Home » academic coaching » Ask your employer to invest in you!


We often hear from people who want to begin coaching and would like to find institutional/corporate support to do so. Look for the opportunity to address the goals of your organization. Employers need to focus on recruitment and retention of high-quality employees. You need coaching. Showing how everyone benefits is the key to the conversation. The space in between is creating a compelling case for coaching support.

Being brave enough to have the conversation. Identify ways in which coaching could benefit them. Get clear on what you intend to learn from coaching and how it overlaps with the goals of your organization.

Set up an appointment to have the conversation in person. Send a clear email asking for a meeting to discuss an opportunity that could benefit you and the organization.

Make your pitch. Speak from the perspective of the institution/company. Speak from a confident place that you are helping your organization to meet its vision and goals. Explain how coaching is different than what is available to you through your organization.

Be specific. Outline what you will be doing in our coaching and for how long. Discuss what measurable outcomes you expect to gain. Show how your skills will transfer back to the work that you do with others at your organization.

Be ready for questions and rebuttals:

We can’t afford this. If they cannot commit to the whole fee, see if they will pay a portion.

What is coaching? If they ask for additional information about coaching or our program, share our website. Offer to send additional materials (contact me for ideas on how to tailor the information that you need).

We already have leadership and mentoring programs. Explain how coaching provide you with a unique one-on-one opportunity to build your leadership, interpersonal skills, accelerate your productivity, and vision for your career path.

 Expect your “ask” to be a longer-term negotiation. If you do not get an immediate yes, create an expectation that you want to continue the conversation further at another time. Ask more than one person.

Model the energy you hope to grow. Show your enthusiasm for your plan. Welcome questions as a dialogue. Be curious about their needs and how coaching might meet them. Thank them for the opportunity for the conversation. You are not defensive or asking for a favor, you are presenting a proposal that would benefit everyone.

Follow up. Confirm any yes or maybes in writing. Provide any information that you promised. Even with a firm no, send an e-mail showing appreciation for the conversation, additional information about coaching and hopes to speak again in the future. Then think about who else you might be able to ask in your organization. A discouraging conversation is still practice in asking, and an opportunity to learn how to improve your “ask” for the next person in your organization.

Explore multiple avenues for funding. For example, at a university, you could ask your program or department chair, a dean’s office, teaching and learning centers, equity and diversity offices, new initiatives on campus, external professional societies.


Struggling with your ask? Contact me to arrange a targeted, pro-bono coaching session to design and practice your pitch.