The 11 Cons of Business Coaching – Is your Business Coach Legit or an Imposter?
The big Covid stick has swung hard and hit millions of businesses worldwide.
The catastrophic effects that this pandemic has had on businesses around the world will take generations to repair. And with each new lockdown and more crippling restrictions, the instability and devastation grows.
Where there is blood, there are sharks. Where there are carcasses, there are vultures.
We know from history, where there is adversity, there also exists entrepreneurial opportunity, and this situation has opened up one of the most lucrative business opportunities in recent history.
This global disruption has caused fear and uncertainty for millions of small business owners.
Right now, they are desperately looking for guidance, expertise and lifelines to help future proof their businesses and livelihood. Many business owners are sitting right now like meerkats in the headlights, wondering what to do next, how do they prepare defences and adapt their business models.
They know if they do nothing, the situation or the competition ferociously adapting to survive will eat them alive.
And so, many businesses owners are now more open and willing to engage the services of business coaches.
This naturally leads to the question:
Which business coach should you choose?
Most business owners know this is not as straightforward as it seems.
Nine out of ten of my clients have tried business coaching services prior to engaging my consulting services. Why did they switch over? Because they have been taken for a ride, mislead and seen little if no zero return on investment. This, of course, and rightfully so, builds scepticism among business owners.
Working alongside the right business coach and mentor can have positive, life-changing outcomes for your business.
Yet the term “business coach” can be used by anyone, regardless of whether they have ever built a real business, have tertiary qualifications or completed formal coaching training.
So, how do you spot the frauds and identify the real deals? Because between the thousands of con artists, there are great, legitimate business coaches who can genuinely help you reach your desired outcomes.
There are so many business coaching services and programs available online. This makes the choice of choosing the right one increasingly more difficult.
To help you choose the right business coach for your business, I have created a list of what to watch out for. I call these “The 11 Cons of Business Coaches”
Con#1 The Great Ponzi Scheme of Business Coaches
So you have the brains at the top of this opportunistic pyramid. They have identified the lucrativeness of the business consultation and coaching opportunity I referenced earlier. They aggressively attract and then pump thousands of these “wannabe instant success coaches” through their online training courses and programs.
And these “instant business coaches” then on-sell the same concept, branded in their own wrappers to other “instant wannabes business coaches” further down the pyramid, and so it goes on.
We are bombarded each day with social media adverts and private messages from maniacs (hundreds of them), selling the dream of making tens of thousands each day with very little work. Their strategy is too sell as many high ticket items (coaching and consulting services) as quickly as possible. There is no focus or training on the quality of the coaching or how to achieve real results for clients.
Here are a few examples…
“I help business coaches go from $0 to $90k in 90 days”
“How to make $15k sales a day in your business selling high ticket items”
“I help business consultants scale to $50k a month with no work”
… or whatever madness these lunatics come up with.
And so the market is flooded with “instant success business coaches”. Opportunists who have invested $2k, completed an online coaching program in a few hours and are now experts, ready to help you transform your life and grow your business you have been struggling with for several years.
How to spot the con:
“Business coaching is not a lotto ticket.”
Regardless of how shiny and tempting the promises are, stay clear of the “instant riches” and “magic potions”. We all know they never work.
Con#2 Chasing Dollars Not 5 Star Reviews
I think any legitimate business coach would agree with me on this. The focus and duty of a business coach should be receiving 5-star reviews from their clients, not seeing how many clients they can pump through their business courses in the shortest possible time, with the least amount of work.
Clients invest in business coaching services to help improve their businesses and create sustainable, long term business growth, not to make the business coach rich.
How to spot the con:
See how many reviews and the quality of the reviews your potential business coach has. Ask if you can contact current clients of the business coach and ask them about their experience, return on investment, and would they recommend the coach.
If there is any resistance or excuses around this, be wary. A business coach doing a good job would welcome a positive referral from an existing client.
Con#3 Expert Salesperson or Expert Business Coach
How do you tell the difference?
A salesperson will always revert your questions back to a sales pitch and never give you a tangible answer.
A business coach who is sincere in helping you will answer your questions with solutions and tools to help you progress.
A salesperson is only interested in closing the sale and moving on to the next sale. An authentic business coach is interested in seeing you succeed.
How to spot the con:
Simply ask questions. Assess your answers. Are you getting clarity or ongoing promises that keep looping to sign the deal or are you getting legitimate business advice and answers to your concerns?
Con#4 Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
Investigate whether your potential business coach has genuine real-life experience of building businesses backed by case studies. I am talking about real businesses, not making money from selling doughnuts at a school fete on Sundays or only making money from selling coaching programs.
This latter level of expertise can never serve you in the long run.
How can anyone help you on your business journey if they haven’t walked the path themselves?
Would you climb Mount Everest with a 15 year experienced Sherpa whose done the trail 30 times or someone who did one course and read a book on how to do it?
