She Called Me a Liar and Said I’d Never Succeed

I did something I probably shouldn’t have this morning.

I’d not yet had my morning coffee, I was a wee bit cranky, and I was in conversation with a lovely person who shared a bad experience she’d had with a coach that was affecting her still.  But I’d heard the SAME heart-breaking story from so many others.

So I ranted on Facebook, which I almost never do.


You can see the firestorm I ignited in the comments on my personal profile at (I made this post public so you can read it even if we aren’t connected as friends yet). 

There’s some great insight and discussion from people I truly admire and who are the good guys in the coaching world so I encourage you to check it out.  I didn’t want to copy over their comments without permission but it restored my momentarily shaken faith.

Here’s the thing:  I understand selling.  I get the process.  I get that you’ve got to dig into and identify the blocks and challenges that are holding clients back–that’s GREAT, because once we identify it, we know what we’ve got to fix.  But digging into that and then telling them they’re going to fail is not okay.  It’s  not.

So here’s the rest of the story and why I’m so emotional about this.

An Open Letter to Business Coaches…

Big foot of crisis crushes small entrepreneur To the one who told me I’d fail… the ones who’ve told my (successful, amazing, talented, beautiful) friends they’ll fail… all because you wanted to pressure us into working with you…

To the coaches who feel a little uncomfortable with the sales approach you’ve been taught… unsure if it’s really the right way to sell… please consider the story I’m sharing here.  It’s mine and it’s true.

I’ve lost count of how many friends, colleagues, and clients come to me with raw emotions, deep hurt, and self-doubt from what’s essentially the same story.  I’m tired of it.  I’m tired of seeing people crushed.  Please stop it.

So here it is:

Do you remember that day?  Probably not.  Like so many coaches out there, I was just another name and number on your list who might agree to work with you and hand over thousands of dollars.

But I remember that day, and that conversation–vividly–even though it was years ago.

You offered “no pitch” strategy sessions claiming you weren’t going to sell on the calls.  I knew it was to enroll into your mastermind program though and I was okay with that.  I wanted to work with you and planned to sign up.  But the sneaky positioning should probably have tipped me off that we wouldn’t be a great fit…

The program you offered was out of my budget, and I wasn’t sure we were the right fit to work together, either.  But when I declined and explained why, you told me I had to put it on a credit card if I really wanted to reach the goals I’d shared with you.  Not an option since I hadn’t owned a credit card in years.

You called me a liar, said that “everyone has credit cards” and that I wasn’t willing to be honest so I’d never succeed in business.

Then you told me that my lack of commitment to my dreams meant that I would continue to fail and the only thing that would change it was making the decision right then to give you my credit card number and work with you.

Did you know I was already quietly in tears?  Or that after I hung up the phone my children gathered around me with hugs and wanted to know what was wrong with Mommy?

I reached out to you because I respected you and wanted to learn from you.  I even knew enough to do my homework and find out what types of programs you’d offered in the past and their price ranges.  I was ready to invest in what I thought would be required–and it would have been cash straight from my bank account because I’m not the only one in this world who got out of the credit card craziness.  I didn’t know you’d decided to more than quadruple your prices.

For weeks after our call I felt like a complete failure.  I didn’t know what to do except give up.  And I almost did. 

I was afraid to reach out to any other coaches or mentors for help, afraid they’d see what you saw in me–that I was nothing but a failure.  I thought that no one would ever have faith in me or believe I could succeed.

Is that what you meant to create from our conversation?  I hope not.  Maybe you were just having a bad day.

Should one person’s opinion of me have mattered that much?  No.  And that’s not your fault.  It’s where I was at.

Please remember when someone reaches out to you for help, you see them at their lowest, you see their challenges, they’re looking for a safe space to fall apart in and help putting the pieces back together.

I hope that you just didn’t realize the affect your words had.  Maybe you were trying to follow a script, a badly written sales script, that someone told you would sell.  That you were trying to “handle” my “objections” the right way to close.

Please, please don’t ever do that to anyone else.  It didn’t work.  And it crushed me.

[pullquote]Years later, I may not be what YOU would consider a success.  But you were wrong about me.[/pullquote]  I have a business I love.  I’m excited about what I do, the clients I work with, and that I can be of service to those around me.

And between you and me, I don’t care what you think anymore.  Because you lost my respect the minute you called me a liar and told me I’d never succeed.

Don’t tell me what I can’t do or that there’s only one possible way to succeed.  In 20 minutes on the phone, all you got was a snapshot of where I was at for that moment in life.  To say I won’t ever succeed based on that is a lie.

So to all the coaches out there…

When you challenge a potential client to step up and work with you… please be gentle… please hold a safe space of honesty but tread lightly… and I beg you, don’t tell anyone they’ll fail if they don’t choose to hire you at that vulnerable moment.

Remember they’ve come to you for help and your words hold great weight.  Whether they decide to work with you or not, you can set off a chain reaction that either helps the world by encouraging them to share their unique gifts, or one that causes them to stumble and fall, and for weeks, months or longer causes them to question if you were really right about them, if they really CAN’T help others and CAN’T build a business that serves others.  Do you really want to do that to the world?

Because it’s about MORE than just you making a sale.  It’s about more than if that potential client chooses to commit to YOU.

Are you one of the coaches who care?

Before you wonder, I adore and respect the coaches I’ve chosen to work with now.  They’ve been absolutely key to my success.  They challenge me and push me way beyond my comfort zone and I love them for it.

But never have they told me I’m a failure or a liar.  Even on the days where I fell apart and really felt like a failure.

They come from a space of truly wanting the best for me, and knowing that they can support me and help me to reach that best.

Thank you to the coaches who sell and coach with integrity.

