Are You A Lemming Or A Life Coach?

If you have been a regular hear for more than a week or so you will have no doubt read about my exasperation at a thread in a coaches LinkedIn group.

The thread was encouraging coaches to all like each others Facebook pages.

The more I tried to explain to people why this was a terrible idea and would hurt their Facebook organic reach, the more people were metaphorically diving in to sign up.

It seemed every coach bar me and one or two others who had bothered to research the facts, thought it was a simply splendid idea and were not doubt looking forward to seeing their Facebook traffic sky rocket.

I have also talked about the propensity of a lot of new Life Coaches to replicate what other Life Coaches are doing in terms of website design, social media, the way they present themselves to the world and even the way they structure their pricing.

There is an understandable belief that if a Life Coach is visible online and is saying all the right things on Social Media then they must be successful and therefore their lead is worth following.

Maybe, maybe not.

Our industry is certainly not immune to smoke and mirrors.

In any event due diligence is called for before you try and adopt a strategy that isn’t working.

When Is A Great Idea Not A Great Idea?

A couple of days ago there was another suggestion posted on LinkedIn.

This one involved getting 500 coaches to all offer their best piece of Life Coaching advise and then to compile the results into an ebook to give away.

Again this does seem like an interesting idea on the surface and maybe it could be, but as I can attest, most ebooks don’t deliver a return on the investment of time, money and energy.

Here’s a few issues that would need to be ironed out of this idea were to succeed.

Taking The Amazon Route

Who owns copyright?

If launched on Amazon for free (as was one plan) Amazon then own the digital rights for 90 days and it cannot be given away or sold by the authors.

So if it bombs on the first day and doesn’t hit the best seller list (and if you don’t do it on day one with project like this you’re not going to do it), then the book has to go on general sale in the Amazon store and nobody else can distribute it (even for free) for 3 months.

Will that kill any momentum and enthusiasm?

Or will everybody up for a relaunch with a load more work at the end of that time period?

Who opens the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account and deals with uploading the book and jumping through all the hops Amazon places in your way?

Who does all the liaising between coaches and hustling of support bases, because there will be a LOT to do or it will fail.

Make no mistake, this is a mammoth task and the VAST majority of books on Amazon do not succeed or even come close.

How can a group of amateurs (and I’m talking strictly about book launches now and that is not a reflection of their professionalism when it comes to coaching) expect to do what many professionals (including book publishers) frequently fail at i.e. nail an Amazon launch?

And if they do pull it off and it starts to sell, how is any payment divided?

The original desire to get 500 coaches was scaled back, but let’s suppose it’s only 50. Who has their name on the cover?

One of the ways to make it work would be to have hyperlinks back to each coaches website so that hopefully readers can click through if they are impressed with one coaches piece of advice and want to read more.

However, you cannot click on links in some devices such as traditional Kindles which have no wi-fi and people are unlikely to write a long URL down for checking later.

Of course many of the newer devices are wi-fi compatible and do allow you to click through, so how do you determine the order of the tips?

Most books don’t get finished so people at the front have a much higher likelihood of seeing any benefit.

The Self Distribution Route

If they bypass Amazon and go through a self distribution model, how will that work equitably?

What about the new coaches who have no subscribers or Social Media following and thus little opportunity to help the book spread? 

They get a help in hand by having their name exposed to a wider audience, but what do the coaches who have the biggest followers stand to gain?

 Everybody has to believe that they stand to benefit as much as the next person.

It has to be a win/win for everybody or it could create discontent and division.

How easy will it be to get the book read?

Free books are far less likely to be read than books people have purchased because of perceived value.

I reckon there are somewhere in the region of 100,000 of my own books ‘out there’.

Combined I bet they don’t supply me more than 2 clients per year and apart from ‘How To Be Rich and Happy’ which I was a co-author with one other person, I wrote them all alone.

I’ve Not Landed A Job As Chief Dream Crusher

It sounds like I’m being Debbie Downer on a dream crushing mission, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I have been through enough book launches to know how incredibly hard they are and that if everything isn’t set up properly it ends up being a colossal waste of time for all concerned.

I try and hammer home the message that succeeding in Life Coaching is incredibly difficult and you have to know the business side as much as the coaching element.

I know by the comments on LinkedIn that a whole host of coaches think it’s a cool idea. I fully understand that because it seems simple and makes sense on the surface. 

I’m also pretty sure I’d have been keen prior to going through about 9 launches of which 6 were dismal failures!

However I wouldn’t be putting any money down on the likelihood of any coach benefitting.

You CAN Succeed As A Life Coach

But you almost certainly won’t find that success by blending into the herd.

You have to stand out to been seen as somebody who is different and not playing by the rules.

Being you and letting your freak flag fly, or any other flag for that matter, takes confidence in your own abilities because it may lose you clients from time to time and that’s scary for new coaches.

I know for  fact I lose potential clients on a regular basis because of my outspoken approach and use of humor and naughty words.

