I’ve heard it again this week. Apparently, there are hordes of bad coaches out there, who are lying in their marketing and making outlandish promises about what coaching can achieve. They’re not practicing ethical marketing. These coaches are giving the coaching profession a bad name. So why can’t I find them?

Where Are All These Bad Coaches?

I’ve heard it again this week. The cry from a coach that there is ‘a whole band of bad coaches out there, stealing work from good, ethical coaches!’

These bad coaches are:

  • making unrealistic claims about what coaching can do
  • promising the earth
  • lying about, and to, their clients
  • paying for awards and other recognition
  • lying about their true fees
  • creating lead magnets to steal your email address with (to then, one assumes, put that email address to nefarious uses)
  • using psychological tricks to make you buy their coaching
  • in general being underhand in many ways to give our profession a bad name!

My answer to this is, as always, show me these coaches?

Where Are The Bad Coaches?

The interesting thing about these howls of despair is that I never see these bad coaches. That is remarkable when you consider that I spend my entire working life speaking to coaches, reading coaches’ posts on social media and generally engaging with coaches in assorted other ways.

I simply don’t see the bad coaches who focus more on peddling outlandish claims about what coaching can achieve, than they do on building their coaching skills. I don’t believe that I’m blind to them, I don’t think that there are hordes of them out there, being despicable and I just don’t notice them. If they were there in the kind of numbers that I’m led to believe they are, I would see them.

What I do see are coaches who don’t know how to market effectively and I see lots of them.

Calling Out The Coaching Profession’s Fear Of Marketing

This article is me calling it out.

I don’t believe that these bad coaches exist in the numbers that other coaches (good ones presumably?) think they do.

Also, I don’t believe that the reason the coaching profession has a bad name (which is does in some quarters) is because of outlandish claims by bad coaches.

Lastly, I don’t believe that bad coaches, with slippery marketing, have massive businesses that steal all the clients away from the good, ethical coaches.

What I do believe is that coaches think marketing is slippery and they extrapolate that belief into claims about bad coaches and outlandish promises. It means that they have a reason why they’re failing.

The Truth About Coaching And Marketing

Let me give you some facts.

  1. Bad coaching + good marketing = poor business
  2. Bad coaching + bad marketing = no business
  3. Good coaching + bad marketing = poor business
  4. Good coaching + good marketing = good business

There is no world in which bad coaches who make deceitful, outlandish claims, are stealing our clients. It’s not a sustainable business plan. Bad news travels fast and no matter how good the marketing, a bad coach will be giving refunds, or being taken to court on a regular basis.

There is no world in which bad coaches who have bad marketing skills even get off the ground.

There’s no world in which great, qualified coaches who can’t market, have fabulous businesses. Good coaching skills on their own are not enough to build a business. (Quick exception here – if a coach has monetisable credibility, they market differently – ie use their existing network – and often don’t realise that what they’re doing is marketing. It is.) To be clear about what I mean about poor marketing skills, let me explain; the coaches who talk about confidence, resilience, overcoming limiting beliefs and mental barriers, of reaching goals – that’s poor marketing.

There is a world in which good, qualified coaches who have good, ethical marketing skills succeed in finding clients. These clients go on to become raving fans and leave amazing testimonials. This is my world.

Good Marketing Is Ethical

Here’s the thing, good marketing doesn’t make outlandish claims.

Good marketing speaks to people that an individual coach cares about, about something that’s important to those people. The ‘something that’s important’ part is a challenge they face, or a problem they wrestle with that is negatively impacting their lives and which coaching can help to resolve.

Ethical marketing involves clear contracting with new clients. It involves the coach being crystal clear about what is required of the client (to actually do what they say they will) if they want to reach their desired reality.

Show Me The Slippery Marketing?

In conclusion, I’d love you to show me examples of outlandish marketing that some of us get so hot under the collar about, and I realise that calling it out in the comments is perhaps a step too far, but please DM me with examples of this terrible marketing.

I don’t believe it happens as often as coaches think it does. When it does happen, I don’t think it’s as successful as coaches think it is.

What I do believe is that coaches rage against the fact (and it is a fact) that they need to know how to market if they want a successful coaching business. They want their coaching skills to be enough on their own, but they’re not.