Wednesday, August 30, 2017

MLM and Life Coaches

Today's blog post was inspired by an article on, "Should the Life Coaching Industry Be Regulated?". I have found that life coaches are very similar to the vitamin industry in the lack of regulation, but with "life coaches" it may be worse because of the inherent subjectivity. It isn't possible to be subjective when it comes to results on whether vitamins and supplements actually work, and there have been many clinical trials and prolific institutions that have proven most vitamins don't do what their labels claim. Could life coaches and their results be as quantifiable, or is the placebo effect from life coaches too hard to calculate? Should we completely stay away from life coaches, or is there a way to effectively determine if a person is providing a useful service? These are the questions that need to be asked and answered in order to determine if this is a real industry or a make-believe scheme.

First, is it possible to actually quantify the effectiveness of each life coach and whether they are meeting the objectives of their teachings? According to the article, and my own experience, it is not. There is no way to objectively give credit to the coaches for the success or failures of their students because there are too many other variables that effect the outcome. Also, there is a disclaimer at the bottom of every life coach's page explaining they are not responsible for any results, good or bad, and all testimonials are not to be considered typical. That kind of preemptive warning can lead to the conclusion that this industry is inherently flawed, and the user of these life coaches is completely at risk. The only industries that are able to operate in this manner are other deregulated groups (such as vitamins, oils, shakes), which are prime MLM "businesses". This amount of subjectivity allows charlatans to pose as authorities and take advantage.

Can life coaches actually be certified? This question can be mostly answered above, but there could be some very basic prerequisites which could help to certify the person. The life coach could at least go through a course or degree program designed to give basic information on psychology, business, and life skills, then be held accountable to a certain standard. This would eliminate a lot of the people claiming to have answers without any proof, and it would give consumers the opportunity for recourse in case a life coach did not perform to a certain standard. Life coaches would also need continuing education as the field and society evolves. Nobody wants a medical doctor that stopped learning in 1984 to be operating today, and the same should be applied to life coaches.

If life coaches could be certified, would that cut down on the unethical practices? In short, yes, because they could be held accountable for their teachings, but the field would still be largely subjective making lawsuits extremely difficult to litigate. At least the fear of being sued would prevent a percentage of life coaches from taking advantage of their clients, but there will always be some that have a reckless disregard for the rules. Certifications and licenses are not perfect, especially when it comes to ethics, which is why we have malpractice law firms.

After examining certain life coaches, in particular those that speak at MLM functions, I believe the industry needs an overhaul or it needs to be eliminated. I believe the "industry" needs to be eliminated. I do believe that there is a potential industry out there, similar to personal trainers, but the current life coaching industry is completely warped. I do not believe there is a potential industry out there, and my previous notion was inherently flawed as I thought more about it. There isn't any original concept in "life" coaching. It is a vague and unregulated way to suggest you can do the same very specific jobs as other certified professionals. It is essentially a legal loophole for college dropouts. It is too easy to call yourself a "life" coach, "guru", "leader", or even "teacher", and there are not enough regulations to protect the consumers. I'm also not completely convinced that certifying life coaches will be the remedy the field needs, but at least it is a start. There is no one certificate that can encompass everything a "life" coach claims to be.

If a "life" coach existed, then MLMs, in particular, should never be a market a life coach would speak at, let alone endorse. A life coach should be someone that helps steer a person away from scams, and anyone claiming to be a life coach that associates themselves with MLM should be disregarded entirely. It doesn't matter if they spend most of their time in ministry (Maxwell), personal development (Robbins), or "Real-Estate" (Kiyosaki). These people are taking advantage of a "Criminogenic Syndicate" (Brear), to make a quick buck, which is a complete conflict of interest as a life coach.



  1. True story. Some years ago, a friend of mine was contemplating taking a life coach class for $6000. She said she needed to make a decision because the class was filling up fast. I told her to take all the time she needs because if she's willing to pay $6000, they will always have a seat for her in the class.

    The thought was that in one year, with one client, you could make up your training fee.

    Although I recommended against taking the class, she did it anyway.

