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Life Coaching Certifications: Signs of Expertise or Just Sharp Entrepreneurship?

April 9, 2024

I’m sure in the last few years, you’ve seen this phenomenon of life coaches emerging and circling the Internet, self proclaimed life gurus that are going to help solve all of your problems.

According to the American Dictionary, the definition of a, quote, “life coach” is a person who counsels or motivates others in the achievement of personal objectives, such as choosing or changing careers, improving relationships, setting goals, and determining priorities. Another piece of this definition describes a life coach as a professional who helps clients to achieve their personal goals.

And I decided to do a deep dive into what exactly qualifies a life coach because, like I said, there are lots of people out there, some of which I know, that are or were once part of my network marketing company, some of the top in our network.

And I know this is amongst all other companies out there, not just mine.

Life Coaching as a Profession or Sales Pitch

You know, it’s not exclusive to mine. And I wanted to see, like, what that even means. Right? And I found one website that I just happened to stumble upon during my Google search, and they said this is a quote from their website.

“Most aspiring life coaches we meet tell us the same thing. They are passionate about helping people, but they’re just not sure they’re qualified or capable of becoming a life coach or what type of life coach certification is needed.

 

We felt the same way when we first started. The truth is you can do this. You have everything you need to kick off your life coaching career and get it off the ground. And in this blog, we’ll show you exactly how. If you would like more information on life coaching, contact us today.”

Okay.

So when you hear that, what does it sound like to you? We’re telling anyone and everyone that they can become a life coach. Excuse me? I think most of us are just trying to, like, take it day by day and literally don’t have it figured out.

I mean, does that even make sense that anyone can do this? Think about how many people in your own circle that you would never, in a million years, ever take advice from. But, yeah, this website’s like, yep. They can do it too.

And I’ll be real with you. Like, this quote in and of itself, the way it read to me, if you listen to the inflection of my voice when I read that quote to you, I did that purposefully because on the website, they’re putting extra emphasis on those words in capital letters. K? So to me, right, this whole thing sounds like a sales pitch.

And not only is it a sales pitch, but it is one that is eerily familiar to the one that network marketers get heat for pitching to prospects or recruits to join their team and join their company.

I’ve been social selling for over a decade, and I got my start in health and fitness in a network marketing company that promotes health and fitness. K?

And I can tell you straight up that with my particular company, if you aren’t a product of the product, moving your body daily, eating relatively clean, and using the supplements, full stop, you will not be successful at any level in that company.

And that goes for most things and most companies that you align yourself with. Right? Like, for example, I’m a golf professional as well.

So imagine taking a golf lesson for me where I’m charging you $160 per hour and up, and I couldn’t even hit a golf ball. Can you imagine anyone becoming a golf professional? Like, telling someone that? No.

Like, we were all given certain unique skills and talents and abilities, and that’s why there aren’t 50,000,000 golf professionals.

That’s why not everyone in network marketing is successful. That’s just life. And as you, the listener, have probably heard me preach over and over again, yes.

You can 100% find success in network marketing, and it is a fantastic launchpad for other avenues to create multiple streams of income.

But the reality is most people will not end up in the 1% of success stories of those of us who have made multiple 7 figures.

And they preach it to you like you can do it too. Maybe you can, but more than likely you’re not going to. That’s just how it is.

That’s life. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, which is why I don’t think anyone could go into network marketing or life coaching thinking, hey, this person told me anyone can be successful. You know?

That’s like telling your kid, oh, you know, who is 5 foot, 5 foot 1. Oh, yeah. You can be in the NBA. Like, hello? No. And I just think it’s very manipulative.

And, you know, in speaking with, like, the network marketing industry, like, it gives the industry a very bad name because you have people out there promoting, oh, anyone can do this. You can be successful like me, and it’s just not the truth.

And then what’s even scarier is, you know, that’s network marketing. Right? Where what’s your investment? At most, $200.

But this type of thing is going on in life coaching, where someone isn’t just buying a month of supplements or shampoo or fitness programming or some, you know, some kind of nontoxic cleaner. Right?

But rather, they’re leaning into someone who’s convincing them, hey, you can do this too. Learn from me.

I’m gonna help you change your career, improve your relationships, and help you determine your priorities. Like, that’s a lot heavier than freaking shampoo and mascara.

And life coaching and coaching in general is a very popular and growing profession.

