Business Coach or Bullshit Sales?

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A colleague I adore recently posted on her Facebook page a hilarious you tube video of a comedian spoofing "life coaches."

The skit poked fun at the unethical and icky (for lack of a better word) marketing practices that some life coaches employ.

While I am not a life coach (I'm a licensed Psychotherapist, and business coach/consultant to other clinicians), I must admit I had a good belly laugh along with everyone else. However, as a professional who values ethics, it gave me pause.

After the laughter wore off, I was left with a sense of sadness when reflecting on how frequently colleagues discuss their real life experiences of being taken advantage of in the coaching world. They share feelings of betrayal, disappointment, anger and shame after investing in life or business coaches who use unscrupulous marketing tactics that don't deliver.

I also hear from many clients about their frustration at the current email mass marketing trend of selling false intimacy and wrapping insincerity up as sincerity. How many times have you received an email that you thought was specifically for you, only to realize after opening it up that the, "Hi Mari, How have you been? I've been thinking of you lately and I have a question for you..." and then, bam! you are hit with the sales pitch which leaves you feeling insulted and duped. We are all smart, savvy professionals and deserve to be treated as such. These days when that shiny carrot tactic is used, I cringe a little and unsubscribe from their sales list.

These schemes (framed as marketing) are sometimes engineered to prey upon the insecurities of new clinicians just starting out, or seasoned therapists moving into private practice, or those who are struggling through a financial crisis and/or a professional transition.

No wonder business coaches get a bad rap.

How to Discern Business Coaches from Bullshitters

Growing a business is an investment of time and a labor of love with many moving parts along the way. Particular seasons of growth (at least in my own practice development) typically require an investment of money to hone our skills. This is usually accomplished by attending a webinar, a workshop, a class, a certification program, or by hiring a supportive business coach. In a sea of marketing promises, how does one decide if a business coach is worth the investment?

I believe it is wise to have a road map to follow when choosing where to spend your valuable time and hard earned dinero. I compiled the following list of tips, questions and suggestions as a support to help you separate the legit from the bullshit.

Important note before we get started: This information is not intended to point fingers at any person or organization in particular. I spent several hours writing this blog to support clinicians who are looking for an ethical and experienced business coach. My hope in providing this road map is to help you prepare and think carefully about where you invest your time, effort, energy and dollars.

1. What is the coaches business background? Have they actually owned and operated a successful business or practice before? And if so, for how long and what was their annual income from this business? A coach may or may not choose to share their annual income, but should at least be willing to put their money where their mouth is regarding their specialization.

For example, I specialize in helping clinicians create multiple income streams (more on that below), and transparently show the back end of my e-commerce store to walk my talk. If I don't actually make money on my passive income streams, then why would I expect a colleague to hire me to help them do this?

2. What is the reputation of this coach among your peers? Do the people that you respect in business have good feedback on working with this coach? Does the coach have more than three or four positive testimonials from colleagues in your field? Do you get a solid sense that this coach is established and cares about their coaching clients? Has the coach given of their time in a group, or via social media, or their blogs, to be of service to you or others without charging you?

3. Does the business coach have a specialization? No coach can provide every single answer for every single area of your business needs, and, if they say they can, I'd be cautious about that claim. For example, as a therapist in private practice, I cannot specialize in all aspects of human relationship and mental health challenges. My clinical specialization is working with individuals who are dealing with sex and pornography addiction, and working with the hurting and betrayed partners of sex addicts. This is my clinical specialization.

As a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, I have advanced my expertise over the years by writing a best selling book for partners. I am also hired as a consultant by agencies and organizations. And, I have created materials that support our community of therapists. I am also paid as a public speaker on this topic, and as a supervisor to other therapists wanting to become certified in this specialization.

Does this experience and specialization matter to my clinical client? Yes it certainly does.

My experience as a consultant matters to my coaching clients too. It is important that a coach clearly defines their specializations. I do this so that clinicians looking for a coach can get a very good sense of who I am and what I can help them with before we begin working together. I have 5 specific coaching focuses as listed here. If you prefer to skip over this section, you are welcome to do so. I list this here as an example of how you might expect a coach to outline their work:

Coaching Niche #1 - Multiple Income Streams: I specialize in helping other therapists develop multiple streams of income, passive income (income earned through products and materials), leveraged income (income earned through webinars, workshops, speaking and group work), and I also help my clients refine their ideal active income (income earned person-to-person in office therapy, or one-on-one through tele-therapy or other distance active income such as consulting or coaching).

