Business Coach Vs. Snake Oil Salesman

Wow folks, I’ve just got to get this out there in a post to go on the record. I am very skeptical of business coaches, and people who train business coaches. There I said it.

My skepticism comes from watching a whole business arise in this flagging economy. Have you ever heard that old Woody Allen quote, “Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t teach, teach gym.” Well when it comes to your business, wouldn’t you want the person coaching you to have real world experience, firsthand knowledge and years of experience as a successful professional, preferably an entrepreneur who has owned and run a business? Especially if you are paying them big bucks? I would!

Placating me with motivational sayings and asking me rote questions to get me to think about my business is not my idea of business coaching. 

I think you need years of trials and errors, successes and failures in order to impart a full understanding and important insights into a business in order to help it grow. Yet all over the place there are people coaching others to become business coaches. Now if all these pupils were successful business owners in their own right who have gone from rags to riches, or built their own organization from the ground up but they just need to transition into helping others that would be one thing. But sadly, I see people who have no real world experience turning to coaches to coach them to coach…now follow that one.

How long would you want your coach to be in business for themselves before they took on the task of coaching you? How successful would you hope that their business would be before you had them coach you? How much coaching experience would you like them to have before you pay them lots of money to coach you? How much money should you pay a business coach? What should you get for that money? These are all important questions!

Even more important, what would you like your coaches credentials to be? What if their client list consisted of lots of big name companies…and yet later you found out those companies didn’t hire your coach directly or for the services that coach is selling to you? What if they worked with those companies on the periphery while working as a mid to low level employee for another business? Can they genuinely list them as clients?

Words that would come to mind for me to describe those individuals are snake oil, or bait and switch. Yet those people exist out there. They pay other coaches lots of money to teach them how to coach. Why wouldn’t they when business coaches can earn upwards of $100 – $500 per hour, and life coaches (that’s a great one…how are you qualified to coach about life) can charge between $100 – $300 per hour.  So you may not have a successful business, but if you can take enough classes and convince others to hire you you surely can create a successful coaching business, if you are motivated enough. (By money)

When choosing a business coach be skeptical. After all you are paying your hard earned cash for someone who is supposed to help you improve your business.