Do You Give Free Advice?

Firstly, a big thanks to Chris Gaskill and those of you that attended our SEO webinar on Monday.

Chris did a stand out job of providing high quality implementable information that any Life Coach can utilize to improve their online visibility and gain more clients. If they wish that is.

I consider myself well versed in SEO and read about it almost every day, but I also learned a lot and am already looking at ways to implement some of the techniques that Chris shared with us.

Here’s a Bonus

The recording of the seminar has been uploaded to the members area along with the Website Design webinar and both sets of PowerPoint slides.

I did say that the recording was only going to be available to members but I have decided to make it available for a week only hours to non-members.

Here is the link and it will expire sometime on Thursday 30th January.

I will not make any exceptions to this so please do not e-mail me after that time asking me to send you the link because I’ll just ignore it.

Do You Give Away Free Advice?

Somebody posted a question in a LinkedIn group asking other Life Coaches if they allowed people to pick their brain for free.

It was on the back of a thought-provoking article published in Forbes written by Adrienne Graham in which she makes the case for never responding favorably to people who want free advice.

As she says, “No you can’t pick my brain, it costs too much” and by that she means she has spent thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars getting to the place where people even want her advice, so why should she then give it away for free.

I get 6 or 7 e-mails per week from people wanting help or advice for free (the majority are other coaches, or people considering becoming a coach).

Those e-mails can range from the frequent variation of, “Please can you tell  me how to get more clients” to a recent one asking how to upload books to Amazon.

If the person has addressed me by my name rather than just ‘hi’ or some other generic introduction (these get immediately deleted and usually constitute at least half of the requests) I almost always respond.

But I rarely answer the question directly unless it literally requires no more than a line or two. Especially a question about uploading books to Amazon.

With the latter I don’t care how much you tell me you like my blog, you’re just being lazy by asking something that a simple Google (or even Amazon) search would reveal the answer to.

What I often do instead, is to reply saying something like this (and presuming it’s a topic I have blogged about, which it almost always is):

Thanks for making contact.

I have written on this topic before at the Coach The Life Coach blog.

Check it out and if they have questions afterward that I didn’t cover, then feel free to call me any week day morning between 11am and noon.

I’m usually walking the dogs and if I’m free and the dogs aren’t killing each other I’m happy to talk for 15 or 20 minutes.

Sometimes Free isn’t Enough

You would think that one hurdle wouldn’t slow many people down because after all it’s free.

But you’d be wrong.

Less than 1 in 10 of the people call me and the rest I never hear from again.

Hopefully some coaches will have got the advice they needed from one or more of my blog posts.

But I suspect that number is small and that most people just drift off muttering under their breath about what a miserable bastard I am because I didn’t make their life easy enough.

I offer help to people because I love what I do and I really enjoy talking about it, just ask my patient wife!

It’s also an opportunity to pay it forward to people who maybe cannot afford to sign up for Coach The Life Coach or hire me one-on-one.

i need to see commitment

However, to get my free help you have to show me some commitment because the Life Coaching industry doesn’t need any more people who think it’s an easy way to make money and doesn’t require a lot of hard work.

It isn’t and it does.

You’re going to get asked for advice by some people when they realize what you do for a living and it’s entirely up to you what you decide to do.

I happen to think whatever you decide is fine, as long that is it’s in alignment with your core values.

Here are the guidelines I usually adopt and feel free to ignore or use at your discretion.

  • I NEVER offer advice that could ever be construed as therapeutic either on the phone or via e-mail
  • I seldom agree to Skype chats because that means I’m bound to one place at one time
  • I won’t let a call go on more than 20 minutes and won’t do more than one (I have made exceptions but they’re rare)
  • if I suspect the person could easily afford my services and is just looking to do things on the cheap I end the call
  • I won’t get involved in back and forth e-mails

What Do You Think?

I’m very interested to get your take.

I’m fairly opinionated as I’m sure you know,  but I don’t have a strong stance on this.

I get people like Adrienne Graham who refuse to offer any free advice, but that just doesn’t sit too well with me and your comments would be very welcome.

By the way, I have had people who I’ve helped in the manner above come back and hire me at a later date. Not a large about, maybe 5 or 6, but that’s probably worth $4,000 and all for doing something I enjoy anyway.

Image: ‘Help’ Courtesy of Marc Falardeau


  1. I disagree with Adrienne Graham. Mainly because I love to give advice! In fact, I would like to have an old-fashioned advice column – on-line. (Anyone have advice on how to start something like that?)

    I think having the opportunity to give valuable advice will lead to them having the confidence to pay for 1-on-1 coaching.