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Why you need to avoid life coaches and their pretentious bullshit

This is what I think of the “life coaches” out there. And this is going to be controversial and piss a lot of people off. Not that I give a fuck.

Life coaches write a bunch of crappy blog posts or put up boring YouTube videos of themselves talking about life and then call themselves “experts.”

Their definition of what entails a good life centers around topics of finding purpose, passion, quitting your job to do what you love and socializing with people (because apparently you need a lot of friends and you have to please everybody in life to have a good life.)

Because the above topics are too general, their lead magnet to capture your attention, whereby they ask you to fill in your details to get their free newsletter or whatever is engineered to be more specific to capture your attention. It is usually entirely off-topic and has nothing to do with their so-called expertise in “life,” So, you’ll find that a lot of life coaches are also experts in picking up girls, creating a business online, social media or life coaching itself, whatever the fuck that means.

In order to show that they’re more qualified, some of them go for life coach training. In other words, instead of studying real, important things like psychology, sociology or philosophy, they decide to go to some place to study how to teach others how to live life. This is why others like to say life coaches are nothing but psychologists wannabes with no real qualifications.

Back up. To add to these fake qualifications, they’d be writing and making more crap videos to show their expertise, and what better way to show that than to simply bank on cliches and mask the lack of good content by showing how they travel the world, have quit their job or simply love life to the fullest with no real reason whatsoever.

You can absolutely bet there’s a bunch of terminology to empower you, like, well, empower, shift your paradigm, give yourself to the universe, affirm, discover yourself, get to your core being, your spirit or love yourself.

And finally, life coaches are pretentious enough to then charge people an exorbitant amount for their “coaching”, usually hundreds to even thousands of dollars per hour to hear them woo-woo you over Skype. That’s why I like to call them Skype Cheerleaders.

How does this all play out?

If that sounded too complicated, then let me dramatize it for you. Well, it’s not really dramatized since it’s EXACTLY how it’s like when a life coach approaches you.

Enter Ultimate Pretentious Life Coach Master of the Universe:

fitness-332278_640

YAY

 

UPLCMU: Hi! Thanks for contacting the Academy of Life Inducing Energy Nets, A.L.I.E.N. for short! Because we’re but aliens in this precious thing called the universe and life!

Potential Victim: Oh hi. Yes, I’m looking for some life coaching, because for some unknown reason I’m lost in life and I can’t afford real therapy. I also don’t have many friends to go to. I may be suffering from depression. I don’t know.

UPLCMU: FANTASTIC! I’m so HAPPY for you! You’ve already taken the FIRST step to re-discovering the core of your very being simply because you told me what you just said. Even though I don’t know you, I’m so proud of you!

PV: Wow really? Thanks!

UPLCMU: Of course! You’re an amazing individual and I think I love you already.

PV: Thanks for loving me! Anyway I’ve a few questions…

UPLCMU: Hold on! Let’s start off this get-to-know-each-other session with some heavy-breathing meditation. We may be talking through Skype only, but I wanna hear that breathing ok? I want to hear and feel that negative energy come out! Ready? 1-2-GO!

PV: Err ok! (EXHALEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee)

UPLCMU: GREAT job! Let it out. Let it out. Yes! Let that negative energy out. Now, take it in, take it in…

PV: (INHALEeeeeee)

UPLCMU: Awesome! Can you feel the positive energy going back to the core of your spiritual being? Don’t you feel empowered already?!

PV: I think I do! Yes!

UPLCMU: Now how can I help you today?

PV: Ahh well I’m pretty new to life coaching. Could you tell me about your qualifications?

UPLCMU: I’m so happy you asked! Well for starters I’ve traveled the world and went to a bunch of mountains. The sights alone made me cry like baby and that experience makes me feel like I invoked the spirit of Ghandi himself.

Also, when I was 12, a lot of friends in school said I was so motivating. I was so inspiring! Some friends said I was like the white Oprah in the making. Oprah man! You can’t joke about something like that!

PV: Wow! Hey by the by, I’m a guy. I’m so shy in front of girls and I’m not used to it.

UPLCMU: No problemo homie! I can be your bro too! Yo! Right here right now? I’m gonna make you a winner yo. I’m gonna help you rediscover your life and make it a kickass one. So calm your titties! I got your back!

Did I mention I love drinking Bud Lime? We’re truly meant to be bros! Come on! BRO FIST OVER SKYPE!

PV: Ahh… (gently touch screen with fist)

UPLCMU: NOICE! By the way, I’d like to introduce you to other BFF who’s also a life coach. I want you to consider going for their Cuddle Party. The awkward human interaction inside will make you love humans and life.

cuddle party

Note: This is a real website. Sorry, I mean, a MOVEMENT.

 

PV: Wow awesome! That’d really appeal to me since I’m a vulnerable loser for people like you to shove ideas down my throat and stop believing in myself.

I’m nearly sold. Can you show me a testimonial you have?

UPLCMU: Yup! Sending over testimonial to you now…

smile-1591798_640

“UPLCMU really changed my life. I paid my bills like she told me. As I’m writing this now, I just did my good deed of the day. Ever since she taught me how to be one with the universe, I’ve managed to attract girls who’re also balding at age 26.

Thank you UPLCMU! I’d be sure to write about this in my daily journal, which you also told me to do so.

– Horace, a new believer

PV: Wow! I’m sold! How much?

UPLCMU: You’re in luck! I don’t normally do this for others, but since the cosmos have brought us together, in this very moment, the little voice in my head told me I should give you a discount. For just $1000/hr, we can Skype video call any day of the week, but not weekends, because I need to go do Yoga with my dog.

