A hot topic right now in coaching is ethics and education. People have questions about practices and whether or not certain practices might be doing more harm than good. And I believe that, as coaches, we should be embracing these questions rather than shying away or being intimidated by them.
How can all these questions be a good thing? First of all, it gives us the opportunity to discuss trauma, the nervous system, changes in the industry over time, and the positive outcomes countless people have experienced. Secondly, it gives us the opportunity to make strides in our own practices to help even more people. Let’s tackle this timely topic.
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Welcome to The Masterful Coach podcast with Molly Claire. If you’re a coach who’s ready to impact more lives, make more money and create a life you love, you’re in exactly the right place. Get the support you deserve as a female entrepreneur. Master your coaching skills, grow your ideal business, and honor your priorities in your personal life.
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Hey coach, this episode is focused on ethics, education, and reality checks. Three things that too often are missing from the coaching industry. But I’m going to talk with you about why that doesn’t have to be the case and why looking at these important, and sometimes controversial, topics can allow us to bring curiosity and really up-level everything. Up-level your practice, up-level yourself, and up-level the entire coaching industry as a whole.
The reason I’ve decided to dive into this topic right now is this seems to be a very hot button issue. There is a lot of noise in the coaching industry now, more than ever. People are asking questions about ethics. People are asking questions about practices in coaching, and are they doing more harm than good? There’s been so much more talk about trauma and the nervous system, and I am so glad. I think when these questions come to the forefront, that is when we can find good answers. That is when we can really increase our ability to serve others well.
I have definitely experienced my own personal challenges coming up against some of these issues within the coaching industry in the last decade that I’ve been a coach, that I have worked with clients on a personal level, that I have worked with coaches in building their business. And as I have applied coaching principles to myself personally. It has not been easy. It has not been seamless. And I have definitely had to make changes in the way that I approach things in my business, as I have continued to learn and expand. So we’re going to talk about these topics today and I’m just, I’m so excited to dive into all of it with you.
And for those of you that follow me on Instagram or read my weekly messages in email, you know that I am revealing something so big this coming Friday, October the 6th. Watch Instagram. Watch your inbox. I am offering something in 2024 that truly is the work of my lifetime, at least so far. That is not an exaggeration. It is an offering that is going to be really geared toward helping you as a coach to uplevel and expand your abilities to coach. It is collaborative. I am bringing in some phenomenal experts and really helping to fill the gaps in your skills and abilities and knowledge. So, more to come, watch for that announcement.
All right, coaches, ethics, education, and reality checks. I did an episode a while back on ethics, and I highly recommend that you go listen to that episode because this episode, by no means is going to cover ethics in its entirety, nor does that episode by the way, right?
But I just want to introduce and bring up the idea of ethics because, as you know, coaching is an unregulated industry. And some people have said this is a big problem and a terrible oversight that needs to be remedied. I tend to fall more in line with, I see great value in the fact that it is so open and unregulated, and that that requires us as coaches to up level ourselves and hold ourselves to a higher standard.
So, for me, as I’ve seen in building my own business and in helping other coaches to build their businesses, that the freedom and the open space in the coaching field means more creativity in how we can be effective and serve our clients. There is something really powerful about saying there is no limit here. Anything is possible. We are making up the rules as we go that allows for a lot of innovation. It brings creativity, and I believe, so much openness from individuals as coaches to be able to truly create something unique and powerful. So for me, that is where I love this expansive space in the coaching field and I believe it serves our clients so well.
Now, the flip side of this is that having a code of ethics, you personally setting a code of ethics in your practice, is absolutely necessary in order to have integrity and to serve your clients well. And one thing I will mention is that oftentimes the lack of ethics is more about a lack of education than actually someone being an unethical person.
I’ll give you a perfect example of this: client confidentiality. For those of you that have been in an industry where client or customer information is absolutely kept private, this seems like a no brainer, right? Now for others, maybe you’ve never encountered this in the past in anything you’ve done, and it doesn’t even occur to you that you would need to keep your client’s name confidential.
And so I think this is one of those examples where it’s not really a lack of integrity or a lack of ethics, but rather a lack of knowledge. So what this means is this is where it is our responsibility as coaches to dive into understanding, what are best practices? What are ethical practices? What code of ethics exist in other similar industries, right? In the financial world, in the therapy world, looking around and understanding what we want to bring into our practice is essential.
