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6 months ago I stopped working with coaches. In this post, I’m revealing why I started working with coaches, what people get wrong about coaching, my best and worst coaching experiences, and the 6 main reasons I’m done working with coaches.
I’ve been a little nervous to admit that I’ve been coachless. The online space is rampant with posts screaming things like “invest or you don’t believe in yourself” and “if you don’t invest in others how will anyone invest in you.” It’s kind of bullshit.
I’ve seen first-hand how coaches shame people who try to go at it alone. They make it seem like you’re destined to fail or that you’ll fall behind if you don’t have someone wiser leading the way.
It’s really easy to get stuck in the cycle of hiring gurus who have the secret recipe instead of hiring a coach for what they are actually intended to help you do: find your own way.
So let’s break down, the good, the bad, and the ugly of the coaching industry and paint the picture of why I’m done working with coaches.
My first interaction with a life coach was a 60-minute phone call that changed my life. A girl in a Facebook group was giving away free sessions, so I took her up on it. I was at a point in my life when I was questioning my career, purpose, and direction.
In that 60-minute call, she helped me admit that I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Not only that, but I wanted to be a life coach.
The way she helped me shift my entire mindset in a 60-minute call was powerful. I wanted to help people make empowered decisions and find their direction just like she had done with me.
My next coach was after I enrolled in Inner Glow Circle, a coach training program. I hired a leadership coach to help me build my confidence as a new business owner and stay accountable in launching my business.
If there is one thing coaches are excellent at, it’s holding you accountable. I felt like I always knew my next step and plan of action. Heck, in my first month in business, I made $9K and quit my job! I really felt like there was something to this coaching stuff.
After that, I hired a string of business coaches to help improve my sales, systems, marketing, and offer suite. Some of them were amazing, and some of them were trash, but I hired all of them in the hopes of breaking through some next level.
What people get wrong about coaching is that they think coaching is meant to last forever. When in reality, the beauty of a coaching relationship is that you hire someone to help you hit a goal, and then once you hit the goal you’re able to move on with your new skills, knowledge, and trust in yourself.
More often than not, people hire coaches, hit a goal, and then hire them again to hit another goal. To be fair, there’s nothing wrong with that, but you have to look at your intentions and needs.
Not enough people ask themselves, “What do I need right now?” when they hire a coach. Do you need accountability? Do you need information? Do you need help making decisions? Do you need to process your thoughts?
A lot of people hire business coaches especially to get more information – insight into a new marketing strategy, business model, way of thinking, etc.
What people don’t realize is there will come a point when you don’t need information. You need action. Even more so than action, you need to trust yourself.
Coaches are amazing to give you tools, resources, and information to push you forward hit a goal and hold you accountable. However, there will come a time when you’re ready to move on with those new skills on your own.
This is an extremely unpopular thing to say as a coach myself. I’m sure some of you are reading this and thinking, “Really, Ashley? You’re telling people they don’t need coaches? How are you going to get clients this way?”
To which I say, I don’t care. It’s unpopular and it’s true. You don’t always need a coach.
I used to get so offended and frustrated when clients would say they wanted to try things on their own. I didn’t understand. I drank all the coaching industry koolaid and was stuck in my own cycle of searching for answers.
I also used to feel bad if a client didn’t work with me for months or years, while other coaches were always bragging about re-enrollments. Until I realized, I was doing everything for my clients that I needed to do.
I gave them the marketing and sales information they needed, tools to hold themselves accountable, and a mindset that allowed them to trust themselves more than anyone else. That’s powerful. Maybe not profitable or popular, but fucking powerful and I stand by that. That’s what coaching is all about.
I have worked with amazing coaches over the years and the best ones have always given me a space to feel all of my emotions, manage my burnout, and trust my intuition. They put me in the driver’s seat and sat by watching me learn how to trust myself to make decisions. They let me fly and find my own path and are part of the reason why I can so confidently state my beliefs and opinions today.
The worst coaches I’ve ever worked with have given me blueprints, roadmaps, and way too much information. They had a “my way or the highway” approach to coaching, even when they promoted the opposite. I felt little, small, and unable to speak my truth without fear of someone telling me that my way was wrong. This is NOT what coaching is about.
I knew it was time to stop hiring coaches long before I made my last investment. For my months my intuition was telling me, “it’s time to do this on your own.” I was too scared to listen.
It’s weird because part of me was screaming “DO THIS ALONE” and the other part of me was screaming “BUT THERE’S SO MUCH TO LEARN.”
Now that I think about it, I’m a 5/1 profile in human design. AKA I am obsessed with investigating and learning, thanks to my 1 profile. That’s probably where my attachment to coaching and learning stems from. I am designed to learn and learn and learn, but I have to know when to stop.
Intuition is so weird. One day it was telling me to not hire any more coaches. The next day it was saying, wait you have so much to learn. It was really hard to figure out my next right step.
I was just nearly closing the door on coaching and then my final two mentors came into my life. It was like my intuition knew they were the final pitstop on my way to fully trusting myself.
My last two mentors changed my life. They taught me how to trust myself, how to allow my emotions to exist, and helped me through my burnout recovery.
Even so, there came a point when it was time to let them go and find my own way.
There are 6 main reasons why I stopped working with coaches beyond my intuition telling me. Some were key signs that helped me realize something was off. Others were red flags I noticed in myself that were keeping me away from my true potential.
This was the FIRST clue that I was done. I was bitter as fuck that all of my money was going to other people. I have surely invested over $100,000 in coaching and sometimes I still think, “Damn, what if I just paid that all to myself?”
To be clear, that was my ego talking, but a huge sign that I was not operating in alignment anymore. My “not-self” theme is human design, basically how you act when you’re not doing what’s right for you, is bitterness. Here I was showing clears signs of bitterness every time money was withdrawn from my account to pay another monthly coaching payment.