Have you been hurt?

If you’ve ever been discouraged or hurt by a conversation like the one I’ve shared here, don’t let it stop you.  I promise you, they were wrong about you.  If they said you’d fail, I’m telling you that you will succeed.

Do you want it?  Then forget what they said and make it happen Do whatever it takes.  You CAN do it.

And, find another coach, okay?  There are great ones out there and you’ll find the perfect fit for you.

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  1. Bravo!! I’m glad you decided to do this post after all! :-)

    I have run into some of these coaches – and I’m not quite sure I understand the rationale behind humiliating potential clients. As you mentioned, some of these coaches don’t seem to understand that we don’t all use credit cards, nor do we happen to have an extra $1,000 or more just lying around (or even $100, for that matter!)

    I’m also not particularly impressed with those who aren’t upfront about what their costs really are until AFTER you listen to a 10-minute (or longer) spiel, and then they just assume you’re going to immediately sign up and then the pressure is on, because it’s a “special” and and you have to do it NOW!

    I, for one, appreciate when people like you offer various workshops and coaching services not only for reasonable prices, but payment plans as well. It’s much more realistic and allows us to take advantage of learning opportunities when we might not be able to otherwise.
    K’Lee Banks recently posted… Welcome…Spring?? Out with the OLD – in with the NEW!My Profile

    1. It’s such a fine line, K’Lee, between helping a client step up into the next level and crushing them. I have no problem with people charging what they’re worth but I do have a problem with the high pressure, humiliation (good word you used to describe that) selling.

      And I think it’s always smart to have a range of products/services at a range of prices so people can learn from you and move up as they’re ready. :)

    2. I think this was an awesome post. I’m just starting out getting really serious with my business, (I’ve done bits of work on the side putting together sites and WordPress installs and configurations for people, but am not trying to turn that into full-time work), so right now, being able to pay thousands of dollars or even hundreds of dollars for coaching and marketing help is out of my reach. And having someone tell you that if you don’t spend whatever money on their services, *right now, because this is a special and you just have to do this or you’ll never succeed*, is wrong on so many levels.

      1. not trying to turn that into full-time work should be now trying to turn that into full-time work. One little word makes a big huge difference. :P

        1. Amanda,

          “Trying” is another word for I won’t or I can’t. It is what I call an excuse word for lack of knowledge or denial of how we make use of our time.

          Trying, Can’t and Won’t are words that do not exist in my vocabulary. When used in that connotation.

          Change one word..”What I am doing now is, turning my part time WordPress website business into a full-time freelance website creation enterprise”.

          Ok that was more than one word..LOL WOW that was SEO optimized too!

          Bottom line, It sounds like you have the knowledge and skills to create WP sites, what you may lack is marketing skills. Bring those two worlds together and you will be WP money making machine. Start local, offer WP blog sites and or WP websites (one in the same) for $299.00. You will be surprised how many take you up on your offer. If you enroll in a referral program, you can begin to capitalize on domain and hosting sales as well. You will eventually see a pattern in your work. This becomes the foundation of your “System” that you will teach others how to do. See how this is shaping up.

          Stop trying…JUST DO IT! You do not need a Coach right now. What you need is good business advise. You may want to fix that comment button on your “Contact Page” on your blog site and turn off the comments. We do not usually comment on a contact page..hehe. OH..NICE CONTACT PAGE…mmm maybe I am onto something here. I do have some cool php/html code i will give to you for your contact page.


  2. Thank you, Michelle :D as I finished reading this, Doc Hopper approached Kermit & Fozzy with an “offer he couldn’t refuse” – I just put on The Muppet Movie for my William. I have to tell you, I giggled! Talk about Divine timing LOL

    I think so many of us has a similar story. What’s really sad and frustrating is hearing we must not be committed enough in our business if we don’t invest. I’ve been in my own “on the fence” dilemma because of hearing this more than once in the past couple years o.O It just doesn’t help :(

    Thank you for sharing your story, Michelle! It helps! It inspires and it really puts things in perspective. Time to pull my big girl panties up and set out to do what I know I can do :D
    Kimberly recently posted… Social Media Explained … by Your Cat!My Profile

    1. Yep, put on those big girl panties and know that YOU CAN DO IT regardless of what others say. Before you know it, you’ll blow past what you thought your limit was (and what anyone else said it was)!

  3. Way to speak from the heart Michelle. Good coaching comes from a core of understanding oneself and from a genuine care for others. Great coaches understand that it is an absolute thrill to see others reach their full potential. Selling others short has no place in coaching. Way to rise above it and move forward!!!

    1. That’s so key to being effective as a coach, Donovan. Genuine care and helping others reach their potential. Love that.

  4. Michelle, thank you for sharing this. The first time I reached out to a coach, he charged me more than I could afford, promising that it would be worth it. (I like you, did not use credit cards.) 4 weeks later, I was seeking his help to determine what I should charge. When I threw out my annual salary was before I left corporate America he laughed at me. He told me I would never make that much money in my business. I’ve never forgotten that.

    Thank God for the coaches out there who are wise, kind and care more about what is best for their prospects rather than how to make money no matter what.

    And I’m thankful you are one of those people and I have the privilege of knowing you.

    1. Wow. Not cool. Our coaches should hold big visions and dreams for us and help us work towards them!

      I’m with you – so thankful for the coaches who truly care and encourage us!

