Feeling ashamed to sell coaching?

Show notes

Are you feeling ashamed or embarrassed to sell coaching? Then, you HAVE TO listen to this episode!

Ashamed to Sell Coaching?


Hello coach! I’m so happy to be back talking to you today! I hope you’re doing well despite all the turmoil that’s happening in the world right now.


I was inspired to create this episode talking about being ashamed or embarrassed about selling coaching because I know that a lot of people are feeling quite a bit of shame around that. Especially in times of tragedy and crisis. To sell weight loss programs and confidence coaching when we think about a whole nation fighting for their lives, and some even talking about a potential world war 3, coaching can feel somewhat meaningless and insignificant. I also know that a lot of people have shame around, or are embarrassed, to sell coaching in general. And, thinking back, I used to feel a lot of shame around selling coaching too – even without the terrible external circumstances. So, that’s what I want to unpack for you today – both feeling ashamed to sell coaching in times of crisis AND just in general.


I often talk about changing our focus FROM ourselves and our insecurities and instead ONTO how we can help clients. In this episode, however, I want to go into the mindset and thoughts that is often creating this feeling of shame around selling coaching.


I always like to make my episodes timeless and what we in marketing call “evergreen” so that you can always come back and listen to the content no matter how long it is since I shared it. So, in this case – we all have human lives with things happening, and crisis are a part of the human experience – whether it be personal crisis, familial crisis, emotional crisis or global crisis. So, if you’re experiencing any of these in the future, you can always come back and relisten to this episode and get back on track. Now, without further ado, let’s undo some knots around this.


Let’s take a look at the main reasons why people feel ashamed to sell coaching. These are the reasons I see coming up over and over again:

  1. They don’t think they’re a good enough coach
  2. They think they have to live the perfect life to prove that coaching actually works
  3. They’re afraid of judgement from others, who might not know what coaching really is
  4. They shouldn’t charge money for their services – especially not premium prices
  5. They think that nobody wants what they’re offering anyway
  6. Some variation or combination of the above


So, let’s unpack these really quickly:


  1. You don’t think you’re a good enough coach

Feeling shameful for selling coaching because of “not being a good enough coach” often comes from thinking that you’re still a “baby coach”, that you just got certified and don’t have much experience. It often also comes from comparison to other coaches, where you think that “why should people coach with ME, when there are so many other great coaches out there”. Who am I to sell coaching? Who am I to say that I can help these people?!


You are a good enough coach! If you show up with a clean mind and clear intentions, being 100% focused on helping your client and coming from a place of love – you WILL deliver great coaching. If you feel that you need more experience or expertise, offer free coaching for a while – to hone your craft, to finetune your coaching, and to learn more about what you are naturally good at within the coaching space. Also, remember that you are always your first client, and that by getting yourself amazing results and growth, you can more easily help others. 


  1. Thinking you have to live the perfect life to prove that coaching actually works

Coaches often shame themselves for not being “perfect” because, as coaches we have all the tools to manage our minds and reach all of our goals. So, if you don’t live the perfect life with the perfect love life, perfect weight, perfect confidence, perfect monthly income and perfect freaking everything, you’re a FRAUD!


If you haven’t listened to my podcast episode “How Imposter Syndrome Affects Your Business”, make sure to listen to that after you’ve listened to one!


Many think thoughts like “who am I to say that I can help these people – when I still have all of my own struggles?!”


WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS WITH HUMAN BRAINS AND HUMAN EMOTIONS! We will never be perfect. Or should I say – we’ll always be perfectly imperfect.


Having said that, the more you get coached and the more transformation you have in your own life from coaching, the more you’ll believe in it being a tool that you can help people with no matter what’s going on in your own life.


I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it again: It’s not about you, it’s about your client.


When we coach, we are 1000% focused on our clients and their mindset. We are irrelevant. We go into coaching with a clean mind. It’s like a person who washes people’s homes for a living. She might have a messy and less than pristine house herself, but it doesn’t mean she can’t make someone else’s house pristine. Or, as one of my mentors sometimes says: you can be the best brain surgeon in the world, but you can’t do brain surgery on yourself.


  1. Being afraid of judgement from others, who might not know what coaching really is

People might judge you. People do that. But what are you making that mean? That you’re a weirdo, that you’re making a fool out of yourself, that you’re embarrassing yourself, that you should quit, that you’re not good enough, that you won’t hit this off, that they might be right for judging you?


Other people see you and what you do through their personal filter – based on their own limiting beliefs and world views. They might live in a completely different reality to you, where the “safety” from a corporate job and having a managerial or high-ranking position is what they perceive to be the best thing that people can do for themselves.


