What follows has been submitted anonymously by a community member. Please DO add your thoughts and advice as a comment ❤
My Secret Frustration:
This week I had a consult with a coach who told me I cannot be taken seriously as a life coach because:
a. I'm young. (I'm 28)
b. I haven't been through anything and have no story of overcoming.
c. I have no coaching certifications.
I'm licking my wounds and trying to find the courage to tell her how awful my experience with her was.
She showed no interest in my business ideas and went straight for all the reasons I could not as a person be successful in the business. I feel attacked and disrespected.
Is it a waste of my time to give her feedback?
Is she right? Am I too young and blessed in life with mostly positive circumstances to be a coach?
Helpful & Encouraging Responses From The Community:
Christina Lemmey of Multi-Media Content Solutions shares…
Just because you're young doesn't mean you don't have sound strategies for people to overcome different scenarios. It also doesn't mean that you can't empathize with someone and help them with their problems.
IMO you don't have to have an overcome story to be a coach. Yes, you will learn new things as you live life but every single coach starts at the bottom and works their way up.
IMO certifications don't really mean anything. If it means something to a particular prospect, then maybe they'll hesitate working with you but seems as if the majority of coaches don't have certification. Maybe that's a negative that you'll have to overcome with prospects.
IMO YES, you should give feedback to this coach. Obviously it's not a good fit with this person so I hope you're done with them. The coach should have been proactive and said they're not sure they can help due to this feedback OR they should have helped you overcome one of these objections.
Remember that this is just ONE person's opinion. Try to shake it off and continue marketing your services and building relationships. The people who need you will find you but you have to tell them you exist.
Cindy Bidar of CindyBidar.com shares…
So first, I definitely think you need to give feedback to the coach, because she is way out of line. It's possible that she was trying to be helpful, but the way you describe the experience makes it clear she needs to work on her “bedside manner.”
About her points:
Yes, you are young. But 28 isn't 12. You do have 28 years of experience to share. So maybe your ideal client is a 20-something herself who might feel she has nothing in common with an older coach.
You don't have a story of overcoming:
I call BS on this one. You don't have to suffer to be able to lead others. That's total nonsense.
No coaching certifications:
Most certifications aren't worth the pixels they're printed with, so I definitely wouldn't sweat this one. And now I'm wondering if this puppy-kicking coach was trying to sell an expensive certification program? I hope not, but I do know it happens.
The bottom line is this–if you want to be a life coach, then now is your opportunity to sharpen your coaching skills on yourself. Coach yourself through this. What would you say to someone who came to you with a similar story?
Pam Hamilton of Building Visibility shares…
IMO this person was not a very good coach. A good coach would have pointed out perceived weaknesses, but that would have come with help to figure out solutions, not to tear you down. And, that is not to say the things she pointed out were necessarily weaknesses, unless you let them be. It's all about how you position yourself.
It seems to me you have gotten a lot of really good advice here. I think that is especially true of Cindy Bidar's suggestion that you self-coach your way through this. Not only will this give you some good practice, it is your “overcoming” story you were told you were lacking, if you feel you need one.
Everything in life happens for you:
As to whether or not you should say something to her, depends. What is your purpose for doing so? Here's the thing, nothing in your life happens “to you;” It all happens for you. Even the really horrible stuff. There is something you get from the experience, that helps shape you, and make you into the person that you are, or are becoming. Yes, this person told you bad stuff. From her perspective she was telling you her truth, what she believes will hold you back. But, it doesn't mean anything, until you have a thought about it. Clearly, you found it hurtful. Is that because some part of you believes the things she said are true? If she had said no one will take you seriously as a coach because you're purple, I doubt we'd be having this discussion, because you would know she was spouting nonsense. Perhaps, as bad as this was, she did you a favor. These might be issues you need to deal with for yourself so you can be effective for your clients without that nagging at you. This is another thing self-coaching is going to help you get through. And it may be the angle you can take in your coaching practice that makes age irrelevant.
