How Business Coaches Do (And Don’t) Help Entrepreneurs

The online marketplace is inundated with untrained “coaches” that seem to have all of the answers to entrepreneurial and personal challenges.

Photo: Olivia M. Chapman; Credit:
 Annamarie Akins Photography
Photo: Olivia M. Chapman; Credit:
 Annamarie Akins Photography

If you play in the online business space, chances are you have had an encounter with a coach.

Life coaches, business coaches, success coaches and more are flooding the online marketplace, with countless services, offers and packages designed to help clients, especially business owners, transform their lives.

The problem is, there are some very unsettling interactions and transactions happening, people are getting hurt and coaches are getting a bad rep.

There are entrepreneurs around the world losing money (as well as confidence) in coaching as a tool to transform their lives, relationships and businesses. While so-called coaches are making promises to prospects such as more money, more happiness and more results, yet their lack of experience, training and professionalism are leaving clients discouraged and disappointed.

The online marketplace is inundated with untrained “coaches” that seem to have all of the answers to entrepreneurial and personal challenges. But here’s the thing: If someone claims to have all of the answers to your problems — this is a dead giveaway that they are not a trained coach.

Confused? That’s okay, but let me break it down for you.


Business coaching is this, not that

Having life experiences, being able to sell, starting your own business, having been through weight loss, trauma, tragedy, divorce, broken relationships, death or anything else — these are all important parts of your life and your story. However, these life experiences do not make someone a coach.



Being great at sales, business expansion, dieting, yoga, dealing with loss, or increasing your online visibility may be someone’s expertise, but again those qualities do not make them a coach. A consultant, sure, but a coach, no.

These areas of expertise (or “niches,” as they are often referred to in the coaching world) can aide in their coaching and in their ability to have true connection with their prospects and clients, but it really has little to do with being a coach.

The fact that they may have generated $100k in sales, left an abusive relationship or got published by multiple sources are highly esteemed accomplishments, but when it comes down to it, accomplishments do not actually speak to someone’s ability to coach you.

Someone who has the magic formula for how to get hired, how to get visible, how to get whatever you want may, in fact, be the best consultant out there, but having the magic formula does not imply that they are also a trained or experienced coach.

To be clear, coach is not:


  • leading your client down the same path that you took; whether it worked for you or not.

  • giving your clients the answers.

telling your clients they are right or wrong in what they think or do.

  • pushing your beliefs or ways of doing business and life on them.

  • buying into your clients’ stories of “I can’t.”


Coaching is something else, something very different and very powerful. Coaching is not consulting and one does not simply declare that they are a coach. Coaching is:


  • an empowering partnership that invokes possibility and transformation in a client.

  • standing for your client’s full possibility and allowing them to discover “the answers” within themselves.

  • bold and reflective communication that shifts perspective in service of creating new results.

  • an uncovering of desires, beliefs and contexts that drive the way your client thinks, works and acts.

  • staying out of your client’s “story” and not buying into their fears and limiting beliefs.

  • lovingly, but powerfully, saying the thing that most people won’t say.


There is an art to coaching, there are skills and training that you must undergo to truly become a coach that can co-create massive transformation with clients.

Yes, this industry is unregulated (for the time being), but please keep the above in mind as you look to hire a coach or even market yourself as a coach. The world needs more life-changing business coaches with training and good intention; more coaches who practice in integrity with what coaching truly is and who partner with their clients to create results.

If you’re looking for answers, a specific skill or training, a consultant can absolutely uplevel your business. Especially in the beginning stages, there’s a lot of value in learning from experts in their fields.

A consultant can help your website copy pop, or teach you how to design the perfect sales funnel.

That being said, the journey of an entrepreneur is a highly personal and emotional one, as you’re faced with new challenges each day.

If you’re looking for a guide on your entrepreneurial journey whose skills lie in helping you identify your own ingrained limiting patterns, thoughts and behaviors, a coach is the ticket to your success. You’ll transform the way you approach and build your business by understanding how your thinking and actions influence your decisions.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Olivia M. Chapman is a life and business coach for entrepreneurs who are looking to improve their lives and the lives of others by creating and growing purposeful businesses. Olivia mixes her education and business background with coaching skills to help her clients move powerfully past the doubts, fears and limiting beliefs that keep their businesses and lives from reaching their full potential. She guides clients to step into their entrepreneurial zone of genius and create businesses that thrive and ultimately, change our world for the better. In addition, Olivia is the creator and Executive Director of Coach Training at Inner Glow Circle, where she trains the world’s next great life and business coaches. Connect with @OliviaMChapman on Twitter.


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