If you are a pregnant lady about to give birth, would you listen to advice from a man who’s never witnessed a birth before or from an experienced qualified doctor?
The answers are obvious.
How to spot the con:
Ask simple questions to your potential coach. What is your experience in successfully building businesses? Have they created wealth or been at the levels that you want to potentially reach?
And remember, it’s okay to have a business coach that has failed somewhere along their journey as long as there was a successful comeback.
Anyone can fail, but few take the lessons and climb back to victory. This is the real-life experience you should be seeking. These are the lessons that will get you through your trenches back onto the road to success. If someone has not experienced adversity, how can they provide wisdom on such?
At the end of the day, you want to look for honesty, authenticity and expertise. Your business coach shouldn’t shy away from questions about their experience and career in the industry, their professional success and their track record of growth for their previous clients.
Con#5 Fancy Sales Pages or Legitimate Claims
In today’s world, anyone can hide behind a great written landing page with a professional design claiming all sorts of dream miracles and accolades. And unfortunately, these are everywhere.
And this, of course, adds to the confusion of who is a legitimate business coach genuine about helping you versus the con, trying to fund their Ferrari purchase next week.
How to spot the con:
Verify any claims. Does your business coach have case studies you can study and enquire about? Do the case studies have photos and names of the people plus their business names. This way, you can investigate. This is the substance behind the fancy sales page you are seeking.
Con#6 Looking in the rearview mirror to go forward
To grow your business successfully and sustainably, you require different skill sets -looking after the money and making the money. So when choosing a business coach, you need to understand what skill set you really need to hire to help you achieve your objectives.
Looking in the rearview mirror:
This is a skill set that deals with the now or past events. Do you need help with analysis, compliance, budgeting, forecasting, profitability, staff problems, processes, workflow etc?
If you do, you should seek a business coach with this experience and success. This skill set is important and is to protect the money you have made. But if you want to grow your business, you need to look ahead.
Are you looking to grow your business? If you are, then you can’t be looking in the rearview mirror and try to move ahead.
What am I talking about here?
The Entrepreneurial skillset. A critical and difficult skill set to find that helps discover new money streams and growth opportunities for your business. This skill set is the ability to find money-making opportunities others miss. And most importantly, executing the correct strategies to ensure you get results.
How to spot the con:
This is quite an easy one. Conduct an extensive interview with your coach – yes, you should interview them, and if legit, they should have no issue with this.
Ask to see their resume, their timeline, their achievements and references. Do they have a solid record of successful entrepreneurship? Successful being the keyword here. Anyone can claim to have opened 20 businesses. But did they make any money? And where’s the proof?
Decide what you want your business coach to help you with – rearview, front windscreen or both. Then ensure their skillsets and experience stack up.
Con#7 Driving a Donkey on the Motorway
Is your business coach up to scratch with how customers shop in today’s world or are they a donkey trying to drive your business down the digital motorway?
How savvy is your business coach really about online branding, marketing and social media solutions?
How business is done today is very different to how it was eight to ten years ago. The digital landscape now dominates, and this requires up to date skill sets (continuously).
There are tons of digital marketing consultants, facebook gurus, marketing experts, etc., all fighting for your dollars and attention.
So, if the digital landscape is the way to go, and there are all these new-age wizards out there with all the answers (outpacing your donkey), why then do so many business owners see very little success in the online realm?
You need two skillsets to make your business work in today’s competitive landscape.
Before any website converts, before any social media campaign works, or any digital marketing strategy will yield results, your basic, core business foundations must be firmly cemented in place. These are two very different skill sets.
Both skill sets need to work contemporaneously, and you need a business coach who can help you successfully execute both.
If you do not know who your real customers are (not the ideal customers that you dream about, as most marketers love to tell you), your real customers – the ones who actually pay you cash. If you don’t know what products or services your customers really want to buy from you; if you don’t know what your x-factor or resonating message is attracting customers to you, not your competition, then how can you try to scale and accurately market yourself online?
You can’t. What would you be marketing – noise. What would you scaling – confusion.
How to spot the con:
Investigate by asking questions and reviewing case studies. Does your business coach understand the necessity of both skillsets, and more importantly, have they achieved success with other clients?
Con#8 Tightening your nuts in the vice
If your business coach is genuinely concerned for your well being, they will not try to force a sale by applying pressure tactics to close the sale. Remember, you are talking about your livelihood here.
Most business owners have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of their lives into building their business. If something goes wrong, there can be devastating consequences, some that you may never recover from.
So, if anyone is tightening your nuts in the vice to get the deal over the line, they do not have your best interest at heart.
How to spot the con:
All the con artists will skillfully sell you your dream and tell you everything you want to hear.
While the sales pitch is going on, pay attention to how much listening is going on versus non-stop selling and attempts to close the sale. Is your potential business coach taking the time to deeply assess your current situation and desired outcome?
