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Business Coaching: Beware of the Scammers (Tips to Avoid)

November 29, 2020 / Comments (0)


When all is said and done, what you are really hiring when you hire me as your business coach and mentor is my instinct.

Neil Franklin 20202

We all have access to the same Internet and the information it provides…plus we can all choose to educate ourselves to the degree we choose, but it’s the application of that education and knowledge that makes the difference and how many times have you heard someone explain:

” I don’t know why, but it just feels right.”

Not the scientific explanation I know you want to hear, but science does have its limitations!

Being able to tap in and use your instinct will make a huge difference in your life as a business coach and it will give your clients the edge that they need…because your instinct is the real and undefinable difference between you and your competition.

But…there is a “movement” of people who are determined to take this intrinsic and critical factor out of the game and to systemize the process of business coaching, mentoring, and consulting…read on!

I receive more than my fair share of cold sales calls on both my mobile and landline numbers, so I know how annoying they can be, but as a former “cold caller” myself, I know how hard it is to do the job.

I am always polite to callers unless they are absolutely pushy or rude and there is a kind of honesty with most of them, especially when I ask them to get straight to the point and tell me what they are selling, which with one cold-caller ended up with him selling me a case of wine!

I am exactly the same with door-to-door callers as I was one myself and I remember nearly forty years ago knocking on people’s doors trying to generate leads for the home improvement companies I was representing.

It’s a tough job again that can bring value to some people, but most are not happy to have their evening meals interrupted or their television viewing.

As a business coach and mentor, I cannot help myself engaging with the callers and congratulating them on their approach, or offering a bit of advice here and there — it’s in my blood, so to speak.

But what annoys me the most these days are the endless adverts I see on social media which make bold and to me, unrealistic promises such as how to incapacitate an attacker in seconds, learning how to trade currencies after attending a few seminars and subscribing to their trading algorithm and learning how to become a business coach or mentor.

All of these are possible by the way, without having any previous experience.

And all three of these examples are extremely personal to me — as a martial artist of nearly forty years, I know how difficult it is to learn and apply techniques in the real world; my wife was a former currency trader who worked for a major international bank and knows first-hand how difficult it is to trade, how much risk is involved and how retail traders are trading against massive institutions who have developed their own algorithms over the years through hiring some of the best mathematical minds and of course there is yours truly, who has been an entrepreneur for almost the same time as I’ve been a martial artist and have the battle scars to prove it!

In this article, I am going to focus on business coaching and it’s all about helping you to be aware of the tactics that are being deployed by unscrupulous marketers in an attempt to part you from your money — if you are looking to embark on a career in business coaching and if you are an end-user client of a coach or coaching system.

Business coaching and mentoring can be a fantastic career, plus a good business coach can take your business to the dizzy heights of profits and success…but the industry is not cut out for everyone.

We are in the toughest and most challenging times I have ever seen — I have survived 3 recessions and a few other events that would challenge anyone, but I have never witnessed an economic climate like this, so you need to be prepared for what’s coming.

The coronavirus pandemic has no doubt played its part in shattering the economy, but the cracks were visible long before the virus emerged, as this article in the Washington Post discusses.

Margins were being eroded for many companies and you only have to look at the challenges the largest corporations were and are still facing to maintain their profitability and shareholder value — they have to increase sales and reduce costs and that means reducing people.

The business coaching industry, therefore, has a ready-made problem that on the face of it, needs solving and this is where the “how-to” market offers a way out for people who are being made redundant with cash sums…the marketers are ready and waiting to prey on their unsuspecting victims.

I am being realistic here and not cynical and my heart goes out to all of the “real” people who are providing coaching, mentoring, and consulting services for the right reason and with integrity…but I believe the market is becoming saturated for the reasons I have talked about and I am no stranger to the Internet economy, especially the marketing side as I have been involved with it since inception.

So I must also give a shout out to the genuine Internet marketers who operate professionally, with integrity, and who genuinely want to help people and companies with their online journey — I mention a few of them later!

The days of the snake-oil salesman and other hawkers are supposed to be behind us, but with some of the tactics used by marketers today, I can see how they are spirited back to us.

The “how-to” market is becoming bigger than the real market of providing proper business coaching, mentoring, and consulting services…at least in my opinion.

Business coaching online

Business-Coaching-Online

 

I’ve just sat through yet another ninety-minute webinar talking about how their “system” can help anyone earn a very nice income in the world of business coaching and business mentoring.

