, I felt lost, ineffective, and bad about myself. I clearly had a lot of potential, but I was unable to fully tap into it. I needed help. But — here’s the harder question: What kind of help did I need? Therapy or coaching?
Life Coach Cost #1
The Free Option: Too hard.
My first visit to a counselor’s office was unrelated to my organizational issues. I was a teenager in the depths of despair after a traumatic break up, and needed a judgment-free space to talk through painful feelings. (I wrote about my terrible breakup experience here, if you’re interested).
Unfortunately, that was not what I experienced. The counselor I met with was very solution-focused. She wanted me to read books and exercise more… all I wanted to do was cry. I needed a softer approach at that time. I needed a non-directive, smushy therapist to “hold the space” and validate my feelings.
Honestly, traditional talk therapy would have been perfect… but I wound up with an insurance-paneled, behavioral healthcare specialist who was all about symptom reduction. How much did it cost? Well, my parent’s insurance paid for the therapy so it was basically free. But it was not valuable.
Life Coach Cost #2
The Affordable Option: Too soft.
Later, in my 20s, I started to see how being organizationally challenged and other bad habits were keeping me from growing. It was costing me time, money, and self-confidence. I once again turned to therapy, hoping the approach that once helped me through a bad breakup could help me get my life together.
But it didn’t work out that way. With my new therapist, I discussed how stuck I was, and how that made me feel. I discussed my family, my relationships, and my hopes and worries about the future. I talked about how frustrated I felt with not being able to keep commitments to myself and make changes. Additionally, I was (at the time) a smoker, and just so disgusted with myself that I wasn’t able to stop. I was in a low-paying job, I didn’t have health insurance, and I paid her therapy services out of pocket. She was kind enough to offer me sliding scale rates, and I was grateful for that because I couldn’t have afforded therapy otherwise.
She was a nice lady, and I enjoyed talking to her. At the end of our time together, I had gained some interesting insights into my personality, my patterns, and their possible origins. I did not, however, walk away any wiser about how to become the organized person I wanted to become, and all my bad habits were fully intact.
My Denver therapist was affordable, and it was interesting. But it was not very productive. Was it worth it? The thing that comes up for me when I think about it is not the money I spent, but rather the opportunity cost. If I’d connected with a more effective helping professional at that time, it would have saved me years (years!) of continuing to beat myself up and feeling chronically stressed, and I would have been able to get so much further so much faster than I did. How much did that cost? (And I’m not talking about the financial cost — I paid for it in other ways.)
Therapy is great for processing painful emotions and treating mental health diagnoses, like depression, anxiety, or PTSD. But I didn’t have a mental health diagnosis, and while thinking about my disorganized life did arouse some difficult feelings in me (like guilt and low self-esteem), examining those feelings for months on end, at great expense, changed nothing. I didn’t know it at the time, but I really needed a more structured approach to creating change — I needed a Denver life coach.
The cost of therapy wasn’t the issue. It was simply the wrong tool for the job.
Life Coach Cost #3
Priceless Coaching: Just right.
Eventually, I tried again, years later. The third time I entered therapy, I was in my thirties, now a mom juggling more than ever, and still feeling scattered in too many directions. This time, I worked with a therapist who was also a life coach and approached my disorganization using “coachy” techniques.
Rather than simply talking about my problem, I learned what I actually needed to do, step-by-step, to change it. I learned how to prioritize work, follow-through, break big jobs down into small tasks, and build systems into my routine that make organization automatic. I learned what a reasonable workload looks like, figured out how to stay motivated, built healthier boundaries, and stopped feeling guilty when I had to say “no” or ask for help rather than overbooking myself and scrambling to get it all done.
Best of all, I started to feel confident that I could take on ambitious projects and see them through to the end. I walked away not only with new practical skills, but with a sense of motivation and optimism about my future.
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So, How Much Does a Personal Coach Cost?
The last coach I worked with was expensive. She was a licensed psychologist and she charged at least $150 per session. But what I paid for her services feels completely irrelevant in the big scheme of things, because it was priceless. It changed my life. I had a similar experience with marriage counseling many years ago. How much does marriage counseling cost? Doesn’t matter: It was worth far, far more than we paid for it.
Since then, I finished my education, built a successful business, we added another kid to the mix, and have a fairly well-balanced life. I can honestly say now that I have excellent organizational skills and am able to manage more than I ever dreamed possible when I was younger. My memory is still not fantastic but now I have tools to compensate. I attribute much of that success to my personal growth in coaching.
The lesson in all of this is that any kind of personal growth work can be a great use of time and money — if they effectively address the problem you’re trying to solve. If you need a life coach but pursue therapy in order to use your health insurance, unless you win the “therapist who is also a coach” lottery, it may not be the experience you want or need. You’re going to pay for “cheap therapy” or “free therapy” (if your insurance covers it) in other ways.
If you’re not prioritizing growth and wellness, not moving forward in your career, or having persistently disappointing experiences in your relationships, or feeling blocked from being able to achieve your most ambitious goals… how much does that cost? While it might feel like you’re “saving money” in the short term, there’s also the other side: What would be changing for you if you were investing in yourself right now? And how much is that worth?