So I’ve been a coach since I was 22 years old, and the term coach is very near and dear to my heart. If you don’t know, I started at 22 as the youngest division 1 head golf coach in the country.

And then that transitioned into becoming a professional golfer and, obviously, teaching my students.

And then that expanded into social selling, and that’s what I’ve been doing online for the past decade. Like, using those tools in my tool belt, but it’s all rooted into that first step of being a mentor to those 8 to 10 women I had on my team every year at the starting at the age of 22.

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Diversity and Cost of Life Coaching Programs

And according to a 2020 survey that was conducted by the International Coaching Foundation, the ICF, there were 71,000 coach practitioners globally in 2019, which was a 33% increase from 2015.

So imagine in 2019, that was 5 years ago, there were 71,000 and was an increase of 33%. Can you imagine what those numbers are today?

Considering it feels like to me, every Tom, Dick, and Harry considers them some sort of coach these days, whether it’s a life coach, business coach, toddler coach, a hormone guru.

Like, they’re switching out the term coach with these other synonymous names, like I said, expert guru, yada yada yada.

And I went on Forbes Health, and I found an article, and I looked up some of the pricing for these life coaching courses.

Because I was like, you know, what is this? Because I even know of someone who has created their own life coaching certification, and I know that one’s, like, $15,000, and I know that there are people in my industry that, quite frankly, weren’t even part of that 1% that I was talking about that I’ve achieved of financial success within my personal network marketing company.

And I’m like, how the heck did these people drop $15,000? Because don’t forget. For you to drop 15, you gotta make 30.

So how are they making that type of investment? And it’s just wild to me because I know that this certification is fugazi fugazi. Like, it’s not… it’s pixie dust. It doesn’t exist. Okay?

And so that was one extreme, right, of someone that I personally know who has created this course, the people I personally know that have gone through this certification program in which by the way, I’ll be real with you.

They’re in the same dang place that they were a year ago, but I digress. It’s not like they’re all of a sudden the top of this company. It’s not like they’re all of a sudden creating all of their own multiple offers. Like, no.

They’re still that hamster on the wheel, and they thought that this would be the thing that accelerates them, the life coaching.

So in this Forbes Health article, one of the programs I looked up was a one time payment of 5,450 or $850 per month for 7 months. And the program length was about 6 months, and you were committing about 5 to 7 hours per week, and it was self paced.

Another one was, like, $4,300 payable in full, or you could do it in 3, 7, or 9 installments. And this program length was 22 weeks, but it was with 30 in class hours.

And then they would have approximately 2 to 5 hours of homework per week.

Then I found, like, a less expensive one for $1,295, and you would become a certified life coach, or you could combine it with their master program, which was $2,595, which, by the way, side note, like, whenever you that $5 less, like, that’s a sales pitch right there. Okay? Just letting you know.

Like, as soon as you see 99 or 95, that’s… in the brain automatically sees that price and thinks, oh, that’s not that bad. But if you saw 2600, you’d be like, oh, it’s very weird. It’s $5, but it makes a difference.

There’s your little business tip for the day.

And so that program was, 33 hours of trading or 37 if you were adding on the master program.

So I’m giving you, like, some of the most extreme that I know, like 15,000. And then, also, like, here, this, like, call it, like, you know, 20-2600 or the certified life coach was 1300, call it.

Now let’s do a little comparison to what a clinical therapist goes through to get their certification versus, like, what I just described for this life coach certification.

Varying level of commitment and financial investment needed for licensed therapists and life coaches

I’m not gonna dive into psychiatry because psychologists, it’s just a different animal. Yes. They’re doing many of the same things, but they’re the next level up because they’re prescribing pharmaceuticals to the patient, which clearly, you’re smart enough.

You understand that that’s next level career wise. Therefore, time, education, money that they’ve had to invest. Right?

So I’m not trying to compare that to life coaching because it’s apples and oranges.

So, first of all, like so with a therapist. Right? After graduating high school, it typically takes 7 to 15 years to become a therapist or a counselor.

And the reason why there’s such a range, you know, discrepancy there is because the degree requirements for counselors depend on what type of counseling you want to do. Like, what area do you wanna study, or, you know, like, hone in on. Right?

So, for example, if you want to be a school or career counselor, you need a master’s degree in counseling or a related field.

And then with a specialization in career or school counseling. So boom. I mean, figure that out. Like, you have 4 years undergrad. You have another 2 years or plus.

