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Is Becoming a Coach Worth It?

It’s hard to be a good coach. If you want to be a mediocre, sort of ok, minimum wage coach, that’s much less hard. There are literally thousands of books and courses on how to be an ok coach. 

But to be good, to be great, that’s hard. So before you take the leap, make the investment, and quit your day job, ask yourself, “Is becoming a coach worth it?”

You can only really answer this question yourself, but I’m going to do my best to help you figure this out before you get too far down this path. 

 

#1 Do you love people?  Are you also driven mad by them?

When I first wrote this, I typed, Do you enjoy helping people? But then I realized too many coaches get started because they like “helping” people. Except what they call helping people is really just telling people what to do.  

Most advice isn’t followed and it’s also not asked for. So changing someone is rarely about getting them to do something different. It’s about helping them discover what they really want. 

To be a great coach you have to love people. You have to love them even though they make stupid choices over and over again, you have to love them even when they get mad at you for telling you the truth, and you have to love them even when they are really whiney about something they can easily change. 

If you love people, becoming a coach might be worth it. If you just like telling people what to do, then work for TSA. 

 

#2 Are you curious?

Some people like being right and some people love being curious. Some people love both. 

Most great coaches I know love being right, but they love being curious even more. Curiosity has an element of humility to it. A willingness to be wrong and to not know. 

Even great coaches are wrong a lot, often they don’t realize it at the time and neither do their clients, but as we shift people, we do so from a series of guesses, distinctions, and explorations. 

Like working through a maze, there are a fair amount of dead ends. There are less as you get better but there are dead ends nonetheless. 

So you need to be curious and you need to long for curiosity more than you long for being right. If you need to be right, coaching will become about your ego and agenda. Sure some people will love that and you may find success, but that doesn’t mean you’ll find mastery. 

 

#3 Can you sell? Are you willing to learn?

Great coaches sell. They get clients to sign up. They do this in conversations and online. Great coaches simply learn how to get people to commit to change and then hiring them to create the change. 

Selling isn’t as mysterious or evil as you think it is. It can actually be enjoyable. But if you think selling is evil and you hate the idea of asking someone to pay you, you might be better off having a job where you sell once during the interview and collect a paycheck for years. 

If you sort of enjoy talking people into things or helping people get to yes then becoming a coach is worth it, if not you may want to do something else. 

 

#4 Do you really want to do meaningful work?

This may seem obvious, I assure you, it’s not. People say they want to do meaningful work, but they really don’t. They don’t like the pressure, the significance, or the depth of commitment meaningful work requires. 

You may prefer to have some lightness in your life, to keep things simple, or to not actually say your work is about changing lives. And that’s ok. 

Meaningful work sounds great on paper but what it asks of you is harder. It asks you to put your life, your ego, and your heart on the line. 

If you do meaningful work, you’ll be disappointed. You’ll wonder if it’s ever enough. You’ll work hard to change someone’s life and they won’t change. You’ll have to let go, let them be on their path, and trust that they will find their way. 

So be honest with yourself if you’re really up to this or not. 

 

So is becoming a coach worth it? 

For me it’s never been a choice. Once coaching found me, it hasn’t let me go. 

It’s magic. You get on the phone. You talk to someone. And their lives change. 

Recently a client of mine finally settled her divorce after years of strife around it. 

Another client got the promotion at work she had wanted for a long time and started enjoying her life more than ever before, she even let herself be fully committed to her amazing boyfriend for the first time. 

Another client repaired a relationship with a major client he was sure was at its end. All in the midst of the client getting some tough medical news. 

To me that’s magic. To me, all the things that are hard about being a coach are worth it, because of who I get to be for people. 

But it isn’t easy, it takes work, commitment, and guidance from a master to get great. 

So if it’s not worth it to you, choose something else. You can always be a great listener for your friends in between shifts at your amazing startup job or tell lots of people what to do at the airport while they are going through security.

Being a coach isn’t a ticket to freedom, but it IS a ticket to an incredible life, if you decide it’s worth it for you. 

 

The Illusion of Confidence

All coaches want to be confident. 

You want to be able to sit in front of your client and promise them that you’ll change their lives, that you’ll be a great coach, and that you’ll get results. 

You want to feel good about your coaching, your likelihood of success, your ability to build a practice. And yet it seems to escape you. 

You’ve taken courses and maybe even hired a coach or two, but somehow other people seem to have what you lack. They are confident; you are not. 

So how do you fix it? I’m going to tell you, though you may not care for my answers. 