      And thank you, I’m honored to be part of the program you’re in Alicia, and we both know we’ve got a GREAT coach in that one. ;)

  5. Michelle,

    You are being way to kind. I am fed up with marketers that bleed bank accounts with their preaching of authority, integrity and honesty. I get it too, these men and women have to feed families, make house and car payments. It does not give them the right to define how marketing should be learned by creating jargon and language that do not follow traditional business terminology. I do believe people need life coaches and mentors, but not when it comes to deciding on how to make make money on the internet. I do not believe in the word that has been so carelessly coined, “GURU”. If All these so called GURU’s had to put their money on the line and tell the truth about how they actually make money, every last one of them would decline. Here is what i say, “Take your 60 day money back guarantee and shove it!” The only reason you offer it is because CLICK BANK SAYS SO!

    In fact the very reason for making postings like this is part of the marketing game. How do you teach that? Fact is you can not teach it overnight. These techniques however subtle are learned over a long period of time. OK, did I loose you there…I am sorry if I did. Once a campaign is crafted, it has to be launched. The up sells are what bleed people accounts. If the original offer, now long forgotten, had any merit or value in the first place; is that all a person would need to learn to make the 20K you “potentially promised”, yeah I said potentially, You lying scumbags! You think your TOS is going to save you from your day in court. You better read the FTC DOT COM FACTS! BTW you don’t have to pay for it, it is a free publication. If you are deciding to go into business and using the internet or a brick and mortar, do yourself a favor and do read it. Truth in advertising is a big deal!

    Coaching, Mentoring by the hour? Are you kidding me. These people should be paying therapists to stop buying the crap that is being offered. The jerks that offer coaching and mentoring are not even seasoned sales professionals. They would not last three days in the the world of trading without going broke. The term “scam artist” is not even a term that is becoming of them. True scam artists get richer by the minute and hardly ever get caught! These guys are just the lowest of the lows. Blood sucking, money hungry, scumbags is more like it! Shame on you for feeding off peoples innate desire to seek success in owing a legitimate business and stealing from them. You don’t even have the courtesy to put your blazing guns away before you blow the smoke off your smoking guns, you do it right in front of them to show off your scumbag mentality. At least have the decency to wear a mask. If I ever saw you on the street I push you in front of the on coming bus!

    I just have to laugh at what is going around now. Building trust and integrity will grow your business. What, are we now using a time honored business building foundation to further the scumbag cause?
    Here is what I have to say about that, “GET THE HELL OUT OF MY BACK YARD!” How dare you use what honest business people use to build true business’s . You don’t even have a phone number listed and you call yourself a business builder? You hide behind private domain blocks so that people can not track you down to get refunds from the crap you sell? Your BS traffic getting methods is another issue. Bottom line, you pay for traffic, so teach how to buy traffic and stop charging for the advise! Free traffic does not work for the person that truly wants to make money right now. Starting out the greater share of your money should be spent in advertising, that is what real business’s do. it is not spent on learning how to make money programs. If you continue on that path, you will go broke! 80/20 rule is well applied here. The scumbag marketers stole the rule and have used it as leverage in ripping you off. As a start up business, 80 percent of your money should be spent on advertising and 20% on product. As your business grows the percentages will flip flop. 80/20 in time management applies.

    I am sorry that coach made you cry. No man or women has the right to make someone feel like they will fail if they “don’t step up” and pay up, to play with the big dogs. I take calls everyday and give free advise on “how to get started”.

    People if you are venturing into this make money online business, STOP BUYING PRODUCTS PERIOD! There is no get rich quick and the information you are looking for is 99% free! You do have to learn how to use your computers more efficiently and perform search queries correctly. You will need to read, lots of reading and note taking. Once you get how the six most basic of tools are used, you will be well on your way to understanding how strategies and campaigns are crafted.

    Kimberly, in the above post used a phrase I use all the time, “Step up and put your big girly panties on and stop being a wuss!” You have the ability to read and comprehend. You do have the tools or are at least familiar with the philosophies in strategy and campaign building. You just have not sat down and mapped out a plan. I do mean PEN to PAPER! Draw it out like a flow chart. Take that information and knowledge you have and compartmentalize it and put it in the correct order. Once you get the flow it will be smooth sailing.

    Are you going to continue with your addiction in succeeding in failing. Are you going continue to spend thinking your going to land a golden nugget…opps did I say golden nugget..ohh forbid I use that term in fear I have violated someones copyright….copyright issues, plr, mrr…did you know that 99% of that garbage is not even copyrighted but claims to be.

    One more before I shut up…LOL….White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO…these integrity marketers do not even know the difference. Most claim “white hat” and are using “black hat” techniques. Want proof…oh yes their Alexa Rankings are high, but if you search for specific key phrases they are nowhere to be found. There are only a few that have really mastered the SEO game. Most of code we see on the back ends of these sites do not even have basic SEO in place. What kind of authority is that? Can you trust a site that has not been coded correctly when the “GURU” is preaching SEO?

    I really enjoy Your blog Michelle. You really touch on a lot of areas that offers knowledge and advise that helps our community. I am proud to be a part of your virtual world!


    1. Hey Charles, I see I sparked something here!

      I’m so sorry you’ve had those experiences with marketers and gurus. It’s really sad that there are some out there who really do run scams and know their claims aren’t true. :(

      I think it gives the rest of us an opportunity. We can see that and choose to do business differently. Learn from their mistakes and the way their approach makes us feel, and never repeat it.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Do You Know the Real Reason You’re Losing Sales?My Profile

      1. Michelle,

        I have never been burned by any marketer or Guru. I have been researching marketing and advertising for what it truly is. I have invested thirty plus years into my work. I am a programmer techie/website designer. I have spent few than $1000.00 in programs over the years as an investment in my time to reverse engineer the process. What you hear me rant about is how they effect newbie marketers.

        We have created a sub culture, a generation of marketers who are being marketed to, rather than being taught how to be marketers. You see twenty-five years ago none of this even existed. That;s right, it did not exist. Now of course we all have Al Gore to thank for this wonderful thing we call the internet. So to keep up and keep things in perspective WordPress has not even been around for half that time.

