BEFORE I BECAME PART OF THE COACHING INDUSTRY,
I WAS A HUMAN
Before I became a coach, I was a human.
In 2011 I was introduced to the coaching industry. I had no idea such an industry existed and was completely astonished to learn how people were making a living simply sharing their expertise. Sure, I had heard of Life Coaching, but an entire industry just for coaches? Call me naive, but that was really the extent of my knowledge. I had to dig deeper.
Almost instantly, I got sucked in and was drinking from the bottle of Kool-Aid. I was finishing up my certifications as a Nutritional Consultant and Holistic Health Practitioner, so it was only natural that coaching be introduced to my career path... I just had no idea to what degree it would consume my entrepreneurial aspirations.
Like many holistic practitioners, coaching is a natural career path to bringing your expertise to commerce and help others improve their health. I was ecstatic to learn more about how this coaching world worked and how I could benefit from coaching as a business model. However, the longer I stayed in the coaching industry, the more saturated I saw it become, and the more Life Coaching certification programs on the market seemed to increase exponentially. It was appalling to say the least, especially since the Life Coaches I knew could barely find enough clients to make ends meet, and now we're marketing more certification programs? It just seemed odd, but I kept drinking.
Before I became a coach, I used to think for myself.
The coaching industry quickly seduced me in that expensive-designer-sunglasses kind of way. It stared my right in the eye like the aisles of Saks Fifth Ave where everything looks and smells perfect, yet when you flip over the price tag your heart skips a beat. Before you know it, you're talking yourself into why you have to have those $500 Marni sunglasses that will pair famously well with that high-waisted American Apparel swimsuit you saw on Chictopia last week.
But unlike that fashion film playing in your head or on that Pinterest board you conveniently named // T O T A L L Y O B S E S S E D //, coaching was swallowing my artistic abilities leaving me feeling constipated. But I wasn't about to let some pipe dream take away my love of creating, even if my coach at the time scolded me for revamping my website--for the 50th time. Thankfully, my inner rebel took over and I didn't listen to her. Nobody was going to tell ME what I can and cannot do. Period. I don't care if you are my "coach."
While the coaching industry was opening my mind to new possibilities like those cucumber margaritas by the pool at The Viceroy blurring my vision, no one told me all that sugar was going to leave me stumbling drunk straight to the porcelain God himself. The high felt so good until it wasn't, and the new neural pathways forming in my brain quickly were yanked back to reality thanks to my street smarts who were telling me to get a grip! Sure the idea of making a living charging thousands of dollars for my expertise felt like a dream come true-- and like any entrepreneur, you're bound to entertain the idea as long as it's keeping you daydreaming about making money-- since you probably aren't making much of that yet-- that is, until you can't take the beating any longer.
Before I became a coach, I was an entrepreneur.
As ridiculous as the feeling felt at first, I stood proud in my new shoes as a coach. I wanted to learn everything about it! In fact, I became addicted to knowledge, to "the secret" information on how to build a six-figure business by sharing information and support with others, to the selling and purchasing of digital products, creating passive income streams--- it was hard not to fall in love and down the rabbit hole I went just like little Alice in Wonderland.
When I awoke from my slumber, and the vivid colors that once represented happiness like those days at Narnia, the math major in me decided to whipped out her calculator only to find I was missing $20,000! Okay, it wasn't missing, but I did miss the money I had spent on coaching!
Sure it was helpful information that appeared relevant-- if you're anything like me, you can learn something from even the trivialist of things. Until one day, I couldn't find anything new and I was craving for more! Coaching was a friend I took great pride getting to know intrinsically only to discover her soul was not as deep as I'd hope it was. Boo-hoo. Was that it? Should I get certified in something else? Should I buy another book or attend another seminar? What's a girl to do!
The Math Nerd in me was once fascinated by the "formulas" of the coaching industry, which kept me satiated all those years. There was a formula for everything, which kept the information feeling seductive, but was it merely foreplay without ever delivering the green orgasm? The more I saw a formula in her every move, the less interesting she became, and the more fraudulent she appeared in my eyes.
There was a formula for everything: writing a sales page, laying out a newsletter, where to put an opt-in box on your website (above the fold), how to build your mailing list, how to sell things to people, and a bunch of other lessons the coaching industry teaches if you want to be a successful coach... Hmmm.. then why are there so many unsuccessful coaches!?
The more I questioned these formulas and concepts, the more advertisements I saw for coaching certificates, affiliate programs for coaching programs, tele-summits to promote coaches, coaching conventions, and the word COACH taking over the world... It was no mystery why the coaching industry was thriving as a business model, but was it thriving for just a FEW select coaches? The majority of coaches I know are barely making ends meet; you had to wonder. And I had to get out. After all, I missed being REAL. I missed speaking my mind. I missed thinking for myself!
Just like that hot vegetarian doctor with that perfect smile who owns that beautiful mid century house up in the hills with just enough rooms for 2 children and a dog; if he's too good to be true, he probably is.
Before I became a coach, I was an artist.
I used to think about how I would make a living doing what I love, pursuing my wildest talents whatever they be at that moment, and sharing my love for fashion, health, design, and business in the most creative way I kn0w how. I tried being a blogger, selling vintage clothes on Etsy, until one day I labeled myself a coach. It wasn't until I went against the grain and did what everyone said I couldn't do, that everything fell into place. I mixed and matched. I played by my own rules. I pissed some people off, and I started speaking my mind again! And I STOPPED calling myself a coach.
The people I work with are much more than a coach; they are artists, designers, healers, introverts, over-achievers, rebels, tastemakers, and visionaries. Coaching just happens to be one tool in their toolbox that becomes a valuable asset in their business, but it's not THE business or industry they are really in at all! They are in the health industry, the fashion industry, the internet industry, and so on.
The business you are in is helping others solve a problem with your product or service and being a damn good marketer. That's it. Even graphic designers and accountants use "coaching" in their work, but it's not the service they charge the big bucks for. It's their expertise and vision.
I'm an artist, a writer, a business consultant and if you ever decide to hire me to grow your business, you'll discover coaching is a relevant tool in my toolbox, but it's no where near the only tool. My clients come to me to help them build their online business, not to build their coaching business! I see things in them that are far more lucrative and sellable than just a coaching program.
As valuable as coaching truly is to our society, it can be integrated into any business model. If you've been in the coaching industry for a couple years and you're still wondering when your next client will arrive, you're not alone. There are more coaches struggling to find clients than there are "coaches" racking in the dough and that leaves me to wonder... who is the coaching industry really making rich?
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