Also, if you’re willing to pay for my Ultimate Master Universe Package at a low-low price of $5000, I’ll fly over to your house and give you ONE-ON-ONE coaching! I’ll also cook vegan meals for you.

PV: Wow! This is so worth it! Gee, since I don’t want to find a real therapist, I’m going to assume you’re a better deal since you’re so fun and cool and you use words like universe.

End Scene.

How the life coach can be easily created

Obviously, I was poking fun at them. But on a more serious note, here’s a plot twist:

This was how I failed in being a life coach in like a week.

A couple of years ago I was going broke. I really needed money to be able to fly abroad to see my girlfriend. I needed to start making money with this blog. I was desperate as fuck.

A fellow marketer then taught me, “It’s okay you don’t have a product to sell yet. You just have to offer your time. Call it coaching. Give a few free trials to gain testimonials. Oh of course they’ll give them to you, it’s free. Tell them that you’ll probably charge $100/hr for it in the future.”

And that I did. I even successfully coached a total of three people for free over Skype. One of them was very thankful and now we’re still friends. He claimed I made a big difference in his life and he couldn’t stop telling his colleagues about me.

But alas, come the end of my free trial, nobody bought my coaching even though it was a “low low” price of $100 (or was it $125) per hour to hear me speak out of my ass.

That was how I failed as a life coach. The question is then, why was it I failed? Did I not market myself well? Did my copy for the sales page suck? Was my price too high? Did I lack qualifications? Was my face not pretty enough?

The bigger moot point is: Do you see how easy it is to become a life coach and how I could have validated myself as one if somebody actually bought my bullshit?

All you have to do is to create a blog or platform, put up some mediocre content and then offer your time as a form of service. And no one will be the wiser of your expertise because it’s “life.”

Want better credentials to back up that fake expertise? Go get certified then.

Here you can be certified in 7 days. I don’t even know why it’s mixed with NLP training.

Here you can become a coach in 6 months, but don’t worry, you can learn in the comforts in your own home as all materials are delivered to your computer. Perhaps you’ll be a star student and be fully qualified at a shorter time because they also included their Coaching Training Accelerator program for free.

Fuck being a CEO man, in this Udemy course, you can learn and choose how to be a “consultant”, “guru”, “strategist”, “leader” or even a “friend.”

And for fuck’s sake, here you can learn how to become a coach for free.

The surge of internet certification has made it too easy for everyone. One can only wonder how doctors feel when they’ve to deal with patients who claim they manage to self-diagnosed their condition because of WebMD.

And what’s worse is if that the life coach tries to NLP your ass to make you fork out the money.

If it’s not obvious enough, the field of life coaching is entirely unregulated. Any fucking body can become a life coach!

The dangers of this pretentiousness

Is that, in a nutshell, they’re spreading an ideal that’s filled to the brim with naivete and generally wasting vulnerable people’s time and money.

Sweeping real pain under the rug

I cannot imagine how a person who’s suffering from real problems and trauma try to solve their shit with life coaching. This is extremely dangerous as the victim requires real counselling or therapy, not a life coach.

I’m no psychologist and definitely not a life coach, but to try to solve your pain through looking for something as generic as purpose, passion or wanting to be superhuman or whatever is definitely not going to work. Real pain can’t be alleviated with pep talks, cheer leading or from inspiration alone.

You need to put it in the work and give yourself time.

Naive message for young adults everywhere

You know how it is lately.

Drop out of college because billionaires out there did the same. Aim to change the world with your passion. Love life to the fullest. Money is not important etc etc.

I remember seeing some life coach friend on Facebook declaring loudly how proud he was of his friend for “courageously” quitting school to do what he loves.

We all know about that recycled crap.

Look, education is a privilege. Get it done and over with if you can already.

You can have your passions and ideals, but it’s going to take a lot of balancing and tweaking in the real world. To think that all these ideals are easy, like overnight success is plain immature and setting up the foundation for a life full of struggle.

You can’t change the world if you don’t even know how the world currently works…

… but yeah I guess you can call yourself a life coach and start servicing people.

The money factor to believing you’re cured

I’m not going to go deep into this one, but straight up, if you spent a large sum on some coaching program, both you and I know you’re going to want to believe your problems are solved only because you spent that much already.

A few thousand dollars on some shitty coaching and you’re going to tell others you wasted your money and you’re still filled with problems?! Impossible.

Or perhaps it was the “endorphin” from the large amount of inspiration that was force fed into you that’s giving you the high, so much so you’re already blind to your problems.

You may be high, but whatever goes up, comes down eventually.

Marketing can be that easy

You know, it isn’t just life coaching. There’s a lot of crap going around the internet.

The crap is always alive and kicking because of marketing. That is why ONLY the headline of something draws you to click on a link. That is why only a single bullet point in a sales copy makes you want to buy.

That is why you think life coaches are cool and can cure all your problems.

They aren’t just life coaches man. They’re SuperHuman, World Class Heroes, Life Empowerers, Motivator Unlimited or whatever. I just Googled these terms for fun. Give it a try. Just pair it up with life coaching. It’ll show up.

How do you know they can help you? How did they reach out to you?

Simple. It’s life. They cover everything. Want the balls to quit your job? Balls to you. Want more purpose? They’ve it in storage. Want to learn how to make money even though nobody is even making money at all? They’ve got that covered.

And how do they make you think they’re qualified?

