Attention Coaches: discover how YOU could unknowingly be letting down the very clients you’re sworn to serve

Dear fellow Coach,

That’s a bold assertion I’ve just made, and you’d be forgiven if you felt angry and insulted.

But hear me out and I’ll explain — because once you understand what I’m saying here you’ll find this the most important and exciting message you’ll ever read in your entire coaching career.

If you’ve spent any time at all online over the last couple of years, you’ve probably noticed the number of “coaches” out there has exploded. It seems like there’s a coach for everything these days, from yoga and how to lose weight, to marketing and sales and how to use any one of a number of social media platforms to make money.

And there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with any of this. The Coaching profession is the noblest endeavour of a civilised society, a profession which exists solely to elevate men and women to ever-higher levels of success and accomplishment, and making it easily and readily available to as many people as possible over the world can only be a fantastic opportunity to carry societies across the world up to new heights.

You’d have to agree with that, yes?.

Unfortunately good intentions are not enough, and much as it pains me to say this about my own profession…

 The Coaching industry is rotten to the core.

And I say this for three reasons.

The first is you have no idea whom you’re learning from or whether what you’re learning is accurate, relevant, or even correct. Setting yourself up as a Coach is as simple as saying the words and calling yourself one. 

All it takes is a website or, even easier, a profile on a social media platform. 

Newsflash: it’s no different if you want to offer coaching certifications. It’s not a “protected term” like “lawyer” or “doctor”, and the certifications are meaningless unless backed up with quality teaching.

Secondly, most Coaches out there are nothing of the sort.

They call themselves Coaches, but “coaching” describes a specific set of skills and methods, and what these unsuspecting professionals are taught to do is valuable and beneficial but it’s not Coaching and rarely brings about the same depth and breadth of transformation in their clients’ thinking and behaviour, and thus their ultimate results.

No, most self-proclaimed Coaches nowadays are actually acting in a mentoring role. 

The long and the short of it is even though mentoring is necessary and desirable in any profession (I have a business mentor myself), it is categorically not Coaching and serves an entirely different purpose.

But even this would be somewhat tolerable if it wasn’t for the fact it seems the majority of Coaches who are acting inadvertently in a mentoring role are singularly unqualified to do so.

Most of them are barely qualified to be trainers or even educators.

True story: my own business mentor had a message from someone who wanted to be a “Coach” like him and “hold people’s feet to the fire, get them jumping through hoops and building more success in their lives”.

My mentor patiently explained to this fellow what he did wasn’t “Coaching” and then asked what experience this chap had of growing businesses before, either for himself or for others.

The answer?

“None, but I’m pretty smart and know a lot about it”.

When my mentor asked him how he was going to cope answering questions beyond his own understanding, his reply was, "I can ask you!".

That sums up the state of the industry perfectly: it’s full of unqualified wannabes who know enough about the topic to be dangerous… and they peddle their nonsense to an unsuspecting public which lacks the knowledge and ability to tell a saviour from a snake-oil salesman.

The state of the Coaching industry in 2021

So, what’s the upshot of all this?

A great question, and one I’m glad to answer.

And the best way I can answer it is by way of illustration:

What you see above is the traditional “bell curve”. It’s a model you’ve probably seen a thousand times before, and it describes perfectly the different kinds of Coaches in our industry.

Pretenders

To the far left we have the Pretenders, the kind of uninformed and ill-informed wannabes I mentioned above. These people are ignorant of what Coaching is and resist any suggestion they should learn and grow or educate themselves, and find themselves stuck behind what I call the “fear and ignorance line’. 

I don’t like to write anybody off, but, frankly, Pretenders are beyond helping. 

You can’t save anyone who won’t admit they have a problem, after all, and while they know there’s stuff they know they don’t know they don’t know… they’re too stubborn and deeply entrenched in their beliefs to care or do anything about it.

And as you can see from the red line under this part of the curve, their fortunes are erratic and wild and utterly out of their control.

Discoverers

Next, in the Amber part of the curve, we have what I call Discoverers, men and women whose worlds have been turned upside down because they’ve come to understand their work as Coaches is predicated not on having all the answers, but on asking the right questions. 

They might have one or two clients, but such is their insecurity and lack of confidence, they’re not comfortable asking for money, so they’re often doing Coaching sessions for free; and where they’re not, their fees are woefully low.

And when it comes to professional congruence, they’re still not convinced of this new understanding of Coaching — so they’re uncertain. 

And it’s because of this uncertainty they’ve not invested in their own Coach, which, ironically, is the very thing they need most to gain confidence and overcome the uncertainty stemming from the knowledge they’re not walking their talk. 

However, the Discoverer takes consolation from the fact they’re out there still tentatively testing and trying things out.

The only way to break out of this level is situational experience: to bridge and close the gap between knowing and doing.

You need to unlearn.

 You need to relearn.

And then you need to do.

Newsflash: the vast majority of Coaches are in this Amber Zone as Discoverers.

And the chances are you are one of them.

That may sting a little but take heart from the knowledge it’s not your fault and, even more important, you don’t have to stay there.

Practitioners

Because Discoverers who embrace situational experience begin to step into the next level, the first Green Zone on the curve above, and become Practitioners

At this level, people say: “I’m doing ok in terms of my skills. I’ve unlearned and relearned. I’ve trained. I’ve done so I have experience. I now have the confidence and certainty to consider myself to be competent and even good at what I do” 

So where a Discoverer is tentatively testing every step they take, the Practitioner thinks it. They have an appropriate level of training, certification, or accreditation behind them, and they’ve reached a point of competency. 