        I go all the way back to the original days of when we all we had was 14k dial-up connections and BBS’s. We were marketing back then. AOL and CompuServe was just getting off the ground. Yahoo was our search engine of choice and Netscape was our browser in the later years. Soon Google emerged and now generates 25 petabytes of user data each and every day, over one million servers world wide. Today scumbag marketers from all reaches of the globe are perpetuating grand theft to the tune of billions at the expense of innocent hard working individuals perusing their version of what could be considered that has been lost, “The American Dream” .

        Most in this generation of marketers do not even give credit to the term “viral” as we saw it when walking into our offices on a Monday morning only to find a full roll of fax machine paper streaming on the floor. Today we list build and share those lists even when our TOS says we wont. JV’s are the worst when it comes to this.

        On a lighter note..the blog is shaping up! Im getting lost of spam..LOL Build it they will come. I went over to the sight you recommended for what I now call my legal stuff. His Copyright notice fails..(out of date) hehe. I called and he never answered back…mmm another scumbag?..I dunno…fight the good fight right!?

        Had a very nice 5K week last week, we brought on three more client/customers total net 15K. I hate to talk numbers, but people do need to know, what is being taught now is not how they should be marketing, the competition is too tough.


        1. Oh, got it! So you do bring a different perspective into things. :)

          It IS scary when you really get behind the scenes into some of the marketers out there… I’m thankful not to be running in those circles. At some point or another more of them are going to end up in trouble with the FTC for the massive violations of privacy, truth in marketing, home business requirements… and the lovely more recent testimonial requirements.

          Yeah, I remember those days. I was pretty young, but I remember when the internet came to our town, when it was 14.4K, Netscape was King, and AltaVista ruled the search world before Google existed… LOL
          Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… She Called Me a Liar and Said I’d Never SucceedMy Profile

  6. Thank you for sharing this. Iam at a Take Shape for Life conference in Chicago learning about their business model. AOne of the speakers talked about having a passion for being able to help people when you pick up the phone and coming from a place of live for the people you want to serve. For me, that is what coaching should be about. I haven’t signed up (yet), but I am liking their business model. I am sorry you were treated so badly-yuk!
    Cynthia Hanevy recently posted… Renewal: not just for Springtime!My Profile

    1. TSFL has a great business model. Their Coaching program is awesome. Six very basic yet comprehensive steps to to see if you fit, then on to success. Every program that I have looked at that is geared towards success, has no up sells. It takes work and dedication to make any program work.

      Good Luck to you and your ventures in Chicago!


      1. Agree 100% that it takes work and dedication to make ANY program work. :)

        Cynthia that sounds like a wonderful approach.

  7. Geez…typos, that should be love. I do not type well on my ipad.

    1. I don’t type well on those types of devices, either, Cynthia. :)

  8. I have heard just what you described and what others have mentioned here, “you’re no committed enough in your business if you don’t invest” and “if you don’t invest now, you’ll be in this same place next year.” The coach I’m thinking of now definitely made me feel awful, I was in tears and his/her approach was almost along the line of bullying.

    As you well know, and I’m now experiencing, there are coaches with heart – they are not attached to the outcome if you say “no” to them, they still want you to be happy & successful with whatever path you choose.

    Thanks again for sharing your heart with us. ~Debra
    Debra Jason recently posted… Do You Know the 5 Steps to Copywriting Success? Part 1My Profile

    1. It’s sad, really, because I don’t think coaches are intentionally crossing the line (at least not all of them)–but they ARE doing it.

      And I’m realizing part of it is some lack the ability to connect with where the person on the other side of the conversation is at. We’re not all the same, and pushing every one of us through the same sales script sure isn’t going to work.

  9. Thank you for speaking out Michelle! I won’t tell you how much debt I have from literally buying in. However, I am finally coming into my own about how I will be a coach and run my coaching business, which I know will be successful. I don’t even remember who posted on fb that it was worth $100K to be coached by Ali Brown. I just unfollowed, unliked and unfriended immediately. I can’t be a part of that anymore. Recovery Alchemy, coaching and support for family and friends of addicts and alcoholics, that’s me and I know it’s needed. Jerri

    1. That’s a tough one for me, Jerri, because the coaches I’ve worked with have been worth every penny and I’m okay with them charging what they’re worth (not $100K for the ones I’ve worked with). But I see people filing bankruptcy to recover from “coaching” investments they’ve made and that’s just not okay.

      I think one of the biggest problems is that many coaches push people into programs they aren’t ready for. If my business isn’t at the right level, it doesn’t matter how great the coach is, I can’t get the results from that $100K program. I respect coaches who will come right out and say, “You’re not ready for this program yet” or “This option would be better for you right now.”

      And good for you for figuring out how you want to show up in the world and who you are here to serve!

  10. Brava to you Michelle for having found the spark, using it to build your own success and calling out those who would have preferred to snuff it out in exchange for a recurring credit card transaction. Just one point of contention: the person with whom you had such a difficult situation is most likely not a ‘coach’. This person, and countless thousands others, have chosen to use the word ‘coach’ among their other dubious credentials because it’s au courant. However, I’d bet one of their hefty ‘mentorship program’ fees that they’ve attended zero coach training and couldn’t tell the different between a coach, a consultant or a peach pie.

    As a professionally trained coach and a business person of decades I know that coaching, as a profession, was crafted with an enormous amount of love, ethics and thoughtful content. It was designed and developed by a genius – Thomas Leonard – and his team of humanists to ensure a person’s own joy and brilliances would lead them to greater, personally defined success in the world of their choice. All they needed was a little temporary help from a trained, supportive guide.