Again, easy. Get certified online. Then lie about how awesome you are. That’s where the claim they sleep as little as four hours a week, girls are attracted to them like magic, they don’t eat at all or they’re never angry.

Complete lapse in judgment of yourself

Some people do need help. They want help. They want that guidance. Then what happens when you excessively rely too much on somebody?

You destroy your own abilities to make judgments of yourself and things around you. You stop believing in yourself that you can absolutely do something on your own.

Think about it. For whatever that’s out there in this world, somebody started doing it on their own first. If they can do it, so can you you.

This is fucking dangerous. If you can’t ever believe in yourself, what is life?

You don’t need life coaching. You just need to get a life

I don’t mean that in a condescending “stop being a nerd” way. I meant that you can start being responsible for yourself and make a life for yourself.

There’s no magic pill or training program for anything that’s challenging in life. You just have to take action.

If you want more friends, meet people by going out and keep an open mind. Don’t be judgmental.

If you hate your job, quit it already or at least make a plan on when to quit exactly.

If you’re feeling depressed, go see a doctor or go help others.

If you’re feel somewhat down, go talk to a friend.

If you want to know more, go to your local library and read.

If you want to gain passion, just try out all sorts of shit until your heart and mind clicks.

If you want a boyfriend or girlfriend, ask your crush out already.

If you want to lose weight, stop eating so much shit and exercise.

If you’re suffering from deep trauma and real pain, please just see a doctor. You never know what you may have.

I can go on and on.

But basically, you don’t need to pay a large sum for the fantasy of a better life that’s supposedly attained from listening to some asshole on Skype.

All of the above is of course, easier said than done. But nobody ever said that life was easy or even fair.

The bigger question is whether you’re capable enough to solve your problems on your own. And the answer is yes.

Life is meant to be challenging. Nobody escapes their hardships. You’re meant to fuck up. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Don’t take up a life coach. They only make you feel better without actually solving your problems.

Take a shot at life instead.

Click on the image below to join the Happy As Fuck Club! For you know, getting to meet non-pretentious assholes. 

Do you want more honest-as-fuck stories like this?

54 comments

  1. samara - September 11, 2014 1:44 am

    You are Unique and I love that!

    Reply
  2. samara - September 11, 2014 1:45 am

    I just did!

    Reply
  3. Laurette - September 11, 2014 10:43 am

    I think it’s funny that this was today’s blog post, as I was just looking into becoming a life coach. And I agree 100 percent with everything you said, because I know some new-age-y ‘gurus,’ and I was astounded at the amount of money people pay them to state the obvious and throw in a few trendy terms.

    I’m still considering it, because I do have actual experience and certifications in the field of counseling, I’m a full-time, freelance writer, and I genuinely like to help people. I do it for free all the time. I’m a political activist who currently lives overseas and helps refugees who are homeless or caught up in the system while trying to gain asylum.

    I always enjoy your blog posts, btw. You talk like I do. 🙂

    Reply
    • alden - September 14, 2014 2:16 pm

      To each his own. It’s a business. But the heart of a business is still your heart. Don’t make your heart totally woo-woo yay-life universe and hype people up for the sake of it.

      Reply
    • Redcloud11 - July 7, 2016 4:26 am

      Question…. What certs do you have in the field of counseling if you are a freelance writer?

      Reply
  4. Brave New Man - September 11, 2014 10:57 am

    It’s a business. It all boils down to making money out of people’s weaknesses, which is a growing market.

    It’s a bit like personal trainers. Can people learn how to train, loose weight, gain muscle, etc, without one? Sure. Are people lazy, lack initiative, self-discipline and interest to do it? Absolutely.

    You advice is spot on, although it may seem like common sense for you and most readers of this blog, unfortunately it is not for the vast majority of people.

    Reply
    • alden - September 14, 2014 2:15 pm

      Indeed it is not. I wrote the article to hopefully wake people up and not come across as arrogant or know-it-all-ish.

      If it’s a vast majority, why is it so many people choose to ignore the obvious problem and obvious answers?

      Why is it the supposed life coaches who want to help people are covering up their nonsense because of “legit” excuses like “I need to make a living?”

      Reply
      • Redcloud11 - July 7, 2016 4:40 am

        Honestly- it was hard to find this article as anything other than a scorned rant. I genuinely wanted to find useful information debating the career outlook for life coaching- and sadly it brought me to this. Did you try seeing a life coach for your own issues and they just totally made you feel like nothing more than a number? Is that the anger? I don’t get it. You’ll likely comment back with some accusatory bullshit about me being a life coach trolling your blog? Diary? I don’t know, whatever this is- but not the case. I kept scrolling hoping maybe you’d start writing like an actual author with intellect but the hypothetical convo verse lines seemed to dominate.
        None of that fake conversation happened. So how is this insight even legitimate??

        You’ve embellished any view on lifecoaching- positive or negative- and your hogging up internet space with your self righteous babble. Yea- I understand space on the Internet is limitless- and yet I’m still pissed this farticle even took up a Google search spot. Get a bigger box of Kleenex and actually go figure yourself out- life coaches aren’t your problem- you are.

        Reply
        • glue - July 20, 2016 11:45 am

          @Redcloud11, You spoke it like the disease he identified.

