A Facebook post by someone I respect has inspired this episode. The content of the post is about the coaching industry and how they feel toward business coaches. They mentioned that they felt bombarded by the number of courses promising six and seven figures and the tactics used. The tone of the post was that they felt it was icky. That business coaches were teaching strategies and tactics that meant leveraging other people’s pain.
I want to respond to this and address the general feeling toward coaching. I want to share my experience through the lens of a business coach with integrity. Over the years, I’ve picked up terminology that may feel icky. Many other coaches may use the same jargon such as ‘pain points’.
Let’s rethink our language
We need to rethink our language over time. What is acceptable at one point in time, is not acceptable at another time. Business should not be any different. So, I’m glad that the language we use in business is flagged in this way. We need to grow our business without manipulating people – which is what some of the languages can suggest. However, I do not teach any manipulation but the language we use in business does not help. Instead using language that helps people to step up and solve their problems, which is really what I am about.
There are now many experts and coaches solving problems so there is a shift from not much competition to many people doing the same things. There is a shift in the marketplace which causes the feeling of fighting over people, there are tactics to get people on board. I want to help business owners to stand out and find their own corner of the market. Then you no longer have to work with mismatched clients. Instead, we need to connect with the people who value what we do as business owners.
How can I not contribute to the feeling of manipulation?
This comes from the language we use and the energy we put out. Also, I want to help you think differently about this. Trying to tap out your ideal client in a cookie-cutter way is not the way to work. Everyone is unique in their personality and experiences.
I come across as strategy-led but I also have this woo-side to me. Yet, I got fed up with not making enough money for my work. My passion and wanting to impact others were not receiving the energetic exchange with money for what I gave out. I started to resent my work. This created a bad atmosphere around treating clients. I fell out of love with my business because my passion to help others was a thorn in my side. I needed to support my family, which I couldn’t do when not being paid enough.
This was happening because I was not pricing properly, packaging my services or marketing well enough to get people through the door. Instead, I was worried about where my next client was coming from. My efforts were not paying off.
My business journey
I want you to understand that this comes from someone who has been there starting out and I’m in a different place now. Of course, I no longer run that holistic business but I still use the therapy skills in my daily life. That business was not a failure but the business did not fit with who I was and what I wanted. Yet, it did give me the experience to realise why I wasn’t making the money I wanted to make.
That business gave me an epiphany moment of “when you speak to everybody, you speak to nobody”. It was why I was struggling to gain traction. I was not attracting the people who were meant for me. When I look at the reasons why repeat clients came to me – it was for specific reasons.
Knowing this would help me amplify that message. It comes with a different message of let’s collaborate together and work to solve a problem.
Being successful and getting more clients on board is not about rubbing your hands together and wanting more money. Instead, come for the energy of “the more successful I am, the more people I can impact”. My transition from holistic therapist to coach had developed over the years to what it’s become now. During this shift, I struggle to get people to see the worth. Moving into the expert coaching side, it was not very defined when I was doing it. I couldn’t get people to understand what they got and therefore could not get people to pay £20 a session. People could not see the value or understand the results. It felt too much of a gamble. It was worth so much more than that but I wasn’t clear on who I wanted.
There were clients who were not ready for my services and I still took them on. While I gave all my energy, I didn’t feel they were as receptive to this. They went away not using what they learned. That understanding of who you work with and what you do is so important for both parties. It’s why you need to understand their problem rather than leverage them.
Why talk about pain points?
People need to trust you and that you understand what they are going through. If they don’t, then why pay you money? They need to trust that you know their problem. Plus, they need to understand the process. It shows you can get them from A to B. Trust is earned through understanding and explaining.
Let’s stop thinking that everyone is out to take your money and teach you horrible tactics.
One of the things I see is “you have all of the answers yourself. You don’t need anyone else.” I am living proof that for 10 years I struggled in business because I didn’t have all of the answers. I was unwilling to invest in help. Instead, I needed to learn from others. As soon as I invested money, it was life-changing. I wouldn’t be impacting as many people as I do without that investment.
Investing in yourself
I remember when £30 was a lot to invest in myself. It took so much strength and commitment to the teachings and myself. It felt huge. Now, I have several £30 memberships that I should cancel. My next investment was £2.5k. I’ve since spent thousands on help and support. Now, I invest in other things that are more relevant to my business such as leadership training and skills.
I think the disillusion comes from the experiences that we regret. Absolutely be alert for the people who promise the world and do not deliver. Some coaches position themselves as a messiah – that they know everything and this is what you should do. Instead, I work by empowering that person to make a decision, looking at it from all angles.
Some coaches do position themselves as “gurus” and want to charge their worth when they should charge what the product is worth. Yet, I do believe having a high-ticket product is about supplying great service. If you are undercharging, you will not do this and will feel resentful. You have to charge appropriately and sometimes that is high ticket.
This is where we get people being cheerleaders rather than giving solid business advice. If this is you who are disillusioned, we are not all like that. I work with many coaches and they have good intentions. They will be with me when I talk about changing the language and intention.
Of course, do your due diligence when making an investment. But let’s not tarnish business advice with greedy, money-grabbing people who want to make a quick buck. There are business coaches who come from good energy and a place of helping you. It’s fine for you to do this and make money. It’s not about monetising people’s pain. You are instead, wanting to impact a group of people. When you position it in this way, you can make more than enough money from a select group of ideal clients. You cannot do this without being business savvy.
So if you are feeling disillusioned, let’s look at this from a different angle. Look for the people who approach business with integrity, and who approach with the right energy.
Yet, how people are scaling with large numbers of people where they try to recreate the same results in the untested environment. Where people do not get the same results in that setting. And they use testimonials from 1-1 products to sell the group programmes. Then teaching people to scale before they are ready. This is the thing you can get ticked off about.