But, that’s not you. You’ve got dreams and ambitions way beyond that. You think outside the box and want to help people directly. You want to do something that feels meaningful and fulfilling every day. You don’t want to be a small piece in a big corporate puzzle. You want to build your own dream and help as many people as possible in the process. 


If other people judge you for that – that’s on them. What you make it mean and how you deal with that judgement is your responsibility. It might require you to get coaching on this a hundred times, but once you break through that fear – other people’s opinions will fall off you like fat on Teflon – so to speak



  1. You shouldn’t charge money for their services – especially not premium prices

A lot of people seem to think that you shouldn’t charge for helping people that needs help – or want help. Especially in the more spiritual circles. And, if we go down memory lane – we see that women, in particular, historically hasn’t been compensated well, or not at all, for their emotional and physical labour. It’s just expected to do it for free. Now, business in and of itself is to get paid to help someone solve a problem or meet a desire that someone has. Whether it be a product or a service. And, if you get paid well for your labour, you get to do it full-time. You get to give away free stuff through your marketing to those who can’t yet afford to work with you AND you get to live a life where you’re not only showing up as the best version of yourself for your paying clients, you’re also able to give back. You can donate to charities that means something special to you. Also, when you, as a coach, have a premium fee, people who work with you have skin in the game. Just like investing $200 in sunglasses vs paying $10 for a pair at the gas station, they will treat the service differently. They will show up more prepared, more committed and more excited than if it was free coaching – or at a super low fee. I’m not saying that you should crank up your price for the hell of it – it needs to reflect the value that the client is getting from working with you. You get what I’m saying!   


  1. They think that nobody wants what they’re offering anyway

This is a common thought in the beginning of your coaching career. We haven’t necessarily seen the evidence that people want what we offer yet. Again, thoughts like “who do I think I am”, “who am I to do this”, “there are other coaches far more qualified than me – why should people choose to work with me” etc come up. “People don’t want my stupid offer anyway” – you know the drill… I’m sure you’ve experienced this – I know I certainly have!!


Notice how we’re focused on ourselves here. We shame and belittle ourselves. And what we’re not doing – when we’re busy poopooing all over ourselves – is to focus on how we could help people.      


  1. Some variation or combination of the above

You probably recognize yourself in one or more of the above. So, I invite you to take note of which ones stands out the most for you. And then, challenge yourself. Is that really true? Could the opposite also be true?



I’ll give you a personal example from my own experience around being ashamed to sell coaching. I used to be SO embarrassed to call myself a coach to friends and family. When new people asked what I did for a living, I’d answer “marketing” – because I thought they’d judge me for being a coach. When I started my Instagram business account, I went through friends and friends of friends to block them so that they wouldn’t find me. I blocked well over 400 people. I was so uncomfortable by the thought of showing up and exposing my true colours to people that had a certain perception of who I am. So, there was this sense of shame and fear that they might think I was a weirdo – and to even think that I could sell my coaching services felt really confronting.  This is one of the main fears that my clients have too – fear of what other people might think of them.


Another thing that I had issues with in the beginning was what I told myself about peoples’ perception of coaching. Coaching, as we know, is not a protected title. Anyone, regardless of having training in it or not can call themselves a coach. Because of that, there is a low barrier entry and the industry attracts a lot of various quality coaching. To add fuel to that, I kept telling myself that people think that coaches put themselves above others in the sense that they have all the answers. That a coach, to be able to help people, had to be some sort of a guru to be able to help others reach their goals. That coaches “teach” people how to live their lives and that, they themselves, have it all figured out. This was one of the biggest reasons for me that I felt so embarrassed to both call myself a coach and to sell coaching – to put myself out there and talk about it. To have people see me as a person who thinks she’s the SHIT and has life figured out perfectly. That “you should all come to me to get all of your answers and live your perfect life like I am”.


I hear so many people having similar thoughts, and so this is what I want to offer to you. The coaching industry is still young. The market is still relatively uneducated as to what coaching really is – and that’s okay. People still talk about a mentor, guide and coach pretty much interchangeably. Even therapy gets thrown into that mix sometimes. But, there are distinct differences here.


So, let’s quickly visit that, in case you’re asked about that: As you might know, mentors are those that has gone the path before us and can teach us best practices based on their personal experiences – mentoring may include advising, counselling and elements of coaching. Guides are generally associated with gurus, spiritual leaders or people who channel messages for others. And so, that is often giving advice too. Therapy generally deals with healing pain, dysfunction, and conflict within an individual or relationships. The focus is often on resolving difficulties arising from the past and dealing with the present in more emotionally healthy ways.