          Reply
    • Rebecca Dodson - August 23, 2016 8:05 pm

      Yes but personal trainers charge a normal rate generally for this service, as some people do need motivation. Its when you have to start paying HUGE amounts for the “privliage” of the fame and ego of the persons that its a problem

      Reply
  5. Barb - September 11, 2014 12:55 pm

    I love your “no grey areas” approach to life(: I have actually been thinking along these very lines of late. So over hearing presenters say “I am SO excited to have you here today”…and then there are those who are trying to sell you something that is meant to be so good…so why does it take them 50 minutes of gabble and repeating it over and over before they tell you what exactly the product is or how it really works or costs? Fair Dinkum! I am so over the cliche…I don’t know how long I can keep the price this low, so you had better buy it now for this ridiculously low price…like sending something on the internet actually costs money…sure there are initial costs of putting material together, but when you are shown a CD or DVD or whatever, and they never actually have hard copy…it is utter bullshit! I have been gullible and bought products and some are genuine…like Brainwave Entrainment, but so much is absolute hype. Oh, and The Secret…if it is such a secret, how come everyone is selling it? Furreal! Honestly Alden…I would listen to you over them any day(: I hope your girl is doing well in Bangkok too.

    Reply
    • alden - September 14, 2014 2:13 pm

      Thanks Barb.

      The gabble is just their sales talk and “NLP” in play. Yet another touchy issue which people would justify for (money).

      Reply
  6. Mimi NL - September 11, 2014 2:09 pm

    Haha I didn’t think cuddle parties actually existed and then after a google search… dude that’s so random!
    What you wrote here is completely spot on.

    Reply
    • alden - September 14, 2014 2:12 pm

      Thanks man. I caught a glimpse of Cuddle Party in Penn and Teller Bullshit series. Check it out. The episode is called Life Coaching. If you think my article was harsh, you haven’t seen shit.

      Reply
  7. Chris Wesley - September 12, 2014 8:46 am

    Well, tell it like you see it. Like you, a lot of what life coaches say makes me cringe. But I’ve been a life coach for more than a decade and I’ve really helped a lot of people. I’m not a Happy Clappy” coach – I don’t call on “the energy of the universe” I use real-world techniques to solve real-world problems with real-world people. It works. I operate a hardship scheme and will sometimes coach for nothing. There is a large body of free article on my site. I get a lot of positive feedback (also on my site). I offer an unconditional money-back guarantee. Two people in all these years have claimed it (and frankly I should never have accepted them as clients – we live and learn).

    So yes – there are people the world over who will bullshit and prioritise their self-interest over anything else. People will pray on the weak and the needy. People can be selfish idiots and often are.

    But some people have a strong sense of personal integrity, decency and will do the right thing – whether or not anyone’s watching and whether or not it suits us financially or otherwise.

    I’m one of those.

    I welcome the debate. I don’t welcome a diatribe, so I hope you will allow this response to stay, because life coaches can really help people who need it.

    Reply
    • alden - September 14, 2014 2:08 pm

      Good on ya. I appreciate where you’re coming from.

      Well the scammers and liars are for sure, just pure bullshit and there’s nothing more to be said about them.

      It’s great that you’ve integrity and want to help for real, but I cannot help but feel that this is an extremely touchy issue because people are paying a high amount of money for help.

      And the help life coaching gives are mostly generic and hyped up. They may point people in the right direction, which is okay, but they ignore the real problems which is still moving on to catch up on them eventually since they have not been solved in the first place.

      I may not be a life coach or a psychologist, but an sensible guess would be that the latter can help more.

      Then, add in the element of entrepreneurship. Money makes it all tricky.

      Vulnerable person pays a high amount for coaching and he may be practically “forced” to think, but may not want to admit, “Since I paid so much, I gotta believe it works man. This life coach seems to be famous too. He has helped so many of my friends. He can’t be wrong.”

      Life coach charges a ridiculously high amount and he goes, “It’s only business” or… the crux of life coaching on life coaching, “I’m confident enough to charge such a high amount because I believe I deserve so.”

      Thanks for the comment dude. A little tired now. Can’t be more accurate than this.

      Reply
  8. Sebastian Aiden Daniels - September 12, 2014 8:28 pm

    Hahaha. I wonder what was the major trigger for this post. I can see how some people would be pissed on reading this. I read that a life coach was charging for $250 a session and was appalled. I have been to a lot of different therapies and would definitely not pay over $200 for a PHD psychologist even when insurance covers a lot of it. You’d be surprised how a lot of things become easier to deal with when you are on medication that balances out your brain chemistry. I’m sure it can help a lot of people and at the same time it isn’t for me. I’m interested to hear the type of feedback you get from this article.

    Reply
    • alden - September 14, 2014 1:58 pm

      Trigger? Something I was always intrigued about. It was just dying to be made fun of!

      On a more serious note, I do believe there’re dangers to it, especially if one is extremely vulnerable and in need of real help.

      Thanks for commenting as usual dude!

      Reply
  9. Craig McBreen - September 26, 2014 7:49 pm

    Hey Alden,

    I just wanted to jump in and say: I love this! 🙂

    I do imagine there are some excellent life coaches out there, but you need some kind of filter (read: bullshit detector) I guess.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  10. CJS - October 31, 2014 11:47 am

    I had no idea these people charged so much. Just the term ‘life coach’ is like fingernails on a chalk board to me (remember chalk boards?).

    Recently an acquaintance proudly announced she had her ‘life coach certification’ and I can tell she is just itching to ‘counsel’ someone, but I will not be jumping on that bandwagon. Over the years I’ve seen many people looking to feed their egos under the guise of ‘giving’, ‘helping’, ‘instructing’ and ‘enlightening’, and I have no patience left to indulge their self-flattering fantasies.

    I do think counseling and medicine have their place, and anyone could find themselves in need of professional help. But I agree there are probably a lot of people going to ‘coaches’ when they can’t afford professionals–and since you have to choose wisely among the professionals, I hope people are also being careful when choosing their ‘coach’.