    In the last 5 or so years, coaching has been co-opted by hucksters of all stripes who, unable to either turn a buck, a trick or a con, have decided to try this new field which still remains misunderstood and unregulated. And that’s a shame because the ICF and the IAC (both born from the same genius mind of Thomas Leonard) are there yet do zip to ensure a client can identify a quality relationship or can complain when they find a jerk or a thief in a coach’s clothing.

    If only it weren’t so easy to add ‘coach’ to business literature, whether a squeeze page or a biz card, you and countless other hopefuls who become pawn for these con artists who’ve made it big might have recourse beyond personal trauma, self-doubt and loss of funds as well as loss of confidence.

    Hooray for your blog post!
    Andrea Feinberg recently posted… Part 2: Building a Relationship with Someone You’ll Never MeetMy Profile

    1. Ms. Andrea,

      With all do respect, is not coaching just another way to gain information and knowledge. There will always be a price to pay. What makes “Coaching” or “Mentoring” so special that it has to be from someone that carries some universal credential. ICF and IAC do not hold water. The program in itself was another way to add credentials for people to monetize knowledge. Look at his credentials, the man made millions profiting from other wanting to seek a higher position on the food chain. How can we possible glorify that? I will not ride on the shirt tails of others. I prefer to be self made. Take responsibility for my education and own it. In the process will always give credit where credit is due.

      As a young man I wanted to be a magician. I found a mentor who took me under his wing and used me in every way imaginable other than “personal favors” just to be clear. The knowledge I gained was invaluable and was worth every Turkish coffee I purchased, playing taxi service and every other expense to numerous to mention. Bottom line it came with a price. What did it do for me? Made me one the best in my field.

      So here we have a story about a Sorcerer and Apprentice. I see no difference in how I learned and what people are doing now. Many of these scumbags do know their material. It is how they go about charging for services, that sets a stinger in my seat. If you have knowledge and package it up for $299.00, it should be complete, easy to read and through implementation of the material show positive results. It should not have a back end that serves 4 up sells that negates the original offer. If the material is part of a “Course” then advertise it as such.

      Was Roy a scumbag, by my standard today I would have to say “yes”. Roy, was also my best friend and I do miss him dearly. I look back and see Mr. Miyagi and Daniel San. I smile and laugh because that’s what I was taught. when Roy died, i honored him the best way I could, I vowed never to be like him. That has made me a better “Coach”.


    2. That’s a great point, Andrea. Many people use the word coach without “getting” what it means. I don’t identify myself as a coach and that’s one reason. I’m more of a trainer and I realize it’s a different role and a different type of support that I bring.

      Charles, that’s worth pondering–there is always a cost for anything and it’s up to us to figure out if it’s worth it. Sometimes we don’t know for sure until later and then we can see clearly if it was.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… She Called Me a Liar and Said I’d Never SucceedMy Profile

  11. Michelle, I am so sorry you had that experience. No one deserves to be called a liar or a failure – that is the antithesis of coaching. Once you’ve hired a coach, they may hold you accountable and gently call you on your s**t but those words should never be part of a coaching engagement. Who the heck would want to hire a coach who browbeats clients? Again, I’m very sorry – that gives coaching a bad name. I am thrilled to have get acquainted sessions with people, I provide value right on that brief call, and then I encourage people to work with me when they’re ready. No blame or shame involved. There are lots of good coaches out there who don’t use the slimy (or just plain mean) sales approaches – hold out for the great coaches, people. And Michelle, thank YOU for sticking with your business – look how many people you are helping (including me!) <3
    Sandi recently posted… Whatever, Martha! Perfectionism Stinks.My Profile

    1. I like that — “gently call you on your s**t”. Yes, a good coach should do that!

      And that’s a beautiful perspective to bring to your sessions. Your clients (and prospective clients) are blessed. :)

  12. Thank you for posting this. I’m not a business coach, but I’ve been told to use those strategies, and it’s never felt right to do so. I’m thankful that you shared this post before I was forced to do so. I will not use this strategy to get clients. If they’re ready to work with me, they are. I they’re not, that’s fine by me.
    Linda Ursin recently posted… Let Out Your Inner ChildMy Profile

    1. Don’t let anyone push you into a strategy that doesn’t feel good to you, Linda. It won’t work. Part of the problem, in my view, is that’s exactly what’s happening. Some coaches are trying to do what works for someone else, because they’re taught that’s how to sell, but it’s not a fit for them. I’m all for challenging someone to step into their next “self” so to speak, but it has to be done the right way.

  13. It’s so sad when that happens, a sure-fire way to kill dreams, for certain. What I’ve noticed, especially in my own path, I tailor my style from those who I previously experienced and did not want to emulate in my future practice. I still come across “coaches” who are a bit gruff, yet try to sift through the muck to retain any gold nuggets—and yes, there are a few. It’s a challenge to come back to an upright position after getting knocked on your kiester, especially from someone you once respected. Took me roughly a year, but I did. Life is too precious and so is your business. If you are in a group or involved with a leader who is not increasing the volume you seek, then it’s time to pack up. But first make certain you’re leaving for the right reasons and not because you don’t want to do the work. . Great post, Michelle… it does a body good to get the emotions out and feel supported. Hugs and love, dear friend.
    Peggy Lee Hanson recently posted… I’m going to the Oscars!My Profile

  14. Well said Michelle. I’ve talked with coaches like this. A few years ago, when I told one coach that I didn’t have the money to work with him just then, he told he was hanging up because he didn’t want to waste any more of his time. What a creep.

    There’s never really any reason to speak to someone like that, whether you are a coach or not. People should always be treated with respect. And for coaches, you never know who might come back to you in a year or two after their situation has improved.

