Martin Messier

July 17, 2023

Difficulty in asking for payment is the reason why excellent coaches are broke and frustrated

Here’s how to fix it

A previous client of mine is an ultra-competent health coach. She helps rehab people who have had mobility issues during years, even in instances where other physical therapists have failed.

Just to give you an idea, her boyfriend sustained a back injury that had him bed-ridden for six months before he could get surgery. After he underwent back surgery, she rebuilt him from his feet to his head. Today, he no longer feels any pain. This is the level of competency I’m referring to here.

During years and years of activity as a coach, she overdelivered, undercharged and, often, worked pro-bono for her customers. This didn’t happen simply out of the generosity and purity of her heart — although she is unbelievably generous, giving and kind. The truth is, she found much difficulty in asking for payment in exchange for her expertise.

As you can imagine, when she came to me, she had already reached financial dire straits. More than once during our session, she collapsed into tears as she described what she was going through. Clearly, this had been bothering her for years. She had finally mustered the courage to step up and address the issue.

Now, this could happen to any coach — especially the good ones who genuinely care about getting their clients results. They pour their heart into mastering their craft to ensure they can deliver. They invest in resources to constantly upgrade their knowledge and skill, so they become as proficient as they can to serve at a higher level. They go above and beyond to shepherd their clients all the way to results. Yet, they never reap the financial benefit of such a level of proficiency.

This is the kind of problem that can rapidly ruin a coaching practice. If it’s not handled promptly, bills start piling up and a coach can quickly fall into debt. It’s not a situation I wish upon them.

The good news is, the day after we worked together, a new client contacted her. She charged 45% more than she usually does and the client paid without hesitating.

By reading this article, you’ll not only prevent yourself from slipping into financial dire straits, but also set yourself up to experience the kind of financial abundance you deserve from the results you help your clients achieve.

Here's how we fixed it and turned her around.

Step #1 — Identify with precision the trigger that prevents you from asking for money

When we started working together, I quickly noticed she had all kinds of suppositions as to why she was experiencing financial difficulty and found it difficult to charge her clients. She told me that perhaps “I don’t believe in myself”, “It might be low self-worth”, and “I don’t feel good about money.”

I pointed out that it sounded like she had "learned" most of the explanations she cited from books, videos and audio tapes. 

Have you ever had this experience, where something in your life isn’t going the way you want, so you start researching the problem everywhere in a somewhat haphazard way? It appeared to be the case as I listened to her, and that's why I inquired about it. She instantly confirmed my suspicions. 

I call this “reading-induced misdiagnosis.”

I invited her to build a map of the issue. We started a dialogue. I asked her questions and she answered. (This is where a deep understanding of the Meta Model comes in handy.) As she spoke, I simply scribbled notes on a yellow notepad, progressively organizing them into a coherent diagram as she answered. 

Pegging an issue is a bit akin to circling a prey. You need to keep narrowing the area until you have finally pinned it. You can’t succumb to the early answers. You can’t allow yourself to be distracted. It’s not necessarily that the right answer will be much deeper than the first answer. It may sit on the surface right next to it, but for some reason you never considered it before. You want to make sure that the right answer is actually the right answer by poking at everything around it.

In her case, I observed she went into a specific disempowering state from which she was utterly incapable of asking for money. Through conversation, I tested this supposition several times by guiding her back to this state and confirming she wasn't able to ask for money from there. I also guided her into other states and literally witnessed her transform temporarily into a fully empowered version of herself in which the issue disappeared.

This is what I mean by ensuring that you have the issue pinned. In her case, it was a disempowering state. In other cases, it could be a limiting belief, the lack of an effective strategy or a different limitation altogether.

Once we had the issue pinned, we could move on to the next step.

Step #2 — Short-circuit the bad feeling

Our feelings are recipes. We produce them with specific ingredients, in specific amounts, cooked up in a specific sequence. When you understand “emotional cooking”, if you will, it’s easy to dive into a feeling to understand how it’s composed.

Did you ever play with toy chemistry sets when you were a child? Do you ever remember doing the experiment where they ask you to pour an alkaline liquid on top of an acid in a test tube, and then measure the neutralized pH of the newly formed liquid with a pH strip?

It works the same way when we need to short-circuit a disempowering feeling. We need to neutralize it. To do so, we have to alter the composition of the feeling. Once we do, it loses all of its disempowering qualities. Just as the acid loses its burning qualities once neutralized with an alkali, a feeling stops disempowering us once sufficiently neutralized with empowering ingredients.

In her case, I chose laughter as the catalyst. We could have worked with any number of other ingredients (calm, faith, courage, determination), but this one was readily available and would do the job well.

Once she mixed laughter into her disempowering state, she disarmed it. It no longer crippled her as it used to. She was then ready to move on to the next step.

Step #3 — Condition a new possibility

People seldom realize that they make emotional commitments to a single behavioral, emotional or meaning possibility out of a potentially gigantic menu.

At that point, I helped her access creative resources so that she could start generating some new possibilities for herself. Once she had created several different options, she selected the one that felt the most empowering to her.

Once she selected that possibility, I helped her repattern from Point A to Point B. In this case, I used a swish pattern, but this could be accomplished using different tools, such as visualization, anchoring, resource triangles or whatever other tool you may find useful.

During this process, I noticed something: she was beating up her old self and demonstrating it physically. She hadn’t noticed it, but when I pointed it out to her she readily perceived it.

When you condition new possibilities, make sure you embrace all of yourself. Be gentle, kind and integrative. If you feel any hint of impatience or aggression towards yourself because of a less-than-glorious behavior or feeling, move into a more accepting space before you continue the process.

Once she moved into a new space, she was finally able to integrate the new possibility and diffuse it ecologically through her neurology. She looked and sounded completely different on camera.

When I asked her about charging her clients, she looked at me like I was nuts. "Of course, she said. They WANT to pay me for my expertise because I can take them to a place of fulfillment and freedom."

At this point, you should also feel completely different about charging your clients. This will be the beginning of a new phase of your financial life.


This is everything you need to start charging your clients and getting paid what you deserve. Let’s go over each step quickly.

Step 1: Identify with precision the trigger that prevents you from asking for money. Make sure you pin down precisely the source of the blockage.

Step 2: Short-circuit the bad feeling. Neutralize the disempowering process by bringing in an empowering resource.

Step 3: Condition a new possibility. Leverage your creativity to come up with new options for yourself. Then, make it stick by using a conditioning process.

I hope you found this case study helpful and that you can use this process for your benefit. If you’d like my help in going through this process, email me at

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