The Naked Truth About Coaching

Truth about business coaching

A couple of years ago I decided to make a transition in my business. I decided to add “coaching” to my list of business services.  It seemed like the right move. In essence I was already coaching my clients. Many came to me for web or social media services, and ultimately I found myself coaching them through various business and life challenges.

I’ve always loved to troubleshoot and be the catalyst to other’s having a complete shift in how they were thinking and approaching things in their business.  I dare say I had talent for seeing things others couldn’t – and was able to hone in on the root cause of what was keeping them stuck.

Sometimes they were stuck due to technical issues or simply bad habits. But often times it was a mindset issue. Being able to guide someone through the process of looking at things from a different perspective that they hadn’t thought of before, and hearing in their voice the shift from feeling helpless and defeated to optimistic and relieved – as if a weight has been lifted off their shoulders – is truly a gift to witness.

So you can see why I decided to add coaching to my repertoire of services. It truly was the natural step for me in my business. But taking that natural step and being able to create a sustainable business doing something you love are two very different things.

I don’t have any regrets about my decision – and I’m still coaching (part-time). But in hindsight, I would of done a LOT of things differently before taking the plunge. You just don’t know what you don’t know and often times by the time you know it, you’ve dug such a deep ditch that you wonder how you’ll ever climb your way back out again.

Let me explain …

I guess when I decided to begin promoting my coaching services that much like my consulting service, clients would simply show up and ready pay to work with me! I mean why wouldn’t they?! I had a skill-set for goodness sake!  I was one of the most tech-savvy coaches I knew, so you where getting the best of both worlds – a coach that could not only tell you what to do, hold you accountable, but show you HOW to do it.

Seemed like a no-brainer to me …

Not the case!

I was so completely “sold” on the idea of coaching that I promoted my consulting services less and less. As a result, my client base decreased over a course of time … and my income along with it. Eventually I decided to take a position as Marketing Director for a local company – which don’t get me wrong, I LOVE. But it didn’t fit in with my long-term vision.

This is not to say that I’ve given up on my business. NEVER!! I’ve always have and always will be an entrepreneur at heart and my desire to be a financially free and a successful business owner still resides in my heart. It’s just going to take a bit longer than expected. 😉

So what went wrong?? And why am I sharing this with you?

If like me you’ve been promoting your services online for some time, you’ve been “sold” on the idea that in order to leverage your skills, you need to add coaching to your list of services – ideally group coaching.

In theory this sounds all well and good and you may have witnessed a few coaches here and there follow a particular process or “system” that is widely being taught today have success, but for the majority of us, these systems haven’t worked!

What’s the disconnect here? Why has it worked for some and not other?

Some would say it’s because given the same information, one person would take the system, run with it and have success; while the other person having access to the same system never fully applies it.  That might hold true in some instances, but what about those instances where both parties apply the system just as eagerly and one gets results and the other doesn’t??

I’ve been very fortunate to have met many coaches in the last few years – many who I have come to grow very fond of and I connect with on a regular basis. These are professionals who are extremely talented at what they do and yet they have been struggling with getting clients. I just don’t get it!

One person recently shared with me a story. She ran into an acquaintance of hers the other day at an event. The business owner proceeded to thank her for advice she had given him a couple of years earlier that resulted in him now running a MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR business! Come on!! Really?!

How can someone who has the talent to give the sort of advice that would produce that type of result be having issues getting clients?

I have similar stories as well. People I’ve coached who’ve gone on to have great success stories, yet I’m left twiddling my thumbs wondering how to get past the feast and famine dilemma I often found myself in. And unfortunately it was becoming more famine than feast!

I’m sharing this to impress upon you that there are many coaches who are talented at what they do and yet are not getting the results they had hoped themselves.

Let’s track back…

What’s the disconnect?

I’ve had a lot of time to think about this over the last couple of month. I truly believe getting this J.O.B. at this point in time was a blessing for me. Outside of what it has done for me financially, even more importantly it has allowed me to step back from my business for an extended period of time and evaluate what went wrong – as well as what I did right.

