Hiring a business coach? Know what to look for
Hey you, new entrepreneur!
Are you new to the online business world?
Are you suddenly seeing ads every which way, showing beautiful women laughing and cavorting across tropical islands in designer clothes, promising that you, too, can have six-figure months in just a few short weeks?
Yea, me too. And I was especially bombarded with these ads when I started researching online business to prepare for my launch.
I’m not naming names, but you may have caught yourself lying in bed reading these people’s webpages at 2am in the dark, wondering if you, too, could make a million dollars this year in passive income, “retire your husband,” and go travel the world.
If that’s your dream, awesome!
But be wary of people who promise they can get you there super fast in just a few weeks – big on promises, short on details.
If you’re considering any program or membership that even remotely resembles a get-rich-quick scheme, hit the brakes girl.
Otherwise you may find yourself $10,000 poorer, and all you’ve learned how to do is use the same tactics that worked on you, to get other women to give you their money, so you can teach them how to do the same thing.
And at the center, there's no there there.
I won't try to tell you what’s real and what’s not, but I do want you to be ready to decide for yourself. Here's how.
1. stop and breathe. don’t invest on a whim.
Remember Mean Girls?
The cute new girl shows up at school and doesn’t know what’s up. She has no clue who she can trust and who she can’t (okay you grammar Nazis, whom she can trust).
This makes her a target for some unsavory characters.
Don’t take this the wrong way, but...you’re the cute new girl. I know, because I'm a fairly recent cute new girl, too.
In fact, your recent search history (“how do I write a business plan,” and “what is SEO”) is probably making you look really cute to some people.
You (and people in your shoes) might be feeling super ambitious right now about your future, but overwhelmed by all the new stuff you have to learn to get there
If only there were some kind of shortcut…and wouldn’t you know it, in walks someone promising to make you rich in just a few weeks.
Next thing you know, you're crying on the front porch with punch all over your prom dress. (Okay wrong movie, but you get the gist).
Let's hit the rewind button. Instead, do what the smart (and cute) new girl does: wait and watch and learn for at least a few months – there's no reason to rush.
These programs are everywhere, and there will be more, not less of them a year from now.
But by then, you'll have a better sense of what is real and what isn’t, so you can invest in a program you know is right for you and can deliver.
2. be open-minded, but…
Becoming an entrepreneur means that you need to think a little bigger, become more open to everything the world has to offer, and not limit yourself to your same old thinking.
Don’t rely on your same old preconceived notions of what is possible. And by all means, dreamer, dream big! Keep an open mind about what is possible for you, because the sky's the limit.
But even as you become more open to possibilities, you should also know that there are some things that won’t and shouldn’t change, which leads us to...
3. …know your non-negotiables.
Even as the world opens up to you, your core values will remain the same.
If you want your career to be about creating real value and making the world a better place, that is probably not going to change (and it shouldn’t). If you want your work to make people’s lives better, not worse, you won't excel in a career that relies on taking advantage of others.
So when considering a new opportunity, do some research and scratch beneath the glitzy, glittery surface to determine whether it actually aligns with your values.
No matter how much money you make, compromising on your non-negotiables will only make you miserable.
4. trust your own instincts and feelings.
If you think it might be too good to be true, listen to that feeling. Don’t silence your intuition.
You know what you call businesses that use high-pressure marketing tactics to get you to invest your money, and then teach you how to use those same tactics to get other people to invest their money?
That's right, I'm talking about the P-word.
No, not pizza.
Life and business coaching are real disciplines – but the point of coaching is not to make you feel like your life isn’t good enough, or replace it with a whole new life.
The point of coaching is to help you be happier and more effective within your own life or business.
If you walk away from a coach’s website feeling defeated and worse about your own life or business, that is a clue that this person may not be a very good coach.
5. do your research.
Speaking of not being a very good coach, this person may not be a coach at all.
Check out the International Coach Federation (ICF), the industry standard in promoting ethics and responsibility in the coaching profession.
Not all great coaches are ICF certified, but they should at the very least be familiar with industry standards and best practices – like asking good questions that help the client find their own answers, not just doling out advice and telling clients what they should be doing.
Did you notice all those glowing testimonials on that business coach’s page? Impressive, right?
Did you Google those people? Do they all have the same business model, come from the same program, and now they’re trading testimonials with each other? Hm….
Most business coaches worth their salt will hop on a private call with you and answer questions.
You can even ask if they've worked with anyone in your industry before (so you can look them up, get their opinion, and see if they're still doing that work or if they're now a mini-version of this coach).
Becca Tracey at Uncaged Life also has a great article, “Is Your Business Coach Full of Shit?” that gives you more details on how you can use a little Internet sleuthing to separate the good from the bad. https://theuncagedlife.com/business-coach/
6. filter out some of the noise.
If you’re finding that your Facebook feed is brimming with these advertisements, you may just need some mental space to figure out what you want to do.
Use the "Hide Ad" functionality to clean house.
Technology giveth and it taketh away. If you hide a few of these ads, less and less will show up for you (the opposite of clicking on the ad and then seeing more just like it).
You can always go back to these programs later if you decide they are right for you, but you may need a little mental escape from the constant barrage in order to see things clearly.
7. take heart.
You will meet kind and generous women (and other humans) who want to see you succeed and thrive in your new business (keyword: your business, not somebody else's).
They will make great friends, and it won't be long before you have a table of peers and friends to sit at in the cafeteria at lunchtime. (You're welcome at my table anytime!)
You don't need to keep people at arms length forever, but give yourself a little time to figure out what's what, before you start throwing money at the first person who asks for it.
Are you a life or business coach, or coaching client? What is your experience?
Send me any more advice you have for avoiding regrettable situations and making the most of the wonderful world of coaching.