10 Things No Life Coach Should Ever Do

I had another Life Coach trainer start following me on Pinterest the other day

As a rule I don’t tend to follow back, not because I’m arrogant or aloof, but because I’m already following more boards than I can keep track of.

But this one piqued my interest as it was called ‘The Life Coaching Academy’, and I thought there may be some cool stuff to share with people subscribed to the Coach the Life Coach Pinterest board.

I had a look. It was the usual collection of the kind of boards you would expect, but as this seemed to be a competitor I decided to have a look at the website.

I really wasn’t prepared for what I was about to see – pretty much everything that is wrong with the Life Coaching industry.

A shaking pop-up that appeared on every page, financial claims and lies.

There was a testimonial from a woman ‘called’ Pauline.

Before I clicked through to read I was immediately suspicious because the woman in the picture looked more like a 19 year-old model than a coach. But hey, anybody can be a coach so who am I to judge?

Ok, so I did start judging when I saw the testimonial. And I’ll print it here for you and ask you what your gut instinct tells you?

Sometimes I pinch myself! I cannot believe my life now.

A few years ago I had hit rock bottom! My fiance left me for another woman… should I mention that I was pregnant at the time. I could hardly afford rent, had sleepless nights and did not know how I was going to care for my baby.

I decided I would do whatever it takes to look after my baby. I knew I needed to start my own business and joined The Life Coaching Academy and started my own coaching practice.  My coaching business focused on helping mum’s who needed help emotionally.  Wow what an amazing experience,  I am fully booked and have clients on my waiting list!  I work from home and am an amazing mum to my beautiful Lily.

How authentic does that sound to you?

I must be doing ok with coaching as I’ve been full time for twelve years now, but guess what? I have NEVER had a waiting list.

There have been a handful of times when I have referred people on, such as when I hit the front page of Google (when there was a front page – there’s not now as we all see different search results), but as a rule I am rarely more than two weeks out, and I don’t class that as a waiting list.

Building a practice is hard!

Can it be done? Of course it can, I’ve done it, but I would never try and suggest that signing up for a Coach the Life Coach course is anything other than the start of your journey.

We link to every coach who offers us a testimonial by way of thanks and for the sake of credibility and to prove we’re not just making shit up. Surprisingly there was no link to this super successful coach.

So I searched for ‘Life coach Pauline +Lilly’. Nothing.

Weird eh?

Some people are really stupid because there’s a super easy way to search images these days and it’s called, amazingly enough, Google Images.

You can go and grab an image and upload it and clever Google will use photo recognition software to find it for you.

So that’s what I did and guess what?

Yep, it’s a stock image of a model that appears on dozens of other sites .

Here are the results. I went back 20 pages and was still finding new sites that used the image.

Apart for the total lack of integrity and dishonesty the owner of this site, she will probably be getting a letter at some point from the copyright owner for either stealing or misrepresenting their image.

It’s dead easy and sometimes tempting to try and take short cuts when you start up, but it really isn’t worth it.

The Internet isn’t a forgiving place and you will almost certainly come a cropper.

The person who owns this site could remove the photo and testimonial, but it’s still searchable and viewable. Why do you think people can still find Tweets that PresidentTrump has posted and then deleted? It really isn’t hard to do.

I’m pretty sure you’re an ethical person, but just in case you’re unsure, here are 10 things you should never do if you want to retain any credibility and not end up being sued.

  1. Never use fake testimonials
  2. Never use images that you either haven’t bought or if they are creative commons, that you don’t credit
  3. Never use images that aren’t relevant or that misrepresent something
  4. Never buy followers on any Social Media platform
  5. Never claim you have experience that you don’t
  6. Never spam people and that includes pestering people on Social Media when you don’t have a relationship
  7. Never make any claims like, ‘I can definitely help you’ or ‘working with me will be the best thing you ever did’ that you cannot guarantee
  8. Never make general unsubstantiated statements about coaching such as ‘every person needs a Life Coach’ – no they don’t
  9. Never buy links to your website in an attempt to build your authority with Google
  10. Never identify a client without knowing they are comfortable with you doing so

I’m sure I have missed some, so please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

Comments

  1. I’m starting to think of calling what I do something else because even though there are fully honest people like yourself I’m incredibly happy to be associated with more and more there seems to be more of this junk muddying the waters. I’m an authentic person who helps people in real, practical ways and only promises things I can deliver (as long as the client is on board). I don’t feel I can compete with the illusions other coaches use to get clients, like promises people can get to 6 figures in 3 months or other such nonsense, and then if that is not achieved no doubt the client was not engaged enough and it’s their fault and they’ve signed a non-disclosure (which I would never do) so they cannot publicly complain. Occasionally, one brave soul will take the risk to whistle-blow on one particular or another of these people and others will pile on to provide their testimony too. But the money is already taken and the coach still has a high ranking on web search, so they’ll get more clients.

    I have no interest in marketing myself to clients in any other way than a similar way that you do, anything else feels like selling my soul. And if that means I need a side gig and a different marketing method and a longer time to build a sustainable practice I’m totally fine with that. I want to be someone who people bother to praise of their own accord, not whistle-blow on out of anger and a wish to prevent others falling prey.

    • Tim Brownson

      I hear you Jessamine and sadly I don’t disagree. The problem is however, if we call ourselves something else then marketing becomes a real issue.

      I’m honestly not sure what the answer is.

      • Yep, maybe all we can do is what you’re attempting to do and I’ve had a go at with some of my business and reveal the man behind the curtain and ethical issues in the industry. It’s our industry, so I guess it’s our responsibility to clean it up.

        • Tim Brownson

          The woman in the post is actually in Australia. She set up a fake Twitter account yesterday and then cam after me calling me a narcissistic pig.

          She tried to remain anonymous but was stupid enough not only to follow herself but also her business.

          That kind of thing is fun and a bit of a laugh, but the underlying theme of trying to deceive people to take their money is very worrying.

          The thing is, I bet you any money you like she has convinced herself what she is doing is ok. Humans are great at justifying their shitty behavior – just look at our President here!

  2. Hi Tim,

    Nice timing on this post. I read your post then watched a show in Canada called “Marketplace.” It’s investigative journalism and there’s a new subject every week. This week it was about people who make money (mainly through Fiverr) from fake testimonials. The journalist tracked someone down who is one of the top ranked testimonial givers on Fiverr and confronted her.

    I think it’s important that people like you and shows like Marketplace are trying to shed some light on this subject. At least if people are more aware it’s happening they’ll be better equipped to question what they see and hear.

    Thanks!
    Eric