    She enjoyed the course, finished, never found a single client and while the course may have had some benefits, she was out $6000.

    1. Joe --

      I can't imagine any life coach being worth $6,000. That is an absurd amount of money. My belief is, these coaches should charge hourly, and there shouldn't be a need to see a life coach for longer than an hour at any given time. The idea of paying $6,000 up front SCREAMS foul play.

  2. The very idea of a "life" coach is absurd. You can have a fitness coach, who helps you with body building; or a golf coach, who help you with your golf game; or a language coach, who helps you improve your spoken French. These are all sensible and intelligible and delimited things.

    Other areas are less limited, but also possible: a religious person might have a spiritual counselor or confessor who helps him in matters of faith; a career counselor might help someone in getting a job or a promotion; and a student might have a mentor or advisor who helps him in the writing of his thesis.

    But a "life" coach? What the devil is that? Life is a multiplicity of actions and possibilities and decisions, connected with endless other factors and with countless persons. How the bloody hell are you "coached" for THAT? And yes -- there's no criterion by which success or failure can be judged.

    "Life coaches" are just another crackpot American idea, designed solely to make money for someone. It's vague, it's gaseous, it's open-ended, and it sounds great -- exactly the kind of brainless scam that Americans fall for.

    1. Anonymous --

      I completely agree, and I'm going to edit the post accordingly. The biggest problem I'm having with conceptualizing what a "life" coach would look like is the lack of specificity. Every time I think about what a "life" coach is, a different and current profession seems to already be in place.

      If a "Life" coach was someone that helped a person literally schedule their life, then that would be a personal assistant.

      If a "Life" Coach was someone that helped to get your weight under control, then that would be a nutritionist and/or a personal trainer.

      If a "Life" coach was someone that helped to deal with your self-esteem, then that would be a psychologist.

      If a "Life" coach was someone that helped with your financial issues, then that would be an accountant and/or a financial adviser.

      This idea that someone can combine all of these very specific "life" needs, and probably others I didn't mention, is probably as real as "Harvey the Rabbit", and if the person is trying to specifically be in the same profession as I listed above, then they are probably trying to use the "Life" coach title to hide the fact they aren't certified.

      It is, as you said, " vague, it's gaseous, it's open-ended, and it sounds great -- exactly the kind of brainless scam that Americans fall for."

    2. John - I don't want to split hares, but 'Harvey' was a Pooka who took the form of a 6ft rabbit?

      I couldn't resist that pun, but does it make sense in the USA where hares are jack rabbits?

      I seem to remember Bugs Bunny singing

      'I dream of Jeanie... she's a light brown hare.'

    3. David --

      You earned a carrot for that pun.

      In the immortal words of Elmer Fudd -- "Why, you wascally wabbit".

  3. Like others here, I don't believe society has any use for "life coaches" or the very closely related "success coach". For all intents and purposes, "life coaches" and "success coaches" are the same thing.

    The very idea should be ridiculed, laughed at, and eventually trashed, not regulated. It's too vague and open-ended, which makes it perfect for con-artists of all stripes. Many MLM-bots I encounter call themselves "success coaches"; if the success or life coach is not doing MLM, they're pushing overpriced vitamins or some kind of training to supposedly help you succeed in business. Sometimes they push a variety of scams, and what they push depends on the type of person they are victimizing.

    All success coaches are essentially parasites and frauds, at times pretend psychologists, at other times pretend personal trainers. They are pathetic losers who pretend to be winners, idiotic fakers with little education who hide behind their shiny "life coach" label to pretend they're somebody.

    I know them all too well because I frequently run into them. The ones who are charismatic and who are also motivational speakers may succeed at what they do, but ultimately most fail at this enterprise.

    1. Surely these oft-repeated, thought-stopping jargon terms, 'life coach', 'success coach', 'lifestyle coach' etc., can be accurately translated as 'professional pretend-friend', 'fake friend' or even 'non-sexual prostitute.'