    Thanks for ranting for all of us.
    Julia Neiman recently posted… How to Advertise Your Business with a Limited BudgetMy Profile

  15. Michelle,

    I, too, was once told by a coach I respected that I would fail because I did not have all of my ducks in a row. I was in the first year of business and not sure where I was going (hence the reason I was reaching out this coach) and her question was, “If you don’t have any clients yet, what DO you do all day long?” Ah, duh….trying to figure it all out! It sent me into a 6 month funk that took a lot of strength to pull out of and not give up.

    Since then, when I am not where I want to be, I remind myself: I am where I am meant to be; I am in charge of where I’m going and when it is right to be there, I will get there. I’m in year two of my business and slowly growing. And that’s okay with me… I’m not on a fast track to a million dollars. That will come when the time is right and I’ll be ready for it when it does!

    Sometimes ranting is not such a bad thing! Kudos to you and thank you for sharing your vunerability.

  16. You know you actually got me crying over this, and I don\’t do that often.

  17. Congratulations on publishing this post Michelle! I saw the comments on Facebook and was hoping you would! I do know one business coach who uses these tactics. Sadly, he does not have any clients and people see right through him. On the other hand, I have been blessed to find other great coaches who are helping me build my business. It is hard to bounce back from someone who says you will fail. I know we’re all in business, but there is better way to have this conversation. The big key is to remember when you were in their shoes: “What would you have liked that other person to say to you?” I’m so glad you posted this! Someone needed to say something!
    Kristen Robinson recently posted… 3 More LinkedIn Secrets You Should KnowMy Profile

  18. Loving all the comments here, Michelle, and thanks for sharing your story.

    No one should pass judgement on others until and unless they’ve walked a mile in their moccasins.

    ENcouraging words will take you a lot further (and maybe even land you a coaching client!) in life than DIScouraging, hurtful words that carry the potential of destroying someone’s soul.

    Shame on anyone who wants to make the sale or get the sign-up so badly, they void themselves of empathy, respectfulness, and compassion.
    Melanie Kissell recently posted… Out With The Trash And In With The TreasuresMy Profile

  19. Michelle, how awful that that happened to you!!! There is NO excuse for predicting that someone will fail or calling that person a liar. I’m so glad you didn’t give up! And thanks for using this post to reach out to others who may have been hurt.
    Jeanine recently posted… Taking a Spiritual Walk on the Wild Side My Profile

  20. Hi Michelle, I’ve been reading your emails for close to 3 years and I’ve never once commented on your blog, but this post really sparked off something. I’ve had experiences with coaches, one in particular who promised free coaching, but only got me to buy one of his products then tuned off. I’ve always been wary of coaches, not because I’m distrustful.

    But I began my online business because we were in a foreign country where I couldn’t work and we had a baby to feed and clothe…I couldn’t afford even $10 extra for any coaching. So I just signed up to people like you and followed closely – it’s not the same, but it’s been rewarding.

    I finally got a mentor last over a year ago and my income has trebled. She didn’t charge me a dime, I just did work for her, which she loved and she kept encouraging and pushing me to be bigger and better. If she had a coaching program, I would gladly pay to be part of it.

    Thank you for this post. I genuinely love your honesty and the vulnerability that peeked out of it. It is something I’m sure almost everyone can relate to at some level.
    Sharon recently posted… You Want to Write Fiction?My Profile

    1. Welcome to the comment section, Sharon! :)

      It sounds like we started in *very* similar circumstances. Knowing you’ve got a little one to feed can be extremely motivating.

      I did the same thing when I first started. I found the mentors/coaches/trainers I wanted to learn from and I read everything free they put out — their blogs, their ezines, any books they published, videos on YouTube, etc. And it might not have been the fastest path but it got me moving in the right direction and it was what I could do. Start where you’re at and do what you can with what you’ve got.

      Sometimes bartering can be a great option to get the coaching or support we need if we can create that win-win situation.

      Thank you for commenting and sharing your story. And congrats on tripling your income with a great coach! AWESOME! :)

  21. Keep the Tail Wagging isn’t my first blog. It’s my second. My first was 365 Days of Puppies, which I launched in May 2010 a few weeks before we brought our puppies home. I wanted to document what our first year was like and I think that could have made such a great blog, because I learned so very much about dogs; much more than I learned when I was nerding out and reading every book I could find.

    I think it was the first week we had our puppies I wrote a tongue in cheek post about how bad they were being and that I had to show them I was boss, I was the alpha. I think alpha training is wrong and we worked with a positive based trainer, but I thought the post was funny, because they were teeny puppies – anyone who knows me knows that I would never abuse our dogs.

    Anyway, two dog trainers read this post and told me that it made them cry. They then proceeded to beat me up on Facebook for 2 days. The attacks were personal and one of the trainers even dropped the N bomb. They let me know that I didn’t deserve dogs, that I was a terrible dog owner, and that I was so shallow that I would end up having our dogs euthanized, because I got tired of them.

    I was in tears all day for two days after reading each post. Because I so respected these women, I kept engaging, stupidly, trying to get them to understand. They finally calmed down and apologized and I blocked them both and reported them to Facebook.

    I also shut down my blog and didn’t dare approach pet blogging until a year and a half later when I launched Keep the Tail Wagging to give dog lovers a place to go where they can ask dumb questions without fear of being attacked, bullied, or judged. I want to help others. We may not agree on every little thing, but I want to have an open mind, because everyone who reads my blog loves dogs and wants to do whats best for them. It’s my job to educate them – not to change minds – but to share what I’m learning and learn from them too.