I know now that I was sucked into the illusion that you can create a thriving business solely online. That with enough social media updates, followers, building your list to this magically 1000 number, blogging, podcasting, video marketing, webinars, teleseminars, launching program after program, that within a years time you’ll be running a thriving business.

Um … time for reality check.

Sure if you can keep this over an extended period of time (3-5 years) and be consistent with your marketing and your message you can achieve the level of success you’d like. But it’s NOT a quick fix. It’s a rarity that it can happen within a year AND you have to have all the pieces in puzzle in place for this to happen.

You have to have:

  • A solid and consistent message speaking to the “right” people
  • Clearly communicate to others what results you provide (This is a biggie!!)
  • Consistent marketing
  • A plan of action with includes strategies and timelines
  • The financial means to pay for training and attend networking events, workshops, seminars, and conferences
  • Fierce persistence and a narrow sense of focus!!

Mostly you have to get out of your own way, get past your self-induced fears, and pick up the phone and/or get in front of people even if it shakes you to the core. Using online methods to connect with others if fine, but nothing beats connecting with others face to face or over the phone to truly create a relationship.

There are just nuances in seeing/hearing someone speak that you can’t get access to online.

  • Are they present in the conversation?
  • Are they worried?
  • Are they excited?
  • Are they frustrated?

All things you can hear and sense when talking to a live person as oppose to communicating on Facebook.

My stubbornness and unwillingness to make the necessary changes I needed quick enough resulted having to make a decision about the direction of my life at this point. As I said, I don’t have any regrets. I am happier now than I’ve been in a long time.

Something about running a business that is not going they way you wanted and struggling day in and day out on how to turn things around is exhausting! I was caught in yet another hamster wheel with no way to get off. By the time I started to make drastic changes, much of the damage was done and I was feeling (emotionally and financially) the repercussions of my past poor choices.

We live and we learn right? But if you are struggling as a coach, I hope what I’m sharing can shine a light on what you may be doing “wrong” in your business leaving you struck and frustrated.

You know it’s crazy. I’ve lived with the pretense for a few years that everything was going fine. I continued to do my “thing” and from the outside looking in, I’m sure many others thought the same as well. Why wouldn’t they? I was consistently over the place. Running webinars, teleseminars, participating in telesummits, doing workshops …

And who knows. Maybe if I had stuck it out just a bit longer, things would of drastically turned around. But then I wouldn’t have learned those important lessons I’ve learned – and I wouldn’t be able to share them with you here now!

So if you have a dream and desire to continue coaching, then go for it! Just take my lessons into account and get clear about what you bring to the table. Then go out there and be a stand to serve as many people as you can. Pick up the phone. Attend conferences. Invite people to work with you.

Those personal one-on-one interactions will change your life and business.

With much love and success,


P.S. Props to my girl (and talented online business manager), Kyna Baker, for the rocking image!

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  1. Hey there Michele,
    It’s been a while since we’ve been in touch. I hope all is well.
    Your post comes at an interesting time as I am preparing to launch a coaching program. I am excited yet nervous about it and although I’ve coached many clients in the fitness arena, I am new to life coaching.

    I’ve heard similar stories to yours as far as the challenges of building a coaching business and although I am not looking to generate a full-time income (or even close) with it, I am preparing for a long journey.

    Thanks for sharing your story and for the reminder that it’s definitely not as easy as putting up your “work with me” page and having clients roll in…

    1. Hi Steve,

      How are you? Everything is going great, thanks for asking! Seems like the same for you. 😉

      What an exciting time for you. And please don’t misinterpret my message. The key thing I wanted to point out is to be very clear about the result you create for those you work with and being able to articulate it extremely well – over and over and over. Much like your fitness coaching, I’m sure there was a methodology or process that you took them through, leading to a desired result. Same with life coaching.

      Best of luck and be sure to keep me posted on how it goes!


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