As a business coach I feel it’s extremely important to harbour a relationship of respect and understanding when I am consulting with my clients. The trouble is, the online world of coaching comes with a hoard of the “get rich quick” crowd who’s sole intention seems to be selling to a clients insecurities for personal profit rather than a genuine interest in improving peoples lives or businesses.
Ironically there are no worse culprits for this than those in the industry of business coaching for business coaches. (Yes that’s a thing!)
The wonder of this industry however, is that the clients they’re prospecting are fellow coaches who are now in the advantageous position of being able to see what their clients may potentially witness in them, something I’ve experienced recently and begun to feel very uncomfortable about.
At the beginning of my coaching career I was receiving messages from other coaches offering me free workshop invites left, right and centre. Guess what? With self development in mind I attended most of them, they didn’t give me the “keys to unlock my 6 figure salary” and each and every coach sounded identical to the next, feeling fed up and disillusioned, It was at this moment I had a major epiphany.
THERE ARE A HUGE BUNCH OF SALES PEOPLE OUT THERE DISGUISED AS BUSINESS COACHES!!
There, I said it!
So if you are an individual with a genuine desire to improve and develop your business you’re probably wondering what to do if you’re looking for support. How do you discern the right from the rogue?
Well, look no further my personal development pals.
After experiencing my light bulb moment I compiled a list of all the give away terms that remove the coaching facade and show these sales folk for what they are. (fellow coaches take note)
Below you will find my list of all the language that I believe needs to be removed from the coaching environment and thrown back to the likes of business development managers, B2B sales people and 90’s cold callers. The coaching domain must stay personable.
I often hear this term thrown around on facebook and instagram, whether it’s within a paid ad campaign, live training session or hooky caption under a photo. My problem is, it’s exactly that, a hook! A term to reel in the client. Don’t get me wrong, punchy statements that resonate with a customer are vital but it’s always important to be aware of the hidden context behind a phrase.
The term “level up” has an air of gaslighting about it, it leaves the impression to the reader that wherever they are in life or business is not good enough. It throws around the idea that clients are unable to improve their offering through any means but the process you as a coach are trying to sell.
It also implies that because you know this, you are somehow more informed on the intricacies of their business than they are and that without your ebook, seminar or sales call they would be unable to create meaningful change. It’s fear porn.
As in, the act of drumming up interest in your product or service.
My problem with this term is relatively simple. It’s transactional, completely removes the human element and genuinely sounds like a machine which spits out customers as long as you input the right data.
Often the strategies associated with this phrase involve a totally old school process within sales. The concern for me is that it’s being taught within an industry which should be providing forward thinking support, backed by developments in our understanding of social psychology and the evolution of sales.
The point is, in this day and age our clients are as clued up on the ancient strategies used within business to “guarantee” a result but in reality, the way people spend their money is changing. These days, clients buy from people, they spend their money with emotion and conscientiousness and whilst a business coaches lessons on “lead generation” may very well include some of these insights, the terminology they’re using is a complete contradiction. MAJOR RED FLAG.
The framework within your business that you create to guarantee a sales outcome. This phrase puts me in mind of forcing intrigued clients through a narrowing tube with more and more manipulative actions until they’ve no option but to squeeze through a tiny hole that lands in your pocket.
The worst part of this is, quite often by the time they’re part way down the tube, they’re starting to have doubts about the transaction that’s inevitably at the end but they’ve committed too much to back out.
Look up the term cognitive dissonance here and you will begin to see where this can be applied.
In my opinion there is nowhere more obvious that this occurs than in the world of online business coaching.
The worst culprits can run an outfit that becomes almost cult like and in my mind a good rule of thumb is this, if your coach cannot make time to work with you one to one, or your interactions with them rely solely on group sessions being beamed to you from your laptop, tablet or iPhone, congratulations you’ve been had.
Yes you might get some snippets of generally good advice but predominantly your role in this scenario is to line your coaches pockets.
The term I loathe more than any other within any professional environment but particularly when it is used within my world as a business coach.
A pain point by definition is a specific want or need from your client that you are able to answer with your product or service. Well that sounds like a wonderful ability doesn’t it, to be the answer to all of someone’s hopes and needs, well done you!
The trouble here lies in the predatory nature of this phrase. If I am a business coach that has the answer for my clients needs and genuinely want to help them, why would I use a term like “pain point” to describe their development opportunities?
At this point as the coach I’m probably not using this term in relation to my client, I’m probably trying to coach them on THEIR clients “pain points” (shudder).
One problem here, by using language such as this, if my client is savvy enough they will logically assume that whatever strategy I’ve used to sell my service to them has involved this terminology and predatory tact too.
Now there is another possibility here, perhaps I’m either a. Too highly strung or b. Far too much of an empath but from my perspective this terminology is offensive, pessimistic and lacks the human element once again!
This term describes a strategy that entails the act of creating a business that can continue to grow without being impeded by its own design or available resources.
I don’t have a long winded reason as to why I can’t stand it, or why it doesn’t belong in the coaching world other than this, it’s a buzz word. A million coaches are using it to describe a sales strategy they’re both selling to you and using on you at the same time. The rub is, generally speaking they are the same people who are using all of the terminology above.
Not convinced? Now let’s put all of these terms into one sentence and you begin to see just how ridiculous they really are. Once I’ve done that, I’ll even give you a bonus prize of the hidden prompts behind my ad!
“Would you like to generate leads for your business by levelling up your sales funnel and identifying your clients pain points? what if I told you I had a 3 step process to make your business scalable within 3 weeks? Book your call today!”
Seems pretty attention grabbing right? So let’s break down the above statement and I will show you what the desired affect is. (That is assuming you’d be hooked in by it in the first place, my instinct says that anyone reading this on social media would be dubious.)
1. By asking you a question relating to your business and it’s ability to generate leads I am currently (potentially) selling to your pain point. I have made the first line of my sales pitch personal to you and your problem, you are now beginning to feel as though I truly see you and want to help.
2. Next up I have made the probably extremely unique and difficult problem your business is currently facing seem easy to resolve by offering you a simple 3 step regime, I’m currently gaslighting you by insinuating your problems are less than they seem. Right now you as the reader should be feeling as though I MUST know what I’m talking about in order to make this claim, cognitive dissonance kicks in, you want to believe it’s this easy because the struggles you and your business have been through have taken a lot of time, effort and money.
3. I’ve given you a time frame within which you will see results, at this point you know absolutely zero about me and my capabilities as a coach but the age old sales strategy that I’m using is playing to your vulnerabilities. You’re so pleased with the idea that I can turn your failing enterprise into a cash cow within 3 weeks, you will be blinded by the rest of the hollow crap within this sentence, which (by the way) has told you NOTHING about my business and what it offers. You will be so enraptured you will just HAVE to…
You’re rightfully fretting about the future and then BOOM, here comes the magic fairy godmother to rid you of your woes. You’ve now bought into my offering, whatever I say next you’ll pay attention because you’ve finally found the simple solution to your problems.
4. Book your call.