“Free advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.” ~Gypsy Saying
Have you ever encountered an “askhole?” It’s someone who constantly asks you for advice, but then does the complete opposite of what you told them to do.
There are few things that are more frustrating, right?
Why is that?
Wisdom of the gypsies
Imagine I’m a tarot card reader, and you come to me for a reading.
It’s insightful, explains exactly what part of your life needs the most work, and then spell out exactly what you can do to get on the right track. It’s nothing short of the best advice you’ve ever gotten.
But you pay nothing for it.
You know what would happen? Probably nothing. You’d say thank you, walk out, and think “That was interesting,” then never worry about it again.
Imagine you paid me $20,000 for that exact same reading.
Now, how motivated do you think you’ll be afterwards?
Before I started coaching, I used to share my thoughts freely with anyone who would listen. Over time, I’ve not only realized that free advice is essentially worthless, but a client’s motivation to put it into practice is directly linked to how much they had to pay for that information.
They paid nothing for the info? There’s zero incentive to apply it.
I’d give people great information & advice, but then they’d ignore it. They’d run into the problem I’d warned them about, and then have to work twice as hard to recover from it instead of avoiding it in the first place.
At the end, we’d both wasted our time. Mine for sharing with someone who didn’t value my input, and theirs for spending time listening to it, experiencing the problem, & then recovering from it just to be right back at square one (but a little wiser hopefully).
Nowadays, people pay me for my knowledge & experience. Since clients are willing to pay for their guidance, they tend to consider my thoughts much more carefully before making future decisions. My personal goal is to help my clients get 10x more value out of our time together than they pay me.
This makes coaching much more rewarding in every sense of the word. Feels good to help people avoid costly mistakes. It’s nice to get paid for what you’re good at. And it’s nice to have significantly fewer askholes in my life.
To some people I charge way more than they can afford. To some people it’s a drop in the bucket. Regardless of how much I stand behind, that’s always going to be the case, so there’s zero reason to race to the bottom of the barrel.
I’ve found that the people who are highly motivated and invest in results are the best clients to work with.
Gypsies figured this out generations ago.
The amount you’re willing to pay for the solution to a problem tells the person with the answer how much they should care about your problem. You don’t care enough to pay? Then why should the coach care more than you do?
Silver, Time, & Attention
Now, I’m not saying you should have a money-based relationship with everyone in your life.
Money isn’t the only currency that matters.
You can pay in time. You can pay in effort. You can pay attention and really listen to what you hear.
If I consult with someone who may not have the finances to spend on my insights, I have 3 guidelines I look to.
- My time (& yours) is valuable. Spend it wisely.
- You may never be able to pay me back directly, and that’s OK. If you’re ever in the position to pay it forward, do that.
- You don’t have to blindly follow my advice, but sure as hell think twice before ignoring it.
You can see how there’s still a price to be paid, even though it’s not in terms of money. It’s still win-win!
The nature of a successful coaching/mentoring dynamic (valued in either money, time, or effort) is achieving specific goals in a sensible time frame with metrics along the way to gauge results. With this dynamic, the client stays accountable, and the coach stays dedicated to the project.
The coach is getting value in seeing their client succeed, and the client gets value in achieving their goals.
Value for value is the only way the world works.
(Otherwise it’s stealing.)