NOTE: Additionally, my coaching clients trust my materials and respect that I have done the leg work and legal work to make sure what I am providing ethically supports their own practice and therapy clients.

Coaching Niche #2 - Creating a Brand: Another coaching niche that my clients appreciate is my ability to hone in quickly and efficiently on the client's larger business vision, what their passion is, and then break that down into focused performables in order to brand their business vision. A vision and brand without execution is simply a dream dead in the water as I often say. I like teaming up with colleagues in getting stuff done!

NOTE: My clients share that they respect that I won't schedule another coaching session until the first tasks that we outlined are completed. What's the point of piling on more tasks until the first boxes are checked off? This is why I do not sell "coaching packages" - I want to work with individuals and agencies that are willing to roll up their sleeves and move forward. And, if it isn't a good fit for me, I'd rather fill the coaching spot with a person I enjoy working with.

Coaching Niche #3 - Content Writing and Refinement: Additionally, I am trusted for my writing skills, especially with websites, blogs and marketing. My clients and I team up to clearly communicate through their website content who they are in a way that speaks to their clients needs, and highlights their expertise and passion.

For example, I can take a look at a website, landing page, or marketing information and very quickly decipher what is working and what is not. One coaching client shared recently that after we re-worked her website, social media, and Psychology Today page content that, "...I’ve already gotten three calls from my updated profiles and, even though I thought I had a good profile before, I’ve barely received any calls, and almost none that turned into ongoing clients. I feel like I’ve been struggling for so long to clearly define professional self to myself (let alone clients), and I feel like I finally have that in place. I’m so excited to build my business around this focus. I look forward to our call next month. :-) Thank you, thank you Mari!”

Note: It is alarming to me that some of these clients, after spending thousands of dollars (yes, thousands) on a coaching program or conference, walk away with websites that are half done, or their focus and niche is still unclear, or their content is filled with hooky inauthentic marketing jargon, or they are chasing their tails in a circle trying to keep up with the latest shiny carrot, or they have been sold a cookie cutter formula that does not take into consideration the heart and soul of who they are as a therapist and person.

TIP: Authentic and ethical marketing does not require that you jump through a ton of tech hoops, learn a bunch of new programs, or be a slave to social media. Ho hum, who has time for that noise? Additionally, as therapists we know the science behind multi-tasking and how that interferes with focus and completing goals.

Coaching Niche #4 - Client Definition, Fee Focus and Marketing: I am a trusted support in helping colleagues identify their "ideal client." We therapists hear that phrase often as we are told to "work with your ideal client." This sounds great in theory, but there are times where my coaching clients are uncertain about how to clearly language their work so that their ideal client will connect with them (what I call niche the niche).

Another challenge that coaching clients share is a sense of fear in only accepting niche clients and/or fee for service vs. insurance clients. They worry if they specialize too deeply, and/or transition to accepting fee for service only, that they will not have enough clients to make a living. I help my coaching clients move through this anxiety in practical "on-ramping" steps so that they feel energized and engaged in the counseling work, vs. burnt out and abused. Yes, yes yes, you absolutely can do the work you love, working with clients you enjoy and make a great living!

Once we get that ideal client focus in place (side note: any coach worth their salt should be able to help you do this in the first coaching session), then we can hit the ground running in putting together marketing materials, website language, and creating passive and leveraged income through workshops and/or materials that speak to and ultimately support your ideal client. Do you really want to spend 5 coaching sessions figuring out your who your ideal client is? Nope, me neither.

NOTE: People do not respond well to marketing jargon and bullshit. They can see right through it.  I know I can, can't you? Your "ideal client" responds to experience, authenticity, solid ethical practices, and consistency. Just like you do.

