I recently heard a fellow business coach (and one who is quite successful and well-known) say something in an interview that was along the lines of this: “If my business coaching clients did everything I told them to do, I’d start to go broke and I’d have to find a new business model.” Ha ha ha! Hilarious! Yes, we business coaches hope that our clients actually don’t follow our advice! That’s how we operate!
Except wait. No, it isn’t.
The First Wrong Thing
First and foremost, I’ve spent a decade and a half educating people about exactly what coaching is. Coaching, in its purest form, is absolutely not advice-giving. In fact, coaching (and I’m talking about real coaching here) was based on the fundamental principle that you have all of the answers within you…you just have to learn how to access them.
A lot of people think that “you have all the answers within you” means that you know everything, you just don’t know that you know it. That’s not what I mean. What I mean is that much of the time, we refuse to admit the truth to ourselves. We tell ourselves stories about our lives, our decisions, the way we ended up where we are today…and often those stories either place too much blame or too little responsibility on our shoulders. Or we tell ourselves that we can’t do something because we simply don’t know how.
The truth of having all of the answers within you is that sometimes you do know the answer, but it’s too painful for you to admit. Other times, like in cases where you don’t know how to do something, you think you don’t have any answers…but the answer might be to find someone who does know how to do that thing and ask them questions.
So coaching in its true form is nothing like the nonsense that is practiced all too often today by individuals who call themselves coaches but have little or no training in anything other than watching every episode of “Oprah,” so they feel qualified to tell others how to live their lives.
Coaching is when a qualified and trained individual works with you on a regular basis to help you find the truth within, which includes setting priorities and goals, identifying challenges to achieving the established goals, and improve your performance.
Sometimes Business Coaching Includes Consulting
In the business context, sometimes consulting is required of the business coach. My executive coaching clients would not be very pleased if I didn’t have more to offer than basic coaching services. In fact, I work with my clients as both coach and digital marketing expert, and with my executive clients, as a fellow executive with the experience and understanding of running a company and managing a staff. So sometimes, I’ll take off the “coaching hat” and put on the “consulting hat” to serve my clients.
The Goal of A Business Coach With Integrity
The goal of a good business coach with integrity should be that you actually make progress and see improvements. And if a coach has integrity, he or she will want you to do the things s/he tells you to do.
In fact, when one of my clients isn’t doing the “homework” we agree upon, then we have a conversation about why, because there’s either a stumbling block or they’re headed in a direction that their heart doesn’t want to go in.
So when I heard this business coach saying that he doesn’t actually want his clients to do the things he tells them to do, I thought, “Here’s a guy who has done a fabulous job of pulling the wool over his clients’ eyes.” This is a guy who has a lot of clients and a well-established brand. But apparently, he’s been able to fool people into believing that it isn’t his job to find out why they aren’t doing the things he recommends.
Clients Don’t Always Take Advice
My clients don’t always take my advice. But more often than not, they do listen to me. And while they might not do everything I tell them to do, they try to do most of it, because they know I know what I’m talking about.
It makes me angry that there are coaches out there who aren’t doing their jobs. But it makes me more angry that some of those coaches are financially successful and have a lot of clients, because they give coaching a bad name. Those of us who do care enough to get results out of our clients and to find the root of why our clients haven’t been successful in the past don’t live in that business model.
Business Coaching Isn’t Remedial
What this guy said betrayed something else: a complete misunderstanding of what business coaching is all about. Business coaching isn’t just for people who are struggling—in fact, it’s quite the opposite.
I have more clients who hire me when they’re successful than clients who hire me when they’re struggling. Business owners who are struggling typically don’t have the funding to spend on coaching, and they often don’t understand that one of the biggest reasons they struggle is because of some sort of “brain junk” that’s completely fixable.
Most of my clients hire me because they know they’ve done something right to get where they are, but they also know that what got them where they are now isn’t necessarily the same as what will get them to the next level. Sometimes the strategies are just different.
I Want My Clients to Succeed
I want my clients to succeed at whatever they’re working on so that we can move on to bigger and better things. When my clients are successful, they don’t fire me. We just take things to another level. That’s another thing that confused me about this business coach saying he’d have to change his business model, if his clients did what he told them to do. If your clients are making progress, doing what you suggest and recommend, then they should want to keep you so you can do even more.
I love business coaching more than almost anything. I love seeing my clients get results and I love watching them grow. But sometimes, just sometimes, it’s the other coaches that drive me crazy.