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Ability to Scale

The Ability to Scale podcast & blog helps founders learn how to create sales systems, generate sales leads, automate sales processes, and delegate to sales teams.

The Problem With "Coaching"


Everyone thinks they can be a coach these days.

They’ll promise an easy answer to all your problems, right up until they take your money.

News Flash: there is no easy solution in sales.

And if the coaching relationship doesn’t require much action on your part, it’s a bunch of bullshit.

Coaching involves engagement and interaction.

It involves expertise on the coach’s part.

And it requires real work and effort from both the coach and client.

Coaching can be a valuable tool, but bad coaching will leave you worse off than before.

Let’s take a look at why you need to be careful when selecting a coach, the type of value a good coach can bring, and what a productive coaching relationship looks like.

Look Out for False Promises and Lack of Experience Within the Coaching Industry

We have seen a huge rise in the “expert industry” on the internet.

They find a little bit of success within an industry and now think they’re equipped to coach others.

And since there is no technical barrier to entry, they are allowed to call themselves a coach.

Bona fides are not the most important thing when it comes to credibility.

But when you are buying coaching, you are buying expertise. 

Expertise in delivering results.

For example, someone who was a sales rep for a couple of years is very different than someone who has built a sales team. 

Their expertise and knowledge are night and day. 

There are different flavors of coaches, and those flavors matter a lot.

Watch Out for the “Over Promiser”

Some of these so-called coaches might have good intentions and want to help, but a majority will over-promise and under-deliver.

One way to spot bad coaches is if their marketing relies on promising a push-button solution with little effort required from you.

These solutions sound appealing, of course, and that’s why they know people fall into the trap.

But coaches who promise a solution without the need for work and engagement from you are not good coaches.

Their magical solution will not will not replace the fact that you still have to be involved in the fundamentals of your business.

There is no cure-all or panacea, running a business is complex.

When someone says they have The Answer, run away.

Coaching can’t be one-size-fits-all.

There are differences in how we retain knowledge, and how we like to engage.

Many of these coaching models focus on getting as many people into the program as possible instead of focusing on how to get results for unique individuals with different businesses.

They build their programs this way because they know it’s easier to trick a lot of people with a painful problem than it is to deliver a result for a diverse group of students.

Beware of the Echo Chamber

I see it all the time.

These self-proclaimed coaches who have implemented bits and pieces they learned other experts, slap a trendy name on it and pretend it was their idea.

They all end up sharing the same information or tactics as all the others. 

Then they build up their reputation by cross promoting with a bunch of other “experts” and all praising each other. 

The circle pumps each other up, but there’s no “there” there, just different branding.

There’s nothing unique about what they bring to the table.

It might seem like these people are offering a sexy solution, but if they’re selling their program that way, it’s a big red flag. 

Chances are good they’ll be heavy on promise and light on deliverables.

Accountability Can’t be Bought

Accountability might be part of a successful coaching relationship, but accountability to a broken system won’t get you anywhere. 

Coaches using accountability as their main selling point are selling false goods.


Because motivation is intrinsic.

Your coach needs to be willing to put in the effort to help tap into your deeper motivations.

Accountability is secondary to the more fundamental elements of change.

Every coach will try to keep you accountable for projects or deadlines, but not many will put in the work to help you understand why and how you can change.

That’s what you need

If you’re not changing the way you do things, accountability is bullshit. 

What You Should Expect from a High Quality Coach

Coaching Requires Interaction and Engagement

Coaching can’t just be a series of online modules you work through or weekly emails from your coach.

Coaching is about forming a relationship with the client, understanding where they are in their journey, and what their barriers to success are.

That doesn’t happen in one-size-fits-all training program.

There needs to be personal attention.

If your coach doesn’t seem like they can give you the time of day, they’re not going to really help you grow, and...they might not care.

A Coaching Relationship Requires a Balanced Effort Between Coach and Client

Some of the bad coaches out there will blame you if you’re not seeing results.

They’ll say your mindset is holding you back.

They’ll say it’s your fault and take no accountability.

If you know someone like that, RUN!

A real coach puts in the effort to make sure you succeed.

And guides you on where your effort and work should be directed.

They take responsibility for your growth. 

It’s a team effort.

There needs to be a balance. 

When you show up committed to the process, a good coach will work with you to figure out your unique situation.

The power of good coaching comes from these personal interactions.

Not from the sidelines.

Not from a “check in” or “roll call.” 

Transformative change happens through relationships and intimately understanding you and your business.

Your coach should always be finding ways to engage with you more, ways to give you the attention you need...

And give you the reasons why you need to put in the work in overcoming your obstacles.

The ones who succeed with coaching have a coach that will show up every week and do the work.

What Should a Coaching Guarantee Look Like?

Everybody offers a money-back guarantee these days. 

But business owners are less worried about wasting money than wasting their time.

Entrepreneurs are already strapped for time, and they want some sort of guarantee that they will see results if they enter a coaching relationship.

So what should a guarantee look like from your coach?

What a good coach can guarantee is progress based on your efforts.

Not your money back if you fail...

If you slack off and don’t put any time or effort into making change, then you shouldn’t expect results.

But if you show up for the meetings and work hard to apply the skills and knowledge you’re learning, then your coach will guarantee to work even harder to help you succeed.

People who put in the effort will see results with a good coach.

If you are coachable, you’ll be coached to success.

The level of coaching will be as intense as you need it to be and will reflect what you are willing to put into it.

That’s a good coaching program.

Find a Coach but Be Cautious

A great coach finds abilities in his client and magnifies those abilities. And puts them in a system that lets them focus and build those strengths.

A mediocre coach takes a talented client and puts him into the system no matter what.

A horrible coach just takes your money and doesn’t care if you perform.

There’s a lot of garbage coaches out there, but there are also great ones.

Wherever you are on your journey, a good coach can help.

Many of your business heroes used coaches because they understand that a coach may be able to see things they probably aren’t able to.

A good coach will find your weak links, show you a way around them, and push you to succeed.

It takes some effort to find the right one, but it’s well worth it.