    I commented to someone the other day there seem to be certification programs for just about anything now, short of going to the can. It’s ridiculous, but that is probably a topic for another blog.

    Hmm, now I’m wondering–my job was outsourced recently and while I am looking for a new one, maybe I should get certified and people can pay me to talk out my arse, too!

    Reply
    • alden - November 3, 2014 5:35 am

      Meh. I think life coach and friend overlap way too much for it to be a legit profession.

      Reply
      • CJS - November 4, 2014 12:37 am

        Agreed (and my comment about getting a certification was sarcastic).

        Reply
  11. Justme - December 2, 2014 9:08 pm

    Wow, this article almost perfectly describes life of my friend who is a life coach. There is one thing I would like to add. Coaches are sometimes of dodgy firms that work in the same way as cult. My poor friend was a part of one. In fact, it was this group of charlatans that motivated him to give up his job and go ahead with life coaching career. The impact on his career, personal life and ,of course, a bank balance has been immense. And, most of it were not ppositive changes. Nevertheless he is still clinging to the nonsense which I believe is just attempt to escape the reality. He says that he is not pretending but only imagining his way to success. I am worried about how he will end up as he has spent a shitload of money and still keeps on splashing on travelling . Having witnessed first hand what self-help can do with people I am so disgusted by this snake oil. I think that if someone wants to really help people they go ahead and get a psychology diploma. They don’t need to help you to find your true potential or help real-life people with real-life problems no matter how hard they are trying to sell it to you on their website just like a poster did in this very thread,lol.

    Reply
    • alden - December 9, 2014 5:46 am

      The minute people pushes others to make rash decisions like quitting your job, something is wrong. The worst part is these idiotic coaches glorify these dangerous ideas as people everyone has to live like them.

      Reply
      • Chris Wesley - December 9, 2014 10:14 am

        You know I’ve followed this dialogue for quite a while and really, there’s only one thing wrong with it. None of you know what the fuck (to use the vernacular) you’re talking about.

        But hey – at least you say it like you see it. Right?

        Reply
        • alden - December 10, 2014 7:31 am

          Do you need 30 days worth of yoga to breath out all your negative energy from saying fuck now?

          Reply
  12. Andrew - December 30, 2014 8:19 pm

    Oh you. If anyone needed to breathe out negative energy its just about everyone including me. I mean, if I was pure positive energy full of light and love I wouldn’t have read 5 paragraphs of this blog post.

    Whats the difference between a priest from an established religion and a life coach aside from the superficial?

    Let me spoil the fun and amend your book to the 1 thing happy people do give a fuck about: personal responsibility.

    Dance you crazy monkey, dance your heart out.

    Reply
    • E king - May 13, 2016 4:39 am

      Last I checked, a priest didn’t charge 250 an hour and offered confidentiality and had a moral code. As compared to a “life coach”.

      Reply
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  14. Martin - January 29, 2015 5:56 pm

    Hi Alden.
    First of all i totally love this article. After i read this I was like “it looks like he is a coach but more sophisticated way, maybe manipulative”. But then realized couple of things. No money involved, guy is right on the subject – no off topic bullshit and most important I haven’t found any comment on this defending coaching provided by a coach, well I read only one page of it:) Maybe one thing makes me think little different. Its the book that is advertised, looked little manipulative but again no money involved so I dropped that idea.
    Many if not all coaches uses only scraps of knowledge like psychology, sociology, philosophy, simple physiology of a human body and how it reacts to impulses. Their approach is close to flower power from the 60’s- love peace. Combining all these I think makes you a palm reader sort of a charlatan. You only path some knowledge to be efficient sort of way to make money and dont really give a fuck about peoples lives. Its dangerous because its manipulative.
    I was recently offered such a service. I was showed that I can turn my life upside down but I have to pay for this. If it was for free I probably would go there. But whats next? Im very sensitive to manipulation, maybe because I was parented this way – know people before you trust them, and the way the world functions today? Eew.
    And finally I realized I need help to get a life. Even if it means to get a therapy sessions with psychologist, I rather trust a doctor (mission) than a guy begging for a money in really camouflage way (business).
    People dont have to turn their life 180 degrees to be better and feel fulfilled.

    Reply
  15. Martin - January 29, 2015 6:21 pm

    And one other thing. Maybe it its not really nice of me to say my opinion like that but I thing coaching reminds me of a pyramid base business, and so it focuses on absorbing people who believe in miracles, lack of knowledge people, down people as they want to hear that they are awesome, so they can recruit others.
    Also it should go by the name couching simply because it looks like creating nothing that lasts.

    Reply
  16. Kamryn Adams - March 12, 2015 10:55 pm

    I’m so glad I found this post. I can’t say I disagree with what you’ve characterized Alden. Some coaches… many coaches are FOS. But what about those of us who have doctorate degrees. Geesh- please don’t paint us all with that broad brush. Not all life coaches are those who hang the shingle and start blabbing. The friend who advised you to do that was just about a stupid as the people who do it. I’ll admit, finding purpose is a big part of what I do but it is not some hokey dokey quit your job kind of thing. Some people are lucky enough to work in their purpose while others aren’t. So they have to find purpose in other ways, volunteering, hobbies, etc. Yes, coaching is still unregulated by the government but probably not for long. Medicine, pharmacy, and other professionals have undergone this same wild wild west period that coaching is in currently. Not everybody needs a therapist or needs medication for a physiological disease. So people just need a kick in the pants. Coaches help people figure out how to get where they need to be. If someone comes to me and wants to quit their job we put together a LONG TERM plan with financial analysis, logic, family agreement, etc. But I also screen my clients well. I don’t take people who would go in one day and just quit a job to become a princess or rockstar.