Coaching Niche #5 - Clinicians New to Private Practice: I love working with newly licensed therapists, or therapists who have been licensed but are now transitioning to private practice and need some guidance in what I call "Private Practice 101." I help this group of coaching clients with first foundation steps in various areas of private practice set up including: Forms and materials, how to secure office space, how to negotiate leasing contracts, focusing on their specialization, identifying their ideal client, setting office policy, hours, fees, budgeting and business plans, website content, and marketing. This group of coaching clients often share that they appreciate my organized and supportive method in helping them on ramp into a successful and profitable private practice. 
 

4. Do they have a website with open source information that speaks to your business soul? Their coaching website doesn't need to be super slick, but it does need to offer supportive materials, convey a sense of professionalism, and should be clear and easy to navigate. If you get lost on their website, multiple landing pages, and in their marketing maze, how do you expect that coach to help you? I liken a website to a home - is it organized and inviting, or a hot mess?

TIP: The minute you land on their page are they punching you in the face with a pop up box to sign up for their list, or can you scroll around for a bit before they are asking you for something?

5. Does their public marketing message match their website? If you arrive at their website, do you feel confused? Many years ago when I was first starting out, I recall emailing a coach requesting her website information (I could not find her anywhere on the Internet, a sure sign of things to come). Five days later (yep, five days) she emailed me her link, no hello, no thank you for reaching out, no sorry for the delay in responding, just a link. And, wowza...that website was all over the place. It certainly did not match the public talk I had attended the previous week where she had emphasized the importance of client service, professional ethics, prompt follow up, and organization.

I want my coaching website to convey professionalism, creativity, focus, organization, warmth, support, experience, trust, ethics, safety, humor, and authenticity. It is also important that my website provides solid information, supportive freebies, helpful tips, and affordable materials. My coaching website "home" is a place where I want my community to feel...well...at home, no matter if they work with me as a coach or not.

6. Are they on social media, and if so, how do they interact in those spaces? Many coaches will (should) be on social media. They may even be in particular social media groups with you. If so, how do they conduct themselves? Are they there answering questions even when they do not financially benefit from doing so. Do they interact in the community and build rapport in non-icky ways?

Or do they only pop in on "Marketing Monday, or "Tell us about it Tuesday", or "Share your Stuff Friday." If so, that is information for you to consider. If you post a question, are they there from time-to-time to be of support, without any strings attached? Do they constantly post their own information, or do they also share other helpful tips and tools, and highlight other colleagues projects as well? Does their professional inner and outer face match?

And, of equal importance, how do they interact with others in their own professional social media spaces? Are they polite, engaged, authentic and real? Do they promptly respond to your questions and posts? Do their rules apply to everyone else in their social media spaces, but not to themselves? Are they territorial and insecure? Do they market constantly? If they post a video, do you respond to their energy?

If you happen to be friends with them on Facebook, do they seem authentic there as well? Are their exchanges with friends and family and colleagues respectful? 

NOTE: Your coach may have a different political or spiritual outlook than you have, they may love to post personal photos on their personal page, or share their opinions about particular topics, or post cat videos all day long, or photos of their children. And the coach has every right to do this, as long as they are holding good boundaries on their professional pages.

For example, I sometimes post my personal thoughts on my personal Facebook page, however, on my clinical and coaching pages, I choose to hold professional boundaries and stick to topics that are clinical or coaching in nature and save my personal opinions for my personal page.

In doing so, I let every one of my personal FB "friends" know that they are welcome to unfollow or unfriend me on my personal page if what I share from time-to-time does not align with their worldview. Though this has happened only a time or two, I do not personalize that one bit. In my private Facebook personal space, I will share more personal information, thoughts and opinions. And on my public professional pages, I will hold professional boundaries and keep the topics strictly professional. I am still the same Mari, but choose to hold clean boundaries between the two worlds.

7. When you contact the coach, do they follow up promptly and professionally? Everyone misses an email now and then. We are only human after all. But if the coach consistently drops the ball, then why would you want to work with this person? If they can't manage responding to your email in a timely way, that is a sloppy business practice and should tell you everything you need to know.

8. Is their message and branding consistent? Or do they frequently change directions? One year they are "this" kind of a coach, and the next year they are "that" kind of a coach. Their branding shifts around. Their business name changes. Their logo changes. Or one year the price for their product or service is this $ amount, and a few months later it is twice as much. If they are unclear about their own brand and ethics, how can they help you define or refine yours?