But that’s fine, they were the wrong type of client.

I am just being me.

I do swear in real life. I do have a sarcastic sense of humor and love implementing that in my blog.

I’m also very forthright and more than happy to say what I think even if it may piss somebody off.

It’s not that I like annoying or offending people. In fact sometimes I hate it.

Take this blog post title.

I’m guessing that one or two coaches bristled at it, but it’s actually a bit of fun to grab peoples attention and it also offered the opportunity to insert a picture of a nice cute lemming!

But here’s the deal. If you met me for a beer or coffee I know you’ll walk away thinking, “Shit, he is exactly like I thought he’d be

I’m not saying that is good or bad, but I prefer it that way because it requires a lot less energy and effort on my behalf.

You shouldn’t try and replicate my style unless it such so happens to be your style too – in which case go for it.

A great example of a coach who was found his own true voice is Vishnu at Vishnu’s Virtues.

He blends humor (some of which is very funny), with spirituality, his travels around the world and even the Law of Attraction.

I’ll forgive him for the latter because he’s such a dead genuine guy.

They seem like strange bedfellows, but his genuine style and refusal to confirm makes me think he’ll nail it in time.

You are your own authentic self and it’s important you don’t lose that by trying to be like other coaches.

You cannot appeal to everybody, but if you try you can end up appealing to nobody.

So be you!

Coach The Life Coaching October Training

I still have that one place available at the super early bird rate of $999 for the training that starts on October 4th at Noon EST.

The normal price for the course is $1,499 and I will end the super early bird on the 10th of September whether it has been taken or not.

That cost gets you, 10 live modules with me and 9 other fellow coaches.

Two one-on-one sessions with me after the course to help in anyway I can – This package would be $399 alone.

You also get a copy of the Life Coaches Version of Aligning With Your Core Values that retails for $99.

You will also have access to the members area for as long as this site is here so that when I add new material you can still get to see it.

And you get to know and mix with other new coaches so that support is never more than an e-mail or a comment in the Google+ community away.

This will be the last full course in 2014, so if you’re interested call me on 407 334 4692, or contact me via this page.


  1. Shannon

    I’m wondering if a lot of the “lemming” thing is simply people wanting to ‘do it right’ or at the very least not do it ‘wrong’. I’m thinkin’ that what they’re missing is that doing it wrong is inevitable and without it we’d never learn! I’d rather have my sensibilities (if I have any) shocked into thinking about what I’m doing. It’s actually what made me sign up for your course – you said ‘fuck’ in a post and it made me listen to the rest of it. 😉

    Also, standing out in the crowd these days is the only thing that’s going to get anyone even noticed, much less hired.

    Thanks for the insight on publishing too.

    • Tim Brownson

      I’m sure there are numerous reasons Shannon, but my guess is that fear is at the root of most if not all of them.

      Fear of looking silly, fear that by not doing what everybody else is doing nobody will want to hire them, fear of upsetting people and of course, fear of lemmings which may be the biggest of the lot.

  2. DaleK.

    Yes, I did notice the clickbait headline. Though I’m also familiar with your writing and I knew it would be worthy.

    “Being you and letting your freak flag fly, or any other flag for that matter, takes confidence in your own abilities because it may lose you clients from time to time and that’s scary for new coaches”

    I recently closed my personal training business because I started out just like that. I ended up with a clientele I didn’t want to work with. I was miserable. And I sucked at my job. And I had a lease to pay. Bad situation. Don’t be me.

    I very often scratch my head at the plethora of coaches out there who seem to be mimicking each other. Wouldn’t a good coach know that effective communication requires honesty? Or is it that they just don’t know how to translate who/what they are onto “paper”…..if not the why not learn? In either case all it signals to me is that they very likely might not be a very good coach. I hired my first coach because I didn’t know how NOT to follow the sheeple. A silly YouTube video of him serenading me on YouTube with a ukelele and a goofy jingle for something or other.

    Sadly most (maybe all?) people starting online businesses exposed first to the get rich quick IM crowd and “social media experts” who spam me all over the internet. Sounds like the LinkedIn group took one of the same free courses I did….all about how to have a best seller on Amazon. They also have an “Inner Circle” advanced course for $199 a month. Wonder how they’re promoting that? 😉

    • Tim Brownson

      Excellent comment DaleK and I pretty much agree with all that. I too worked with some clients in the early days who I probably shouldn’t have.

      And in working with a LOT of coaches, a good proportion do struggle with enunciating their service offering and knowing who to target.

      I have been blogging for 8 years. I have had my posts read by well in excess of 3 million people. I have had over 100 guest posts published on other blogs and I like to think I know a fair bit about blogging.

      This week I signed up to do an expensive course run by Jon Morrow designed at helping people become better bloggers.

      It feels like I’m a fairly successful top 200 golfer who has just been told by his coach that to hit the top 20 he needs to rebuild his swing.

      Learning for all of us is, or rather should be, an ongoing process.

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