      It's perhaps not widely-known in the USA, but a so-called 'coach', Carol Caplin (a minor celebrity, self-styled 'health and well-being expert' with some very dubious connections), managed to get inside the the corridors of power in the UK during the administration of Tony Blair - simply by obtaining employment as Ms. Blair's pretend friend.

      The Blairs were eventually ridiculed in the UK media; for this episode demonstrated that the Prime Minister and his wife (although qualified attorneys) were so devoid of basic common-sense, and with their heads so far up their arses, that they could easily be groomed, manipulated and compromised.

    2. Anonymous --

      I believe you are correct. At first, I thought there could be a very basic "life" coach that helps people with specific problems in a generic way. I thought it could be someone hired cheaply for applications that did not need extensive training. Yet, as Joe and the other "Anonymous" pointed out, these people charge exorbitant fees and are far too vague to be useful.

      From my experience, every "life" coach I have encountered has been some sort of a fraud. They have pretended to have a hidden wisdom, but in actuality they were nothing more than barely educated nincompoops.

      David --

      The way you describe "life" coaches is hilarious, and sadly accurate. The "non-sexual prostitute" is apt for describing my experiences. They want your money, and they get it by attempting to appeal to your sense of insecurity. They pretend to listen, care, and empathize with you, but as soon as the money dries up, they are off to find a new target.

      I recently, and very briefly, re-engaged with a former Elementary School classmate. He formerly worked at Goldman Sachs, but found his true calling in life was running seminars and helping people "find their purpose". He was charging people over $250.00 and hour for his "services", and he was being hired to run team-building workshops at major Wall Street firms. It was a bizarre encounter, and needless to say, I still believe he is full of crap and is a completely crazy narcissist.

  4. I call them the ectoparasites of MLM.

    1. That's a very good way to describe them!

    2. This article linked below describes a hybrid racket in which victims are persuaded that they can achieve success by paying to take a never-ending series of 'become a life coach' courses - in which they are taught that the key to achieving success is collecting commissions from recruiting others to pay to take the same never ending series of 'become a life coach' courses, in which they are taught that the key to achieving success is collecting commissions from recruiting others, etc. ad infinitum.

      L. Ron Hubbard's original self-perpetuating 'Dianetics' racket was essentially identical.

      'Dianetics Auditing' was peddled by Hubbard in a comic-book as 'The Modern Science of Mental Health' - a 100% sure way to clear people of the hidden mental shackles holding them back in their lives, and make them happier, healthier, wealthier, more intelligent, etc.

      Hubbard's victims were duped into paying $500 to become a certified 'Dianetics Auditor' (complete with their own certificate to hang on the wall just like a real doctor). This allowed vicitms to charge people to be 'audited,' but they were also offered commissions for signing up more $500 per head 'Dianetics Auditors' + commissions on the commissions of the $500 recruits of their $500 recruits, etc. ad infinitum.

      When Hubbard's original racket faced investigation as a form of unlicensed (and potentially dangerous) medicical practise (rather than a Ponzi-style fraud), he pretended that 'Dianetics' was part of a new 'religion' and 'Auditors' began wearing clerical-style outfits.

  5. Tony Blair was always an intellectual cipher in an empty suit. It's astounding that he got as far as he did in politics.

    Dr. Doe mentions that "major Wall Street firms" are paying outrageous fees for these fake seminars given by some "life coach" fraud.

    Wall Street is supposed to be known for hard-headed realism, logical thought, and intelligence.

    Do you guys see what I mean about America, and its incurable pathological need for mindless enthusiasm and cultic dreaming?

    When the Joint Chiefs of Staff start hiring these freaks for the military, it will all be over for us.

    1. Anonymous - Like many politicians, Tony Blair's only talent was the ability to learn, and recite, lines which (to many voters) temporarily gave him the appearance of possessing moral and intellectual authority.

      Blair's self-righteous act has long since been recognised as such, and he is rightly become one of the most detested persons in Britain.

      Tony Blair is one of a number of retired political performers around the world who have been, and still are, fulfilling the role of useful idiots for the 'MLM' crime syndicate.

