What I Learned from FIRING a $9K Life Coach
(6 min read)
This is an incredibly valuable story to read from a colleague of mine. It will help you understand so much about coaching and what to do and NOT do!
I recently went through a very interesting experience of hiring and firing a coach that I paid 9K, well almost.
I learned A LOT and I wanted to share my insights with you here from the perspective of a CLIENT.
For the sake of protecting identity, I'm going to call this coach, "Ruby.”
I connected with Ruby in a Facebook group that I'm a part of. We hit it off.
To me, she seemed much more advanced than me in her coaching journey. I was impressed with her background and the courses she did with the people I admire. She definitely had the credibility in my mind. I put Ruby on a pedestal.
To start, we connected every two weeks for months via Zoom just to check-in and be friends. It was really useful to me because I was able to ask questions about my coaching and my coaching business. I wasn't super impressed with her at this point, but I still thought she was cool. At this point, I didn't hire her yet.
And in one conversation, she said: "I know how I can help you get to the next level." So I was curious and interested. She pointed out to me that "Inner Child" drama or whatever was holding me back from really growing and expanding. To me, it made sense at the time, so I agreed to hear her proposal. She proposed a coaching package that was 9k (3k paid every month for 3 months. 3 coaching calls a month). I said YES, and I was on board!
The first month was alright (by alright I mean mediocre). The second month was terrible. The calls seem to descend into inner child therapy. Like that's ALL she wanted to talk about. In the 2nd call on the 2nd month, we straight up had a shouting match, because I didn't want to do the thing she wanted me to do. I have never been so pissed on a coaching call before.
Immediately after the call, I had this insight; My life is amazing, and the only stressful thing in my life right now is THIS coach.
I wrestled with it for a bit because I was thinking "Well maybe I'm just making excuses about not doing the work and not stepping up"... and then I let my thinking settle.
I told myself, "I'm going to sleep on it and if I wake up tomorrow morning still pissed about this, I'm firing her." I woke up the next morning still pissed.
So here are the top insights I learned from this experience as a CLIENT.
1. It's about me, it's not about you.
If I'm paying you, it's about what I want and what I want to create. True, there may be other stuff that I don't yet see or understand that I need some guidance and uncomfortable conversations on. However, it goes back to what I want and the results I want to see in my life.
At the end, after I fired her, this coach told me "Her VISION for me" as a coach / mentor.
And the whole time she was talking I was thinking "That's wonderful, but that's not what I PAID you for.”
2. I can feel where you are coming from. Always.
One of the main things I remember from this coach was how judgmental she was.
When I didn't want to do a certain activity because it just felt dumb or I just flat out didn't want to do it—Example: Telling my Inner Child I love him 3x times a day.
She would say things like, "Oh, well how is your relationship with women going?" Or at the end when I fired her, she said "I guess you weren't ready for the work."
There were such small comments, but I remember all of them.
So whatever energy you are coming into the session with, I can totally feel it.
Also, don't judge. A coaching conversation is one of the safest places on the planet. Don't mess that up.
3. Take Leadership & ask me what I want. Often.
There were a lot of times where I felt we were just having a chat and it didn't feel like it was really going anywhere. It felt like I needed to take leadership of the conversation and I often held myself back - because I paid her to lead as the coach.
In my world, I run 2x thriving businesses and help run a family business. I am a leader ALL THE TIME, it is tiring as hell sometimes. And in a coaching session, I want someone else to take the reins for a bit.
I would have loved it if she had just asked me, "What do you want right now?" That's all it would have taken to get the conversation back on track.
And if your client flat out doesn't want to do something, don't MAKE them do it. Work on something else.
4. Don't be so serious.
I remember once I was sharing a story of how I realized something and I said, "I was a total idiot about it." And she got real serious and said, "You can't say that! No negative self-talk! Your Inner Child hears it."
And I realized that she was waaaay more invested in my story than me.
I believe you can balance between going deep, having uncomfortable conversations and still be light in other areas. If every conversation is a serious one, I'd rather do something else with my time and my money.
5. Once you ruin a relationship, it's super hard to come back from it.
So in this case, where I am right now. I will never work with this coach again. I will not recommend her to anyone for anything. And if anyone asks me about her, I'll tell them my experience like I wrote here.
That's a lot of people in my network that have suddenly become unavailable to this coach. So if things really aren't working out, call it out and complete the relationship before it turns sour.
6. Don't believe the hype. It doesn't matter how high your fees are, who you've trained with, how long you've been in the game, and what books you've written - it's not about you.
This is the biggest thing I've learned. You can be the most famous coach in the world and there will still be people who just don't work well with you. Trying to force it will always end poorly for everyone.
In taking COMPLETE ownership of this experience, yes, there were probably moments when I was a crappy client, I didn't show up powerfully, and I led with expectations. I get that.
Do I regret the 6k I spent on this coach? No, because it has made me a MUCH better coach. I know exactly what NOT to do, what to watch out for and what to do MORE of.