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3 Fatal Myths About Coaching


If I had a quarter for every time one of my clients has asked me
this question, I could retire to some remote Caribbean island.

The question is: “Michael, how can I become a coach?”

Generally, I explain to them about certification programs, and change the

It’s not that I don’t believe that coaching is a wonderful way to make
a significant positive impact on a person’s life.

Rather, there are SO many misunderstandings and myths about the
profession, that I would end up spending the entire coaching session
with a client explaining to them the realities of being a coach.

So, I decided to solve the problem by addressing what I believe to be
information and personal insights regarding coaching, that aspiring
coaches should be aware of.

In some circles, I WON’T be popular after writing this post.

Myth #1   Anybody Has The Aptitude To Be A Coach

Notice that I used the word “aptitude”, and not “intelligence.” Most people
DO have the basic intelligence to be a coach. However, having the inate skill sets
that coaching requires, is a different story.

For example, many people evolve into adulthood with a desire to control
situations and relationships. They are uncomfortable when they cannot
manipulate the dynamics of their relationships to meet their needs.

An effective coach, on the other hand, must relinguish control in order
to help the client engage in introspective problem solving.

In the coaching profession, control “freaks” end up frustrated and broke.

Another example is that a coach must be inately patient. Let’s face it,
in a society that wants results “yesterday”, patience has become much less
scarce, and much more of a virtue.

Unsuccessful coaches lack the patience to allow their clients to make
“baby” steps toward personal goals. These impatient coaches tend to lead
clients toward what THEY beleive is best for the client, rather than
letting the client discover how to work through the issues themselves.

In conclusion, not many individuals are flexible and patient enough to
be an effective coach.

Myth #2  Anybody Can Make A Living Coaching

This is a popular myth that is largely promoted by individuals who sell
coach training programs.

The fact is, unless you have developed significant selling and marketing
skills, making a living as a coach is not realisitic.

Particularly when you are just starting out.

In the real world, many idealistic coaches who lack business skills may
not acquire a client for MONTHS after they hang up their “shingle”
as a coach.

Some may NEVER acquire a client, which naturally forces them to find
another way to make a living.

The peddlers of some coach training programs are so busy appealing
to a prospective coach’s desire to save the world, that they conveniently
neglect to mention the realities of actually making a living as a coach.

Bottom line: If you want to make a living as a coach, learn to sell and
promote yourself FIRST, not as an after thought.

Generally, in the real world of coaches selling to other coaches, there
are two distinct “camps”: Those that sell coaches on their coach
training program, and those that sell coaches on how to find clients.

There is BIG money in selling to other coaches. Be AWARE!

Myth #3 Coaching And Consulting Are The Same

When I am first establishing my relationship with a new client, I always
ask them to explain to me the difference between coaching and consulting.

I don’t keep statistics, but I would guess that only about 33% of my new
clients can explain the difference.

The difference is night and day.

A coach is a facilitator that helps clients initiate positive changes in
their lives. Coaches help clients take an inward journey to discover on
their own what those changes should be.

A consultant provides information, guidance and advice in order
to help a client reach specific goals.

Consultants are most widely used in the business world.

Typically, because my clients are small business owners and solo
entrepreneurs, I act in the capacity of both a coach and a consultant.

Some of my clients need help in determining the specific steps they
need to take to grow their business. Because I have 30+ years of real
world business experience, those clients benefit most from my consulting.

Other clients may be aware of the steps they need to take, but lack
the personal psychologies necessary to implement those steps.

For those clients, my coaching skills are most helpful

When all is said and done, coaching is an amazing profession that
can make a considerable difference in the quality of a client’s

However, when you are making your living as a coach, you are running
a coaching BUSINESS.

Have realistic expectations, keep your eyes wide open, work hard, and
you should do just fine.

Do you know others that are considering the coaching profession? Do you know coaches that are struggling to make a living? Are you thinking about consulting? SHARE THIS POST WITH OTHERS. Share it with your friends on Facebook, tweet it to your followers on Twitter. Let others benefit from this information that is backed by 30+ years of REAL world experience. Go ahead and leave a comment and let our community know about your experience with coaches and coaching. Has it been positive?



  1. Sandy L says:

    Michael, BRILLIANT info. It’s about time that someone told the truth about making a living coaching. It took me 6 MONTHS before I found my first client because I was clueless about the coaching business. It’s still a challenge, but I’m learning more each day. Again, THANKS!


    • Mike says:

      Thank you Sandy for your comment! Coaching is like any other business, and the sooner aspiring coaches become aware of that, the sooner we will begin to eliminate the “snake oil” types that sell people “pie in the sky” coaching programs. We know who they are. Michael

  2. Hi Michael,

    Ralph here.

    I’ve had experience with a few coaches, and I have mixed feelings. Some people call themselves coaches, and really have had no training or experience. Unfortunately, the unskilled coaches get by with it because the public is still largely unaware of what a coach should do or be. Maybe that’s changing, ya think?



    • Mike says:

      Hi Ralph, Thanks for your input. I think that the public is becoming more aware of the coaching profession, and that will lead to closer scrutiny on the qualifications of a coach. Unfortunately, educating the public sometimes moves with the speed of a glacier!

  3. Well said, Mike. Can’t think of anything at all I disagree with, so maybe I’ll try adding a corollary to the myth that anyone can make a living as a coach. “Myth 2A – If I get trained as a coach, someone else will send me all my clients.”

    • Mike says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Richard! I honestly believe that many individuals who get involved with coaching give very little thought into the realities of securing clients. Of course, as you know, once you have a client you need to keep that client active. But that’s the topic of a future post.

  4. Sebastian says:

    Thanks Michael! I am considering becoming a health coach, and you have definitely given me food for thought. As usual, really helpful info!


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