Online business

Coaching, Consulting and the Current Chaos of Online Business

We’re back! And a lot has happened since our last season. In this episode, we’re digging into the world of online business coaching and how things have gone seriously off the rails.

Recession proofing your business

Welcome to Season 4 of Duped. We’re back, and we couldn’t be more excited about what we have planned, as this season, we’ll be diving into the world of online business scams.

In our first episode, we want to talk about how business coaching has gone seriously off the rails, along with a rundown of what’s happening right now in the online space.

Before we get into it, we should probably do a quick update on a few things, especially as our original plan was to drop season 4 in October/November, and life got in the way.

The other thing we want to share with you is that you can expect some fun new changes around Duped for this season. Starting with, we now have a Patreon! For $7 bucks a month, you can join our community for behind-the-scenes content, including monthly bonus episodes and more.

As we planned this season, we saw a need for some bonus content, as well as a community to have conversations around the show. We don’t expect this to be a big money maker but to provide a way to create community with you and hopefully cover our production costs.

Our very first bonus episode is ready for you, where we talk about why we created Duped, our backstories in this industry (including a few stories we’ve not shared before), and some fun updates for 2023!

Here’s the link again for the Patreon. We hope you’ll join us.

Friends, a lot has happened since we last recorded this podcast. Towards the end of last year, we saw more and more callouts of coaches, and things are starting to pick up speed. And while we don’t name names on this show, it illustrates how very messy the coaching industry has become.

Before we go any further, we want to say this. We’re not talking about all coaches. There are many experienced, qualified, and simply amazing coaches out there.

But a few things are happening within the coaching space right now that are concerning from a consumer point of view, and frankly, it makes it harder for the rest of us who are offering legit services.

Coaching That’s Not Really Coaching At All

Over the past few years, we’ve seen coaching be twisted into something that’s not coaching. Coaching has become a catch-all term for anyone who helps you with your business.

This results from people working with “coaches” who don’t know anything about offering done-for-you services or other business models, so they coach their clients into becoming coaches. Part of the appeal of this is that coaches tend to be at the top of the pricing food chain in this market.

We end up with consultants, creatives, and teachers all falling into the coaching category when they’re not coaches. Hell, a lot of the people who are so-called coaches at the top of this industry aren’t even coaches. 

This is where a key point comes in. Coaching is NOT about providing advice. The International Coaching Federation is very clear that the role of a coach is to empower their clients and that coaching is NOT consulting. What’s interesting is that nothing in the code of ethics says they cannot give advice.

However, the code of ethics does ask coaches to “check for relationship conflicts that result from dual roles. It is inappropriate and confusing and may even be unethical to switch roles during a coaching conversation. People in dual roles need to pay more attention to the partnership to ensure clear boundaries.”

By these standards, coaching is not providing advice. Yet, that’s what most business coaches in the online space do.

Coaches Out of Scope of Practice

This next part will likely get messy but stick with us. For years, the industry has been minting life coaches by the 100s, as an increasing number of certifications sell the “business opportunity” of becoming a coach. Honestly, many of these people want to have a business and help people, but they can’t get traction as life (or health) coaches.

What happens next is entirely predictable. They pivot into business coaching as that’s seen as the most lucrative opportunity when they have no experience running a successful business.

Remember a second ago when we talked about how coaching is NOT providing advice? These life coaches turned business coaches would be way less problematic if they stuck to true coaching, but they don’t. They could be a life coach for business owners, but instead, they declare themselves as money coaches or marketing coaches and teach their clients their blueprint based on a pile of bullshit.

Coaches Who are Full On Scamming

Bringing it back to the coaches we were alluding to at the start of the episode, there’s an entire group of BS coaches out there that are full-on scamming.

These people are not qualified as coaches, they have no business teaching business, and all they do is come up with new grifts so they can pay big money to their coaches. It’s a pyramid scheme involving five and six-figure payments to their coach upline.

This season, we’re going to talk more about the many scams these coaches are running. You can quickly identify these coaches by their IG bio that says “7-figure money mentor”. They spend their days telling you that you need to invest in your dream, along with how much money they made today in “cash.”

Before You Hire Any Coach (Especially for Your Online Business)

Coaching has become a catch-all term in the online business world, and it’s doing us all a significant disservice. I’ve seen so many people hire coaches when what they need is a consultant or a specialist in a specific area.

You need a coach if you need someone to work with you on your performance. Coaches should not be providing specific advice or teaching you. Keep in mind that many of the people that call themselves coaches who are teaching have minimal hands-on experience, and they’re generalists. They won’t understand the complexities and nuances of your unique situation.

You need a consultant if you need specific guidance on an area of your business. Consultants are ideal if you need someone to look at the overall strategy or an element of your marketing, sales, or operations. They will provide direct, customized advice for your business.

You need a specialist if you have a specific business problem you’re looking to solve and need hands-on help addressing this challenge.

Keep in mind that both consultants and specialists should be an expert on a defined topic with a clear set of qualifications.

The reality is that when you’re looking for help, you need to dig past “I need a coach” as a catch-all and use what we’ve talked about to get ultra-clear on what your problem is and what type of help you need most.

For years, something that has annoyed me about the coaching industry is that people spend all their money on people who don’t help them implement. Then when they need hands-on help for their business, they don’t have the budget needed.

Questions to Ask Before You Hire Anyone

To wrap up, here are questions to explore BEFORE you hire anyone to help you with your business:

  • What Type of Help Do I Need? Is this about performance, or do I need specific help with an area of my business? Do I need help implementing it? 
  • Is This Person a Coach, Consultant, or Specialist? Look beyond what they call themselves and get familiar with the differences between these roles. Not everyone is a coach! 
  • What Skills and Experience Do They Have? Dig into their qualifications and background to understand what makes them someone you should rely on for coaching or other help. 
  • Are They Operating Within Their Scope? This is a big question, but it’s relatively easy to explore because if someone claims to be a coach when they’re a teacher, it should give you pause as to their role and what they have to offer you. (And if someone doesn’t support you 1:1, they are NOT your coach. They’re something else entirely.)

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