Updated: Sep 10
Pro bono is a Latin word Pro bono publico meaning ‘for the public good’.Pro bono represents work undertaken without charge. In other words, coaching that is provided free of charge is pro bono coaching. Coaching has existed for thousands of years and is not new but it has gained prominence in recent days from the West and is considered a recent development. You can read about “How coaching transforms lives” which briefly explains coaching and how it transforms lives. There are other articles you can read about coaching here.
Coaching for many is a profession similar to any other profession that involves working with people to help them out that includes doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors and therapists.
Why pay for what you can get for free?
We thought about this question and decided to find the answer to why you should pay for something you can get for free.
Our own experiences from the pro bono sessions provided prior to 2020 and the start of the organisation combined with the experiences of the coaches who later joined us, we found that when a client is provided a session free of charge, they tend to:
Not value the time: A pro bono client does not provide value for time as the session does not achieve result-orientedness. Owing to this factor, it leads to a complete waste of time for both the coach and the client availing coaching.
Lack commitment: As pro bono coaching is free of charge, there is a lack of commitment from the client as they do not feel obliged to attend a free coaching session and do not hesitate to cancel the appointment without prior information. Due to the lack of prior information from the client, the coach is unable to schedule coaching for another client in the short duration and therefore is left doing nothing during this period.
Lack motivation: Pro bono coaching does not induce motivation in the client voluntarily as it is free and the client feels no necessity to keep up the scheduled time as well. The client may, however, present themselves for the coaching session after several reminders from the coach, indicating a sheer lack of enthusiasm on their part and virtually to the point of coercion from the coach to continue keeping up their time. The pro bono client is therefore not self-motivated but is rather compelled and coerced into it.
Lack effectiveness: A profession is considered valuable and vital because it produces results. Pro bono coaching is ineffective due to a lack of results-orientedness in addition to the lack of results provided by the client. When it is no longer effective, it becomes absolutely worthless and a futile effort.
So, why should you pay for something you can get for free? The answer lies in the fact that when a product/service is offered for free:
It is of poor quality
It is short-lived
It contains hidden charges
For example, your data on social media
It is unreliable
It doesn’t always serve you your desired results
The best examples of the drawbacks of a free product are:
John was thrilled when his friends told him about the new food place serving free meals at the end of the street. When they decided to try this place out, they enjoyed the free meals to their heart’s content. Feeling satisfied, they told each other that they must return the following week. The next day however, they had already changed their opinions as two of John’s friends landed themselves in the hospital due to diarrhoea and John himself had begun to suffer severe stomach cramps and a stomach infection.
A week later, John was visited by a man who claimed to be an on-the-road pharmacist bringing affordable medication to his doorstep. Delighted, John was very happy to take the few free medicines the man gave and sent him on his way. A few days later, when he started suffering from flu, he decided to take one of the free cough syrups he received. Not only did his cough become worse, but the syrup also caused him to vomit everything he ingested. Feeling depressed, John decided to admit himself to a hospital and spent much more money on his hospital bills than on his medication.
John then saw an advertisement to join a webinar that promised secrets to earn in millions and billions for free. Excited, he quickly enrolled into the webinar. On participating, he made a note of the many different tips and tricks to move up the income ladder. His thrill was then shot spiralling out of control when the speaker promised to give a free session to the first 50 people who signed up in a form. John considered himself quick and lucky when he received the details of his session after signing up. The speaker spoke to John and advised him on the best path to future success, which John duly noted. On the third day after the session, John had not only lost the book, but he had also forgotten about his wish to become a multi-billionaire.
From this, we summarise that
Pro bono clients do not value the coach's time
Pro bono clients do not value their own time
Anything free is taken for granted
Anything free is of low quality
Anything free is unreliable
A free session does not create the right motivation to work towards their goals
A free-of-charge session does not bring in commitment from the client.
The client who is provided pro bono coaching finds it effortless to cancel the appointment.
Every professional service is charged, therefore more effective.
Before we conclude the topic, we want you to carefully ponder upon the following statements:
How do you feel when you don’t get paid for your hard work?
Do you like it when someone robs you of your hard work and hard earned income?