I didn’t really understand the “not-self” theme in human design then. Looking back I can clearly see things were so not heading in the right direction anymore.
A little voice inside my head kept going, “and then, I’ll stop hiring coaches.” A voice that I ignored for months. I now realize that I was moving so fast, I didn’t have time to slow down and ask myself what I really needed.
Three months ago I had the opportunity to join another coaching program, one that was all about intuition and everything I had been working on. I was really excited about it. It felt like an intuitive yes until I slowed down.
I took a moment to meditate and journal and really ask myself what I needed. It wasn’t another coaching program. I needed to continue to deepen my trust in myself alone.
Before, I would get on calls with coaches who wanted a yes or no right away and just say yes. Even with the coaches who gave me time to think, I wouldn’t give myself space or time to think. I was too scared to admit it was time to go at it alone because it was something I had never done before.
The cold hard truth is you might not always love your business. I fell out of love with almost everything I was doing. I woke up dreading the idea of work, back-to-back calls, and old stagnant projects.
I was tired of sharing business tips. I was tired of the same launch cycles. I was tired of teaching the same programs. The problem was, I had no idea what I wanted to do instead.
The pro-coach side of the industry might say this is the exact time when you need a coach to help you sort out what you want. However, I needed to take a step back and figure this one out on my own.
I needed a space without to-do lists, weekly action plans, or an emphasis on how quickly I could make my next dollar. Even with some of the best-intentioned coaches, I felt the pressure to constantly earn more, a me problem, and I needed a space where that pressure was off.
People pleasers unite, because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone by making a huge pivot that might result in a stagnate in sales. That meant I had to get out of coaching, create time to listen to myself, and create time to overcome my people-pleasing tendencies.
Life is really pretty looking through someone else’s version of your dreams. At some point, I realized that’s all it was – someone else’s version of my dreams.
My problem is I’ve always known the outcome I’ve wanted in owning a business – freedom. Time freedom, money freedom, you name it. I wanted to be free. The problem with that is I don’t care how I get there, I just want to get there.
Instead of listening to myself on the journey forward, I looked to other people to see the best path forward. I would see shiny ways of making money and marketing and get caught up in it all.
I have done it all – launches, selling daily, masterclasses, Facebook ads, low ticket, high ticket, you name it. In reality, all I was doing was following someone else’s plan for my success. I really struggled to trust myself when launch plans felt off or say no to suggestions.
Sometimes it’s just so much easier to trust someone else. I kept their glasses on for as long as my intuition would let me. Until one day, my intuition basically ripped the glasses off and said YOU HATE IT HERE WE NEED TO LEAVE.
When I was in elementary school, I remember coming home from school and telling my dad, “I’m so much smarter than everyone in my class.” My dad immediately told me I can’t say things like that. That I needed to be more humble.
That little moment became my internal dialogue for years. Never trust that you’re the smartest person in the room. Never tell people how much information you know or have. Doubt yourself. Yikes!
While some people might hear me say, “I don’t think anyone has more information than me” and scoff at how dumb I sound, this is me taking my power back.
I have all the information I need to get to where I want to be.
Guess what? If someday I find out that I’m truly lacking information, I know how to go find it. Most business owners don’t need more information. We need to listen to ourselves.
Over the past 6 months, any time I didn’t know what to do, I sat with myself and listened. I have never been wrong once about my next step, marketing method, or content idea.
The biggest bet I ever made was betting on myself. No, I don’t mean in a “I bet on myself to start a business” kind of way. I mean, I bet on my internal guidance every single time.
I wasn’t doing that when I was working with coaches. I was second-guessing myself. I was wondering what they would think. I was waiting to make big decisions until I heard from them first.
That’s just silly. It was time to take off the training wheels and dive head first into trusting that I know exactly what I’m doing and know exactly how to get to where I wanted to be.
Hiring a coach isn’t a bad thing, especially when you’re trying something new. I am so glad I had coaches in the beginning of my business journey and I’m grateful for the mentors who taught me how to trust myself.
However, you will get to a point where you no longer need a coach. No one will tell you when that point is and many people will encourage you that you are wrong. The coaching industry is full of coaches hiring coaches and telling you that you should always invest to solve your problems faster.
Now, I’m of the mindset that the faster I listen to my intuition, the faster I can solve my problems. I’ve literally gotten to the point where I can get an intuitive answer within seconds of asking myself a question.
All of the answers you’re looking for are right inside of you.
Before Business Bro Barry goes off on TikTok somewhere, yes, the answers really are inside of you. Even if you know nothing about marketing or sales and especially if you’ve already built a successful business and know how you like to market and sell.
If you’re starting to realize you’re done working with coaches, you’re not alone, but it doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone.
Learning how to trust your intuition is hard and scary. I highly recommend finding a group of like-minded people to help you.
A place where there isn’t an authority, you’re allowed to brainstorm ideas with others, and you’re always encouraged to listen to your intuition.
Something that has helped me a lot over this time is having my own community and support group to listen to my thoughts, help me make sense of my ideas, and give me backup when I’m doubting what I know.
I’m hosting an event in Boston for local business owners and content creators if you’re looking to connect in a space like the one I mentioned above. Learn more here.
I’m also hosting my next virtual Made for Everything mastermind session where women from different kinds of businesses come together to share their struggles and gather advice from each other. Click here to join us the second Tuesday of the month.
P.S. There is so much nuance to this and everyone’s journey is different. You might need a coach, a community, or even time alone to get to know yourself better. The choice is up to you and there is no wrong decision in whatever you choose to do.
Certified Life and Business Coach and
Co-Founder of Living Adventures Retreats
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