9. Do they attempt to upsell you at every turn? Nothing is a bigger turn off than signing up and becoming part of a coaches "list" (a term I personally loath), and then being flooded each week with email marketing crap and feeling like one more nameless, faceless customer in a sea of sales pitches.

Rather than a list of random strangers, I prefer to build a community of like minded professionals. Then 2-4 times a year, I enjoy sharing something of value with my community that benefits them. Not advertising my latest or greatest anything, just sharing information as a support. This may be a few tools, or a freebie - without a string or having to sign up for something else, or letting them know about a resource that is working well for me, or highlighting another colleague.

When I do share about an event or product that I am facilitating or selling, for example a Facebook coaching group, or webinar, or my e-book, I almost always share this via social media, on my listservs, and only once in a blue moon via my "list." If I email my community I make it very, very clear what it is I am sharing in the subject line so they can easily and quickly delete the email if not interested.

I really dislike getting an email that has a manipulative subject line intended to get me to "act now", or "Only 5 minutes left" or "Mari, did I remember to tell you about this fantastic blah blah blah." I don't even bother opening these kinds of emails anymore, I delete. And if the subject line really feels manipulative (i.e. attempts to insult my intelligence by inducing fear), I give them the two finger salute and remove myself from their mailing list immediately.

Note: I like knowing who is part of my community. That is who I am as a professional and frankly, as a human being. For example, my hope is that you will take a minute and introduce yourself and the good work you are doing in the comment section below this blog. It's a fun to interact with other colleagues!

TIP: I understand that this flys directly in the face of current group think about marketing to your "list" and I respect that you may have a different point of view. If gathering thousands of random names, and sending weekly marketing emails with sales pitch subject lines to your "list" works for you and attracts your ideal client, wonderful! More power to you baby, no shame in your game, you do you.

However, my ideal coaching client is not someone who would A) Be attracted to this kind of marketing, and B) Choose to use those tactics in their own practice. Different strokes for different folks, and that's what makes the marketing world go round. Marketing is not a dirty word, but there are some pretty questionable practices I have witnessed, and likely you have as well.

Note: Networking to me means one thing and one thing only: Building relationships with people I enjoy and then sharing about the work I love to do, and learning about the work they love to do, and supporting each other. Period.

10. Does it feel like their main coaching ability is teaching you how to build a sales funnel or stick you in a one size fits all formula? If you love that, then you are their ideal client and they are the coach for you. If you don't like the one size fits all, and it doesn't sit well with you, then why would you hire them, and/or employ those same approaches? Again, there are many ways of reaching your ideal client.

TIP: Funnels (sometimes referred to as crazy straws) and lists, and constant assembly line posts, social media strategies, summits, and so forth, and blah, blah, blah, is one way to create a business model, but it not the only way. Far from it in fact. Your coach should be able to team up with you, understand who you are, and support you with a method that honors your humanity and uniqueness as a therapist vs. you having to fit into a cookie cutter coaching program.

Methods and strategies are important, but equally important is the coach supporting their client in developing and honing their skills as well as learning new methods that works well with that particular client. Just because a specific marketing method works great for one therapist does not mean it will be a good fit for another. Your coach needs to be able to help you lean into new territory while discerning if that method is a good fit for you, not because it is a good fit for the coach.

11. Are they all about the dollar, the whole dollar and nothing but the dollar?  I am a respected and experienced coach to therapists. Yet, I also believe in the importance in being of service in our community in creating blog posts like these, providing other open source free information and materials, and sharing my support on line.

When considering a coach, what do they lead with? Is every little thing attached to money? If so, is their fee in line with industry standard and supports the experience they bring to the table, is it affordable for their coaching client? Or is it completely over the top?

My clients are therapists who are either starting out in private practice, or wanting to build up their practice, or specialize, or create a product or service outside of active therapy income. I know who my client is and what fee they can afford.