Coaching, though, helps people set and achieve goals based on their own objectives. It supports personal and professional growth based on self-initiated change towards their desired goals. Coaching is future-focused. Important elements of coaching are helping clients learn to manage their brain, create feelings that drives desired actions (such as determination, commitment and sufficiency), but also serves as accountability and help with follow-through. A coach helps people tap into their OWN excellence and wisdom in order to reach the goals that they want. Coaches are trained to ask the right questions to have people find their OWN truth and their OWN ideal answers that they’ve had inside them all along. To break patterns that no longer serve them and place power back into the hands of the client. As coaches, we are experts on making other people become experts on themselves through introspection. To make the unconscious conscious and help them see limiting beliefs that only people external to them are able to see – because most of the time we’re all too close to our own shit to see it ourselves.


As with pro athletes – they all have coaches, because they know that they greatly benefit from having them – to be their best. And, it’s not that the coach would do any better out there themselves. A lot of football coaches, for example, are completely out of shape themselves. But they see the potential, see where the athlete isn’t acing it, and knows how to get the athlete to perform at their very best. They see from an outside perspective where and how the athlete can improve.


So, as you can see, we don’t have to have our whole life figured out perfectly and live in a bubble of sparkles, butterflies and unicorns to be able to create huge transformations in our clients’ lives. You know, transformation, reaching amazing milestones, signing more clients, becoming super confident on social media and starting to create genius content comes from HOW WE THINK. And that’s what you become masterful at when you work with a coach.



NOW, let’s talk about feeling ashamed for selling coaching in times of war and crisis.


As I mentioned earlier in the episode, it’s easy to feel hopeless and helpless when we’re experiencing a crisis. It can feel completely meaningless and insignificant to sell coaching for people to live their ideal lives when others are not even getting their basic needs met.


However, the matter of fact is that to survive ourselves, we need an income. And whether that means that you quit selling coaching and take on another job – or you keep building your business – it doesn’t make any difference to the crisis that we’re seeing. However, if you do well in your business and you create a surplus for yourself, you can give more! You can decide that you donate 5 or 10% of all of your income plus add a bonus donation if you’re doing really well. Donating money will help people. Getting apathetic and shaming ourselves for selling coaching wont.


It’s like putting on our own oxygen mask first. When we can breathe okay, we got way more to give!


Also, ask yourself – what is better for the world at large: You following your passion of helping people live better lives in big or small ways through coaching them – or you working as a check-out chick at a grocery store or going back to your corporate job? Which of those makes more of an impact on you, your loved ones and people you work with?


Also, think about emotional health. There are so many people who are scared and have nervous systems that are totally overloaded after 2 years of lockdowns and now this! How would it affect people to be able to manage their minds, to feel better emotionally so that they can show up better for their loved ones? And so that, they’re not stuck in paralysis and apathy, but have the emotional resiliency to actually do something for those in need. No matter what niche you have – coaching is mindset work. And whether you’re a health coach or an empowerment coach, anxiety coach – or whatever you do – you can give people tools that they need through these times.


Help people for free, through your marketing. Help someone personally and customized to their specific need and desires in a paid offer.


Why the hell should we be ashamed to offer people emotional wellbeing, to help people feel better about themselves and their lives. Why should we be ashamed to offer something we’re naturally good at? Why should we be ashamed to sell a service that gets people what they want? Whether it be to feel confident, implement more creativity and play in their lives, building their own business or getting a more loving and peaceful marriage? We help people get more out of the life that they have.


What’s the shame in that? You feel ashamed for selling coaching because you’re thinking one or more of the thoughts, I’ve just listed out here. But they don’t hold water. Why would you choose to think those thoughts? Why would you choose to think that “nobody wants what you offer” when people buy coaching every day? Why would you choose to focus on your own limiting beliefs, when you can pour your heart and soul into finding ways to help people?  



And lastly, I want to say: Be the antidote to the difficult things that you see in the world. If you see hate, share love. If you see despair, help people find joy. If you see fear, create hope and help people feel empowered. How can you be the antidote to what you see in the world today?


Okay my dear, don’t be ashamed to sell coaching – come back and listen to this episode as many times as you need! And, if you want help with your marketing, attracting more clients, support and accountability to actually follow through and show up consistently in your business – get your free consultation TODAY! Head on over to my website martinethomassen.com and schedule it right now.


I will speak to you next week! BYEE!

xx Martine

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