You know, it could be 2 to 3, depending… on your masters. And then many schools, they prefer their counselors to have teaching experience before they get licensed.

So you’re just seeing, like, father time, like, boom boom boom boom boom add up. Right?

So you’re literally talking 4 plus 2, and if you’re getting a doctorate, that’s like another 5 years plus the experience. That’s a lot different than a program that’s freaking 6 months. Okay?

Not only that, but therapists are state licensed professionals. Coaches are not. I mean, I should have told you.

I know of this one coaching program where, literally, it’s made up. It’s just this person’s name, and he, you know, created his own certification.

And it’s not to say that he’s not skilled at what he does. He’s one of the best salespeople I know.

But what I’m saying is he and he’s not the only person that does this. Like, they’re made up schools. Whereas if someone is going to become a licensed therapist, like, they’re going to legit accredited universities. I’m someone who has an MBA.

Trust and believe. Like, when you go and get your masters, like, you’re putting in the time, the energy, the commitment, the finances for it. So it seems like many people assume that they can become a life coach.

Remember they said anyone can do this because they exhibit many of the same skills as a therapist. You know?

I’ll be real with you. It’s very easy to find people on the Internet who have solid communication skills. They know you know, you either they’re exhibiting compassion or, God, I hope they’re actually compassionate people. But they have that.

Like, they know how to communicate and speak well. They’re resourceful. Right? Remember I told you a lot of this is sales. Like, that quote I used in the beginning, like, that is a sales pitch through and through.

So they understand how to communicate. They understand pricing. Right? They understand marketing. And these skills are the type of thing you see many of your top influencers displaying.

I’m just saying. Right? But there’s a big difference between the 2.

So one group went to school for years and years and put in that time and, like I said, all that effort and finances and had to take all these tests and, you know, be reviewed. Right? I’m sure they had to be observed. I know if they’re teaching, they have to be observed. Right?

And they learned non biased tools to help their clients, whereas the other is giving you advice based upon what they’ve been through.

Or, like I said, said person whose life coaching certification is. Right? It’s not actual tools that could work for unique situations.

Professional Boundaries in Coaching and Mentorship

It’s putting their own story, their own experience, and things that they did and saying, oh, well, this worked for me. You should try it too. Well, that’s just not the way it is.

My husband and I dated for, gosh, how many years, I gotta think. I mean, we dated by the time we got married, we had been together 9 years. That isn’t for everyone. That isn’t what everyone should do. Right? But imagine if that’s, like, why because it works for me.

I’m trying to tell you that’s what you should do. No. You need something that can work for everyone and that, like I said, is non biased.

Another big difference is boundaries, and this is a big one.

I preach implementing boundaries left and right. You know this. It is especially important when you’re coaching someone through major life decisions. As I mentioned, I was a division one coach for 8 years.

What I may or may not have mentioned is that I was coaching at my alma mater. So that meant that I was coaching my friends who I literally was at happy hour with just a few months before I became their superior, so to speak.

And once I became their coach, there was a clear divide in our relationships. You know how usually you graduate college and say you have a couple of friends who are, like, whatever, a year or 2 younger than you, and maybe you go back for the basketball game, the football game, the homecoming, or whatever it may be.

Or if you live near a major city, right, maybe you all go out for a happy hour. You’re still connected to them. For me, that was cut off immediately. I wasn’t hanging out with them socially anymore.

And in fact, you know, I’m born and raised on Long Island. And some of these girls, they were hanging around for the summer, and I would, like, be out some of my favorite summer spots with, you know, my then boyfriend, my husband now, at the time, all of our friends.

And I would turn around, and I’d see a kid who was a junior or senior on my team. And I’m like, what the heck? You know?

I would have to remove myself from the situation because I was an adult. I was the one who had to have these boundaries, and this is something that I’ve carried over throughout my entire coaching career.

You know, in network marketing, yeah, I have some of those women on my team who are my best friends. And then yeah. So they’d know some different things about me.

The parallels between the confidential nature of therapy and the more unregulated practice of life coaching

But at the end of the day, when I am coaching them and mentoring them, it’s nothing personal.

It’s business, which is just a whole another reason why people get all butthurt about network marketing is because they can’t see that distinguished, you know, line in the sand that it’s business, and they just think it’s all, you know, rainbows and lollipops braiding one another’s hair.

But I’ve done many podcast episodes on that.