    I have no tolerance for people who bully others for business or simply because they hold a different POV. It’s unacceptable. And as a woman, I hate hearing stories of women bullying each other. Didn’t we leave all that behind in high school?
    Kimberly, The Fur Mom recently posted… Keep the Tail Wagging, The Premier Pet Blog for Dog LoversMy Profile

  22. Ohh Kimberly, good for you!

    Sorry it took a year to get back into the swing of things. 167,770 impressive! You go Girl!

    I had a similar experience on how I was training my dog Buddy. I chose not to use the “Hollywood” style of training. It took twice as long, but at the time I could afford 20 minutes a day, three times a day for 6 months. Buddy in his prime would heel, sit, stay and fetch on command, only using hand signals. Because he being a flat-coat retriever, I knew his eye site would probably go first, then his hips. This is why I re-enforced the use of hand signals for anyone attempting to train.

    I was told I was wasting my time and my efforts would never pay off. All said and done, all I would have to do is ask Buddy to get my “boots”…he would bring me a pair of work boots every time. What was amazing he on his own knew to bring bring me a matching pair…I had four pairs in a row. I never wore the same pair twice. I had a welding fabrication shop at the time and had to let my boots dry out.

    Buddy learned to deliver what I asked not because he was going to receive a treat. He did for me because I praised him for the behaviors he learned. Buddy is now gone to puppy heaven. For those that said I would fail well…they were wrong.


  23. Michelle

    Thanks for this post. I shared my horrible coach story with you briefly, but I had no idea this was the story of so many others. When you go to someone you trust for help or advice and they crush you and it can be hard to overcome.

    I made a vow to always operate with integrity as a coach. I want to uplift and encourage as many women as I can to build successful businesses, whether they decide to work with me or not.

    I hope this post begins the healing process for so many. Thanks for your rant!

    Lisa recently posted… Did You Forget Your Manners? The Simple Strategy to Generating More BusinessMy Profile

  24. Thanks for sharing this. I worked with an established business coach for a time. She “fired” me saying that I was not committed to success. What she did not know was that I was in an abusive marriage and in fear of my physical safety. What she did not care about was that I was putting family above her definition of success. If ever I needed a coach, that was the time, but she was unable to see beyond her ideas to see that there is no cookie-cutter approach to business.

    My success will never look like her success, but 9 years later I am happy with the choices I made and the life I have made that meets MY definitions of success.
    Julie Holland recently posted… By: ScarletMy Profile

    1. Julie,

      I truly understand where you are coming from. But maybe there is one or two things to consider.

      A good Coach or Mentor is only as good as the information you offer. I get it, do not mix business with pleasure as some information is just plain nobody’s business. In your case here you openly tell about an abusive relationship, at the time your feelings are all over the boards; you are not yourself. Your Coach could have helped you through if she had known.

      You see Denial is a terrible a human attribute. It shows its ugly head at every straight away and curve in our lives. The path we think we are on is not necessarily the path we should be on.

      You have paid a steep price I am sure for your success. Many times if we are honest about where we are we can change the behaviors that Denial sets in our way. What you may consider success could be defined by someone else as maybe not as successful as you could be if you break free.

      People can be proud of people that they do not know. I am proud of you for starting a new blog! I am proud of you for having a brick and mortar and a great website to go with. Your shopping cart albeit, maybe a little cluttered, is awesome! Sometimes less is more. You have a great featured product, focus on that and that alone! I just watched Shark Tank the other night, there was a woman who had a like product for its category. She did not get a deal, why? bottom line her own denial has caused her business to fail. She claimed to be the originator of the idea and I do know she could not have been as I grew up with the same…get that product launched!


  25. Great rant, Michelle. I hope you know I was always available for a virtual hug when others were stomping hard on your soul. (Still am, of course).

    1. Thank you! *hugs* And I’ve got to say, working with you is one of the things that created such a different mindset and view around sales and business for me — realizing that it can ALWAYS be a win-win if we’re creative and open enough, and there’s never enough justification to make choices which hurt others (or our planet).

  26. Michelle thanks for your support :) I think so most important never give up on myself and find my best way how I can succeed, because success meaning probably different for me and different for you and someone else.
    Susanna recently posted… St Patrick’s Day Sunday, 17 March, 2013My Profile

    1. Success means something different for each of us, and as long as we know what our definition is and we work towards it, that’s what counts! :)

  27. Michelle, I am so glad for your courage and heart in posting this topic. I’ve been in the coaching business a while now, and I can tell you that it wasn’t always this way, with pushing people to take financial risks that are completely inappropriate for them. The worst of it is the disrespect for the client, who is attempting to better their own situation, not to make it worse nor bear shame for wherever they currently are.

    I know who some of the “pushy” coaches are. I even know who is teaching other coaches to use those tactics. And I am completely opposed to them. They are shortsighted and do a disservice to themselves and the client.

    As so many of the comments reveal, there are ways to serve and there are ways to brutalize. I know which side of that coin I’m on. And I stand with you to help change the patterns into something a LOT more healthy for everyone :-)

    Thank you for your vision of a better way. May we all find that road and walk fearlessly upon it with great heart.
    Nancy Boyd recently posted… Break Away From Toxic RelationshipsMy Profile

    1. It’s heartbreaking to know many have been through this and how it’s affecting people. We’ve got to consciously choose to serve and keep our focus on that. I do wonder if those teaching this type of approach have ever been on the other side of the conversation…

  28. Wow, what a thread …. proves some points doesn’t it? Michelle great post and words that need to be shared, I have been burned more than a few times and wallowed in lack of self worth, makes me sick, but hey I am getting there and they can look on :) x

    Great stuff you do girl :)
    Cher recently posted… Juice Cleanse 30 Days Or More – Spring CleanMy Profile

    1. Yep, just prove to yourself that you can make it happen. Get the support you need (and that type of “support” isn’t it!). ;)

  29. So well said, Michelle!

    And I do agree that when people are reaching out to you for help, they are at a very vulnerable moment. As coaches and consultants, we have a sacred obligation to hold every person with whom we speak in the highest regard…and to treat each person with respect, humility and graciousness.