 

The Illusion of Confidence

When I see coaches seeking confidence, they are usually in the act of preparation. They are studying, building a website, defining their niche, crafting a funnel, and preparing. They are preparing to be a great coach, preparing to sign clients, and preparing to build a coaching business. 

Preparing is great, because it’s not that scary. 

One of the LEAST scary parts of going skydiving is putting on your jumpsuit before you get in the plane. I mean you still feel nervous but it’s WAY less scary than getting in the plane, less scary than getting hooked in and moving towards the open door of an airplane flying thousands of feet above the earth. 

Preparing is great because it gives you the illusion of progress. 

You can prepare and you can prepare more. You can learn something, you can get more certifications, you can create more plans. 

Preparation feels like you’re doing something, which is great because it works in most situations. 

After all, elementary school prepares you for secondary school which prepares you for university and then prepares you for your internship which prepares you for your first job that prepares you for  . . . and on and on. 

You spent most of your life preparing for something and in some ways it makes sense, it’s often better to prepare then not. 

Preparing is great because it’s ENDLESS

You can ALWAYS be more prepared, you can always learn more, your website can be tweaked, your niche honed, your coaching name reworked, your packages redesigned, your price analyzed, and your dreams re-crafted. It’s endless. 

 

But preparing keeps you trapped. 

It keeps you trapped because it IS endless. 

It keeps you trapped because it doesn’t do the one thing you hope it will do. 

Preparing doesn’t really give you confidence. 

And yet that’s what people sell you. That’s what the coaching school sells, that’s what most “build your business” coaching businesses sell, it’s even what most coaches sell. 

A plan, a process, a system, a method, a secret — that once you have, you’ll be better prepared to go do the thing you want to do. It’s so sexy and alluring. 

This idea that there’s a secret that once you obtain will give you confidence.

People (myself and maybe you included) throw thousands of dollars at this illusion in the hopes that it will be true, but if it were, there would be a lot more confident and successful coaches than there are. 

 

So how do you create confidence? 

You do the thing.  

You coach, you sell, you pitch, you write, you dance, you fight, you balance, you fall in love, you break up, you fall in love again. 

Confidence is not a game of preparation, it’s a game of practice. 

It’s a game of doing the thing that scares you, of failing, of learning from your failure, and then doing it again. 

Think about riding a bike: the most confident riders are the one with the most variable practice. 

They’ve ridden in snow, ice, up hills, across rocks, in races, and on tracks. You name it; they’ve ridden it. 

Every time I see a mountain biker I’m amazed because they ride down these crazy hills and across uneven ground and they do so with such skill. 

From outside it looks scary, it seems like it would be safer to read a book about how to ride a mountain bike, to learn some theory, or to talk to a coach about mountain biking. Not do it. 

Doing it looks scary and dangerous, because IT IS!!!!

But that’s why the only way to get confident at doing it is to do it. 

Sure some technique and the right mindset help with confidence. It’s worth spending some time on, but not as much time as you’re tempted to spend

Most coaches I know have invested HUNDREDS OF HOURS IN PREPARATION and invested maybe ten or more hours into practice.. 

If you really want to create confidence you HAVE to go do it. 

Go sell. 

Go coach. 

Go write. 

And the thing is, the stuff you’re afraid of WILL HAPPEN. 

You will fail. Your clients will be disappointed, they will ask for a refund, they will think they paid too much, you will think they paid too much, you’ll mess up, you’ll make a fool of yourself. 

People on bikes fall over. Coaches do a bad job coaching. 

It happens. It’s life. It’s what makes it exciting and worthwhile. 

Stop buying things in the hopes of preventing failure. 

It feels nice, but it won’t help you build confidence. 

 

When you fail and get back up, you gain strength. 

When you mess up and clean up, you gain confidence. 

 

In the dojo, we want coaches to fail. We build failure into the practice. We’ll support them, we will help them fail, we will push them until they do, and then we will help them get back up. That is why coaches leave the dojo more confident. 

So please, please, please… 

Stop preparing. Start practicing. 

 

You can do it with us in the half-day dojo, in the dojo, in my 1-1 practice

Or you can do it alone, with your own coach, or with a group of peers. 

It’s definitely harder without the study and support we’ve put into practice, but you can make it happen. And most of all, the point is to actually do something, anything. 

 

Love, 

Toku

 

PS We’re just about to open up pre-enrollment for the 2021 dojo. 

If you want to get in early, raise your hand, and let us know. 

Coaches Are Selfish

Asking for money is selfish, so is reaching out to someone with an agenda, in fact, most of what you need to do as a coach to be successful is selfish. 

It isn’t true or at least it’s not the whole truth, but that won’t stop you from thinking it’s true. Even if you think far back in the part of your mind where you hide the thoughts that ‘keep you from manifesting what you want.’

