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Don’t Charge By The Hour

“Don’t charge by the hour. Charge by the years.” 

– Pablo Picasso

There’s an old story that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a woman approached him.

“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.”

So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.

“It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”

“Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied.

“But, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!”

To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”

This story comes from an article by Ellen Rohr and it illustrates a common challenge for many coaches. We don’t realize the importance of our story.


Steve Chandler first introduced me to this phrase by Ken Wilber. It speaks to a mistake so many of us make when we leave an old career behind to become a coach.

No one becomes a coach as their first ever career, so we’ve usually left a previous profession—or even more than one—behind us, as we transition into our new one.

Then because we’re so excited by this new role as a coach, or more often, because we’re so sick and tired of the profession we’ve left behind we think of ourselves as a “new coach”.

And as a “new coach” it’s easy to dismiss all the years of learnings, insights, career capital and sweat equity from our previous life.

One of my greatest skills as a coach is my ability to listen deeply. Some of that I can trace back 25 years to when I spent two years living in a rural village in Botswana, teaching Science to kids in their third language.

I learned way back then the importance of not making assumptions. I’m a Londoner who had ridden on double decker buses since I was a little kid—but the children I was teaching had never even seen a house with two floors, let alone a vehicle!


Who were YOU before you became a coach?

Here are just a few examples from our community:

Before she became a coach… Bay LeBlanc Quiney was a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer. She faced the most challenging of situations—including under gunfire. She was nominated twice as one of Vancouver Island’s next generation of business and community leaders in the Top 20 Under 40 Business and Community Awards.

Before he became a coach… Adam Quiney was a lawyer, a consultant, a software developer and a project manager. Just like his wife Bay he was also nominated as one of Vancouver Island’s next generation of business leaders.

Before he became a coach… Mark J. Silverman has a background in multi-million dollar complex sales—over $90 million of sales during his career. He understands the joys, the challenges and the pressure of being a C-suite executive and top performer.

Before he became a coach… Tony Bonnici struggled with dyslexia at school. He developed an ability to think and learn differently, which fueled a successful career as an entrepreneur for over 25 years. He created 7 different successful businesses from scratch.

Before she became a coach… Giovanna Capozza was an Assistant Cruise Director before spending 5 years in the Special Intelligence Dept of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as an Intercept Monitor. Her work was instrumental in solving criminal investigations. She’s a trained Nutritionist and Homeopathic Doctor who built a clinical Alternative Medicine Practice for nearly 8 years by word of mouth.

Before he became a coach… James G Butler was an Navy bomb disposal expert who served twice in Afghanistan. The government spent over a million dollars on his training.

Before she became a coach… Hayley Carr won nine world medals in karate.

Before she became a coach… Karen Goldfinger Baker was a fundraiser who raised over half a billion dollars for charities.

Before she became a coach… Evelyne Brink was Europe’s premiere Madonna impersonator who took a successful show to the Edinburgh Festival.

Before she became a coach… Jennifer Gresham was the Assistant Chief Scientist at the High Performance Wing of the Air Force. And a published poet.

4PC and my Coaching Salons are full of coaches with an incredible history—both personal and professional. They’ve each had successes and overcome all sorts of adversities.

When I first begin mentoring a coach I spend much of my time asking them to tell me their story… Their successes AND the struggles they’ve overcome. 

And then I often spend significant time simply reminding them just how powerful they are…


Love. Rich

PS. If you want to learn a little more about my own journey, read “Mastery. Or How To Become An Overnight Success As A Coach—in Just 46 Years”

PS. Whenever you’re ready – here are 3 ways you can drastically increase your income and impact as a world-class coach… 

  1. Rich Litvin’s 1:1 Coaching Playbook: Learn my top 10 proven tools for coaching elite clients in this live training. Over 100 people joined me for our first live call – and all calls are recorded, so it’s not too late to join me…
  2. Rich Litvin’s Group Coaching Playbook: Make group coaching a lucrative and fun part of your business. Effortlessly fill and lead impactful group programs.
  3. The $100K Club: A six month Master’s Degree in High-Ticket Client Creation. The price increases as we get closer to the start date. Secure your spot now and start your journey to 6-figure coaching success today! 🚀

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