    Thank you for bringing this issue to the light!
    Ellen Britt, PA, Ed.D. recently posted… A Heart to Heart TalkMy Profile

    1. “treat each person with respect, humility and graciousness” — that’s beautiful, Ellen. Thank you for commenting.

  30. It seems your rant hit very close to home for a lot of people. While I’m not yet in a place where I need or can afford a coach, I can see this very same mindset in a lot of marketing that’s out there.

    I believe that it comes from not knowing who you are and what you offer so that you can know who your target is, what your niche is and most importantly, who your ideal client is. It comes from having an idea that success means that you are making a million dollars a year and that you can help anyone. That you have to pretend that a program is limited (scarcity) in order to get people to buy from you. That you have to tell them that if they don’t invest, then they aren’t serious about whatever it is that they want to improve. Oh, and my favorite one is….the more money that someone spends, the more they will value the information.

    I call bullshit on all of it. What we need is to know who we are, what we offer, and who we want to work with. We need to decide what success is for each of us and really know what our definition of success brings to us. We need to serve people in an authentic and compassionate way; be vulnerable so that we build real connections. It’s not all about numbers and money.

    I’d say that coaches/mentors that are doing anything but being authentic and vulnerable are living in shame/fear themselves. They don’t feel strong and powerful, therefore, if you say no, they need to take power from you so that they can feel stronger. It never really works for anyone and unfortunately, does a lot of damage to both parties.

    I do think that there is one thing that all coaches need to remember though. People don’t absolutely need you. They can still be successful without enrolling in your programs. Customers enroll in your programs because they believe that you can help them get where they are going faster than they are on their own. And if you want customers that come to you over and over again, you have to not just give them great information, but make them feel good as well.

    Maya Angelou said it very well:

    I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

    1. That’s one of my favorite quotes, Denise, because it’s so true.

      I have nothing against making money (it’s one way to make a bigger impact in the world–we can change more when we have the freedom to give more). But I do have a problem with the WAY some people go after it and to really hurt people in the process just isn’t cool. Sometimes we forget that people are more important than numbers.

      Success does have different meanings to different people. In the big picture there are lots of paths to success and lots of destinations. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Wanna Know One of My Biggest Traffic Secrets?My Profile

  31. “Authenticity is essential to being truly human. It is a divine gift.” — Dr. Gary G. Kindley

    Just be real to yourself, your readers, and your clients, Michelle. If there are others in your field who choose to promote negativity, ask yourself if associating with them is of benefit to your integrity. ;-) (Hello, un-friend button! LOL)

    1. Beautiful quote, Brie. And you’re right. There’s a time to disconnect from that and stay far away.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Wanna Know One of My Biggest Traffic Secrets?My Profile

  32. I have been through some similar situations in past. But nowadays that doesn’t happens a lot. Maybe I have learned how to cope up with this situations.
    Keral Patel recently posted… The Best Server Options For ColocationMy Profile

    1. I think once you’ve been through it a time or two, you start to develop a radar for it. I don’t let a lot of people get me on the phone and this is one reason. I’ve got to have a great feeling about someone to get in that conversation now.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Wanna Know One of My Biggest Traffic Secrets?My Profile

  33. Dear Michelle,
    I think your blog post was very healing for many. Your writing the post to the offensive and insensitive coaches helped others to feel empowered and heard. Thanks! Debbie Seiling and
    Debbie Seiling recently posted… Christians Rely Heavily on the Nourishment That Jesus Gives ThemMy Profile

    1. It was hard to share but I’m glad I did for the exact reason you mentioned, Debbie. I want others to know many of us have been through that and it doesn’t have to keep us from success. :)

  34. Wow! Sorry to hear about your experience Michelle!

    I don’t think this is about coaching, specifically. Just a dang ‘mean-spirited’ person who was so focused on the money that they didn’t care who they hurt to get where they wanted to go. It happens in all businesses at one time or other.

    Everything though is a lesson for each of us and brings us to where we are today.


  35. I’m finally getting around to reading since I’m finally home from travels.

    I’ve had a similar experience. Back in the day, I had followed a biz coach for a while online and even talked to her locally at an event. Same thing…strategy session and her rates were about triple from what I expected from past research. I said I needed time to think about it. Then, came the high pressure sales bit. She didn’t call me a name or say anything hurtful, but she asked me the stereotypical coaching question, “How much would it be worth to you to get rid of your struggling and lack of success?” Ouch! I think this is typical when it comes to the sales process. I guess I don’t resonate with people who want me to feel my pain even more. I’m plenty good enough at that myself LOL! I’m a artistic musician writer type so I’m very familiar with pain, struggles, etc. and well, I’m freaking human. I get it. Today, as a coach myself, I refuse to appeal to people’s pain (or other negative motivators to buy) to get people to enroll in my services. It might take me longer to a be a success, but I’d rather do it my way with integrity. So, if it takes longer, so be it.

    On a side note, I notice so many biz coaches charging incredible rates and it’s hard to tell if they really are the real deal. How do you tell?
    Lisa recently posted… How I Became Enlightened Listening to the Rolling StonesMy Profile

  36. I hate coaches who do that. It’s not too empowering and motivational, is it?
    Mark Murray recently posted… Ultimate PLR Article CollectionMy Profile

    1. Nope, and it guaranteed I’d never hire her… that tactic can backfire for sure.

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