The coaching industry has unfortunately but deservingly received a bad rap the last few years. An industry that was once hailed for it’s integrity and respected for it’s professional ethics has been tainted with sleezy sales tactics and hyped up promises for unmeasurable results in order to sell packages and programs.

It’s honestly disheartened me to my core to see an industry that can truly help so many, become a lifestyle that people idolize on social media. Coaching should be an act of service, not a life we sell through Instagram posts.

While there is nothing wrong with aspiring to be successful as a coach, whatever that means to each of us, we should spend more time investing in ourselves, our personal growth and being of service to others than posting photos from exotic locations or high end stores to flaunt the monetary results of our coaching practices.

Coaching is a privilege and shouldn’t require any hard selling tactics. Being entrusted to coach another person doesn’t require plastering a pristine lifestyle all over social media and in fact, I think that kind of marketing attracts the wrong client. When someone approaches me and wants to work with me the first question I ask them is “Why?” If their answer resembles anything like “because your life looks amazing!” it’s a huge red flag.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very blessed by my life, to be a wife and mom who chose to leave the corporate arena to pursue what God was calling for her life but it’s my life. It’s not intended to be someone else’s. I want to work with clients who wish to pursue their own definition of a happy life, not mine. A life that is being guided by what God is calling for them.

All of us, yes myself included, are in some form or fashion sharing our lives on social media as highlight reels but what is ruining this industry are coaches who sell their services and products with the “my life is perfect, I just quit my job and am celebrating on a beach in Maui” approach.

Not only is it complete nonsense because I am here to tell you that the average person who just quit their job is stepping out in total faith scared out of their mind questioning their sanity and if there will be enough money in the bank next week to buy groceries (#reallife) so to pretend it’s anything different, tarnishes the entire industry and hurts the talented coaches who really do have a tangible and valuable service and/or product to offer.

If you just so happen to be someone who is fortunate enough to quit your job and not worry about how you will pay your bills while getting a new business off the ground, that is a huge blessing and good for you but it’s still not an effective way to market because the bottom line reality is that it’s not duplicatable for most.

So here is where I’m at. I can’t change what other coaches are doing. I can’t control the hyped up ads claiming a “7 figure income in less than 6 months with my $297 coaching program” coming up in my Facebook newsfeed. I can’t focus on the fear of missing out tactics that are sucking people dry. I am only responsible for me and how I choose to show up for myself, my family, my clients and the industry as a whole. So here is what I am choosing to do: to view my practice as a way to serve others and not a lifestyle I am trying to sell.

Are you with me in leading and serving from a real, raw loving place? To use your coaching practice as a way to pick up where Jesus left off and disciple to others? Here’s what I believe coaching and discipleship have in common:

Discipleship – to not only follow Jesus Christ but to live His teachings, by living like Him you become more like Him (Matthew 16:24;1), to be a learner, a pupil

  • Jesus invited and encouraged the people around Him, He didn’t beat His chest, toot His own horn or try to be the loudest person in the room to demand that people pay attention to Him. As coaches, we don’t need to pretend to be anything we aren’t. God has equipped us with what we need and as long as we are seeking Him above all else we can serve others with the gifts and talents He has entrusted us with.
  • Jesus inspired others through His actions like washing the feet of His disciples (John 13:1-17) and being baptized by John (Matthew 3:13-17). Let your way of being, the way you live your own life and actions speak for themselves in inspiring others. As coaches, we don’t need to shout about how much we make or the lifestyles we lead in order to serve others.
  • Ask others to have faith and trust in God as their Holy Counselor. We are here to help shepherd people to draw closer to Christ. Help them build their confidence in seeking His wisdom above all else even if it means it’s not a good fit to work with you as a coach. We don’t glorify God by coercing people to buy services, products or programs. We glorify Him by putting His Will and Kingdom first trusting that as He takes care of and guides others He will faithfully do the same for us.
  • Always seek God in your own life and coaching practice. Be an example of that through how you disciple to others.   
  • Believe in what you cannot yet see. Even faith the size of a mustard seed can lead to big things when we give God room to work. Believe in your calling, in what God has planned for your life even when you aren’t quite sure what that looks like. Stay out of the trap of comparison by focusing on what others are doing (and claiming they are doing).
  • Accept with love and grace when others aren’t ready to follow you. Continue to love and support them. When the rich man refused to sell his riches and follow Jesus (Matthew 19:16-30), Jesus did not run after him and beg him. Jesus did not need to resort to desperate actions, He let the man make his own decision and loved him anyway. People will hire you and work with you when they are ready. Spend more time leading from Jesus’ example and less time chasing after people.
  • Be blessed by being a blessing. It’s never about you, how many products you can sell or your income goals for the year. It’s always about doing God’s work through the gifts and talents He gives you to be a blessing to others. Through your servant-driven coaching and shining God’s love and light into the lives of others, you have faith God will take care of your needs too.
  • Stay committed to God’s calling. As a coach you have the privilege of being the hands and feet of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27) even when people choose not to follow you, opt-in to your list, buy your coaching program or doubt you.

The coaching industry is in desperate need of more coaches as it’s estimated that 70% of Americans are unfulfilled, disengaged with their jobs and looking to pursue their own passions but we need more coaches who are authentic about the services they are able to provide their clients and those who will be just as honest about the services they are not qualified to offer.

The coaching industry is not an easy gig but it can be a very rewarding one when we take Jesus’ example to heart and focus on putting being of service to others first. There are no 10 simple steps to making 6 figures or 5 easy ways to live a fulfilling life in 30 days or less. Life changing overnight happiness can’t be bought for $997 and there are no one size fits all quick fixes so let’s make a commitment to stop trying to sell one.  

I pray this has encouraged you to re-evaluate the bigger picture and the importance your service of others can have on the Kingdom of God. How your coaching practice can be a life-long fulfilling opportunity to do God’s work, how through your own example of how you live your life you can lovingly disciple to others and by making God your life coach is all you need to rise above the unattractive noise and tactics to achieve your own definition of success while giving God all the glory.

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