Are online business coaches making you helpless?

April 13, 2022

The online coaching industry is making business owners helpless. How can we bring about change?

Janet Murray Courageous Content Podcast Headshot

Is the online coaching industry making some business owners helpless?

I think so – and I know I’m partly to blame.

In this episode of the Courageous Content Podcast I’ll share why I believe online coaches can make business owners helpless – and ask what we can do about it.

Here’s what I cover:

Something I really struggle with as a content strategist/teacher is clients who want a tutorial on everything (or seem to).

For example, tech is one of the biggest barriers for many. And I’m good at breaking things down, step-by-step for people – like adding text to Instagram Reels or adding captions to videos etc. Plus I have the tech skills to create them – and enjoy doing it.

But sometimes it feels like the more I give, the more some people want.

For example, if I share a tutorial on how to add text to Instagram Reels, someone will ask for one on how to get the text to come in at the right time (even though it’s included in the video I’ve just made).

Or someone will ask for a tutorial on something super basic – like how to add the Instagram app to their phone.

How online business coaches encourage helplessness

I’m not proud to admit this, but there are times where I find myself thinking: ‘Good God…do you want a tutorial on how to make a flippin’ cup of tea as well!’

Last year, I dealt with an angry customer who’d bought one of my planners as a gift for a sibling – who was, apparently, outraged that it wasn’t filled with pre-written posts.

No amount of explaining why we don’t provide pre-written posts (i.e. because that wouldn’t actually HELP her sibling find clients for her new business) seemed to get through.

Or sending links to helpful podcasts. Or explaining (diplomatically) that if mastering content marketing for a small business was as easy as spending £47 on my Courageous Content Planner, I’d have wiped out the whole social media management and content marketing industry by now!

Nope… it was all my fault and I was just a ‘scammy’ business owner who was duping people into paying me money for a ‘blank’ planner.

Why blueprints and strategies disempower business owners

Just to be clear…I’m not looking for sympathy here.

Because I know it’s my fault (at least partly). For being too ‘helpful’ to my clients.

For not being like one of my business buddies – who calls clients out when they get into ‘helpless mode’ – telling them that if they can’t find a ‘how to’ video on YouTube they shouldn’t BE in business. Which is absolutely true – but takes some guts to say to someone who’s asking you for help.

For me…being part of an industry that doses people up with so much high quality information: step-by-step guides, blueprints and strategies – absolutely FREE – that it effectively renders some business owners helpless.

Frozen in headlights, unable to implement anything without a blueprint or strategy and/or a coach/mentor telling them what to do.

When the truth is there is no ‘right’ way to do anything. Yes there are tried and tested strategies that get good results for many businesses. But they never ‘work’ in the same way for every business. And there are no guarantees – which is why you have to tweak and test everything.

And be ok with making mistakes and getting things wrong (because that’s typically how you learn what’s ‘right’).

How ‘overgiving’ can disempower business coaches

I also know that being too generous with my time and advice can disempower me as a teacher/mentor.

If I’m spending all my time creating content people could find elsewhere on the internet, I have less time to help people with the more strategic stuff – drawing on the experience I have creating offers, building funnels and sales campaigns. The stuff that really makes a difference to the bottom line of a business.

For me, it’s another example of why we need to shake up the online coaching industry – and be on the lookout for shady practices in the online business space.

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