“Pro bono,” if we stick to the Latin translation, is basically providing a service free of charge for public good. I struggled with this one act for a long time and decided to share it with you in a post.

To begin with, helping people’s what I do. I’ve been raised like that and it’s part of who I am. Thus, when I started this coaching business, I had to make an effort to understand that there’s nothing wrong with charging for the services that I offer.

You see, when you grow up with the knowledge that helping people’s the right thing to do (without expecting anything in return)… well, asking for money for the offer (read: payment) is perceived as an aggression.

This is where I started from: I love people, I hear people, I try to understand what they’re seeking and for what reason. It’s actually easy and natural for me to do that—almost effortless—and I feel when things aren’t going well with people around me, even complete strangers, I jump in to help every time someone asks. You get the idea.

To be honest, even before I knew that what I do’s called coaching, I was already doing it with no questions being asked. Seeing people growing, getting better, coming back to thank me—for instance, telling me, “what you asked or said really boosted me,” all that’s priceless. Yet dealing with my own personal conviction of charging money for a service that I’d provided was one thing, the big thing that made me switch was the impact that I had on others. How many I can support, how fast the results are, and how serious the people are taking me.

Therefore, here are my top five reasons on why you should get paid for your coaching practice:

To make a living

Coaching, even when offered free of charge and done with all your heart, is still a service. A very high-level service. For most coaches, it’s what provides them a living. Keep in mind that you can’t help others if you don’t help yourself first. Money’s a form of payment, even if it’s not the only or the most important benefit for you, it’s still what gets your daily bread on the table. If this isn’t the case, some other activity will do, and in the end, that means you’ll spend less time on your coaching practice.

Implication

People tend to get more involved when it’s something they have to pay for. There’s a tendency to take things for granted and therefore appreciate less when you receive without any effort or cost.

While a first session may and probably should be free, or “on the house,” undertaking full coaching to reach a specific goal demands lots of time, energy, and work, from both the coach and the client. The bottom line for any client should be, “how much do you want this goal?”

One way or another, we always find resources for what we really want and value.

Efficiency

When you work with someone you need a real program. You define a goal, and an action plan, and need a systematic approach. It isn’t just a phone call you get every now and then; it needs consistency, implication, commitment, and responsibility.

Now, when all this is coming free of charge it may not seem like a big deal if you miss a class, or if you schedule something else at that time. Not everyone operates in this manner. But to be honest, it may be easier to cancel a free appointment than one that’s been paid for already.

Meanwhile, as a coach, you can’t support other people in the spare time left by an absent client. I understand that circumstances may happen where a client who’s paid upfront cancels a course; but in that case, as a coach, I’ve been paid already.

The extra time, therefore, becomes an opportunity, even to work on a pro bono file.

Credibility

If your goal is to help/influence as many people as you can, it does not work in your favor to actually have a free of charge practice. If you don’t charge, people may think that it is not worth it, right? Maybe you believe that you are not good enough a coach to charge, and this is the impression potential clients may get of you.

Getting quick results

When you pay for something, you want results. And for some reason, people are more committed to work and do their assignments when there’s a financial commitment. Quick results means helping more clients, but also means more credibility and more publicity.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll continue to provide free support, and I’ll continue to give punctual support (including coaching). I’ll also continue to have my pro bono hours and to be me. But what I’m no longer offering is a complete coaching for free. Developing my strategy around voluntary work, how I choose where to invest my time and energy and what amount of it, that’s what has changed.

When you think about it, how many people are doing their job for free? So, why should coaches?

Photo Credit: Joshua Ness, Unsplash.com