One of the things I’ll mention as well, when it comes to ethics is, are you clear and consistent with policies regarding client agreements? This is a big one. And I’ve seen this go both directions. I’ve seen where there isn’t clear and consistent policies, and coaches can really end up being a little unethical and unfair to their clients. And I’ve also seen the complete opposite happen, where a client is really taking advantage of and claiming some kind of misdeed or unethical practice when actually the policies speak for themselves.
I had this happen to me this last year, and it was fascinating. I had a client who I had over-delivered probably five times the amount of calls, the amount of time and attention and care, because I enjoy doing that for my clients. But it was so interesting how we really had to rely on the facts of the policies and the dates and the delivery in order to settle an issue.
So, having those clear and consistent policies is helpful not only so that you as the coach can be ethical, but your clients also need to be held to a standard of honesty and ethics as well.
One last thing I will mention in terms of ethics – and again, go back and listen to that podcast on ethics – this is really just a high level, but really thinking about the best practices as a coach, and ensuring that we’re not doing harm to our clients. And this really goes into this area that I’m going to speak to next, which is education.
You have such a powerful role that you play in your clients lives. As a coach, you become the voice inside your client’s head. Be a good voice. Be a voice that creates safety, that creates that sense of personal empowerment. Be a voice that is going to be positive and expansive to your clients. Anything else is just unacceptable, if you ask me.
All right, coaches, let’s talk about education. So, when I started my practice, I was LCS certified, using the model up and down, all day long. I was master coach certified using the model, understanding it at even greater depths. And it was so powerful for me and I was able to serve my clients so well.
And then what I started running up against in my own life was trauma responses coming up. I got into a relationship that ended up being emotionally and psychologically unhealthy for me. And had I only relied on the model and had I not looked into understanding the nervous system, understanding covert abuse, understanding these nervous system responses, I would have totally missed it. And so as I have evolved as a coach, I have added on top of cognitive work, emotion-focused work, more of a bottom up approach, looking at the nervous system, doing the trauma informed program with my friend and colleague, Lindsay Pullman, and really understanding these things.
And so, I bring this up because as you gain knowledge and skills and education, do not be afraid to use what you know. And please do yourself and your clients the favor of expanding your knowledge. Yes, you want to understand what you know, and you want to also understand that there is so much that you don’t know.
Some of the things that I personally feel can be very beneficial for you, as a coach, as you expand your knowledge. And let me back up a little bit, because as you’re here listening, every coach is going to have a different training, a different expertise. I know many of the coaches that follow me here are LCS certified or some kind of similar mindset work. And the truth is that anyone can call themselves a coach, right?
I always say the coaching industry has a very low bar for entry, but a very high bar for success. And so when I say that low bar for entry, you can do any one of a bazillion certifications that don’t cost very much, that don’t take much time and call yourself a coach, but are you working toward that high bar for success of integrity and educating yourself well?
Some of the things that are worth considering: further educating yourself on your specialty. When you have that niche, this is why I do my advanced certification in motherhood and family life, if that is someone’s specialty, perfect for them, right? Second thing is nervous system and trauma work. These are things I’m bringing into my comprehensive training in the new year because they absolutely have to be a part of the equation. You have to have at least some awareness of this.
I mentioned Lindsey Pullman, who I am collaborating with in the new year and that does relationship trauma certification. And one of the things I love about her stance on it, as she works with a trauma therapist, is we want to draw this very crystal clear line between therapy and coaching. And the truth is that the line is not as clear as we believe it is. We want to be very careful about stepping over into places in the therapy space that are outside of our wheelhouse.
And I think that it is unreasonable to believe that we can draw an absolute line. Because as coaches, we are involved in people’s lives, right? We are listening to their mindset. We are helping them with their emotions. And so one of the things that Lindsay and her partner talk about actually is this idea that what if we’re team members in this, right? What if we’re on the same team?
Because I know at least in the past, I haven’t heard as much about it lately, but that may just be because I, you know, try to keep the positivity in, but there’s been a lot of conflict between the therapy world and the coaching world, almost as if they’re on these opposite sides of this battle. And I just don’t believe it’s true. I know for me, that bringing both pieces in have been the most helpful for me. So a little bit of a tangent there.
Okay, let’s go back to some of these things you may want to think about. So I just mentioned nervous system and trauma work. Best practices for goal setting.
