So I considered whether or not to mention this, mostly to keep harmony in our office and not offend any of our clients (some of whom are life coaches, and one of whom has been a life coach for WAY more years than it’s been a popular career change for burned out corporate types with a fast internet connection) or put off anyone who might consider working with us.

But…  I have a big mouth, and sometimes I can’t keep it closed long enough or at the right time.  So here goes.

Yep, that’s right.  As a matter of fact, I’d say that the bulk majority of people in the business have no real training – I mean, c’mon, you think that taking someone’s internet course is actually going to teach you how to instruct human beings on what they need to do to get their lives in order?  Give me a break.

As I mentioned, one of our clients is an accomplished life coach – and has been for at least ten years that I can recall.  She goes to training classes, education based seminars, retreats, you name it – all the time.  I don’t recall her ever telling me that she learned to do something by signing up for someone else’s $2499 “learn to be an internet life coach” program.

So now there’s a lawsuit, in Colorado, accusing a couple of bilking customers out of their course fees, and basically not turning them into fabulous life coaches who are able to make beaucoup bucks after finishing up their lessons with the Grants.

Why is life coaching such a draw for the aforementioned subset of people?

It’s also big business. A study by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a nonprofit industry group that offers certification programs for life coaches, estimated that total industry revenue was $1.979 billion in 2012. And according to the Department of Labor statistics analyzed by CareerTrends, there were 202,360 “self-enrichment education teachers” – a category that includes life coaches — in the U.S. as of 2014.

So there you go – unlike being a dentist, or an attorney, or even a CPA, you too can be a life coach with almost nothing except for a Macbook and the wherewithal to go sit and Starbucks and sponge their internet all day.

The problem here is really one of perception.  You get these personalities – the Gary Vaynerchuk types – who make it look simple and easy; who lead people to believe that it’s pretty safe to bet the mortgage on becoming a life coach or a business coach or an executive coach, that people buy into this idea.  They don’t seem to realize the average coaching class is more akin to early Amway than to anything that’s truly educational or would certify them to go and boss people around about their work and relationships…

I am NOT anti coaching.  Frankly I think that good coaches quite often make things much easier and can help you define the path to reaching your goals.  During years of competitive sailing at the international level, we spent as much time and money paying coaches as we did any other part of our program (aside from actually buying boats, lol); it was integral to our success.  A good coach spots your mistakes, teaches you how to move past them, and provides you with a feeling of accomplishment, even when your ears are stinging from unflattering commentary about your roll tacks.

I am utterly appalled at the number of people who somehow believe themselves to be qualified and competent to provide guidance about how to run one’s life or business, when these folks are surely running from their own failures in their previous enterprises for the most part.

If you’ve failed in every business venture you’ve embarked upon, you’re probably not qualified to coach someone in business.   Yes, I know everyone successful claims to have more Ls than Ws in their column count, but they do at least have some Ws in there…  if you’ve been married more than twice and your kids are one step from parole or probation, eh, I don’t think you’re really life coaching material – at least not without a LOT of soul searching and training.

So anyway, back to the original point – there’s a lawsuit, people are suing for crazy money (I guess maybe they did learn something about dreaming big from the Grants) and we’ll see how it goes.  Oh, and life and business coaching needs some form of regulation – just like real estate, hairdressing and so on.

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