THE TRUTH IS you’re better off admitting that you worry about being selfish as a coach, that you feel a bit guilty asking for money, and that you somehow think that generosity is the key to success

AND also sort of resent how generous you ‘have to be’ in order to be ‘successful.’ A resentment largely built on the obligation to be generous in order to be ‘good.’

Seem like a lot?

It is. 

All of this mental chatter arises because of the bind you find yourself in as a coach. Specifically the bind between being Selfish and Generous. A bind which if you can learn to see, can have you be more powerful, successful, and actually more generous than you were before.

So let’s see if we can see it together.

 

Bind 2 – Selfish VS Generous

THE WAY WE THINK OF SELFISHNESS

At some point along your journey, you learned to wrap your desires in innocence. 

It was ok to want to talk to someone . . . if you had no agenda. It was ok to ask someone out . . . if you already knew they liked you. It was ok to ask for money . . . if you were certain you could provide a result. 

 

Your desire came with conditions that made them, ok, good, or acceptable. 

When these conditions were met they achieved the level of generosity or selflessness. You were trustable, kind, thoughtful, and loving. Sometimes you called this authentic instead. 

When these conditions weren’t met you were greedy, needy, and selfish. Sometimes you called this inauthentic or manipulative. 

Once you had these rules you tried to live by them. 

You tried to be a good person and avoid the ‘bad people’. You judged anyone who broke your rules as being selfish. You did this while you watched them make more money, date people you wanted to date, and become more successful than you. 

You did this while being certain that their success was somehow empty or karmically bad and that it was better to be poor, tired, worn out, and secretly resentful so long as you got to be ‘innocent’ ‘generous’ and superior to those other people. 

 

THE TRICK

Here’s the trick, you try to be good for the same selfish reasons that other people try to be successful. 

No one is perfectly un-self-interested. Or at least not very many people. 

 – You do actually have an agenda when you reach out to someone you’d like to coach. 

 – You do actually benefit when someone hires you as a coach. 

 – You do actually feel good about yourself when you make more money than other people around you. 

 

You like to win, even if the way you imagine winning is by winning the ‘right’ way and not the ‘wrong’ way. But all too often you use the rightness of how to win as an excuse for why you’re not winning at all. 

 

THE BIND

You see that’s the bind you’re in. The things you need to do in order to change people’s lives, to run a successful coaching business, to do ‘the work’ you worship like some sort of ancient god, requires you to be a bit selfish. 

Or maybe I should say it requires you to own the selfishness you actually have. 

 

Here’s the truth:

  • My clients pay my rent. 
  • When they pay me I get to buy stuff I like. 
  • If they pay me more I get to buy more stuff. 

 

Here’s more of the truth:

  • What my clients pay me DOESN’T go to their rent. 
  • They get to buy LESS stuff they like. 
  • If they pay me more, they get to buy EVEN LESS stuff they like. 

 

When someone hires you, in a way you win and they lose. 

Yes, yes I know your mind doesn’t like this. You probably have so trained yourself to avoid this fact and hide it from your clients that the mentioning of it feels deeply uncomfortable. 

Unless you’ve learned to wrap your desire in another form of innocence called justification. 

Which is where you’re so clear you benefit others that paying you is a privilege. 

Please, please get over yourself. 

 

MORE TRUTH:

  • You are not a charity. 
  • You are not a perfect solution. 
  • You are not the answer to anything. 
  • And paying you carries NO inherent significance or value. 

 

HOW IT WORKS

The truth is if this wasn’t true coaching wouldn’t work. 

If clients paid coaches with monopoly money or energetic units or something else without real value COACHING WOULDN’T WORK. If client’s give up some of the opportunity to buy stuff they like, paying you wouldn’t mean anything to them. 

As the great Steve Chandler says, Money is a stand-in for commitment. You can complain about it, whine about it, not like it, but in our world, in the time we live in, money is the most powerful unit of commitment we have. 

 

THE EXCHANGE

That’s the secret to this bind. You think that SELFISH and GENEROUS stand on two sides of a line. When in fact selfish and generous can either stand-alone or be cozied up with one another. 

You can be selfish in your generosity, putting forth no real opportunity to commit and doing it so you can feel ‘good’ about how generous you are. 

You can be purely selfish and think only of yourself, justifying that you ‘deserve’ what you’re getting. 

You can be purely generous, truly giving from your heart and expecting nothing in return.

And MOST importantly you can be generous in your selfishness. 

 

You can be clear that you get something out of giving something. 

You can own the dark side of giving, of coaching, of offering a space for transformation. 

