Don’t hire a life coach when what you really need is a business coach.

I’m a big fan of life coaching but most of my clients need a business coach.

My clients typically already have a good game, a good income, a nice lifestyle and are comfortable with who they are. They are usually stable and comfortable in their own skin. And they are usually good at getting an idea and taking it through to completion.

My clients are ambitious, successful running established companies of varying sizes based world wide. Usually know what’s going on and how they feel about what’s going on. Usually if they perceive a problem they respond appropriately.

Yes, like everyone else, they have frustrations and it can be argued at the back of that sits limiting beliefs. But on the balance they have high levels of awareness and emotional intelligence to positively address their frustrations.

The usual reason someone engages a coach is because there is a problem that isn’t resolving easily or at all. Often that problem is legitimate and often its made up, self imposed or reflective of the person’s perceptions.

But my clients don’t need life coaching. If you are like them …

1. You probably don’t need help – you want distinctions
People who need help usually have problems that aren’t resolving easily or at all. They can’t see the wood for the trees and they are stuck. And this can translate into feelings of inadequacy and can lead to mistakes. So they need help.

My clients often deal with issues that aren’t black and white. Problems that sit in the grey zone. Usually they want discuss the issue confidentially and reflect on the implications with a sounding board. And often they want they need to discuss how they will translate those insights into practical commercial reality.

A recent client was advised by their life coach to push through their comfort zones, ‘seize the day’ and sack a trouble maker. As a precaution they rang me and I advised them to talk to an employment lawyer. Had they sacked the trouble maker they would have lost the argument and conservatively incurred a £100,000 plus ER unfair dismissal law suit. This situation was not about comfort zones it was about the law.

2. You want the focus on a prudent solution.
Life coaching is usually a process of unearthing what’s ticking away in the background. Usually the life coach helps you identify an appropriate course of action. Often they simple prescribe one.

My clients often deal with complex problems and there is a proven format for unpacking complexity. Life coaching often try to to be expedient – big solutions and life changes in 55 minutes. In reality some situations will take time to resolve.

A business coach is often better placed to link problems and behaviours more effectively to commercial reality.

I recently spoke with a new client that was working with a high priced life coach about their financial issues. The life coach said that the finances were a reflection of their limiting beliefs and had spent four sessions on developing an ‘abundance’ mindset.

After five minutes I helped them see that that they had crap financial software not limiting beliefs. They upgraded to cloud based accounting software and their problem dissolved.

3.They don’t want touchy feely or a rah-rah session.
A lot of people think emotional intelligence is about being touchy feely. It isn’t. Emotional intelligence is being tuned in. Every moment of the day you have situational awareness – what’s happening around you. But often what’s missing is tuning into how you are reacting or resounding to that awareness. Quite often my clients are super aware. The problem isn’t awareness. The problem is they don’t respond appropriately to their awareness.

I recently spoke with a new client whose life coach advised them to ‘man up’, live their passion and leave their wife. I would never encourage or advise a client to break up a marriage.I would certainly refer to a counsellor and wouldn’t pretend that business coaching or life coaching addresses deeper emotional issues.

4. They want something they can tangibly measure or manage. 
Many of my clients have tried life coaching and feel it is like a Jedi Mind Trick. What they want is a structured chat about a real problem with the focus on a prudent, appropriate structured solution. They don’t want some warm fuzzy intellectual chat that terminates with a hug.

My clients want a outcomes that are structured. That make sense. They don’t want motivating. They have that in spades. What they want is something that makes sense to their boss, their employees, their customers, shareholders etc.

5. They want to talk to someone with real qualifications.
A lot of life coaches have zero qualifications. They’ve usually done a weekend course and come out with a ‘certificate’ from some dodgy accreditation firm in Europe. Even if it is a limiting belief, the life coach is essentially regurgitating something they’ve been told. Often life coaches have no theoretical base of why ‘a tool’ works.

By comparison, I am qualified in Industrial and Organisational psychology so if I’m suggesting some belief or behavioural modification its based on substance not conjecture. My clients usually have a lot on the line and they want to talk to a qualified professional.

6. They don’t want to be ripped off.
A lot of life coaches subscribe to the mantra of ‘charge higher’. There is no significant correlation between high fees and outcomes. None. AA doesn’t charge anything.

But clients pay £20,000 effectively for high priced motivational session. At that price you have to tell yourself  its working otherwise you will feel like a pratt.

In my experience, clients rarely get the long lasting benefits promoted by some coaches.

I am not the cheapest but nor am I the most expensive and in most cases I can demonstrate tangible results.

If that sounds like you, we need to chat.



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