The Dark Side of Business Coaching

the dark side of business coaching by Marc Ford YBKBS editor this is not business coaching

I’m sorry my friend, this was never your dream. Sleep tight.

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By Marc Ford, Coach and Editor at YBKBS

This is NOT Business Coaching 

I’m a coach. I’m a business coach with over 20+ year of experience in everything from sweeping the floor, to management to selling to troubleshooting to directorship, to starting, running and selling my own business. I am not a superstar coach. I have been on big stages and small stages in the world, but oddly I don’t court the fame. I’ve been around enough businesses and their owners to think I can talk about this openly and honestly enough.

It’s been a fortnight where I have seen the very worst of business coaching and it has effected me personally, so much so, that this week I took a step away from business and life, (with varying degrees of success and failure).

Only a small circle of friends know what’s happened, but I’ve felt so strongly, certainly in the last 48 hrs, that I have felt compelled to write about it. Someone, who became a friend and that I first coached 5 years ago, sadly lost his life last week. It showed me what not being a coach really was.

He started his business in the Health and Safety business, (this isn’t correct, but I want to afford the family some anonymity at this time). A family man and the same age as me. We parted ways after 12 months, which is pretty normal for me, because, as with many coaching relationships I’d got to know him so well, that he knew what buttons I needed to press to get him to do stuff and he knew what lines to spin me to avoid it. He was on his way from start up to the business that he wanted and remained in contact for a couple of years after.

I’ve watched from a far as, yes, the business grew and grew. But I also watched as it was getting out of control and manic. Things from where I sat just weren’t going in the directions I thought and it seemed that there were some desperate decisions being made. I reached out, but never got any response.

I spoke to his wife shortly after I had heard the news that he had lost his life, and she tells me that he had got utterly caught up in and had bought in to someone else’s hugely charismatic dream of building a business that he could sell for millions and millions and start another business. He’d be flying to different countries where masterminds would cost 5 figure sums and he’d return with wads of paper and a tan, struggling to do any of it and then doing it all again, pretending he had done this and that, 3 months later to be signed up to another programme that cost more money but now this was going to guarantee him 10X or some utter barf like that.

In the last twelve months he was working harder and harder. Longer and longer. He was effectively missing targets set by someone else all over the place. He was in his eyes failing.

He took his own life.

Because he wasn’t achieving. He wasn’t achieving someone else’s goals and targets. Remember I knew where he said he wanted to be in 10 years let alone 5 years. And it wasn’t dead. It sure as hell wasn’t leaving a wife and two boys. 

That IS NOT business coaching. That IS NOT fair. That IS NOT right.

We live in an unregulated industry for whatever reason and I whole heartedly would support regulation from top to bottom. Anyone can read a book and call themselves a coach. Anyone can get famous on the internet and grow themselves a ‘tribe’ and sell their stuff for extortionate amounts of money and claim they are the ‘World Beating 10X of The Galaxy’. Hell they don’t even have to do that anymore, people are actually ‘selling’ Facebook groups for crying out loud.

But it’s not business coaching. It’s not even just plain old coaching. Coaching is not a science, but in my opinion, at its simplest, it’s about helping an individual make the most of their talents, learn how to either understand or improve their weaknesses but with their buy-in. If it doesn’t come from within, in my experience it becomes an impossible journey. It would be like buying a Ford Fiesta and telling it that it could win the Monaco Grand Prix by a lap and a half. 

There are other dark sides such as no ROI’s, outdated models, ideas, strategies and using the good old fashioned copy and paste method of certain businesses. But what my friend, and it really has hurt me to write that, was ‘getting’ wasn’t coaching. It was flogging a man a dream that he quite simply couldn’t handle. There was no duty of care, and now next week I have a funeral to attend that I would never have dreamt of in a million years.

It really has broken my heart and has left me questioning so much as to what I could have done to have prevented it and how I need to make things better going forward.

ALWAYS remember it’s your business…your way…the right way.

Your goals…your dreams…your life.

If you know someone that is…well…starting to lose control…at least talk to them. The business world is getting tougher as we speak and will become ruthless in the next six months. So please talk to them…It may well be the best thing you can do for them this year.

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