      When I discovered the above video (in which Blair recites jargon-laced misleading statistics fed to him by the agents of 'MLM' racketeers), I asked a senior member of his own parliamentary party to challenge him on my behalf. The (then) Prime Minister (who was about to send British Forces into Iraq) sent a classic written reply to his parliamentary colleague in which he pretended moral and intellectual authority, but demonstrated his complete ignorance of the 'MLM' phenomenon as well as his inability to accept responsibility for his promotion of it.

      My response to Tony Blair's colleague was as follows:

      If the Prime Minister sincerely believes that members of the so-called 'UK DSA' have all offered viable, and lawful, 'income/business opportunites' to the British public (and I have no reason to believe that he does not), then he is probably far too stupid to be held to account for making this Orwellian propaganda video.

    2. Anonymous --

      If the military hires a bunch of "useful idiots" posing as "life" coaches, then the transformation will be complete, and we will have another full-blown Nazi army. The propaganda is already very powerful, and a former high school chum/veteran has proven this case by acting as though his tours in Iraq were anything other than a political proxy war to seek control of the area, go after oil, and sell more weapons. He truly believed he was helping to free the "oppressed" peoples of that region.

  6. These life coaches are so successful that if the MLM industry was shut down tomorrow, they would all be out on the street looking for a job a day latter. They preach salvation to the scores failing at MLM, and industry designed to produce failure.

    1. Tolobelt --

      Unfortunately, I believe they would just latch onto another industry, as they are similar to parasites. These people that preach they have divine powers and have been given the answers through the pursuit of truth can apply this recipe to anything, and they have learned the more godly they sound the more money they can extract.

    2. Tolobelt makes an important here, because if the 'MLM' economic pseudo-science actually worked, there would be no need for all these parasites peddling the secret of how to make it work.

      The 'MLM' phenomenon has mainly comprised the instigators of 'MLM' front companies (who run the dissimulated rigged-market swindles) and the major parasites who feed off the never-ending chains of ill-informed 'MLM' recruits).

      The 'MLM' racket's modus operendi can be compared to the historic crime of wrecking. During storms, criminal gangs lit beacons on the shore to mimic harbour lights and attract sailing ships onto the rocks. After the ships were wrecked and their crews drowned, their valuable cargoes could be salvaged by the wreckers.

      In 'MLM' rackets, when facing investigation/prosecution, the criminal beacon lighters have pretended not to be connected to the criminal salvers, when clearly neither gang could thrive without the other.

      'MLM' rackets have attracted many other minor parasites, not least attorneys, PR experts, crisis management experts, political/celebrity cheerleaders and other useful idiots, etc. All these persons have had a share of the wrecked victims' losses.

    3. My previous comment should have read:

      Tolobelt makes an important point here...

  7. Sadly, I was duped into working with a life coach for around 4 years, and in the end, was treated so unprofessionally and my coach breached confidentiality, sharing information about our coaching with her friends and other clients. I can’t prove any of this, got most of it second hand, but this industry needs to be regulated. I have found I have no recourse against my coach, and have asked several times for her to provide me with a copy of her disclaimer/coaching agreement I signed. However, she refuses to provide it and never responds to my requests. I invested at least $25K with this person and to have her treat me in such a horrible way should not be allowed.

    1. Linda --

      I'm very sorry to hear about your situation with your life coach. I can only speak vaguely since I don't know the details of your situation, but people that claim this field tend to try and cover too much information. What I mean by this is, "life coach" is far too broad for any one person, and there should be more specialized experts for specific life skills. You may need a personal trainer to focus on exercise, and you may need a therapist to focus on esteem issues.

      I have personally found that most people with the title "life coach" don't actually have any form of specialized or formal education or training. They tend to be people that have blundered through life, have some ability to think on their feet, and then found a way to manipulate their situation profitably. Their value is superficial at best, and it doesn't seem to be the quality in which people need.

      I wouldn't hold out hopes with this "life coach" and getting a refund. As you mentioned, regulation doesn't really exist and it is very difficult to prove fraud since there isn't anything tangible. My best advice would be to not spend anymore money in this field, and to try to find assistance from people with specialized training.