Last week was about figuring out if you are really ready for coaching, and how to choose a coach if you are ready. This week is about when you want it, need it and are ready for it — but can’t afford it. Coaching can be expensive.
First, see if your company will sponsor you. Let them know what you are working on and how it will help your performance. Many companies have coaching programs or internal coaches that you can leverage.
When a paid coach is just not within reach, here are two options to create the support you need without spending a dime.
1. A Buddy Coach
This is my favorite approach and one I have personally used for years. Buddy coaching is the idea that you work together with someone who also needs coaching, and you act as coaches to each other. Look for someone who has experience or skills that are related to what you are working on. Choose someone you respect, will listen to, and for whom you can also be valuable. Schedule regular meetings to ‘coach’ each other. Create structure and formalize the arrangement with agendas and set schedules.
A buddy coach can be long- or short-term. I have had one for over 6 years and we have evolved with each other. Sometimes I have a short-term buddy to fill a gap. For example, I did a buddy coaching stint with somebody who was a YouTube star and an aspiring speaker. She helped me think about social media, and I helped her think about speaking. We both offered up our expertise. There was no money changing hands, but a lot of value went in both directions.
We all have value to offer, and it isn’t always the ability to coach. Bartering for coaching is an alternative to being a buddy coach. Some coaches are willing to work for an alternative service that they have expertise in. Photographers, web designers, and social media experts are examples of those who may have exchanged services.
When I wanted a family portrait done by a local painter whose prices were not something I was willing to splurge on, bartering was the perfect solution. Hand-painted portraits of my family (and dogs!) were a luxury I wouldn’t have given myself otherwise. And coaching was a luxury she couldn’t afford. That’s a great barter. A win for everybody!
Recognize the value you bring to the table and get creative to find what you need.