No One Wants Your Life Coaching
June 13, 2019
The allure of a coaching lifestyle is stronger than ever, but we've been sold a mirage. To actually succeed in this competitive industry, you need to do the opposite of what you've been told. You need to think backward.
I know it hurts to admit, but you know it’s true.
No one wants to sign up for your free life-coaching session where you will try to upsell them.
No one wants your free PDF with “10 Tips to Make Shift Happen.”
No one wants to try that visualization technique you just read about in that so-called the-author-buys-thousands-of-his-own-books Amazon “best-seller.”
The truth is, as valuable as a coach can be to someone’s life, no one wants one.
You’ve been told the opposite, though, haven’t you?
“Coaching is the next big thing!”
“Someday everyone will have a coach, just like the athletes do.”
“Coaching is a great way to live your passion and get paid for it.”
But who have you heard say these things? Let me guess—the same people who sold you coaching training, certification, and business advice.
In reality, these are the people who are succeeding the most in the life-coaching world: the shovel sellers.
During America’s gold rushes of the nineteenth century, many hopefuls went west to California and up to Alaska with the aspiration of getting rich. Most didn’t. But the surrounding industries did. Motels, restaurant owners, prostitutes, and the shovel sellers made a fortune off the poor souls hoping to find the gold that would change their lives.
Every generation has its gold rush—as well as its shovel sellers. Today’s information marketers and coaching trainers and certifiers are getting rich selling you today’s gold: a dream coaching lifestyle...
- Work from anywhere with just a phone and an internet connection
- Make as much money as you want
- Travel the world on a speaking tour
- Create a wave of positivity and transformation in the world
- Do all this and more, with just the sound of your voice
The thing is, they are not all wrong. I’ve been coaching my entire adult life, for over 15 years. I’ve been to the promised land and have experienced all of the above.
But I didn’t get there the way they told me to. And you won’t either.
The rallying cry that is repeated over and over again is the following formula:
- Get trained and certified as a coach.
- Start marketing yourself in a niche to get clients.
- Live the amazing coaching lifestyle.
This rubric for getting into the coaching field resonates because it sounds comfortably familiar—it’s identical to how we went through school:
- Go through a program and get a degree.
- Find a job in your field.
- Live the lifestyle of an adult.
The inherent problem, however, is that coaching is so vastly different than any other field. It’s not about accumulating knowledge; it’s about accruing wisdom. More on that in just a bit.
And as for the person being coached by you, it’s not a simple pay-and-get-a-service exchange. Your client must first be vulnerable enough to admit they need help. Then they must put all their hopes, dreams, and fears on display for your judgment. Yes, this can be a transformative experience—but it’s unfortunately an act of courage in our culture.
I’m assuming that, if you’re reading this, you either are a coach or are thinking of becoming one. My question to you is, have you ever paid someone to help you overcome your challenges and achieve your goals? I’m not talking about a certification program or training weekend here. I mean this as in, have you ever sought out a personal coach and committed to months, perhaps years, of consistent coaching, paying fees of hundreds (maybe thousands) of dollars?
I’m guessing the answer is no.
My point here is that if you (you, of all people) don’t believe in the value of coaching enough to pay for it yourself, it’s a far leap to expect someone to pay you for it.
Which leads us to the hard truth: no one wants your life coaching.
With that, we can finally begin to look at coaching with clear eyes—and see what people really want.
The best coaches are not coaches.
Let’s go back to the formula above (“get trained—market yourself—live the lifestyle”), and flip it upside down. Instead of learning to “be” a coach, then market yourself, and then attempt to live the coaching lifestyle, let’s consider doing the exact opposite:
- Live a fascinating life.
- Attract an audience.
- Share your wisdom.
You didn’t read that wrong. I’m asking you, what if you live your life in a way that inspires others to seek you out? And then let them know you are available for hire. Then hone your coaching skills on the job, with or without certification.
Learn while you are getting paid, rather than pay first, and then learn.
Be an invisible coach.
Take any celebrity—say Kim Kardashian, who’s famous for having a glamorous life. She doesn’t present herself as a life coach, but I’m sure she sometimes feels as if she is one in dealing with her fans, friends, and family.
If she decided she wanted to start coaching, all she would have to do is tweet it out to her 60.9 million followers, and people would sign up. No one would even have to know that it’s “coaching.” She could just say that she wants to help a few people improve in their careers, or get over what holds them back. She wouldn’t need to worry about client retention, justifying her price, or providing credentials. And she would be “coaching” clients, albeit invisibly.
This is what the best coaches do. By the time you find them, they are already living an exciting, interesting life because of some fact that is greater than just being a “coach.” That’s what made you take them seriously in the first place.
When you think of coaching in this way, it can be seen as just a feature or an upsell on the attention you already have rather than your sole product.
If you focus on building your life or character to the point where people are naturally attracted to you, then people will want your coaching. You won’t have to seek clients. All you’ll have to do is sign them up when they reach out to you.
The title of coach then is earned, not bought or claimed. The title of coach will be bestowed upon you by the people you’ve helped—not by the people you’ve paid.
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