However, I have heard of therapist coaches who are charging $250, $350 and even $600 dollars per hour. I think that is fantastic if that is what their therapist coaching client can afford. But I know who my client is, and I want my support to be affordable for them while still honoring my years of experience (and for the record, my not charging $500 a coaching session does not devalue my worth one iota). My fee is $185 per coaching hour. This is a fee that both honors my experience, and helps my clients affordably invest in their practice goals.

Additionally, does the coach you are considering discuss "charging your worth" c-o-n-s-t-a-n-t-l-y and yet, somehow, that still small voice inside of you isn't entirely trusting what they are selling?

For example, I believe it is important that we clinicians charge a fee that supports the important work we are doing in the world, yet that fee should also ethically represent our experience that we bring into our counseling work. If the coach's fee is two, three, or ten times the cost of other coaches - why is this? Are they more experienced? Ask the coach why this is.

Or are they simply savvy sales people? Think about it this way, you might be the best sales person in the world in marketing your private practice, but if you cannot deliver on what you are selling, your therapy clients won't come back past the first or second therapy session. And eventually your reputation as not being a very good therapist will proceed you.

We therapists are smart and emotionally aware people. It really doesn't take us all that long to figure out that if a coach is charging exorbitant coaching fees, of course their lead message in marketing to you is going to be about how YOU as a therapist need to charge more too. This kind of marketing is so disrespectful and manipulative.

12. Do you like them as a person? They may check off all of the boxes on your coaching wish list: Experienced - check! Integrity - check! Supportive - check! Professional - check! Creative - check! Fee that is fair - check! But, at the end of the day if you just don't like their personality, it's not a good match.

I really like the coaching clients, my clinical colleagues, I am honored to work with. And they really like me. We are a good match. I like to team up with my coaching clients and think of myself as a journey companion for that part of their practice growth. My clients and I get...ahem...shit done! And, I am intuitive when people contact me and know pretty quickly if they will be a good coaching fit. And for the coaching clients I do choose to work with, we enjoy the process and magic happens.

Though it is very rare when a coaching client and I find out during a session that we are not a good fit (I screen before hand via email, and then through a thorough coaching goals form called a "360 form"), I have worked with two clients in the past where half way through the coaching session I realized, "Mari, no matter what you share with this person, no matter what suggestions you give, no matter how you extend yourself, no matter where you direct this support, no matter how you try and frame what you are attempting to teach them, no matter your experience, no matter how you attempt to hone in with this person in creating a task list to support their goals, they are not open to hearing you because guess what buttercup? They are not feeling you." With both of these clients I reminded myself you can't win them all and did not schedule a second coaching meeting.

My ideal coaching clients are open to ideas, leaning into new territory, are willing to set goals and work on their tasks. They are willing to learn and grow, and allow me to team up with them as a supportive guide. They are open to brain storming and collaboration. They are open to editing or even starting over if need be. They are not interested in getting into a competitive pissing contest. They are not interested in trying to impress me with their (fill in the blank). Instead, my ideal coaching client and I work together as a team, with respect, focus, humor and creativity, and then map out specific next steps they will accomplish before their next session.

13. Does the coach use manipulation or scare tactics? Nothing, and I mean nothing, sets my mohawk straight on end than coaches who prey on insecurity, uncertainty or naivety. You know what I do with early bird special emails? Flip that manipulative email the bird and into the trash it goes. Please for the love of all things ethical do not send people "one last chance to sign up" junk mail. We all see right through that crap. People who do this appear desperate and it insults your community and turns your client off.

Can we all agree right now to...Just. Stop. Doing. That. Please.

14. Are they open about who they are, or do they hide behind a mask of perfectionism? Brene Brown, a mentor and she-ro, often talks about using our stories to heal and to connect. For many years I was ashamed of my rags to abundance story as a former foster care kid turned business owner.

When I took a deep breath, and finally threw off the blanket of fear and embraced all parts of me, it became clear that my authenticity, and unapologetic resiliency and fortitude..my story...are important aspects to who I am as a professional and what I bring to the table.

In the You Tube comedy skit that my colleague posted, the comedian makes fun of coaches who share their stories. I get it. However, sharing one's story in order to grow authentic connection and demonstrate business acuem vs. strategically manipulate (the ick factor) are two very different ways of connecting.

