A New Model for Coaching

December 5, 2006

My recent foray into the Learning Annex series has me thinking about a lot of things. But the one that comes up the most prominently this morning is around coaching.

When he was on stage, Tony Robbins had a bit of a rant about the lack of results-focus in life coaching. And that was really driven home to me while watching the Raymond Aaron talk. Raymond Aaron offered a “Monthly Mentorship” program, where he promised that you would see a massive increase in your income based on the work that he would do with you. (Which mostly seemed to focus on the idea that if you keep your desk and house clean, there will be “room for money to flow into your life”. I can’t help but doubt that one.)

But, for all of his boasting about results, his program had a cost that wasn’t tied to results at all. In fact, you pay Raymond Aaron whether you get results or not.

I’ve been wondering if there’s another model for coaching out there. Is there a model where coaches are incented to get results through the structure of their compensation?

Melina and I were talking about whether a model similar to that which recruiters and realtors use would work for coaching careers – take the person’s salary at the time that you start working together, and get paid a small amount (e.g. $150/month), plus an incentive plan (e.g. 5% of any increase in income that happens after you start working together).

I know that there are a few coaches that read this blog – what do you think of this? Would it work? What are the upside and downside to the idea?

If you’re not a coach, would you be more likely to use a coach if you knew that you’d only pay them if they got results?

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2 Responses to “A New Model for Coaching”

  1. Ronald Vereggen on December 5th, 2006 8:02 pm

    I’m all for coaches being accountable for what they do.

    However …

    The problem with coaching results being tied to compensation is that the Coach has no control over the results.

    The Client owns the responsibility to change.

    I know that what I do works perfectly … if the Client applies it.

    For example … I coach IT professionals to develop the skills required to not only survive but thrive within an IT career … a number of the people I have worked with have achieved a 6 figure income from this … some have not … mostly because they do not wish too.

    Also … not all change is related to $$$ … success for some people might be to work less … which means making less … and spending more time with family or doing other things they love.

    I believe that Clients are paying me for my time and expertise to guide them through the process of discovering what they want, helping them become resourceful and holding them accountable to their actions.

    When the results are tied to compensation … the Client can release themselves from being accountable for the results … thus … the coaching is less effective.

    Keep in mind that not all coaches are created equal … there are a lot of consultants out their calling themselves coaches … which adds to the confusion … people interested in coaching should ask their Coach where they received their training AND are they a member of the ICF (International Coaching Federation). The ICF is a governing body for coaches and ensures that all members adhere to a specific set of standards and a code of ethics.

    My two cents.

    Ronald Vereggen
    The Geek Coach

  2. Chris Keeler on December 6th, 2006 7:49 pm

    Hey Mike,

    I think your questions are awesome because they cut right down to the issue.

    What are coaches meant to do? What is their purpose? Why do people buy a coach?

    And these issues are difficult. I believe the reason we see such high input with little or no sense of accountability is for a number of reasons and some of which I think are tied to the coaches own needs for capital. Ron’s points are well received in that if a coach opens the relationship with “IF you don’t succeed, you won’t have to pay me” or “If you don’t implement, I don’t get that extra income” these frames and similar ones add a lot of potentially useless tension.

    This reminds me of a client I had years ago who said to me, “Where would you like to go in the world. If you coach me to the levels of success I am going for, I will pay for you and I to go on that trip.” I knew that what he was going for was not so much that he needed coaching, what he needed was for someone to motivate him. The other side of that was, he wouldn’t financially commit to a full year contract. My assesment yielded me the conclusion that this person was more than capable to do the goals he said out but had created a glass ceilling around control that he wasn’t able to reconcile and was putting me in the position of scape goat. In other words it was obvious that the goals were so un-ecological that he would not ever actually achieve the goals he set out.

    So long story shorter, I terminated the relationship and explained the reasons why.

    So when creating the new coaching model, in the end what I am going for is to encourage coaches to really focus on how to frame the relationship and the results. If you are interested I would be more than happy to take you through our five step coaching program, that we believe has built in the appropriate framing including a beginning and end and middle and evaluation of results. The evaluation is like a 360 in that not only the client evaluates but the coach does to. It is only five session roughly an hour in length and we can do it over the phone. Just call me when you want to experiment with it.


    Chris Keeler
    Senior Partner
    NLP Canada

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