Finding the right therapist, or the right coach, at the right time makes a huge difference in outcomes. Not all approaches are equally effective for every situation. Depending on where you are in life, and what you want to get out of this experience, you’ll be better served by different practitioners. If you’re trying to figure out how much a life coach will cost (or how much a therapist will cost, for that matter) consider this: Either one can be a tremendous waste of time, energy, and money if you’re trying to get help from the wrong type of provider.
Unfortunately, it’s common for people to try to solve problems with insurance-subsidized therapy that would be better addressed through coaching. Here’s more about the difference between therapy vs. coaching, if you’re interested.
The Value of Life Coaching
I spent decades figuring out how to get organized so that I could accomplish big important goals, but it didn’t have to be that hard. In retrospect, if I’d connected with a great coach sooner (like ten years sooner) so many things would have been different for me. While I got there eventually, with the help of a good coach, I am sad about how long I spent spinning my wheels first.
When you’re asking “how much does a personal coach cost,” factor in what living with the status quo will cost you. How many opportunities have you already missed? What are your goals, and what is your timeline for accomplishing them? What is feeling successful and competent worth to you?
Now consider all the things you purchase in the name of self-improvement, aside from any money spent on therapy that may have been ineffective for you. You likely see the value in paying for a gym membership or running shoes, or college tuition to earn a degree. These are investments in your health and your education, which can add greatly to the quality of your life.
So what about investing in your internal processes? Our thoughts create our feelings, which create our behaviors, and our behaviors in turn create our thoughts and our feelings. What if you could harness the power of this cycle, intentionally and deliberately, instead of living in a state of reaction and helplessness?
This is what attaining your coaching goals can do: help you uncover the life you want for yourself, the internal processes that are keeping you from it, and the steps you need to take to change that. It can also give you a level of self-awareness that’s priceless. You may learn through coaching, for instance, that the conscious goals you set for yourself are competing against your deeper, subconscious goals. Working with a coach can help bring these goals into alignment, releasing you from a years-long cycle of self-sabotage and confusion. When you think about it that way, “how much does a life coach cost?” no longer feels like the most important question.
Through coaching, I discovered I had core beliefs that had been holding me back for years. I thought I understood my priorities, but I didn’t. I thought I had to do everything myself, and I was already doing everything that I could. None of this was true. Letting go of these beliefs lifted a heavy weight from my shoulders and allowed me to move forward — something insight oriented therapy hadn’t delivered.
What dreams do you have for your life? Maybe you want to find a partner, deepen your relationship, write a book, or build a career you love. What are these dreams worth to you, and what are you willing to do to make them a reality?
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The Cost of Life Coaching: Let’s Talk Turkey
SO, with all that in mind, let’s talk about what we came here for: How much does life coaching cost? It really varies. Many life coaches will be happy to sell you cookie-cutter “coaching packages” for thousands of dollars a pop. But just because a coach charges a lot, or has an impressive-looking website, does not mean their service is the best that money can buy. Many don’t hold any relevant degree in clinical psychology, or even a coaching credential from an accredited training program.
The life coach cost per session (or the cost of therapy, for that matter) is not always related to the value of it. Rather than making your choice on the cost of coaching, I’d like to encourage you to instead, think about what type of growth experience would be most genuinely valuable to you. The costs of many things in life cannot be calculated in dollars and cents, and this is one of them.
With that hope / goal in mind, then you can look for a coach who is a true specialist in helping people just like you get better results in that area of life. There are many coaching specialties besides general life coaching: relationship coaching, dating coaching, career coaching, parent coaching, leadership coaching, breakup and divorce recovery coaching, emotional intelligence coaching, and more. Not all coaches are the same. The golf coach is not the right person to talk to about how to be a better soccer player. Who you work with matters, and you deserve to have a knowledgable guide who can help you.
Aside from finding a coach who specializes in the area in which you are seeking to learn and grow, when choosing a coach it’s best to find one who is trained as a therapist. This ensures your coach won’t miss any mental health issues that may be holding you back, and that they’re able to apply the most effective, evidence-based coaching techniques rooted in psychological research. More on that subject here: Life Coach vs Therapist
At Growing Self, all of our personal coaches are licensed mental health professionals who have also gone on to attain a coaching credential from an accredited program. Depending on who you work with in our practice, your rate per session will be between $105 and $160. Our more experienced coaches tend to have higher rates, and we also have more affordable coaches. Some of our more affordable coaches offer sliding scale rates starting as low as $65 per session, keeping the cost for your coaching in line with your budget. Learn more about therapist and coaches rates and insurance
We won’t ask you to sign a contract requiring you to complete (or pre-pay for) a certain number of sessions in advance, as many coaches do. We don’t do one-size-fits-all packages, because everyone is different, and we honor your unique needs and circumstances. We provide effective coaching, and we’ll prove the value of our services through our work together — session by session.
In your search, you’ll probably encounter spectacularly expensive life coaches who may or may not be able to help you, and online programs that promise you the sun and the moon. Growing Self offers a deeper experience that really cracks into your self-understanding, and then couples that with action. We offer high quality experiences for regular people, at a range of prices, on an as-needed basis.
We’re not about offering information or advice. Our coaching services are genuine growth experiences that will transform the way you think, feel, and behave in meaningful ways. And it’s hard to put a price on that.
I hope that this discussion and hearing about my personal story helped not only answer the question of life coach cost, but helped put it all into perspective as you’re considering your options.
Your partner in growth,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self. She is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified coach, as well as the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
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