Life Coaches: Ten Bad Reasons For Not Starting A Practice

I’ve had many clients who have come to me for help in getting their Life Coaching career off the ground tell than me that they’re not ready to become a Life Coach yet.

I’ve heard any number of reasons and nearly all of those are merely excuses used to self-justify an inability to push through the fear in following his or her dream.

Today I’m going to share 10 of the most popular excuses I hear from Life Coaches I either work with or who e-mail me.

I’ll also explain why if you’re holding on to any of these it’s time to implement some self Coaching (or better still hire an experienced Life Coach to help you) and get your ass into gear before you’re left wondering, What if?

1. I Haven’t Had Enough Training

I have heard this sooooo many times. It may not be coach training per se, it may be I’ve not read enough books, attended enough workshops, or watched enough demonstrations.

I have had boatloads of training in not just Life Coaching, but NLP, Hypnotherapy, Stress Management, Time Line Therapy, Core Transformation, and other such stuff.

Does that mean I have had enough training and cannot possibly improve?

Of course, it doesn’t, I can always improve, which is why I’m always reading books on social psychology, positive psychology, neuroplasticity, happiness and even Buddhism.

Any book that gives me a 0.5% improvement is worth my while reading. However, it’s a process. I’m a far better coach now than I was even as little as two years ago, and I will be better in two years from now.

Thinking of coaching like medicine, as a practice. Because NONE of us masters it, we just get incrementally better with time and experience (presuming we learn from our mistakes that is).

2. My Life Isn’t Perfect

Here are some reasons I have been given that fit into this category (and all are genuine).

  • I’m too fat
  • My marriage is a mess
  • I suffer from anxiety and/or depression
  • I need to quit smoking first.

Let me be honest and say this, being 300lbs, having a failing marriage, being depressed, and being a heavy smoker isn’t going to improve your credibility and you will need to work on improving that.

However, unless you have severe depression that isn’t managed, none of those things affect your ability to coach effectively,

And working through your own issues successfully offers a huge opportunity, because when you do so then you can talk to clients about the fact that you changed dramatically and so can they.

It’s a potential huge selling point, rapport builder and comfort factor for any of your clients who are dealing with similar issues.

I’m happy to admit, I suffered from GAD (general anxiety disorder) from the age of about 8 until 4 or 5 years ago. And guess what? It can still burst to the surface on occasion if I’m not careful.

I also nearly worked myself to death, drank too much, and partied too much in my twenties including taking my fair share of recreational drugs.

Also, I was such a miserable bastard with no ability to keep my mouth shut about the greed of corporate UK and the sales industry that after climbing to the heights of Sales Director (I guess the equivalent over here would be VP).

I then slowly worked my way back down to Sales Manager and then Sales Representative.

The fact that I have pretty much overcome all that, helps, not hinders me.

Many people can resonate with somebody who has maybe gone through what they have or are and come out the other end doing something he loves.

Somebody that doesn’t sit around grinning at everything and rushing to Tweet “I love live” every 20 minutes is actually more appealing to a lot of people.

Too many Life Coaches try and convince their clients (albeit often tacitly) that they have life nailed.

They don’t, I don’t and you don’t.

3. I’m Not An Expert In Anything

Well, thank the Lord for that because we’re not paid to be experts, in fact being an expert in the field of a client can be a huge detriment unless you are working more in a guiding/mentoring role.

I’m working with a client at the moment who is leading some highly technical cutting-edge, world-leading engineering research. When she told me what it was she did I was blown away by her intelligence and the complexity of what she’s doing.

However, I didn’t take one single note. She hasn’t hired me to help her understand the impact of sustained G Forces on the human body, she’s hired me to coach her.

Coaching often works best when we know nothing about the other person’s industry because we have no agenda and we can coach properly without feeling the need to offer half-assed advice.

In fairness, you do need to be an expert in asking questions, listening and building rapport, but a determined monkey could learn those things, so I’m pretty sure you can.

4. I’m Too Young

There are a growing number of people in their twenties moving into coaching, and good for them. They’re not intimidated by working online, they often have fresh exciting approaches and they can add value.

Will a twenty-year-old get hired by a VP of a Blue Chip Organization? Probably not, in fact it’s doubtful many people much older will feel comfortable with hiring them.

So that just leaves tens of millions of teenagers and twenty-somethings. People who will actually feel more able to relate to a younger coach.

Of course, a lot of the younger coaches may not be up to scratch, but some will be, it just takes a willingness to learn, perseverance and an understanding that it will be more of an uphill battle.

An ex-client of mine Sam Spurlin is a brilliant example of this.

If I tell you that I only subscribe to one other Life Coaches blog and it’s Sam’s, that should give you an idea of how I respect what he’s doing and his constant striving to experiment and use hard science in his coaching (he is studying Positive Psychology).

My guess is that by the time he hits 30, Sam will be a world-class coaching authority.

5. People May Not Like Me

I’m pretty sure everybody loves me. I never write controversial posts that piss people off, I never refuse guest posts from people I know, I never swear, I never complain and I never attack the status quo.

My last newsletter, ‘The Darker Side of Self Development’ got more positive feedback than anything I have ever written, but it also generated a stream of e-mails from one person who seemed to think I’m manipulative and was looking to rip people off.

