on what people pay me for when i'm coaching

my coaching practice is in the process of evolving (and maybe always will be - but maybe not). back in july, i had a conversation with my friend nick balug (which is what i call my friend kate’s husband even though that’s her last name, not his) about… well, i can’t actually remember what about. but what i do remember from the convo was two things.

first, i think my coaching practice is really about supporting people to see their lives through a systems lens and learning to make change in it using a personal systems approach.

second, as i attemped to come up with a clear value proposition for my 1on1 coaching that aligned with my values, i stumbled on the language below. it’s not tidy, but it’s real and i believe it (at least for now).

i have and want to have no secret knowledge. that leads me to believe i should run a (free and) open source business model. in practice that means (a) none of the things i tell people are “secrets,” and (b) what people pay me for is time, space, custom-tailored application of my knowledge/experience, and support of their change processes.


many shitty corporate (is this the right word?) business models operate on secrets and data. sometimes called “edge” or “trade secrets,” it’s how certain businesses beat their competition. i don’t think that’s good for humans, human society or the earth. therefore, in a foss model, all of what i know is open and available to the public. all my ideas and tips and strategies are to publicly available. anyone could look them up and apply them to their own life. this leads to:


and therefore what people pay me for is, first and foremost, for me to apply what i know directly to their case (especially since a lot of what i do is point people to other people’s (public) work). (sidenote: that’s morally ok, right?) anyone who is willing and able to pay (or barter) me for that believes they’ll get enough value out of that process to make it worth whatever it is they’re willing to exchange. that person is also paying me to support their own investment into their growth. they’re paying for time and mental space for me to support them taking taking and space to work on themself. there’s also some level of direct engagement (regular check-ins, text messages, emails, phone calls, etc.) that often comes with that support because accountability is important in change processes.

anyways, so yea, that’s why i feel great and fully justified in charging people for my coaching work. just wanted to write that down so i could think through it myself.

words / writing / post-processing
438w / 15min / 13min