I don’t know why I continually subject myself to these torturous events…actually I do and it’s primarily for the benefit of my readers as well as providing me and my nearly one-year-old Cavachon puppy with a little light entertainment.

Young Amber puts her head on my shoulder and listens intently to these presentations and I hear the odd sigh and see some looks of disapproval…in my own mind at least!

Anyway, back to more serious matters.

This webinar followed the normal format of:

  • Having a “backstory,” where the presenter talks about the struggles they’ve had in life and how they overcame them to make their riches.
  • An incredible “offer” making the claim that “anyone” can achieve their success if they follow the same formula.
  • A shed-load of testimonials.
  • A stack of “one-time” offers that are massively inflated in value, only to provide the framework to offer a discount later.
  • A one-time offer of “buy today” before it’s taken down.
  • A price that ends in a “7.”

Now, I am talking generally here because they are all different and if you want some entertainment to join me and Amber, then take a look at this guy, Mike Winett — he has a channel that exposes to what he terms the “contrapreneurs,” as well as featuring some interesting genuine entrepreneurs.

At the time of writing this, there is a featured video on his channel with Gary Vaynerchuck speaking, who in his own eloquent terms explains that the reason these people (contrapreneurs) are making so much money is that people are buying their courses believing that there is a magic formula to success — I will let you view it to get the spirit of his rant!

I’ve always been a fan of Vaynerchuck ever since I found the guy online in the early 2000s and what I liked about him was his no-nonsense approach and his willingness to give away all of his information for free and if you needed his help, you could hire his agency — the same is true of Neil Patel, who to this day does exactly the same.

And because I am a passionate golfer, I will talk about another Internet veteran called Shawn Clement, who is a golfing professional based in Canada.

I found Clement in the late 2000s on YouTube and he used to produce, from what I remember, monthly lessons breaking down his version of the golf swing in great detail — he would also answer questions and this was in stark contrast to the many other golf instructors who were selling membership programs…his information was totally free and he built up a large following and became the first golfer to reach a million views on YouTube.

Finally, I must mention the person who inspired me to start this blog and who has and continues to help me along my blogging journey, Fernando Raymond.

Fernando is a digital entrepreneur based in London, UK, and owns an Internet marketing company, a hosting company, plus an online education platform and he is also someone who provides a ton of free information.

You have to be able to distinguish between the real guys and the ones that will make those outlandish promises that always seem to be too good to be true.

Also, you have to emotionally detach yourself from the process, and in the words of one of my favorite characters of the TV show, Star Trek apply…

Logic.

Thank you, Mr. Spock!

If you simply look at what it takes to gain any form of proficiency in almost anything, then you will realize that It takes an awful lot of hard work, dedication, and experience to gain the necessary skills to give you any chance of success.

Growing up in a musical family, I was taught classical piano from the age of 7…but what always fascinated me were the drums.

It took me twenty-seven years from that point to start learning how to play the drums and I remember my teacher patiently trying to explain to me that it would be around 3 years before I would be able to demonstrate a real and confident playing ability — despite the fact of my already classically-trained background.

He was right!

So how in this world are you going to learn to be proficient in the art of business coaching from the starting point of a webinar and then a “system” that will take you step-by-step through the process of in their reality, earning you a substantial income?

Or attending a series of weekend coaching courses to gain certification?

Or even buying a business coaching franchise where you will be able to use a proprietary system and/or methodology for an up-front fee of course, which is then going to be applied to businesses who are going to pay you, plus you are going to pay the franchise an on-going fee to continue to use the system?

It’s not going to happen and you cannot buy your way into success.

Business coaching can absolutely be delivered online and it should provide real and clear value to the people or companies you are delivering it to, but you must absolutely make sure that you have the real and necessary experience to deliver that value…from being in business yourself and learning the hard way, as to how success is achieved.

And forget about the promises of riches — we are in extremely tough times and money is tight.

When I needed business coaching, there was nobody around to help me that I could afford — but I was lucky enough to be mentored by a couple of people who had “walked the walk and talked the talk.”

Right now I am delivering online mentoring and coaching services to a cold start-up in the US.

And we also spend ninety minutes each and every day on the phone, seven days a week, because the person in question is hungry for knowledge and to take every precaution to avoid the pitfalls of failure — as I have been through both success and failure and lived to tell the tale, he will take my advice and opinions to help him cement his success.

I am not hiding behind an “accelerator program,” nor am I restricting access to me within certain hours or limiting it to certain days per week — it’s a genuine 24/7/365 days of the week program.

