In our first Rip-Offs and Scams post, we covered web sites and how you might be paying too much for a web site. Today I’m going to cover hallowed ground: coaching. Shocking, I know, for a coach to write about how coaches are ripping off business owners right and left, but some of my peers leave me speechless on a daily basis. So today I’m talking about how business owners are being ripped off by coaches.
Rip-Off #2: The Coaching Scam
Coaching. It used to be such a cool industry to be in. I don’t make a secret of the fact that I’m deeply disappointed with how the coaching industry has been flooded with untrained, inexperienced noobs who have no idea what they’re doing, but who have watched Dr. Phil and Oprah and think, “Hey, I can give advice to my friends, so I can be a coach!”
That’s not what coaching is!!!
However, due to the lack of regulation in the coaching industry, pretty much anyone can hang out a shingle and call themselves a coach. Which, if you think about it, is a little bit scary.
If you’re looking for a business coach, let’s cover a couple of things:
- You may not always know what you need. Sometimes clients come to me thinking they just need marketing advice. And in fact, that’s often true. Sometimes business owners just don’t know where to start with marketing or how to organize their marketing activities. But sometimes you might be holding yourself back without even realizing it, just because of the way your brain is set up to limit the way you think about your business. That’s why…
- Your coach should be trained as a coach. This one’s tricky, but it happens in any industry. A “trained” coach is not necessarily a good coach. A wealth of training for coaches has cropped up in the last decade, and I mean that literally—training coaches is good business. How can you determine if the training is good? In my experience, a good coach has college and advanced degrees as well as coaching training. So for example, I have a Master’s Degree in social psychology, and I’ve received coaching training from Nightingale Conant, Wellcoaches, several master coaches, and I’m also a certified practitioner of neuro-linguisting programming. Is that what makes me a good coach? Partly. But I also have a natural affinity for coaching, helping people to see things in a new way, and identifying their brain junk so we can start to address it. So coaching is part skill and part talent, in my opinion, but there’s also another factor that you need in a good business coach…
- Your coach should have experience in business, which means your coach should have experience in owning a business other than a coaching business, and should also have experience in a business that has some relationship to what you do. That doesn’t mean that if you’re a dentist, your business coach should have been a dentist or dental marketer, but your coach probably should have experience in the wellness industry, simply because your industry has some unique properties that your advisors should understand. What’s most important is that your coach has experience and success in the real world of business and can show you what you’re missing in your business, how to handle certain situations, and how to grow your business. If your coach doesn’t have a successful business, then how can he or she possibly help you to create a successful business?!
Far too many coaches out there simply don’t have the background, experience, and expertise that will help you to become more successful. It’s up to you to ask the right questions so you can make the right decisions around whether they can help you or not.
Why is coaching a scam?
The scam with coaching isn’t with coaching itself, which can be hugely beneficial, but rather in the promises coaches make. There are tons of coaches that promise big, big things, whether directly, where they actually say, “I can make you rich, I can get you into the media, I can make you successful,” or indirectly, by languaging their copy and program titles with phrases like “Six Figure” or “Seven Figure” or “Million Dollar” anything or by using “I got rich!” testimonials that ought to be labeled with “results not typical.”
Any time a coach tells you that he or she can make you successful/rich/famous, you should run in the other direction. Because no one can make you anything. The work necessary to become successful is yours and yours alone to do. A coach can provide you with insight and guidance, but if you don’t do the work, you’re not going to make it. It’s just that simple.
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