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I’ve just seen that when you don’t have these boundaries, specifically, like, in the workplace, coaching mentorship environment, things go sideways very easily.

You just can’t mix the 2. And true therapists, they do the same thing. They don’t let you know their own personal information.

I’m not sure if you ever watched The Sopranos or not, but the relationship that Tony Soprano and his therapist, doctor Melfi, becomes very tense between the 2, and it’s like the whole plot line for many many a season is because Tony tries to break down her walls, and he even has, like, his guys follow her home at different points.

Like, he fantasizes about her, and he kinda gets in her head a little bit and vice versa. She, like, fantasizes about him, but she holds the line with him professionally even when she knows what he does, obviously, for a living.

And at one point, she spoiler alert. Sorry. She’s raped. And she could call on Tony for help and, like, he could take care of that guy, so to speak, for her, but she chose not to because she didn’t want to cross that doctor patient line.

Now think about these life coaches you see on the Internet and all that they share on social media.

Everything from what’s going on in their marriage, their kids, all of their traumas, all of it.

Now while you may not know everything about these folks because, trust and believe, they are only showing you what they want to see or what they think will help sell you on them, you still are learning more than you need to know.

And more information that would ever be done with a true professional situation with a therapist.

And I think this is very strange. I think it’s very weird. I think that it’s a major conflict of interest when you let this on like, this bias just comes into play.

And it’s very similar to what’s going on in the schools right now with guidance counselors. I was listening to this fantastic podcast episode, and it was based off this book that’s called bad therapy.

Anyway, she was talking about how the guidance counselors of today are not like what we had.

I mean, if you’re a millennial like me, when I was in school, my school guidance counselor literally… I went to her to choose my class schedule and then help me, like, with the whole application process on, like, where to go to college.

I wasn’t in her office seeking advice on relationships, you know, whether they were boyfriend, girlfriend, or friendships, or anything going on in my home. It’s just not what, not just what I didn’t do, but that’s what most I even asked my husband.

I’m like, what did you go to your guidance counselors for? And he said the same thing. And I think that’s the consensus.

But today, they are so heavily involved in the students’ lives, and they’ve become this sounding board for them and, you know, they know all of their drama and who’s dating who and who’s mad at who, blah blah blah.

And once again, that’s a conflict of interest. Considering that these guidance counselors know all of the students involved, so how can they not be biased? They know the teachers if, say, a teacher is involved, those are their coworkers and peers.

And most likely, they know the parents. Right? Because parents are so heavily involved with the schools these days. There’s a major bias there, and I see that happening with social media.

People are just oversharing, and I just can’t imagine that being your mentor, you knowing that much about them and vice versa. It can get ugly.

Privacy and Confidentiality Issues in the Life Coaching Profession

So let’s talk about legal privacy.

And I’d be willing to bet when you’re following your favorite person on social media, you never thought about this one.

But therapists are prohibited from disclosing confidential communications to any third party unless they’re mandated or permitted by law to do so.

You know, you have that just like you have, you know, attorney client privilege, you have the doctor patient confidentiality. It’s the same thing. 

So these life coaches, whether they’re certified by some magical school or not, k? They’re not under the same jurisdiction, homey.

And I cannot stress enough. You do not know the people you meet on the Internet. Okay?

I don’t care how long you’ve been following them, how many details you know about their new kitchen renovation, their kids’ names, all of it. You don’t know them.

It’s very scary how and I see this happen a lot where people who I personally know. Right? You know, and they’ve been involved with, like, my network marketing company, and they will meet someone that, you know, is somehow either connected to the team or they follow on the Internet.

And they’re not necessarily part of our team, but, like, say, just in network marketing. Like, remember I told you network marketing famous?

And then they’ll meet them in real life, and they’re like, oh, wow. They were different. It’s like, well yeah. Because what you see online is a persona.

Personally, one of the biggest compliments I have ever gotten, and I’ve gotten it a few times by people who have met me in real life, like I’m using air quotes. Right? When I go to these conferences, wow, you’re the same person.

That shouldn’t be a compliment. That should just be normal. Like, you shouldn’t even have to say that to someone, but, like, that’s that’s the problem out here. It’s the wild, wild west.

And imagine someone you don’t know giving you all this advice, and then, like, your in turn giving them all your details…. No law, no nondisclosure agreement.

There’s nothing binding them to you and all your confidential information.

