August 8, 2021

Is the Coaching Industry a Scam?—A Response to “F*ck Your Coaching Package.”


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Hi there lovely. I’m glad this article caught your eye.

I’m a business and leadership coach, who also has written for Elephant Journal for years.

A client sent me this article that made it to #1 on Elephant last week and asked for my thoughts, so I thought I’d add to the conversation.

In sum, the author says “f*ck your coaching package” and urges people to use extreme caution when it comes to the industry.

I believe in the author’s good intentions and desire to actually protect people, and I also see how this article risks feeding into people’s desire to tear down those they see who are actively building businesses they don’t understand (and likely don’t want to understand), as well as how harmful it can be to those who already feel the imposter syndrome, doubt and fear holding them back from sharing their stories, their gifts, their sexy photos, and their authentic offers and art (not programs they copy-pasted) into the world.

I’ve supported over 200 women on their personal growth, leadership, and business via my coaching business, which started as a podcast I had no intention of monetizing. Around the time of the podcast launch, I posted my HSV story publicly on Elephant, and it reached #1 on the site. We’ve grown organically from a $0 launch in January 2020 to $800k+ in revenue in 16 months.

Living Brave” was born out of a genuine desire to break the stigma, connect on a deep level, be creatively expressed, and share stories of people alchemizing shame into power so we can feel less alone. With the success of the podcast, I began coaching women overcoming shame, particularly the stigma of a herpes diagnosis, booked out my business (sold out and at capacity is actually a thing, not just a shady fake marketing tactic), and naturally found myself offering business advice and guidance to my community after my business grew so fast. I found I loved the work; clients were getting great results and referring friends

I see the author’s attempt to not make blanket statement accusations; that said the emotional charge and overall accusatory and one-sided nature of this post make it tough to read. From my vantage point, it feels based in blame and problem-oriented thinking versus leadership and solutions.

First, there are so many ways to run a business. Promoting on social media (a free marketing platform), telling stories that both move people and build trust with potential clients (who could actually benefit from your work), and inviting people into your offers is different than manipulative, scarcity-based marketing, and sales based in false external urgency and pain point marketing.

Life coaches, healers, conscious entrepreneurs, business coaches run businesses—they exchange services for money. What about them leveraging grounded, ethical business strategy is wrong? Having free events that actually support people while also serving as part of a launch strategy is both in service to the business owner and the client if it gets the right people in an empowered place to receive an invitation and say yes to a deeper level of support.

Sales is not inherently coercive or wrong. Sales is the moment your work becomes professional.

There are extraordinary coaches, healers, guides who use social media to inspire and promote their work—who else is going to do it for them? I’m always amazed that people spend so much time knocking individuals for promoting themselves and picking them apart—many of them who have rejected working for these massive corporations that are actually deceiving people and destroying the environment.

I actually can’t stand using social media without using it as a channel to direct people to my actual soul’s work—a podcast episode, a long-form article, a program or offer that I’m genuinely excited about. Also, please keep posting sexy pics people. I’m all for it.

I believe we all have powerful gifts to share and medicine for the right people. I also know that we are all in progress—we can lead and not be perfect. In fact, it makes us better leaders. As long as you are clear about who you are, your credentials, what you can confidently guide others through, I am confused why we are so worried about people signing on for your programs.

I trust people lead themselves to spend their money in whatever way they’d like. People spend on so much garbage, on things, on vacations, and we now want to scrutinize spending thousands on personal development, their relationships, their business, or claim that they’ve been coerced or led to be impractical…interesting.

The ageism in this article is curious as well. I understand the stereotype of the 20-something life coach. That said, I’ve worked with women from 20-60, none who’ve discriminated because of my age. They work with me because they want to. Because of the way I embody my work and walk my talk. I’m not for everyone—my approach doesn’t work for everyone.

There’s no lying, no pretending. I don’t have a coaching certification, although I’m constantly invested in my growth with time, energy, and resources. I’m committed to my growth and evolution over a lifetime. That might look like a high-level business mastermind, a solo backpacking trip, a feminine archetype program, or a masterclass on how to create emotionally safe group coaching experiences.

I love this industry. I love my work. I’m so proud of what happens in my programs—and for someone actually curious, they can go watch testimonials, connect with past clients, and read. Most people would rather just call your work a pyramid scheme than take the time to look into it. They’d rather convince themselves you’re cheating the system than reconcile that they’re waking up every day uninspired, not proud of the life they’re leading. Many have convinced themselves out of putting themselves out there, taking risks and leaps of faith, so when they see you doing it, it’s triggering as all.

None of my clients are copy-pasting my words or my offers and selling them as their own. It’s normal to be inspired by teachers and mentors you learn from—this is inspired art. I strive to be a coach who leads people back to their artistry and innovation. My frameworks are my own—there is no certification for true entrepreneurship.

I’ve helped grief coaches, trauma-informed therapists, anti-racism consultants, conscious business consultants, financial planners, men’s coaches, postpartum guides, port-addiction recovery specialists…incredibly gifted women (and a few conscious men) of integrity extend their reach and in many instances multiply their income. We need more heart-centered people with influence and resources, period.

The coaching industry is full of noise, copy-pasted ideas, and fake vulnerability…you’ll see that if you’re looking for it, everywhere.

So create your own frameworks—work with people who lead their lives and run their businesses with the values you hold true—who embody their message. I don’t care much about your certifications, I want to spend two hours with you and see how I feel after. I’ve worked with some incredible mentors and healers, and I’m so grateful for it.

It’s time we enter a conversation. I can have a six-figure per month income in my business and celebrate the hell out of that. I can be a spiritual entrepreneur who doesn’t reject capitalism or pretend empowerment for women doesn’t look like financial liberation.

I can be a heart-centered, people-centered organization, make a profit, and no one is at the bottom of the chain losing. I can share vulnerable stories about my life because I’m committed to authentic leadership, shame slaying, and living fully expressed, and yes that’s a reason people also pay to work with me. I receive messages every week if not every day, from people who will likely never pay me for my services, who benefit tremendously from the vulnerability, storytelling, and value-focused content.

Your story has the power to change lives, to save lives. Your work is important. Vulnerability is not a strategy, it’s a superpower and way of life, and it’s an amazing place to lean into as a business owner who offers intimate services to others. It makes the experience better for both parties—empowering marketing is a win-win for all.

If you don’t like something, be a part of the change. If you’d like to be a money coach who actually addresses trauma, privilege, race, identity, go be that—there are plenty of people who are willing to be the change they want to see.

I will end there. I hope this enriched the conversation for you.


The above article is in response to this one: F*ck Your Coaching Package.


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