Differentiating an imposter from the real deal!
I’ve delayed it. Thought about it. Spent hours discussing it with other professionals. But I can no longer hold back. I need to address the elephant in the room. The key word here is “fake” and I’m not talking about diamonds or Louis Vuitton handbags.
It’s a certain new breed of Professional/Life/ Health & Wellbeing Coaches that seem to be multiplying. Is it just me, or are you noticing more targeted advertising campaigns, with the next self-help guru promising a better life, financial independence or ways to attract the perfect partner? There seems to be a flood of individuals trying to be the next ‘Tony Robbins’ of their field.
Why is this? I hear you ask. Well, being an industry that’s unregulated, opens the market to any shmuk calling themselves a Coach. With social media, it’s easy for people to frame themselves as “experts” without the solid background, work/ life experience, or credentials to support their claims.
Of course I’m not pointing the finger at all Coaches, or bagging the younger generation of Coaches, as there are some great operators out there. After all, I was a new player myself many years ago and we all need to start somewhere. If it wasn’t for some great guidance, mentoring and training, I’d probably be just as clueless.
My concern is around those who do not possess the industry accredited training, work and life experience to be able to effectively coach others. What I’ve noticed about this new breed of Coach is that they are a lot savvier at self-promotion and marketing. However, in many cases, the only thing they are truly “experts” at is making themselves look like experts!
They’ve perfected the art of presenting in a professional manner, are great public speakers, very articulate and convincing in getting their point across. Therefore, they often have thousands of social media followers.
So how do we know they’re genuinely good at what they do?
If you’re considering investing in a Coach, it’s imperative to dig deeper and research their background, credentials and track record. Reality can be very different from clever advertising. You don’t want to find yourself handing over hundreds or even thousands of hard earned dollars to someone who’s all smoke and mirrors but lacks the substance, authenticity, tools and practical experience to move you forward.
How to differentiate an imposter from the real deal
Here’s my top four factors to consider when exploring working with a Coach:
- What are their claims? Is it the next get rich quick scheme? Are they encouraging you to quit your job to pursue your passion and earn millions? Are there photos of them on a beach, captioned with #livingthedream, inviting you to do the same? Do they guarantee instant health, success and happiness once you sign up to their program?
We all lead busy lives. It’s easy to be tempted by a quick fix solution, but we also know that real change takes time, commitment and needs to be constantly worked on.
- What are their credentials? This may seem a little contradictory, but in my experience, qualifications don’t always translate to success. In fact, I’ve worked with and recruited countless high performers who possess a great depth of experience without formal qualifications. BUT, here’s the catch: if I was choosing to invest in a professional Coach, I’d want to work with someone possessing recognised credentials through a certification body such as the International Coaches Federation (ICF) as assurance they’re following proven coaching models, rather than just “winging it”. Of course this goes hand in hand with having significant experience in the right job function, their level of hierarchy and industry that will best suit your needs, as well as notable personal and professional achievements.
- What’s their success rate in coaching individuals like you? You want to explore how long they’ve been coaching, who their key clients are in terms of demographic and what their track record is. A good Coach will be confident whilst also display humility, because no Coach can guarantee results. Results depend significantly on your commitment to the process.
- Who’s responding to their posts? If there’s many ‘likes’, or ‘comments’ on said Coach’s videos/ blogs, it’s worth doing some research to determine the calibre of their audience. Ask yourself; What seems to be their average age range? Are they professionals? Reading between the lines, does it seem like the bulk of comments are from supportive friends or family?
Perhaps you can ask to speak to clients who have written testimonials to confirm they’re legit. Checking out the person’s LinkedIn recommendations is a great place to start, as testimonials are highly likely to come from a real person with a real profile.
Hopefully these tips will make you think twice when a sponsored ad for the next life changing Coach hits your newsfeed and makes you think twice before clicking on their video/blog/special offer. Happy hunting!