I have been criticized on my blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on YouTube, on Pinterest, on the phone and face-to-face.

In the early days, it troubled me, but now I realize if I don’t polarize people I end up stuck in the middle where most Life Coaches live with no way of separating themselves from the competition.

I don’t deliberately go out of my way to wind people up, but equally, I will say what I want to say. Some people will get that and like me, a lot won’t and would rather hire Charles Manson.

Newsflash: You’re right, some people won’t like you, but they don’t know you and as such why would you care about somebody you don’t know not liking you?

Focus on the people who get your message and do your utmost to help them rather than trying to be all things to all people and offering a vanilla option of yourself.

6. I’m Scared Of Criticism When I Write

My early blog posts suck. They were poorly written, self-indulgent and the humour was forced and contrived.

Is it any wonder I’d been blogging for two years before I had my first comment?

I’m still not a good writer technically speaking, but I’ve learned how to communicate a message and connect with people. It was a skill I needed to learn and one I’m still fine tuning.

I still get criticized by people for making basic grammatical errors in my posts, but guess what? I don’t care, I only care about the message.

On the other hand, if I’m told I got a fact wrong (something that happened in the comments of this post when it was kindly pointed out I had carelessly credited John Kabat-Zinn with writing ‘Be Here Now’ when it was obviously Ram Das. that’s different.

I thank the person concerned, go back into the post and edit the error and give credit to my reader.

Every single writer gets criticized and you’ll be no different. Listen to it as feedback, ask yourself honestly if it’s relevant and if it is, act accordingly.

7. I Don’t Know Anything About Marketing Online

When I bought my domain 9 years ago I thought it was dead cool. Now I realize from an SEO perspective it sucked and has held me back ever since.

I knew NOTHING about online marketing when I started, I learned as I went along through a process of trial and error.

This is one of the main reasons I cover this off in the Coach the Life Coach course because I know I can help coaches avoid wasting the time and money I did as well as sidestepping a lot of frustration and wondering why your phone isn’t ringing off the hook.

Note: I have one place left on the final trial course starting On August 11th. After that the price will double, so let me know if you’re interested.

8. I’m Not ICF Accredited And Can’t Afford To Be

If you want to do corporate work such as business or executive coaching you may need to go the ICF route.

However, I’m not ICF accredited and I know some highly successful coaches who aren’t either. It would be a ‘nice to have, but I don’t feel like it has held me back.

I have also worked with ICF coaches who were poorly equipped to set up a coaching practice.

Do you know the only thing your clients really care about?

Can you help them?

I almost never get asked about my qualifications because I think for the large part people can see a body of work and level of experience, but more importantly, they can get a sense that we either would or wouldn’t be a great fit.

The word I hear most from client inquiries is a variation of, “Your website and what you have to say really resonated with me

If clients don’t resonate with you, they won’t hire you

9. The Timing Isn’t Quite Right

Heard this so many times and it usually means, the timing never will be right and I’ll never be a coach.

I walked away from a 6 figure salary job, 8 months prior to emigrating with no income lined up and no understanding of what I needed to do to create one.

Score one for ignorance because it helped me hugely. If I had known it would take as long as it did and eat up every last cent of our savings, I may have thought twice.

I’m not saying that was wise, but I am saying that there will always be crap going on in your life that will make you believe next month or next year is a better time to start doing something you yearn to do. It probably won’t be.

Note: I know there will be legitimate reasons for this for some people. Starting off as a coach when you’re just about to have a kid, or you have a serious illness is not very sensible and understandable.

10. I Need To Practice More

We all do and I practice every day…..on my clients.

You learn to really drive a car when you pass your test and get out on the open road, not crawling round parking lots attempting 3-point turns.

I’m amazed at how little I knew when I first started working with clients and I almost cringe at how bad I was.

The weird thing is though, I never got a single complaint or a request for money back. I also happened to see some clients get amazing results.

Either I was better than I thought, luckier than I thought, or people were just being kind.

It really doesn’t matter now because that time was so valuable to me, as is every client session, in an ongoing attempt to get better and better.

So get yourself out there and coach. Sure, do pro bono or reduced fee work to begin with, but once you see clients getting results, understand you may well be better than you give yourself credit for.

Being successful as a Life Coach is time-consuming and requires a lot of tenacity and drive because of the massive levels of competition.

However, it’s actually not that hard and if you’re holding back it’s probably because of false objections like those above rather than real reasons.

I have just written a blog post for The Fully Booked Coach called, ‘Life Coaches: 10 Bad Reasons For Not Starting A Practice’.

After I finished editing the post I realized that some of these reasons don’t just apply to new Life Coaches, but to coaches already operating.

And what I mean by that, is I work with a lot of coaches who have started in theory, but in reality, there are still nagging doubts and concerns about whether they can make it.

As such, these reasons can rear their ugly head and hijack a lot of mental energy that would be better spent attracting clients and marketing their business.

If you want to know what those reasons are please click here. Also, feel free to leave a comment if you think I’m wrong or have missed some that may have held you back in the past.

Image: ‘The Starting Line’ Courtesy of Susan Smith

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