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The Inflated Role of Influencers in Personal Decision-Making

And as I mentioned, I specifically left psychiatrists out of this conversation, namely due to their ability to write prescriptions. So neither therapists nor life coaches are able to do this.

And I feel like that’s a major line in the sand compared to what we’ve just been discussing. But yet, I see influencers constantly talking about their diagnosis.

The problem with influencers diagnosing medical conditions or glorifying medication use

Most of the time, it’s self diagnosed, by the way. Okay? And talking and promoting their ADHD medicine or their Zoloft.

And they’re treating it like it’s part of their niche, their avatar. Okay? First of all, who really talks about what medication they take on the Internet? K? Let alone, like, glorifying it.

Don’t we have enough of that garbage every time we turn on the TV and see some big pharma ad? This is so strange to me.

And if you were to even bring this up to said influencer, right, they’d come back at you and be like, you know, I’m doing this to make people feel unashamed and less alone, you know, out there.

But is it though? Like, really like, are we buying what they’re selling with that? Because do you even know why said influencer was put on that particular medication in the first place? No.

Most people, they see, oh, she’s successful. She has a ton of followers. She lives in an aesthetically pleasing home, so it must be because of the medication she’s talking about daily on her stories that keeps her in line, keeps her organized, helps her get all her things done.

But you’re smarter than that. Okay? You know the deal, but, sadly, a lot of people don’t.

And I know some influencers who are even using their learning hindrance of ADHD, for example, or their lack of time management skills to promote holistic supplements and products, and they earn a commission off of them.

It seems eerily familiar to those who are promoting fear into people based on misinformation and lack of contacts. It’s clickbait to get you to throw out your toddler’s favorite clean puffs and food, so you go buy the one that they make commission off of.

If you know you know, that whole controversy that’s going on right now. I should probably do a podcast episode of that.

But I can tell you as someone who represents several different supplement companies, I always add a disclaimer to my free resources, my posts, when I’m talking in stories, because I want people to know that this is not medical advice, and I’m not a doctor.

I am simply sharing what has worked for me, and I encourage anyone who may be reading my content, watching my stories, whatever, and listening to my podcast to speak to their health care practitioner or doctor for a plan that works for them.

I’m literally sharing my story and telling you to do the research yourself, and if it applies to you, great.

But if it doesn’t, that’s okay too. And, ultimately, you need to command control of your situation, whether it’s the products you’re using, who you’re allowing to influence you, the informed consent you do, or perhaps you don’t have because you haven’t bothered to research. K? That’s a choice.

And not simply rely on an influencer turned life coach to be your sole source. It’s not smart to outsource all of your decisions. God gave you intuition for a reason.

Use these educational tools that are out there, but don’t relinquish your power, your control to someone else when it comes to your major life decisions, health, and well-being.

I can promote all of the holistic supplements and devices in the world.

I can give you tips and tricks that worked for me business wise, but, ultimately, you’re the person who has to say yay or nay. And I’m not hating on coaches, obviously. I am one. Okay?

And when all is said and done, the important thing that I can’t emphasize enough is that you need to make sure that these coaches, these mentors, this life coach that you may be hiring is worthy of your trust and your money.

You should feel empowered by the knowledge and education they provide, but not reliant on that person.

There are a lot of people out here taking advantage of people who are striving to improve their lives, who are looking to make financial gains because right now, they’re hurting as a family.

And, sadly, like I said, they’re being taken advantage of by people who know how to speak to them in a certain way and sell to them and market to them and put this shiny object in front of them. And then entice them that you can do this.

Anyone can do this. And then you drop a lot of money for their course, their coaching, their mentorship, their hour call, thinking that, like, life’s gonna be so different, but you have to take action.

The Goal of A Life Coach Should Be To Help Their Clients Improve and Move On

Not have these clients become an annuity because they’re never going anywhere.

And as with all the things that I talk about on this podcast, do your research. Do your research on this particular mentor, the program that they’re in.

Listen to other people. You know? Look for the success stories.

Talk to people who have worked with them. Kinda ask them, like, where were you before, and where are you now? Like, have something tangible that you can see that they actually grew.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode. Like I said, coaching is very near and dear to me. So feel free to reach out to me on Instagram to continue the conversation.

You can always find me @macrowley, and the show notes will be found on my website per usual under the podcast tab. And thanks for tuning in, and I’ll catch you on the next episode.

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