So should you speak to her, yes, if it's to give constructive criticism.
Ask if it is true, kind and necessary:
I always ask myself if something is true, kind and necessary. Constructive criticism would fit that bill. But, if it's just to tell her how awful she treated you, what's the point? Why give her the power over how you feel or felt about what she said. When you do that you are powerless in a situation you have no control over. And, believe me, if she was willing to trample your feelings in a coaching session, intentionally or not, it's not likely to get better if you complain to her about your feelings. She's not responsible for your feelings. You are.
You can choose how to feel about what she said. You can decide, not only whether what was said was true for you or not; but whether it was meant to hurt you, or motivate you to address the issues. That's all on you. So if you're thinking about reaching out to her for anything other than constructive criticism, keep you power. And, move on to doing the things you need to do to build your coaching business.
Avery Wilmer of Fearless Content shares…
Overall, I think you had a pretty valuable conversation. You just heard 3 customer objections that you can overcome in your sales copy. 🙂
So, let's flip the script right now. These could all be your ADVANTAGES…
I'm young. (I'm 28):
>> Yay! This means you're still young enough to have fresh ideas! That's not to say that someone older can't offer fresh ideas and advice. But sometimes, as you age, you risk becoming set in your ways. *says the 30-year-old*
I haven't been through anything and have no story of overcoming:
>> Yay! You're not gonna walk into a client's situation with judgement and preconceived ideas. You'll be bringing a different perspective, one that's not jaded.
I have no coaching certifications:
>> Yay! You don't know all the “right” ways to tell a client something. That means you're likely to be out of the box, creative, and original.
As an aside: certifications don't mean anything to me when I'm looking to work with someone. I simply ask, “Do I believe this person can help me?”
If the answer is yes, I reach for my wallet.
Lynn Leusch of Create Scout shares…
So much sage advice to your real and personal inquiry.
One of the first things I learned from Kelly McCausey was how “Trickster” works hard to sway our belief in ourselves. Trickster loves to steal our dreams by keeping doubt in ourselves alive. Trickster loves to use our thoughts against us. Whether these thoughts are from our own self-doubt or received from someone else.
The feedback from others in this post are such great responses to your saddened heart. I hope they re-kindle your belief in your dreams and business desires.
I have found that it is important to find the right coach for you – sometimes a coach will tell us things we don't want to hear because it sometimes requires uncomfortable change. However, I certainly wouldn't want a coach to tell me only wonderful things about myself without guiding be towards my true potential. Balance is essential, because a thoughtful and wise coach knows the importance of balancing the need of encouragement and growth (learning moments). Discernment on how you respond to what any coach says, suggests or offers rest in your court. Good, bad, easy or hard listen with an open heart and mind and take action.
Personally, I'm thinking that the business coach you are working with needs a business coach for herself on how to mentor someone with kindness, thoughtfulness and balance.
That age thing? Age is just a number. When you begin to coach, people will connect with you or not. If age is a concern for them, then there won't be a connection and that's ok, because others will.
Ditto on what has already been said regarding that “piece of paper” (certificate).
I wish for you the courage, strength and discernment to take all this information and take action that moves you towards what you feel is best and the right fit for you.
Final Thoughts From Kelly
I'm not the same person or coach today, but I remember what I was thinking at the time.
I judged her life as not being successful – which sucks. I told her people would not be attracted to her as a life coach when her life was lackluster. It makes me sick to my stomach but I want to be transparent about it all.
I offer ideas. Like what could she endeavor to do and accomplish that others would love to hear about and be inspired by? I wanted to be helpful and I honestly believed at the time that being a plain opinion giver was my role as coach. Barf!!
I can't go back and fix it. I don't remember who the conversation was with. I CAN share this with you and hope you can see that the person who gave you advice is working on bad assumptions and judgments that have NOTHING to do with you and EVERYTHING to do when them.
All of the advice from community peeps up to now has been SO GOOD!
We all have secret frustrations and I invite you to share yours. Submit your anonymous question, comment or story here.