On Wednesday night one of my Facebook friends messaged me to say that she had just seen my face on TV. As someone who doesn't often spend a lot of time out and about - and certainly not in the kind of way that would catch the attention of a news crew, I was both surprised and a little excited to find out how and why they had footage of me. At first I assumed that maybe I was in the background of a crowd shot walking through the city.
As it turns out, The Feed on SBS2 had run a really thought provoking story about the Life Coaching industry in Australia, and the rising popularity of "Millennial Mentors", along with some of the risks of working with people in what is essentially an unregulated industry.
Incidentally, the footage of me was taken from my video on How to Hire A Coach from my YouTube channel.
I'm really glad that this subject is gaining mainstream exposure, and I agree with the importance of knowing when, and to whom clients should be referred when they require support beyond a coaches qualifications - particularly when it comes to mental health issues. This a big part of why I recommend working with a team of professionals, all with different areas of specialisation or focus.
You wouldn't hire a plumber to re-wire your home, or a dentist to prepare your taxes. The same goes with coaching, counselling and other areas of mental health care - there is an appropriate place for each person, so long as they respect their duty of care to behave responsibly within the scope of their skills.
My biggest piece of advice is to do your homework and ask plenty of questions when considering working with a coach, because as pointed out in the story, not all Coaches are created equal.
This has led to a really interesting week of discussion in The Rad Bitch Girl Gang, as I threw the topic open and asked the girls for their thoughts.
Overwhelmingly the biggest problem I came across wasn't necessarily with Life Coaches stepping beyond the scope of their skills, it was with Online Business Coaches over-promising on the results they couldn't deliver. Considering that coaching can be a huge financial investment when many packages carry price-tags that run well into the thousands*, and even tens of thousands of dollars, and the number of stories I've heard about less than stellar experiences, it's no surprise that people feel as though they're gambling on the industry.
These stories aren't just coming from random strangers trolling the comments on YouTube or other social media platforms. These are stories from my friends, peers and mentors, and the results of making a misguided investment can have devastating consequences.
A friend of mine almost walked away from her business by the end of her time working with one Coach. She told me that when she, "first started working with the coach it was good but as her [the coach's] priorities changed her lack of skills started to show through."
Another friend says that she's "still recovering financially" and the experience has impacted her ability to trust people in the industry again, despite knowing that "there are some fabulous coaches out there."
The Coaching Industry markets itself as EMPOWERING but honestly, when getting burned by a Coach has essentially become a rite of passage, it's well and truly time that we called bullshit.
I'm pissed off about this for a number of reasons, and not just because it sucks to hear that people I care about have felt let down. Unfortunately, we live in a society where many people still hold onto the damaging belief that women just aren't good with money, or that we're frivolous and therefor cannot be trusted to make large investments. Experiences like those described above not only serve to reinforce that social belief, but worse they can cause otherwise confident and savvy women to internalise these stories about themselves.
Relying on NLP, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), Pressure, and False Scarcity to sell packages isn't inspiring or empowering - especially when paired with enabling women put themselves into debt to pay for them when it's not even necessary!
There are plenty of excellent coaches including Tash Corbin (who also speaks passionately on this topic) out there killing it by speaking honestly and giving shit tonnes of value up front. As a result, Tash's programs are often booked out with women who genuinely want to be there, feel great about committing, and get so much out of showing up and doing the work.
Obviously I'm not the first person to pick up on this (and this isn't even the first time that I've written about the industry), but my Facebook friend Cordelia echoed my sentiment over the weekend, when she wrote,
"... I would rather invest my dollars with someone who is leading the way into a new paradigm of selling from LOVE and contributing to ABUNDANCE consciousness.
Because in an industry where fear-based sales tactics are the norm, that approach takes more courage and integrity than it does to manipulate people into saying 'yes' through fear of missing out.
I know, I know.
We're supposed to get people 'through the door' in whatever way we can so we can then help them, regardless of what tactics we use.
But really? Do we?
:: Even if we're making them feel shit and convincing them they're broken and need us?
:: Even if we're helping to embed old-paradigm scarcity consciousness on Earth?
:: Even if it leaves them even more ashamed, or scared, or frustrated?
:: Even if we're implying that they're too stupid or disconnected from their truth to know what's good for them and make a decision without pressure?
That's what I see going on.
And I call bullshit.
If using FEAR to sell any type of healing or transformation is acceptable, then something is severely fucked up in this industry.
And we need to open our eyes, open our hearts and stop turning a blind eye to that hypocrisy.
And stop being a part of it.... "
So rather than slinging mud around the industry, I think it behoves us to do more than just being examples of what we want to see industry wide. I think that it's imperative that we speak openly and honestly about some of the indications that you may be onto a Good Coach, as well as some of the potential Red Flags to help you identify the ones to walk away from.
It's with this intention, that I sat down to record this weeks episode of A Rad Bitch Coffee Break.
I genuinely hope that this video provides you with the tools to feel confident in your decisions when hiring a Coach.
* I offer a 3 month coaching package that carries a $2000 price-tag.