The Most Expensive Leadership Coaching Isn’t Always the Best

February 2, 2023

looking at a price tag

Overview: Leadership coaching is not a simple proposition for organizations. They can’t assume the most expensive coaching is the best. They shouldn’t think of coaching in terms of quick fixes and cheap discount solutions. Leadership coaching can take many forms, and organizations must determine which forms they need for the best returns on their investments.

Modern society has conditioned us all from birth to be voracious consumers. Society needs its members to boost the economy, and the best way to do that is to work hard, make money, and spend it quickly on stuff we need or think we need. Consumerism has inoculated certain axioms in us all. The adage “you get what you pay for” tells us that if we want something of good quality, we must pay more for it.

In life and leadership, however, the most expensive option isn’t always the best.

To gain proof that the most expensive option isn’t always best, we needn’t look further than investing.

Successful investing requires some contrarian, emotionally cumbersome behaviors. Those who make the most money buy commodities, securities, and other investment vehicles when everyone else sells. They then sell when everyone else wants to buy.

Skilled investors know that as equity funds go, more expensive doesn’t mean better. The contrary seems to be true. Statistically, the least expensive funds are the most likely to survive and thrive. The more you pay for equities and the higher the fees, the less likely you are to turn healthy profits.

Expensive Coaching from the Perspective of the Leadership Coaching Professional

Leadership coaching is not a globally standardized commodity. It can vary in quality, quantity, and every other aspect. Looking to put a tag on its value may yield contradictory and confusing conclusions.

There’s no direct causality between the cost of coaching and its efficacy. However, low-cost leadership coaching can be expensive for many organizations.

Why Low-Cost Executive Coaching Can Be too Expensive

Cheap executive coaching can be a waste of time for leaders and organizations. Since time is a leader’s most valuable resource, wasting it causes them to pay much more for “cheap” executive coaching. Cheap coaching may also be ineffective, in which case the entire effort goes to waste.

Some cheap executive coaching providers charge by the hour, not by availability. When they discuss issues with clients, they have timers going, and they have no reasons to wrap up conversations before the hours run out.

Quality coaching is about availability and efficiency. Clients must be able to contact their coaches whenever they need help. Leadership coaching is about asking the right questions. Once the coach does this and the client provides answers, the coach should deliver relevant feedback on the spot.

Experienced leadership coaches are unlikely to run into situations they haven’t encountered before.

One-on-One Coaching Can Be Expensive

Unlike organizations seeking to cut corners coaching-wise, some may say their managers and leaders deserve the best and most expensive coaching. One-on-one coaching is more expensive than a group-based approach. The question is, “Should organizations go for one-on-one coaching every time?” The answer is “no.”

Leader coaching.
One-on-one coaching is more expensive than the group approach.

Expensive one-on-one coaching can fail in many cases.

When Leaders Don’t Have Basic Skills to Lead Teams

Training comes before coaching. Before they tackle issues like inspiring teams and empowering individual employees, leaders must master “basic” skills like providing relevant feedback and coaching team members.

When Organizations Need Quick Fixes

Expensive coaching is not the right tool for quick fixes. A coach may help a leader overcome a few problems through some spot coaching sessions, but only if a solid leadership coaching foundation already exists.

When the Client Is Averse to Coaching

Higher-ups may pressure struggling leaders into executive coaching sessions. In such cases, when there’s little direct interest from the client, expensive coaching may fail.

Coaching suits leaders who have achieved considerable levels of self-awareness, self-actualization, and emotional intelligence. Quality coaching happens when clients and coaches connect in meaningful ways and develop productive working relationships.

Contact us to learn more about how you can join the IL Movement as a coach or how you can benefit from partnering with us to bring IL Solutions to you and your organization.

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