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5 ways to spot a sleezy business coach, and how to avoid them


If you have been trying to launch a business online for more than 15 minutes, I’m willing to bet that you have been approached or pitched to by a business coach.

Now I’m going to make it clear FIRST THING – we are NOT all bad!  There are MANY business coaches out there who are honest, hardworking and really just looking to help people.

I’m not going to talk about them today.

The sad truth is that coaching has been a booming industry for the last few years, attracting many people who see it as a get rich quick scheme.  They are not out there to help people so much as to make bank.

And there is NOTHING online that is faster and easier to sell than the hope of making good money.  Long before coaching this has been making money online 101.

So how do you spot the bad apples from the good ones?  Here are 5 sure fire things to look for!

Vague Promises

“Level up your business!”

“Make ALL the money!”

“Escape the 9-5!”

If you notice, not a one of these addresses a specific skill they can teach you, or problem they can help you overcome.

These types of promises are designed specifically for you to fill in the blank with what you REALLY want, and believe they can deliver it.

How to avoid these guys

When shopping for a business coach, pay attention for SPECIFICS.  Odds are pretty good that you know exactly where you need help, be it program creation, marketing, accounting or any of the 8000 other problems that surface running a business.

Make sure they have content or programs that focus on the actual problem you are facing down!

Speaking of promises

As a coach I would hope that you know that we do not hand people results directly.  We can guide, we can cheer, we can coach – and a client won’t get a lick of results unless they put in the work.

Shocker, the same exact thing goes for you!

Coaches who promise things like “5k in 5 days” or “8,000 followers in 8 weeks” are, well, overselling to say the least!

This isn’t like a t-shirt that they can hand to you, results ALWAYS vary depending on what you put in.  Any coach that isn’t up front and honest about that, well, isn’t up front and honest.

To avoid these guys taking your money make sure to look for realistic results in their promises.  It can take some practice!

Instead of “5k in 5 days!” look for things like “the system I use to make over $5k a week”.  Spot the difference?

The best coaches will give you tools and help build skills, then let you into the world to get the results of them depending on your own work.

Never letting go

The goal for ANY kind of coach is for the relationship with the client to END some day.  For you to bring them to the results they want, and part ways happily for the client to go out into the world.

This is NOT just for business coaches by the way!

However, people who are in it for the money….. Well… they wanna keep you around forever because when you’re gone, you stop paying.

They offer short term programs, long term programs, accountability programs for life or subscription mastermind groups yearly.

It is ALL designed to keep you around, paying them, for as long as possible.

If you want to keep from signing up to a coaching program longer than your mortgage term, make SURE that what the coach offer has an end game somewhere.  An actual length of it, with the exact results you’re going to walk away with at the end.

It’s a coach, not a marriage.  You’re allowed to set an expiration date.

Unless it’s actually a pyramid scam in disguise….

Or I guess the proper term these days is MLM.  Ever know someone that sells Avon? Tupperware?  LuLaroe? I could name like 100 more but the structure is all the same.

You sign up under someone, they help you sell, and they get a cut of what you make.

Ya, believe it or not there are business coaches selling this type of program, often called some version of a Ladder program.

It looks GREAT on paper!  Instead of paying the $10,000 up front for their vague promises program, you pay based on what you’re making in coaching now.  As you make more money, you pay them more money to keep your coaching going.

Sounds fair right?  They are more motivated to help you make more, because it means they make more.  Up to THOUSANDS a month if you do well enough for yourself and still, god knows why, feel the need to pay for more coaching from them.

OH and the pricing structure usually goes something like this….

Making $0?  So we start you cheap, it’ll be $250 a month until you have made $4,000.

Now, the first bit of cash can be rough, I know lotsa coaches that didn’t make that their first year, but hey, you are getting their coaching, so let’s say it took 6 months to hit that $4k mark.

Congrats you’re in the next tier, and you pay em 15% of what make each month, until you have made $10k total.  For giggles, we’ll say you shot right up from 4 to $10k in a month.

Big time now!  Now you get to pay them 20% of what you make every month until you hit $20k!

**click click click… math….”

In our example above, yep, you made $20k!  YAY!!! You also paid them like $7,000. That would be a total of 35% of EVERYTHING you made.  (Still not clear if this is before or after the tax man takes his own cut)

And hey, by then you’re being coached by someone you KNOW is making 6 figures, because you are handing it to them.

There are, SO MANY things about this that make me angry, but I’m gonna suppress it for the moment and go with my #1 issue here….

Any decent business coach wants you to make more money, FOR YOU, not because it puts more in their damn pockets.

The whole basis behind this – the “I’m motivated to help you make money, because I make money!” just firmly establishes these people as shitty human beings.  How about someone pays you a set fee, and you help them get where they need because that is what they paid you for.

Maybe, just MAYBE you should care about your clients getting the results you need, even if that doesn’t mean you bill them more.

Coaching is supposed to be about HELPING people, not helping yourself.  About letting the client develop into what THEY want and need, not what gets you paid the most.

Avoiding these is easy – run – run like the fucking wind away. 

It’s all about them

And that brings me to #5 – everything is about them.

Their content is about how much money they make.  Their pictures are to show all the great stuff they buy with all that money.  It’s “I” ALL DAY LONG.

There’s a mind trick at play here… by presenting themselves as everything they think you hope to be, they open the door for you to imagine YOUR life with all the money.  They are encouraging you to idolize and compare to them right off the starting line.

“Pay me enough, and you can be me!”

You’re probably a coach, so I don’t really need to explain the pitfalls of comparing yourself to some one else all day right?

It’s unhealthy to say the least.

Look for coaches that focus on talking about YOU and what their audience needs.  Not how wonderful their life is, but witnessing your struggles and challenges, and offering solutions to them.

As you can see, picking a business coach can be a tricky thing!  Thankfully, there are more good ones out there than bad apples, working every day with the intent of helping you be the successful business you dream of being.

Keep your eyes and ears open and you’ll find the perfect fit for your needs!

And I’d be a bad marketer if I didn’t mention that DYPU membership includes an ALL ACCESS pass to our ever growing library of business school courses, all designed to address specific problems in a way that reflects YOU and YOUR VOICE.

Plus, we won’t ask for bank statements and take a cut of what you make each month 🙂 I promise!!

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About Misty

DiscoverYourPathU LLC Board of Directors - Misty Flanagan, CMO

Hello! I’m one of the founders of DYPU and the Chief Marketing Officer.

The proud owner of Down-Home Me, a wife, a Texan and a dog momma.

I work with clients to coach and provide consultation on all things around your personal brand as a coach. 

More about Misty | Misty’s Live Events | Misty’s Courses


Hello! I’m Misty, one of the founders of DYPU and the Chief Marketing Officer. I am also the owner of Coaching By Misty, a wife, a Texan and a dog momma. I work with clients to coach and provide consultation on all things around your personal brand as a coach. My passion, and my purpose, is to work with coaches to help them get THEIR voice into the world. To be fully, authentically themselves and show that to potential clients. I firmly believe that the right story in the right place can change a life, and if you’re not telling yours, you are missing that opportunity. You can find me on any social media platform @coachingbymisty - see you there!

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