Like Brene, I believe our stories are important, they shape who we are as professionals. I want my coaching clients to use parts of their own journey (with good discretion of course) when sharing about the important work they are providing in the world. Their ideal client will appreciate knowing a little bit about their journey of resiliency.

TIP: For those of you who are not sure how to ethically disclose in marketing, on your website, or public speaking or in your "elevator pitch", this blog will be helpful, scroll down to Tip #7.

15. Do they promote products and services for a cut? There is a trend called "affiliate marketing" in the therapy coaching world. This is nothing new, this practice has been around from the dawn of marketing time.

On the surface this "new" coaching hook sounds like a professional and wise practice. Until you dig a little deeper. For those coaches who are crystal clear about their affiliates, good for you. And when I say crystal clear, I mean, does that coach state clearly each time they promote on their social media or podcast (not hidden in small print or quickly glossed over with "my affiliate buddy"). The coach needs to write/say each and every time: "My friend xyz has a great xyz company/product/service/workshop/conference, and I am sharing this with you because I believe in their xyz. However, it is important to disclose that I also have an affiliate relationship with him/her, so if you sign up/purchase through my website/podcast/social media link, I receive 15% for each person who pays for their product/service/conference."

However, there are coaches and podcast hosts who are not clear. They are not truthful. And they are not transparent about promoting particular services and products for a 15 or 20 percent cut.

I can't tell you how many times I am approached each month by companies and/or other professionals asking me to promote their products or services, and, if I agree to do so, they will give me a cut. Website designers, conference facilitators, other coaches, authors, practice management software companies, and the list goes on. Sure it would be great to promote a website designer and received 10% of that person's fee (which would be about $150 for each person I referred), or to receive 20% for referring people to a conference (which would be about $500 per person). Here is how I handle this...

My answer to these affiliate requests is either A). I don't know you, I don't use your product or service, and I don't promote for a cut. Or B). I love your product and service, and I am happy to share about the good work you are doing, but I will not be asking for a cut. I prefer not to engage in affiliate marketing so that my community can feel safe in trusting that if I am sharing about a person, place or thing, I am doing so because I love and trust their product or service.

There is another side of affiliate marketing that is rarely exposed, and I experienced the dark side of this last year. I happily stepped up to a colleague's plea for support and agreed to promote a new venue/service this person was starting. I shared on my social media and listservs because I believed in this person. I joined their Facebook group at their request in order to help them out.

Soon after this, I wrote a blog about my e-commerce store as a way of transparently sharing my MIS income as I was sick to death of seeing a particular nest of coaches advertising themselves as Multiple Income Stream experts with little to no experience, income, or consistency in this coaching specialization.

Soon after posting my MIS income blog, I received an unsolicited email from this same colleague friend that I had supported for months, stating that he "would be very happy to promote" my materials on his public forum...but only if I was willing to give him a 15% cut.

Beyond my profound disappointment in this person's ethics and his public and private face not matching, my initial thought to myself was, "Is this seriously the way clinical professionals are treating one another now? Is this person a wolf in sheep's clothing who was taking advantage of my generous nature?"

My response to this person, "If you would like to share about my materials on your program because you trust my work and feel this would be a good support to your audience, and as a professional courtesy and thank you for the support I have given you, then I appreciate and respect that very much. However, I will not be giving you a cut of my income as these are books and materials that I created and worked hard to refine over a decade. What happened to colleagues simply sharing about each others good work without expecting to be paid to do so? I would not ask for a cut of anything that you are doing, and have been happy to share and to support you."

And his response....crickets. Never heard another word from this person. Needless to say I left his Facebook group, quit listening to his program, and shook off the ick.

Note: We as a community need to set boundaries and send a clear message about this kind of practice. If you know me, you know that I am very vocal about these kind of "icky ethics." Like it or lump it, I will never stop writing about unethical bullshit like this. It might make some folks feel uncomfortable, and maybe it makes you feel uncomfortable. If it does, that's OK, you are free to skedaddle. I am well aware that my unapologetic advocacy on this subject won't endear me to those who are not practicing ethically, or those whose public and private face do not match, or those who may "see" themselves in my blogs, and guess what...I can live with that. I don't want to be associated with that ilk. Those people are not my people. They are not my tribe. They are part of the herd.