Whether online or not, the world of business does not have a clock, and problems, feeling,s and anxieties will occur in real-time and it is my job as a business coach and mentor to help clients overcome their problems and challenges and more importantly, to prevent them — it’s done in real-time.

Ninety minutes a day is really a small price to pay for business advice and mentoring compared to say, an athlete, who may spend five times as much, or more, trying to perfect their technique!

And by the way, my fees for doing so are nowhere near the eye-watering amounts that some of these coaching programs suggest you should charge for the services they will teach you to provide — I operate in the real world and so does my pricing.

Business coaching services

Business-Coaching-Services

 

Let me explain to you how I believe a real business coach and mentor will help you accelerate your profits, growth and manage risk, plus give you my advice on how to become a coach yourself.

First, I divide all business coaching, mentoring, and consulting into 2 sectors:

  1. Technical — this is where you are addressing the problems that can occur in each business function — sales, marketing, finance, technology, service and support, risk awareness and management for example, and then you may have specific sub-areas of expertise such as taxation, which will fall under finance but is a huge area in itself, especially for businesses that operate internationally.
  2. Personal — this is where the focus is on the person(s) and to help them overcome the personal challenges, anxieties, fears, and helping them to develop the correct mindset to take them from where they are to where they want to be.

Now, in my opinion, here is where many coaches go wrong and where clients can have the wrong perspective when they are looking to hire a coach, consultant, or mentor.

Each of the component parts above is interconnected — if you hire a sales and marketing expert to recruit, train and develop your sales team, then they must understand the impact it will have on finance and especially credit management.

If you are going to hire a technology consultant, then they must understand the DNA of your existing and potential customers in order to make sure that the technology is not only relevant but that it will improve the overall customer experience and not just be a “must-have” because the technology is new and looks good.

If you are a finance expert, then you must understand the intricacies of all types of finance — debt, equity, and asset-based lending as an example, plus you must understand how the company will utilize that finance to gain the maximum return and most importantly, whether the company actually needs it!

I have seen and heard of many instances where greedy finance “experts” has persuaded business owners and CEOs to raise finance simply to earn fat commissions.

As I have said, each part of your business is interconnected and I have just focussed so far on the technical aspects.

Next, you have to connect the personal ones and this is where the greatest challenges occur because you are dealing with people and human emotions.

I have seen many business owners who have a huge technical capability and who have reached the dizzy heights of success only to crumble in a heap when they have to face a sudden, unexpected challenge and I have seen this happen too many times.

Mental toughness and resilience are hot topics right now, simply because so many people are feeling the adverse effects of the day-to-day pressures of life, let alone business — I address these points from my own experiences and simply by sharing my story as to how I overcame the challenges in the hope that I can inspire others.

I hope you can see that there is a lot more to business coaching, consulting, and mentoring than meets the eye, whether you are an aspiring coach or a person or company that is looking to hire one.

The best coaches, by the way, are the ones who work in anticipation…they have a huge amount of expertise and experience and through those qualities, they are able to see problems before they occur and manage risk accordingly.

They do not need to have exploratory meetings to ask questions that they already have the answers to or do they come with mountains of systems, procedures, and methodologies — they will rapidly get to the heart of the problem and then provide a solution.

They will also understand the immense personal challenges that business owners face and will continue to face because they have been in their shoes and survived.

The best consultants will do the same in their own specialist areas of expertise.

Now I must add that I am not saying that systems and methodologies are unimportant because they form the backbone of the technical side of coaching…just that they need to be applied and have to work in real-time and they must stand the “test” when the “bullets fly,” so to speak.

If you are looking to become a business coach, mentor, or consultant then I suggest you take the following into consideration:

  • Become as commercially aware as possible.
  • Make sure you are a true subject matter expert.
  • Ensure that you can communicate your expertise and experience in a manner that can help and inspire others and this is the most challenging part because sometimes it takes a multitude of approaches to deliver the message.

Business coaching, mentoring, and consulting are extremely rewarding careers and if you are a business owner, then I would suggest you get as much help as possible.

But…beware of the “too good to be true” offers and scammers!

Please share this article if you feel it is of value and contact me if you want to talk about the real world of business coaching.

Related:

“An Entrepreneurs Guide to Hiring and Becoming A Coach.”

“Growth Mindset: How to Develop a Powerful Mind.”

neiljcfranklin@gmail.com

Neil Franklin

Neil Franklin-Entrepreneur

Last modified: December 3, 2020

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