What is actually effective? Am I just taking some goal setting things I’ve learned before and I’ve heard? Or, am I actually making sure that I’m doing what is going to help my client get the results?
One last thing I’ll mention, which of course, none of this is all inclusive. I mean, we cannot ever, hopefully we never stop learning, right? Education should always be happening. But I will mention relationships. Because the truth is humans are designed to connect. There is so much knowledge out there with regard to human intimacy, personal connection. And I think that when we take just a mindset approach to relationships, we miss out and can really encourage our clients to actually have relationships that are void of the emotional connection and intimate connection that human beings need.
So, just to recap. Don’t hold back on using the skills that you have. Don’t think, “I can’t help anyone or coach until I know it all”. That’s not true. But be mindful of what you do know and what you do not know. Be open. Seek learning. That intensive, intentional learning and that constant passive learning as well, as far as what you are inviting into your brain and your world.
All right, coach, let’s talk about the last one, reality checks. I saw such a great post the other day on Instagram, and I actually can’t even remember where it was, but it was someone saying, “Most people don’t want a unicorn business.” And this made me laugh because it’s true that we hear about these phenomenal stories, this like, unbelievable overnight success – which, by the way, is never an overnight success, right? And is usually built up over years. But we hear these stories about these businesses that are kind of a unicorn story.
And the point of this post, which I happen to agree with, is that most people, most of us, we want a business that allows us to serve. We want a business that’s profitable, where we can make money, and that we want to have a decent quality of life, right? A decent amount – decent is not the right word. We want to have a decent amount of time in our life and a good quality of life.
Most of us don’t need this unicorn business that seems like this unbelievable success story. We really just want to serve. We want to live. We want to have a good quality of life. And have what we need financially. I thought this was such a good example of what I’m talking about with not having reality checks.
If you listen to my interview with Katrina Ubell a while back, we talked about how long it took for her to be profitable. Katrina hit six-figures in revenue in her first year as a coach. That was not profit. There was no profit. Three years into her business, multiple six figures, was not taking a salary from her business. Katrina was investing the time, the energy, she was building it up, she was serving and she was investing money in her business.
This is the reality. How much do we hear about this? I had another interview I did with Amy Latta, who is a phenomenal coach and business coach. And she also talked about really pulling back the curtain and saying, “I was spending more money than I was making, and I’m done doing that.”
And I’ll tell you, in my own business, in my partnership business, we scaled our business to over a million dollars in three years. Which was phenomenal. But that was not my take home, at all. And because of the nature of our business and it not having things that are passive income or expanding beyond that service that we were offering, when we dissolved that business, there I was, really rebuilding my own brand separate from that joint business, right?
I had to rebuild. I had to rebrand. I had to invest money that I had built up in my business and took a huge revenue cut to start over, right? So there I was in this place of spending money, bringing less money in than I had been. And that is the reality. Is it a problem? Do I regret it? Absolutely not. But just because we are working toward these big goals, just because the coaches that you see who are succeeding are expanding their business, does not mean that the back end is as highly profitable as you might believe, or that the back end has everything streamlined and together.
The reality is that building a profitable business that is expansive, that serves people well, and that has any pieces of it that provide passive income, takes time. It takes dedication. It takes bumps along the way. And there’s also going to be a lot of up and down on the road to get there.
All right, coach, listen, I know there’s a lot of noise in the world. There’s a lot of noise in the coaching industry. There’s a lot of finger pointing and criticism. And what I know is that if you are here listening to this, and you desire to be a coach, thank you for being here, first of all. It is because of coaches, it is because of people who have stood up and said, “I want to help make people’s lives better that I personally can say, I know myself and who I am. And I’m so happy with my life.”
Coach, you can be ethical. You can be educated. You can stay the course and make a profitable business that gives you a quality of life that you love, and that serves people to make their lives better. I love you all so much. Thank you for doing what you do. I’ll talk with you next week.
Thanks for listening to the Masterful Coach Podcast. Are you ready to build your amazing business with Molly as your coach? Check out www. MollyClaire. com to find out about Masterful Coach Foundations and the 10K Accelerator Method. It’s the ultimate support for you as a coach building your ideal life and business.
Molly Claire is a 7-figure business builder with a blended family of 10. She is dedicated to helping women overcome their own limits, make the money they want, and have the time, freedom, and flexibility to be with the people in their lives that matter most. Especially the little ones.
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