Buyers Beware

Buyers beware…even of the cited article on being aware.

Realizing it is a reporters job to sensationalize a story, and the article “Lawsuit Shines Unflattering Light on ‘Life Coaching’ Industry by NICOLE SPECTOR” needs little sensationalizing, there are some glaring points in this article that you should be leery of.  Don’t get me wrong; always beware of what you are getting into.  Always read before signing on the dotted line.  Always check sources!

A class-action lawsuit that shines a negative light on any industry is damaging to those 99% that are following the ethic route.  What’s interesting is she points out that the “field that attracts many practitioners who lack any training or certification.”  Statistics by the ICF, whom she cites later in the article, has published data that 80% of those who go through Coaching certification are not in the Coaching business one year later, for those with no training or background the percentage is even higher.  They also cite that it takes an average of two years for that 20% who might have stuck around that long to get their first paying customer.

My point is not that there are not snake-oil salespeople.  There are shysters in every industry.  But you are more likely to get a coach with a lack of experience rather than someone who is trying to bilk you out of money.  And the up-side of that is they probably are inexpensive, so you are getting some coaching at bargain price.

Here is also a problem I have with the article, the author writes “While illicit activity can happen in any industry, life coaching is particularly susceptible because it is unregulated and anyone can say they’re a life coach establish a practice, experts say.” Do you see the irony?  She writes, “…anyone can say…” and she ends it with, “experts say”.  It would make me laugh if someone out there wasn’t buying her assertions just like they bought the assertions of the Ponzi schemers.  What experts?  What makes them an expert?  Based on what authorizing body?

The author cites a business owner who said, “There is so much snake oil out there in the self-help industry, and people should definitely keep their BS detectors up,” Anna Kunnecke, chief commercial officer of Declare Dominion, a life coaching service in Portland, Oregon.”  The article does not read if this Coaching business owner is in fact certified themselves.  The very fact that they highlight the self-help industry puts reputable Coaches in a different light.  Are Mentors and Consultant part of the self-help industry?  Most reputable Coaches have more in common with consultants than they do with motivational speakers.

Then the article goes on to read, “It’s also big business. A study by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a nonprofit industry group that offers certification programs for life coaches, estimated that total industry revenue was $1.979 billion in 2012. And according to the Department of Labor statistics analyzed by CareerTrends, there were 202,360 “self-enrichment education teachers” – a category that includes life coaches — in the U.S. as of 2014.”  How is this for murky waters?  They highlight who the ICF is but don’t qualify what they mean by “estimated”.  Then to totally cast this in darkness the article cites a big number from the Department of labor.  But they say that the group they are referring to number wise also contains Coaches.  Are coaches 1% of this number, 50%, 10%.  I don’t know that the statistic they give has any relevancy in the first place, but if someone sees value in the concept shouldn’t there be some transparency?

Here might be the biggest travesty!  “Unlike a doctor or a counselor, life coaches don’t have to back up their titles with a degree. They can also earn some kind of certificate in just a couple of days.”  “Unlike a doctor or a counselor”?  Any Coach who makes a correlation between themselves and a doctor or counselor is to be avoided at ALL costs.  And any Coach who practices anything requiring a doctorate, a psychology post-graduate degree, or the like is breaking the law and should not only be reported but avoided like the plague.

The only benefit I truly read in this article was one, to those also bilked out of money by these so called business people so they can be added to the lawsuit.  And two, this quote, “For people interested in hiring or becoming a life coach, a little research also goes a long way, said Samantha Ettus, a work-life-balance practitioner.”

This author is downright insulting to people who shop for a Coach.  “Despite such advice (advice given in this article), most prospective clients are very trusting when they enter a relationship with a life coach.”  Ouch.  Further, and making coaching out to be psychological treatment, she quotes in her article, “Another reason that people may pick a life coach without doing the research is because they are emotionally vulnerable. And when people are feeling lost, they tend to lose sight of the fact that they do have something to lose if they make a bad choice, said Ettus.”  Coaching is not therapy.  Coaching is not to fix deep-rooted trauma.  Coaching is not remedial.

Now this takes the prize!  Toward the end of the article she writes, “This is as important as making a medical decision.”  What?  Now who is being disingenuous?  This is as important as making a medical decision?  What?  This is a business decision.  You don’t get a coach for psychological issues.  You get a coach to further your endeavors.  You get a coach to move forward on your vision.  You get a coach for awareness and accountability, not for something that requires a medical decision-like investigation.

Written by Shane M.D. Scott, 02/06/16.  Shane spent over 20 years in the Criminal Justice field and is also a Coach.  Shane freely admits he doesn’t practice medicine and is quite sure he never went to medical school.  No medical decision necessary.

By Shane M.D. Scott, Peak Performance Coach at Inquire about Shane’s FREE 3 week peak performance coaching offer.


Buyers Beware

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