10 Things No Life Coach Should Ever Do
Article written and given to us as coaches by an incredible teacher “coachthelifecoach”
Because Life Coaching is entirely unregulated, any Life Coach can set up a business and do pretty much what they want (within the law) with impunity.
However, that doesn’t mean they should, and here are 10 things that are pretty much a no-no for any Life Coach who wants to be credible and also run a thriving business.
1. Coach Family or Friends
You cannot do it!
And that isn’t just an ethical call.
You literally cannot do it effectively no matter what you think or even if the family member or friend tells you you were amazing afterward
I don’t care if you are brand new and practicing, or seasoned and just helping out, DON’T.
Life coaching relies on the coach being totally impartial and without any agenda other than the clients. That literally isn’t possible with people we know.
It doesn’t matter how hard you try and park your presuppositions and agenda of what is right or wrong, your unconscious mind won’t let you.
This is possibly the biggest cardinal sin for any coach this side of cajoling clients into coaching when they don’t need it and maybe murdering clients with a blunt farming instrument.
2. Treat Life Coaching As A Hobby
If you want to make a business out of Life Coaching and delivering win/win situations then you had better learn the business aspects of running a Life Coaching practice as well as how to coach effectively, otherwise you’re screwed.
If you want to be a coach as a hobby, take up jigsaws or crochet instead.
Life Coaching is a skill and as such requires hours of practice, reading, researching, learning etc.
People coming to you with problems on a regular basis at work or socially speaking doesn’t mean you’re a Life Coach.
It may mean you are suitable to become a Life Coach, but that isn’t the same thing. Coaches can and do shape peoples lives and that’s not to be taken lightly.
3. Refuse To Shut Up
Leonardo DiCaprio said in The Wolf of Wall Street, “He who talks first loses’.
Do you know why we ask questions as Life Coaches? Yep, it’s because we want to get the client thinking differently and to then elicit answers. It is NOT because we want to look clever by then answering the question ourselves.
If you ask a question and answer before your client has had the chance to, or as they are still thinking, you lose. Oh and by the way, so does the client because they hired a poor coach who doesn’t know when to keep quiet.
4. Ignore Ongoing Learning
I have been a Life Coach for the best part of a decade and I’m still learning on the job. It’s a practice and as such we should be constantly looking to improve and fine tune our craft.
5. Offer Unsolicited Advice
I often give advice to clients, especially other Life Coaches who hire me because that is why they have hired me. However, unless our clients ask for advice or hire us in more of a mentoring capacity then we’re not paid to give advice and in many ways it’s the antithesis of good coaching.
I often stress to clients that I’m not suggesting they follow one path or another, merely giving them food for thought. The moment you convince yourself you know what is right for a client and that’s where you are going to guide them, is the moment you have failed both your client and yourself.
If you really, really want to give advice, ask for permission and explain it’s only an opinion.
6. Copy What Other Life Coaches Do
Join the Social Media platforms that you like and give the opportunity to talk directly to your audience (more in a moment). Don’t even look at other coaches websites (the vast majority are awful) because your website is about YOU and what YOU can offer your potential clients.
There’s 10’s of thousand of coaches out there and the last thing you want is to be is an amalgam of them all and sat in the middle of a very large pack where nobody can see you.
7. Pretend Life is Awesome 24/7
Sure you can go for the aspirational route of attracting clients by pretending you are the one person on the planet who has nailed life and never thinks, “Oh f…, that sucks”, but it’s very tiring and inherently dishonest.
To do so you are wearing a perpetual mask. You’re inauthentic and you are less attractive to (most) clients who know life aint really like that. Has anybody ever pulled this approach off? Sure, and a handful of people spring to mind, but they are so few and far between that as a marketing strategy it’s right up there with buying some magic beans and advertising on Craigs List.
Note: I understand that some people are naturally happier than others. I’m not saying try to be more miserable if you’re one of them, just don’t pretend you’re something you aren’t or that everybody can be like that because science may have something to say about that.
8. Ask For Help (Like An Amateur)
By all means ask for help. But be respectful and try and offer some value to the other person first if you want to be taken seriously.
9. Try To Do Everything
You maybe short of cash to begin with and think you can do everything and anything yourself to be successful.
NO YOU CAN’T!
You need help, and lots of it, and here’s some ways of attaining it.
Hiring a business coach who can help you set up processes in place to maximize your online (and offline) efforts.
Joining a free support group populated by other Life Coaches who you can brain storm with.
Outsourcing things such as design, SEO, accounting and anything else you either don’t like or aren’t very good at. This can be a much cheaper option than you may imagine if you use services like oDesk and Elance.
Exchanging your services.
Too many coaches forget that what they have is of value and there may be a designer, or bookkeeper, or business coach out there who would love Life Coaching but cannot afford it.
10. Use Social Media Without a Strategy
The importance of Social Media is growing literally by the day. It’s almost impossible to generate traffic to your site without using it effectively. Using it effectively does not mean signing up for every single account available and then posting the occasional quote or link to your blog in the hope that you will build a huge loyal following and a steady stream of clients.
I am just trailing Facebook advertising because unless you are prepared to pay to use Facebook you’re probably wasting your time since the recent changes. You can read more here on why Facebook just effectively became a paid product. Think about why you use which Social Media platforms and what you are trying to achieve, and then keep that in mind when you are using your precious time and avoid getting into a 2 hour debates on Facebook on why we should save baby seals with people you don’t even really know.