Do they start getting impatient or frustrated when you keep asking questions?
Assess the methods, pressure tactics and temperament of your potential coach during their pitch. Are they asking for lock-in contracts? How keen are they to close the sale versus assessing correctly if they can genuinely help you?
Then simply ask yourself, “Are you comfortable, are my questions being answered properly, and would you have this person as your trusted guide?”
Con#9 Ghost stories or Thriving Community
Most successful business coaches create a community for their clients. Besides additional support and rapport building, the entrepreneurs and business owners can meet others, share knowledge, form friendships and partnerships in these forums.
With technology today, such as Facebook Groups, building a community is free and easy.
How to spot the con:
Simply ask if your potential business coach has a community or private group or forum where their clients hang out, ask questions and get support. If they do, ask if you may join for a few days and sass it out. Ask questions, see the level of support and time frames. See what kind of comments are being made – positive or negative.
If you are fed ghost stories about successful clients and have resistance to this, it will help you make up your mind.
Con#10 Scattered Pieces of Wood or a Stair Case
Let’s say you wanted to build a fancy backyard deck to impress your in-laws and neighbours, and you had two choices of creating it. One, you have a pile of scattered timber boards, nails, hammers and poles all thrown together. As you build, you select what piece you think goes next, and you continue building.
Two, you have a step by step instruction guide of what to buy and what steps to follow with which pieces to complete the project and achieve your desired outcomes.
Which option would you choose?
Many business coaches operate like choice one. They have no structure, strategies or processes in place. They instruct you to take a piece and perform a task, then take another piece and do another task. There is no big picture.
Other experienced business coaches understand clearly where you are, where you want to go and provide you with step by step instructions, support and guidance to get there.
How to spot the con:
Your business coaching experience should be like a well-crafted staircase. You should feel like you are taking a step forward each session and moving upwards towards your goals, towards your bigger picture.
If you feel like you are handed random scraps of wood and are struggling to find the stairs, it may be time to find a new business coach.
Con#11 Hands in the Air or a Solid Handshake
Your business coach might be very happy to take your money but are they willing to take responsibility and accountability for their coaching? Many are not.
Because they have no real confidence in their ability to get results.
What do they do instead? Pass the buck. They do not put a stake in the ground for you and commit to helping you get the results you desire. They should take the lead in helping you move forward and not be someone who sits on the sidelines and passes the blame if you aren’t getting the results you want.
How do you spot the con:
If you engage the services of a business coach or any digital marketing agency, they need to be held accountable for results. This does not mean you don’t do your part and expect miracles. Engaging in the services of a business coach is a partnership. It takes both oars to propel the boat forward.
Your business coach should be one hundred percent confident in the steps they outline to you. You do the tasks as instructed and then it is the duty of the business coach to assess the outcome, readjust the direction, make modifications so you continue moving forward and your business continues to grow.
You want your relationship with your business coach to feel like a strong handshake – this is confidence. Not one where they make excuses, put their hands in the air and take no accountability.
Final Note – This blog is dedicated to the legitimate business coaches, mentors, consultants and advisors out there doing a great job and getting real results for their clients. I am talking about coaches who have the correct levels of knowledge, expertise and real world experience to genuinely help their clients build successful businesses, minus any hype or misleading promises.
The world of struggling business owners needs more of you, now than ever before.
Find Out How a Legitimate Business Coach Can Help You Grow Your Business Today
Real Business Coaching Mentoring & Training for Business Owners
Trying to survive in business can be exhausting, especially if you are always trying to solve the problems yourself. Are you frustrated, confused, and not sure what to do next? This is not how the picture of your business should look.
I understand this completely. I have been doing this for most of my adult life, and many times I have had to deal with struggles and pain alone.
Being a small business owner doesn’t have to be a lonely ride.
- Do you want help systemising your entire business operation, so you do not have to worry each day?
- Need a practical exit strategy to turn your business into a valuable asset to set you up for life?
- Want a proven marketing plan that has helped many other “offline” businesses just like yours to successfully integrate and grow their brand online?
- Do you want to remove yourself from the daily grind and get your life back?
- Do you want to optimise your business, improve efficiency, ramp up sales, maximise profits, reduce overheads and improve cash flow?
- Need help managing and motivating your team to operate at optimum performance?
If so, we should have a chat.
In the meantime, have a look at some real results from our previous clients. Many of them are small business owners who were struggling with similar issues you may be experiencing right now.
I hope that you find this useful. If you would like a no-obligation, pitch-free business discovery session to see if we can help you get to where you want to go, then please book a time here.
I certainly would enjoy helping you on your business journey, whatever stage you are at, to reach your lifestyle of choice.
Thanks for sharing your time with me. I look forward to discussing how we can get your business working for you.
As always, I wish you all the very best.