You can free your clients and the receivers of your gifts from the obligation to make you feel ok about the benefit you’re receiving.  

 

THE ESCAPE

This is the escape to this bind. To OWN your selfishness. NOT by avoiding it and pretending it isn’t there. NOT by justifying it and deciding people paying you is a privilege you’re allowing them. But by acknowledging that having someone pay you for anything means you get something. 

If you own it, if it becomes your responsibility to be with the desire and impact of your inherent and unavoidable selfishness, then you can be free and even more so your clients can be free. 

 

Selling them coaching can be purely about what would serve them. 

You can sit in the place of really wanting to work with them, while choosing to be fully unattached to them hiring you. You can have clear sales goals and numbers you need to hit and then create the money you declare you’re out to create, in order to live the life you want to live, while magically and simultaneously showing up with tremendous generosity and compassion with every person you talk to. 

The pathway to purity is to get down in this human muck with the rest of us. 

 

Love, 

Toku

 

PS This is a part 2 of a 3 part series about the binds coaches find themselves in. 

You can read part 1 here – https://samuraicoachingdojo.com/compromising-too-much/

Part 3 will be about the bind of flow and structure. 

Thanks for reading this and thanks for being a coach. If you got something from this or you think I’m an idiot, shoot me an email/message or drop a comment below and let me know. 

10 Days To $11,000

I recently had a client send me the following text message –

I just enrolled a new client at $11k for 4 months! The stuff I’m getting from you is turning this process into one of my favorite conversations. I just started reading the sales Katas last night— they are brilliant. You should get this book out in the world my friend. This is what was missing for me in all the stuff I’ve read. And I’ve read a lot— including Prosperous coach and . . .

And you might be wondering what it is that I taught that created that kind of result.

If I was a brilliant marketer, I’d tell you that I had a secret shortcut, some special magic that other coaches don’t have. I’d pull out a bag of my magic beans and ask you if you wanted some.Read more

How One Powerful Question Could Make Your Coaching Conversations Worth $1200/Hour

Craig’s Story

Just last month, I stumbled across an opportunity for coaches with a financial background, so I reached out to a Dojo graduate and I was delighted by what he told me.

6 Keys Needed To Escape The “Not Enough” Stage

It takes more than a map to arrive in Stage 2 of the 4 Stages of a Coaching Business. You need to have the fuel and ability to make the distance.

We know its possible to escape the “not enough clients or cash” stage. We looked at each of the phases we’ll go through to break free and rise out of Stage 1. 

So armed with this information, what does it actually take to make it through those phases? 

The 6 Keys To Creating Escape

Here are the keys that will make escaping level 1 more likely to happen:Read more

How to Turn Shifts into Clients

Some coaches say clients pay you for results. Others say they pay you for the powerful insights you generate. And still others say it’s the possibility you get them present to.

But no matter how you talk about it, what your clients are paying you for directly or indirectly is what happens in the insight creation, or Shift, part of your coaching conversations. The reason is simple: the Shift is where things change. It’s where clients see their lives differently. It’s where they get present to possibility. It’s where they realize what they’ve been missing and create what wasn’t possible before.

If you understand this, you can use the power of the Shift phase to sign clients. If you don’t understand this, you’ll squander the Shift, it will create powerful conversations, but no clients.

This is how it normally goes (hint… not well). Read more

Mastering “The Drop” as a Coach Is Like Mastering Great Sex as a Human

 

We named the Drop “the Drop” because it’s hard to discern. It’s a little like great meditation or great sex. When it happens, it’s obvious.Read more

Why Coaches Suck at Explaining What They Do

Or, oral marketing as explained through a metaphor about boxes of cereal…


As coaches, we see the universality of all problems.

People think the challenge is in the content, in the people in their lives, in the details of their situation. But we know that’s not the truth.

We understand that most problems are problems of perspective, beliefs, and context. With the right view of reality anything becomes possible and with the right action in alignment with this view, fulfillment becomes realized.

But when people ask us what we do, we talk in this vague, universal language.

Who do you help?
Read more

Will You Join Me?

(A Possible Prologue to a Future Coaching Book)

The coaching industry is at a crossroads.

In our hands is one of the most powerful pieces of technology created in the twentieth century. A tool with as much promise and possibility as the microchip or the discovery of antibiotics. And a tool that is so easy to take for granted or to corrupt on a deep level.

And, as we step into this intersection we face a stark choice.

Are we going to use this tool to put Kandy Krush into the hands of every human with a heartbeat?

Are we going to keep turning depth workers and healers from vibrant humans into life-wheel zombies and core-competency ghosts?Read more