TIP: I look at it this way: If you don't want to find yourself in a blog, then don't act like a sleeze ball behind the scenes. Especially not with a therapist coach who is also an advocate for ethical practices. Especially not with a coach who is a writer. And especially not with an advocate/therapist/coach/writer no bullshit woman like me. The pen is mightier than the sword...and bullshitters are gonna' keep bullshitting, and writers are gonna' keep writing and exposing this kind of stuff.

16. Does the coach offer coaching options other than individual coaching? By the way, I do not think this should be a deal breaker for you if they do not. I happen to really enjoying providing other ways to support coaching clients beyond individual coaching, but that is who I am as a coach. For example, I provide an annual multiple income stream webinar training, paid in person coaching group workshops, keynote speaking and teaching, and have a private closed Facebook group called, Like A Boss! for a small group of therapists where I provide on line coaching to help with their active, leveraged or passive income goals.  I have these options available because some of my coaching clients prefer group work and/or cannot afford an individual coaching fee. However, if the coach you are considering does not offer other coaching options, but meets all of the other items on your wish list, then as shared in #18 below, trust your gut.

17. Does the coach understand the world of therapists? There are some great business coaches out there, however, not all of them understand the clinical world. We therapists have unique ethical parameters to follow. There is a marketing formula, methods, and strategies that these non-therapist coaches teach that may work great for their non-therapist coaching clients, but may not be the best fit for our clinical industry or speak to your ideal client.

TIP: If you choose to go with a non-therapist coach, there is nothing wrong with this. Just be sure that you keep in mind A) Who your client is, B) What industry you are in, and C) Law and ethics in advertising.

18. What does your gut tell you? Finally, and most importantly, trust your intuition when choosing a coach. It doesn't matter how "awesome" the coach is, how experienced, how many colleagues love them...what matters is if they are the right fit for you.

TIP: If you feel a sense of unease, I'd trust that.

You Got This!

In closing, if you have been burned by a coach, I am sorry. It sucks, and it happened to me as well.  If you have been swimming through the social media hype, and constant advertisements in your Facebook news feed, yep, me too. I know it can be frustrating and overwhelming.

And, if you have been struggling to figure out the bullshitters from the authentic and ethical coaching supports, you are not alone. But please know that there are solid, caring coaches in the world.

The gift in the wound from my own painful experience is that I was determined to be a trusted coach that was known for my experience AND my integrity. I used the "ick" I experienced to create this website as a safe corner in the world for my colleagues - even if they never hire me as their coach.

Here is what I would suggest you do before hiring a coach: Read through some of the free open source information I have posted here on my blogs. Many colleagues have shared that they received the answers they were looking for simply by reading my blogs.

If you are thinking of scheduling an appointment with me, before you email me, I will ask that you please read about my coaching services first, and that you check out what others have to say about my work here and see if it feels like a good fit. Though there is a 4-6 week wait to work with me, you can be assured that I will return your email promptly so that if it doesn't feel like a good fit, or another coach would be a better fit for your needs, I will be happy to offer a referral so that you are not waiting.

Or if you simply need affordable materials to support your practice - intake forms, workshop or group exercises for clients, and so forth, you don't need to pay for a coaching session with me. Instead, visit my coaching toolbox and scroll down to the freebies or take a peek at the materials and maybe this will be enough support. You can also see what your colleagues are saying about my material packets here.

Finally, if you are not feeling my vibe as a coach from what I have shared here, that is absolutely OK, I encourage you to trust your intuition and inner wisdom. Or if you need a coach that specializes in a different niche than I do, please let me know...I'm happy to refer out to a coach that may be a better fit for what you are looking for. And nope, I don't receive a single penny for doing so.

However, if you are connecting with me, and you have read about my services, you are welcome to shoot me an email at mari@thecounselorscoach.com and we can get started.

Or if you just want to say hi and tell me about you, or if you have a question, I invite you to pop down to the comment section below and introduce yourself.

I love meeting colleagues, and would enjoy hearing about what you are doing in your corner of the word.

I hope this information has been a helpful guide for you.

Kindly and in support,

Mari (aka an ethical straight shooter who helps her coaching clients get things done).