They know what Coaching is — and what it isn’t — and they think like a Coach, act like a Coach, and deliver coaching competently to their Clients. 

Experience has taught them to trust the Coaching process and their ability to deliver it.  They know they’re good at it…  

Unfortunately, Practitioners either settle for the limitations of trading time for money, or recognise the limitations of the model, and find themselves sinking into a mire of frustration and discouragement, knowing there’s a higher level of satisfaction and revenue to be claimed from their Coaching business, but finding it tantalisingly beyond their grasp.

In short Practitioners own often stressful and poorly-paid jobs, not businesses. Some months are comfortable, but others — most, if we’re brutally honest — are not, and there’s a constant threat of it all crashing to the ground as the businesses are perilously vulnerable to outside factors and influences outside their control.

So a Practitioners might say to themselves, “I want to get in rooms with bigger thinkers, but I’m still intimidated by conversations at a certain level. I don’t know how to deal with certain levels of clients or engage in high-level conversations with CEO’s… and I’m not comfortable yet with the idea of being the dumbest person in the room. I know this holds me back - and I do want to change it… but I just feel I’m not ready and I’m not sure why” 

The upshot is... getting in their own way keeps the Practitioner as an Average Joe.

And this often gives rise to a major psychological barrier. In the same way ignorance and resistance keeps stuck in the Red Zone, settling with the belief “OK is good enough” keeps Practitioners from growing beyond their self-imposed limits. 

This self-limiting internal dialogue of the Practitioner goes, “I’m doing okay. I know what I’m doing. I’ve got some clients. I’m getting by. And maybe if I could just get some more qualifications or find some more tools to add to my kitbag, maybe I could buy the licence rights to teach another product — licensing some content — I could introduce that to my offering. That would help me”

But the truth is... okay is NOT good enough… because “good enough” traps you. 

If you want more out of your Coaching business, then you have no choice but to become a better business owner, to shift from thinking like a Practitioner to thinking like a profit maker. The idea having ever more content, ever more resources, and ever more qualifications and tools at your disposal somehow makes you a more attractive and credible proposition in the marketplace is simply NOT true. 

Think about this: if your child was scheduled to have life-saving surgery and the surgeon said to you, “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure I do a good enough job”, would you be happy?

Or would you find another surgeon, one who was an expert? I know I would.

So stop deceiving yourself and selling yourself short. It’s not about finding another product or tool.

It’s about becoming a far better business owner who owns a business not a job and ascending to the level of an Elite Influencer.

Elite Influencers

An Elite Influencer is a master of Coaching and business. 

The Elite Influencer doesn’t resist it, or test it, or think it.

No, the Elite Influencer says: “I am it”, and it forms a fundamental part of their identity 

And it shows, both in their character and the results they enjoy in their own lives and the lives of those they’re sworn to serve.

They’re getting proven business results and it’s predictable, scalable, reliable, and repeatable. 

They have the marketing know-how and the systems, methods, and automated processes to feed the business consistently with high-quality leads which convert to premium-fee paying clients and profit. 

The Elite Influencer is the ultimate influencer with the ultimate impact, not just because of their mastery in Coaching and business, but because they’re the real deal.

Not only do they invest substantial amounts of time and money in the very services they offer their clients, not only do they seek out advisors and mentors who enjoy a level of success they want to emulate, and not only do they surround themselves with people far better than they are, but they are authentic, genuine, and vulnerable, openly transparent about their own shortcomings, challenges, and hang ups.

And at this level it hinges on entrepreneurial experience. The only way you can accelerate away is from this top level. 

You’ll never do it from any of the levels below. 

So...

YOU have a stark choice to make

If you’ve read this far, it tells me two things about you.

It tells me you’re serious about your profession, your art, and you are determined to strive to be the best Coach you can.

And it tells me you have that niggling suspicion at the back of your mind you’re maybe not the Coach you thought you were and wanted to be.

And there’s no shame in this whatsoever because you can’t know what you’ve never been told.

The only shame would be if you ignored what you’ve learned, and, knowing you may be falling short of what you could be as a Coach, continue along the same path you’re on now regardless.

That’s the bad news out of the way.

The good news?

There is an answer...

The 6 Fundamentals of Transformational Coaching 

Coaching is a specific set of skills, a set of skills I’ve boiled down to just SIX timeless fundamentals every serious and competent Coach should keep close to their hearts and minds as the underlying principles of their most noble profession.

And if you want to become an Elite Influencer, then fully embracing and understanding The 6 Fundamentals is not optional.

Why?

Because The 6 Fundamentals are fundamentals for a reason: they're the crux of what distinguishes Elite Influencers from the rest. They are the foundations, the very bedrock of what effective and powerful Coaching rests upon.

They epitomise “Coaching from consciousness”, effectively saying to those you serve “you already have the answers, and my role is to draw them out", instead of "coaching from ego” " as the self-proclaimed “thought-leaders” and “gurus” do, telling you in no uncertain and unquestionable terms, “I have the answers, so take heed and listen".

And the best news?

I’m going to share them with you…

… and it won’t cost you a penny.