Authentic Personal Value. How Much To Ask For Your Services?
Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 08:34AM
Paul Hunting

´╗┐How do you place a true value on your time, your skills, your self?

"Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny,denigrate, or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognise it as such." - Henry Miller

One of the offerings in my kit bag is supervising budding (horse-assisted and regular) coaches. This often includes enabling them to succeed in their coaching business. This often includes their enrolling high-fee-paying clients.

The biggest obstacle to success here seems to be personal beliefs that resist our being wealthy and drive us away from asking for and receiving the fees we really deserve.

One indicator of ‘poverty beliefs in action’ is asking far less than we really feel we deserve (based on very personal criteria).

Another is asking far more.

Both extremes are a set-up for failure because they are in-authentic and unconsciously seek confirmation from the client that proves we are not unworthy. Paradoxically, if we entertain any belief that we are unworthy, for any reason at all, the harder we try to prove we’re not, the more we reinforce the belief that we are. Convoluted or what? We may as well invest in an online casino account.

If we’re going to succeed in this business (life), I don’t think we stand a chance if we avoid doing the inner work of clearing out the junk room where we store up all our miserable belief systems and files of data on why all the crap we tell ourselves about ourselves is true. Has to be done. No getting away from it.

Another way I find undermines the compulsion to self-sabotage is to create a maxim like: ‘never talk fees with a client until the value has been agreed.’ As soon as the client asks the oh so reasonable question: ‘how much is this going to cost me?’ and you answer it prematurely, before establishing the value, you can pretty much bet you’ve lost the business or compromised your fee. This question is code for ‘I don’t really believe I’m going to get value here’ or I’m not willing to take the risks/put in the energy/etc. to make this work for me. ‘

In other words we have not done our job – no enrolling, no clients, no money, no business.

A good idea for deflecting the killer question without appearing shifty or lacking confidence is to set the conversation up from the start in a very specific way. If we say at the outset ‘My fees are based on a percentage of the value you perceive you will get from our work together’ you cannot but have a conversation about establishing said value.

The value equation is simple. Value of the fee = value of the solution + cost of the problem. If the problem is costing them arbitrarily £200,000 per annum in unnecessary expenses, lost revenue, energy and opportunity, if the value to them of overcoming the problem and achieving their goals is a further £200,000, say, then the value of the fee is £400,000 (or more).

If you then promise to deliver this result for, say, just 10% of this value – it’s a no-brainer. Your fee is £40,000.

There's also something biblically irresistible to offer clients a 'ten-fold return on investment'.

If you fully have this conversation, you will automatically be building trust, gaining rapport and solving problems. This a far cry from a slick, pushy, 'selling' mindset. You will also ‘natually know’ what fee you really want for doing the work and if this percentage brings it into your ballpark. You will also know if you want to turn the job down because you don’t get the right ‘feel’ from the client. I will only work with a client if I sincerely believe I want to and can do the necessary to support them. For me it also has to be fun.

Sounds easy. No not really. Simple is not necessarily easy. In order to quantify all the different intangibles, costs, pains, fears, risks and commitments a client has to make requires a lot of focus, discipline, practice, practice, practice and intention.

What’s probably also true, if you’re not aligned internally with the part of you that really does know its incalculable, infinite value, chances are you won’t pull this off.

The good news is, that part of you is authentic, it is  right here and accessible right now.

If you enjoy a good paradigm shift, do read the definitive book on (soul-centred) horse-assisted leadership and coaching: Why talk to a guru? When you can whisper to a horse - by Paul Hunting.

Article originally appeared on authentic leadership skills development (
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