    Well done!! Your market seems to love you. Next time give a shout out to those of us that spent years and tens of thousands of dollars on education and actually give a damn about helping our clients find real solutions. Here’s how to find a good coach:

    -Make sure the person was trained in an ICF accredited program AND stays up to date on CEUs
    -Ask the coach about their educational background outside of coaching i.e., medical, psychology, social work
    -Find out if the coach is respected somewhere other than his/her own mind and social media feeds
    -Has the coach written real books and articles on topics?
    -Is the coach affiliated with a local professional counsel?
    -Does the coach offer face-to-face coaching

    Reply
  17. Anonymous Copywriter - April 8, 2015 7:04 am

    I love you Alden Tan. Straight up, funny, and oh-so-true! I work as a freelance copywriter and have been hired by these so-called ‘life coaches’ to write the copy for their websites. People it’s a SCAM! These people are charging hundreds to thousands of dollars to talk to you on Skype. I like what you said Alden about Skype cheerleaders. I laughed my ass off when I read that because that’s what these people are – Skype assholes. lol. So folks let me fill you in on a secret on my end. All those life coaching websites you see online, all the content on the site, even the testimonials are fake and written by the copywriter. The life coach asks some of their Facebook friends if they can use the person’s name to appear on a website with a testimonial. Some of these friends agree. But the copywriter is the person who writes the testimonial, the actual friend/client never received life coaching from the person claiming to be a life coach. I feel bad that I take on such projects, because I feel like I’m part of the scam. But at the same time, it’s my job to write content for websites, so I can’t say that I’m the one who is the scammer. It’s the life coach who is the scammer. Remember like what Alden said you don’t need life coaching, you just need to get a life. And these pretentious life coaches are all scammers. They should be called “life scammers” instead of “life coaches.” Don’t fall into their scams, if you really want to talk to somebody, go to a licensed psychologist (you will have to pay, but at least you can see the shrink’s diploma on their office walls) or go to a trusted friend. You will save money, heartache, and most of, you will save yourself.

    Reply
  18. Samantha - May 2, 2015 6:07 am

    All of this is really well said and your approach is refreshing. Thank you. I, too, attending a “Purpose Workshop” by a guy who ended up just reading another guy’s approach straight from a book while we all closed our eyes to focus on what he was saying. This guy had zero credentials. He didn’t even bother with getting a life coach certificate! I left the workshop feeling totally confused and helpless about my purpose in life because I couldn’t write a mission statement. Of course, he then offered to “help” me, for a price. It was like the workshop was designed to rip you open so that you were then left vulnerable and susceptible to his offer to put you back together. However, I have to say that, while reading your article, a pop-up appeared on your website directing me to a book for $10 and then more books promising me something. It kind of goes against what you said. Aren’t you trying to sell something too? I don’t blame you for it and I appreciate your unique point-of-view, but I also think that seeking a livelihood is at the top of most people’s list, including yours. You’re offering your perspective, at a price, and that’s OK, but it’s still at a price. How do coaches and bloggers maintain that sense of genuine sharing while not having pop-ups that direct you to swipe your credit card? It’s a tough question. Ultimately, I do think it’s up do us to know ourselves, and no one can give you that but yourself.

    Reply
  19. Samantha - May 2, 2015 6:14 am

    This page:

    http://alden-tan.com/hack-your-happiness/

    Somehow I got directed to it, and it literally promises the world for only $20. It’s great that it’s cheap but it’s still offering biased, personal opinions from just a regular guy, you know what I mean? Disclaimer, I’m not a life coach, just kind of pointing out the obvious conflict with what you’re saying in this article. I still love the article, just sayin. I think you could re-work that page to have more of your great attitude rather than this marketing ploy with lots of colors and pretty books. Somehow, your edginess is not translating to the “sell” page.

    Reply
    • alden - May 4, 2015 9:11 am

      Frankly, I’m torn myself.

      I need to make a living. And from experience, I’ve to be a pushy and salesy to get the job done.

      Trust me, I know the contradiction. I can “justify” somewhat and say that I’ve to do what works to survive. Because if I don’t, I can’t write and pass on the good stuff.

      Just take heed that I feel the pinch. I don’t lie outright and claim to be a good person like the other assholes out there.

      Reply
    • ANNA - September 1, 2015 9:33 am

      I have seen this website and in my opinion Alden is actually on of the worst of manipulators. This link is basically a sale pitch like many others we seen promising “happiness”. But why is it so bad? The most disturbing about it was that there is a photo of him and his father and he wrote in bald and big “MY DAD DIED WHEN I WAS 20”. While those “other asshole” post photos of them on the beach or in front of the luxury cars as part of their sale pitches , Alden is sellling targedy and death to get credibility and “be seen” because he has to ” make a livng” . Isnt it to make a living the worst kind of sophisticated mental prostitution and manipulation at the same time? My mother died of stroke when I was 13 and I lived with an alcoholic father till I was 20 but I never used this fact to get sympathy and credibility, let alone money. Why does he feel need to expose such a personal, senstivite issue to millions of strangers ? Be aware people. I you wanna real supportive friend, go and find one in the real world.

