For many new coaches, the focus is on getting coaching experience… period.  We want to use our skills, perfect them, and become confident and accrue the required hours to apply for certification and credentialing

An option emerging coaches often take is to agree to coach clients without charging for their services. This is what we call pro bono coaching.  However, having too many or only pro bono clients will not help us with the required “paid” hours needed for credentialing, nor with our financial bottom line, and without being able to earn a living, we will not be able to keep doing what we love…coaching.

It is essential to consider how serving pro bono clients can help you and your clients, creating a win-win situation. Let me tell you how.

What you need to do is create a policy for working with pro bono clients that you can follow:

  1. Decide how many pro bono clients you want to work with at any time. Knowing that your business will continue to thrive with one or two pro bono clients serves everyone.  Keep a list of future pro bono clients if you have an opening.
  2. Create a simple application for your pro bono client that helps you select who you want to work with.  For example, if a client cannot invest in your coaching services monetarily, you will want to be able to determine if they are willing to invest in it emotionally.
  3. Discover what the client can give for your coaching.  Again, this may not be monetary, but perhaps their testimonial can be a great marketing advantage for other clients. Or maybe they can help at an event you are speaking at or have word-processing skills to help you create marketing materials.  Explore the possibilities.
  4. Treat pro bono clients the same as any other client.  This includes signing agreements that outline policies for “no shows,” confidentiality, length of time you will work together, etc.

Oprah Winfrey once said, “You CAN have it all…just not all at once.”

We can do it all – give back, serve and maintain a thriving coaching business for years to come…one step at a time.


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