Why life coaching sucks as a business - and what all businesses can learn from it

Every year hundreds if not thousands of people pour out of life coaching qualification courses in the UK alone. The vast majority of them never make a living from their new qualification. Why?

There are a number of reasons but primarily, this is because people just don't want life coaching. And they're certainly not willing to pay for it.

Life coaching, as it is usually taught, is about being completely non-directive, never giving advice, but helping clients find their own answers by using the skills of active listening, powerful questions, and goal-setting. This is a wonderful thing to experience. Everyone can probably benefit from it. But few are willing to pay for it.

What most people want is answers - they want someone to tell them or teach them something they don't know themselves. And that means they want subject matter expertise specific to their problem.

Generic life coaching is a solution looking for a problem that doesn't really exist.

Sure, everyone could do with a listening ear, some good advice, but no one's going to get their wallet out to pay for it unless there is some pain they can't resolve on their own.

Whether you're a life coach, a complementary therapist, a freelancer or an internet marketer, there is something important for all of us here. If you're offering something of real value that you enjoy doing but you're struggling to win business, ask yourself the simple question: does it solve a problem? If what you do doesn't address a pain or problem that your target clients already have (and know that they have), you'll do about as much business as a life coach.

Even if you're doing well, getting very very clear what problem you solve in your business and knowing how to describe it will transform your sales cycle. That's why I've dedicated an entire chapter to the topic in Screw Work, Let's Play.


What problem do you solve? Leave a comment and I'll give you some tips to make it as clear as possible.

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  • That is so true. As I've been meeting more and more people in the life and career coaching world via Twitter and my blog, I am surprised to see that very few of these (even those with thriving blogs) manage to make a sustainable business from coaching. Obviously that's not something they state on their bio, but still, it is true 🙂

    It seems you and I are in the minority!

    I think that's kind of scary - particularly if there is a career coach who is supposed to be helping you find and build the work life you want, yet has not managed to work out their own.

    My conclusion is that the coaching world is filled with people who ironically have their own limiting beliefs to deal with (and who would definitely benefit from your advice).


  • I think taking the certification from the institute is not enough for the life coach.. They have to be strong, determinant, have the convincing power, desire to live the life with happiness what ever the situation arise in front of them, boost and motivate others.. All such will help them in becoming the best life coach according to me..

  • Irina

    Most people problems come from people's mind is being set at a certain kind of a box...The life coach or a psychologist can see this and lead the way, helping people literally think outside their box. Another thing is *blocks* of our subconsciousness that a experience life coach also sees and identifies and helps to break through them.
    Most people LOVE drama, and does not want to step out of their life drama, they are comfortable being unhappy and want to change nothing although they might complain (which is a part of a game) and complain and complain and seek for someone who would listen...even paying money...and yet they don't want to change anything,,,This is another reason why life coaching is not popular.