      Reply
  20. Nikita - May 2, 2015 11:56 pm

    I agree with you. It all makes sense to me. I’ve always been skeptical of “life coaching” myself, but when I read your post, I’ve concluded that it is complete and utter bullshit. One human being knows it all? Get the fuck out of here. They wouldn’t even admit that their point of view is not the single best one, and they don’t even tell you to look for other information. I get how it is possible to be an expert in a certain aspect of life, but one person can’t tell it all to you (although this is what life coaches want you to think) and they pretend that they can. They use things like meditation and visualization against you for their own personal gain. The type of life coaches that are “spiritual trainers” will tell you that anybody who doesn’t think the same way they do is dogmatic, delusional, and doesn’t know the “truth”. But what is truth in the first place? And what gives them the right to say that they know what it is? Other hypocritical types of life coaches will tell you that your thoughts are concepts and that nothing that involves human thought is real. Yes your thoughts are concepts, but we don’t have any other way of knowing about anything around us, and your mind doesn’t just make up any shit that it wants.

    My version of a conversation with a “life coach”:

    Life Coach: Discover your true life purpose! Accept the fact that none of your thoughts are not real, then you’ll be happy.
    Me: So you believe that it’s all just a bunch of shit that we make up, right?
    Life Coach: Exactly!
    Me: But by your logic, you do the same thing.
    Life Coach: No I don’t, because being human is a curse, I’m some kind of indescribable-supreme-almighty being because I don’t conceptualize anything. If you don’t listen to me, you will have a crappy, unhappy life. I don’t care what anybody else says, I know the truth!
    Me: Some things are controversial, but some things are just plain obvious. We have scientific, mathematical or just pure logical evidence to accept some things as facts.
    Life Coach: But what is science? What is a number? What is math?
    Me: What is life coaching or personal development?
    Life Coach: Life coaching and personal development are things that give you wisdom within, key factors to success. Focus your mind in the present, the past is a concept.
    Me: See? You do the exact same thing. Without the past, there would be no present.
    Life Coach: No. I don’t care about what you think.
    Me: But then how are you supposed to grow as a person if you can’t take intelligent
    critism?
    Life Coach: Personal development is about finding your true, self-actualized purpose in life.
    Me: But what is life, and how can you even have a definitive life purpose?
    Life Coach: Stop making conceptualizations!
    Me: Fuck it, I’m done.
    Life Coach: Good luck living an unhappy life then, and I still don’t care about what you think! Now if you excuse me, I have some weird mystical bullshit to do.

    Sorry that this comment turned out so long, but you get what I’m trying to say.

    Reply
    • Nick - June 19, 2015 8:33 pm

      Exactly! And the worst thing is, many people become their victims nowadays with social media like YouTube. Too many people see that shit and believe it..they just use some mind tricks to make you believe your life is miserable (and they make it that) and lie to you that they can fix it 😛 Fuck those idiots 😀

      Reply
  21. Dom Jones - May 3, 2015 8:27 am

    Agreed. The bizarre thing is how many people that more or less fail at life have an epiphany and become…a life coach.

    I wrote a piece about this a while ago (https://thepantslessbear.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/when-a-life-coach-becomes-a-death-coach/). Surely what should qualify someone to be a life coach is having led a successful life. If you’ve had a strong career, healthy relationships (romantic, platonic and and with family) and reached a point where you’re living the life you want to live and have achieved your goals then I can see how you could mentor someone on how to do the same. If your life is a chaotic shambles (sadly this appears to be most of them) and you’ve taken a 10 week part time course, you shouldn’t be giving life tips to anyone.

    Reply
  22. Anon - June 19, 2015 8:59 pm

    “www.actualized.org” this guy does the same bullshit. I fell into him because of his video’s. But he’s just telling bullshit in my opinion.

    Reply
    • anna - August 31, 2015 5:11 pm

      Hi,

      I agree with you on topic of live coaches. After seeing many blogs of these , I have decided to became my own and I feel very good!
      I appreciate that you desperately trying to differentiate yourself in this saturated online social entrepreneurship market. However, I have a problem. I find it funny that while you fiercly criticizing life coaches, you use the same tactics and tools as them. Your wesbite has the same feature as theirs – free “be happy quick” books, free gift with a newsletter and so on. If you are not here to make money so maybe you shouldnt be putting put things on yor blog that suggest you do so, so people like me wouldnt doubt your credibility? Doesnt it make you a hypocrite or in danger of becoming one? Also. While I get you wanna appeal to diffrent “market” or to the lower “enlighment level” , (This Shit Called Life: Can We Stop Meditating and Go Grab A Beer . lol ) I have to say that building your brand on negativity and criticizm of others is a poor tactic and people will see through it. I hate to say but in ny humble opinion these boring self help videos of the life coaches deserve more credit for EFFORT than you do, as they came across more honest than you despite your shouts about ” honesty and reality”.

      Reply
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  24. Ray - September 28, 2015 2:08 am

    After reading some of your rants one would find it quite predictable that your article on things “New Agey” would make the cut as a blog post in your mind, Alden.

    You’re very transparent to me (the “no BS” smoke and mirrors notwithstanding).

    You’re obviously looking for attention of your “social media” groupies and validation, both which are self-centered character defects, Alden.

    How can you master your own mind, or worse yet, claim lifestyle mastery without eliminating your own need for validation?

    Stay blessed (and open-minded).

    Reply
  25. Cat - September 28, 2015 3:02 pm

    This is so awesome and right on. The more I am learning about past trauma and various ways of approaching one’s shadow through studies of Carl Jung, Presence Process by Michael Brown, and therapies involved in emotional regulation and cognitive approaches, along with yoga and meditation, the more life coaching seems like a complete waste of time. There is nothing really golden to be mined there or integrated if one has not done necessary “inner work”.

