Life coach needs to stop giv­ing ad­vice for free

The Saline Courier - - OPINION - HARRIETTE COLE

“Congress shall make no law ... abridg­ing the free­dom of speech, or of the press ... . ” — From the First Amend­ment to Con­sti­tu­tion

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a pro­fes­sional life coach. I help clients sort out their prob­lems and make smarter choices. So far, it’s been go­ing well. I mainly get clients through word of mouth.

The one thing that I haven’t fig­ured out is how to get my friends and fam­ily to pay for my ser­vices. It’s one thing to give a lit­tle ad­vice here and there, but sev­eral peo­ple in my life go so far as to call me and to sched­ule time to pick my brain with­out ever con­sid­er­ing that they should pay for my ser­vices. Mean­while, they will pay for all kinds of other ser­vices, such as man­i­cures, the hair­dresser and all kinds of other beauty ser­vices. I don’t know why they should be more valu­able than the ser­vices I of­fer. What can I do? -- Time to Charge

DEAR TIME TO CHARGE: Fam­ily mem­bers and friends of­ten take loved ones for granted with­out mean­ing to. They are likely so ac­cus­tomed to you dol­ing out ad­vice that it hasn’t oc­curred to them that they should pay. It can be dif­fi­cult get­ting them to pay even after you make them aware of their be­hav­ior.

One way to cre­ate bound­aries around your work is to let them know that this is how you earn a liv­ing. Of­fer to “give” a half-hour of free ad­vice. Any pro­fes­sional coun­sel­ing time after that you can of­fer to them at a friends-and­fam­ily dis­count. In this way, you let them know what your stan­dard fees are and what you are will­ing to of­fer them. If they balk, stop giv­ing them ad­vice. Tell them you just want to hang out and en­joy each other’s com­pany and not have to work. Then, stick to it. ••• DEAR HARRIETTE: My daugh­ter just got in­jured and had to get 10 stitches in her leg. She has crutches and should heal fully. Her dilemma is that she is plan­ning to go to an all-day out­door con­cert in a cou­ple of days. She is not sup­posed to bend her knee so that she doesn’t break the stitches. I don’t think go­ing to a con­cert where she will be on her feet for many hours is smart. The nurse said she should be fine and able to at­tend, but I think it’s too much. How do you think I should han­dle this? -- The Right Thing

DEAR THE RIGHT THING: Take it one day at a time. Since the nurse gave her clear­ance, at least you have one med­i­cal pro­fes­sional say­ing it should be OK. But you will be with your daugh­ter and can see how she is mend­ing. Look at her wound each day as you dress it.

At the same time, do more re­search on the lo­ca­tion of the con­cert. How much seat­ing is there? Which acts does she re­ally want to see? You may want to limit how long she will be at the con­cert, if you let her at­tend at all. As up­set as your daugh­ter may be, do not let her at­tend if you are con­cerned that she will in­jure her­self again. You have to be the parent in this sce­nario and do what’s safe for your child.


Harriette Cole is a lifestylis­t and founder of DREAMLEAPE­RS, an ini­tia­tive to help peo­ple ac­cess and ac­ti­vate their dreams. You can send ques­tions to askhar­ri­[email protected]­ri­et­ or c/o An­drews Mcmeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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