    I know a life coach in Boulder who has a life that is pretty unstable in a lot of ways and is all about these cuddle parties as well.

    I also fell into the trap of the life coach about 12 years ago – someone I met online who I agreed to make a web site for in exchange for life coach sessions. However, i was going through so much stuff, that she couldn’t handle and she ended up totally flaking on me. When I called her on it, she said she felt this was turning more into a therapy session and she was not equipped. OK, fine. I can handle that you can’t handle the depth of my being where I am right now, but then fucking say so!

    Never again….I see it all as a distraction to real work.

    Reply
  26. Lily - September 29, 2015 10:59 pm

    Finally…a real “life” coach. Hilarious because it is so true. Thank you for your candid words!

    Reply
  27. Margot - November 26, 2015 6:28 am

    I was googling thoughts on this topic because I’m just now aware of a family member being involved in this idea, and it brought me here. Great article! I laughed! Thanks for that.

    I’m very fortunate in that I have a wealth of life experience (I’m in my 50’s with adult children) with various successes and failures from which I’ve learned to survive with ease and grace (finally). Everyone has a unique journey, and for some a mentoring type process might work for a while. I can’t say yay or nay on “life coaching”, but I remember being insecure and giving a shit what people thought, and wanting a feeling of “success” when I was a younger person. The old marketing adage “Find a need and fill it”. HAH. Let’s think more about why we have such a needy market? Obviously there is a target demographic with this new fad. What the hell…. Like most things, at some point the buyers of the product will look back and laugh about it, citing real enlightenment in probably both the regret of the product and the process of getting to that reflective point. Nothing is all bad.

    Reply
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  29. Dani - December 2, 2015 12:44 am

    I’m glad you wrote this. I was just approached by an acquaintance for coffee, and to talk about some ideas that might benefit our careers. There were a number of different outcomes I was expecting- like that he had an actual job offer for me, or that he was looking to network with people I know, or that he just had a crush on me and was looking for an excuse to meet me (it happens). I was NOT expecting the “opportunity” to be for me to pay him $250 a session for services he called “mentoring” and career coaching…especially since after some questioning, I noted that this person has no knowledge of the field I work in.

    Reply
  30. Jacob - February 25, 2016 1:59 am

    It’s like this. People invest money, energy, and time into the things that they do not have access to. If they can’t build a TV, they buy a TV. If they can’t build a house or find land for a house, they have to buy a house. We are at a point in our evolution where people feel do not feel they have access to their very own selves and ability to make simple decisions. It’s sad, but it’s true. That’s why more and more people are willing to spend money on other people. And advice. Is it right? Is it wrong? Regardless of the right or wrong, that’s what’s happening in the consumers of life coaching.

    I think the issues addressed here is like any other career. If people aren’t truly equipped to give others what they claim they will give, they shouldn’t put a price on what they do. You run into the same problem with shitty psychologists and psychiatrists all the time. And doctors. All the time. They just don’t get as much shit because they have a system behind them to validate them as being authoritative. They don’t have to tell people how much value they can give because they didn’t build their business.Thus, they don’t seem as narcissistic as a life coach may seem. They don’t have to sell themselves to people in order to make money.

    That being said, “life coach” is such a broad stroke. There are some life coaches out there who really are woo-ish and just want money. There are others who aren’t.

    Reply
  31. Chris Maurice - February 25, 2016 9:03 am

    Some people need all the help they can get and if they gravitate to a specific life coach who can help, then why not? It’s not like you didn’t go to school and never learned how to wash your hands after you took a dump.

    Reply
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  33. Ruth - September 14, 2016 2:15 am

    Totally brilliant. You took the words right out of my mouth. I know someone who’s perhaps the biggest fraud out there who claims to be a “transformational coach”, NLP certified and into holistic nutrition – she recently got breast implants and is debt. A lot of debt.

    So don’t believe everything you see on a pretty, shiny Instagram page.

    Reply
  34. Mindy - September 25, 2016 1:24 am

    It depends on what type of life coaching we are talking about. There is a huge difference between a coach that helps C-suite executives find work-life balance and a coach that “helps people become happier.” Constructive criticism is one thing, but you branded an entire industry as bs based on a few caricatures of life coaches. I agree with a lot of your points regarding generic coaches, but the fact that you shitted on the entire industry based on having 5 days of experience in it instead of giving people some tips that would help them find qualified coaches and not bullshit artists is not cool. In fact, if one of your points was the fact that coaches try to seem like the authority on something with very little experience with it, you are doing the exact same thing with this post. Generic coaches may charge high prices (they typically don’t), but they can count their clients on less than one hand. No one pays high prices for easily-replaceable commodity coaching. If you aren’t solving a highly-specific problem, your prices are just a fantasy.

    Also, if you are going to give a scathing review of an industry, you at least need to thoroughly understand it first, because therapy is in no way interchangeable with coaching and any ethical coach has a referral network of therapists to refer their clients to when they are showing signs of distress and dysfunction. Any ethical coach will not think that they have the skills to help someone with suicidal thoughts, schizophrenia, BPD, etc. I know your tone on this site is “saying what everyone’s thinking” and “calling out bullshit” and basically giving the finger to being PC, but you can do all of those things while still being fair in your analysis of something, especially when you have the influence to potentially take money out of coaches pockets who actually are experienced, are educated beyond a coaching certification and can provide specific and measurable results to their clients.

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