17 things that lifec coaches do that make you angry

man in black crew neck t-shirt

I first published this post over a year ago. I had more ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on this post than any other. I wonder why…

So, what is it that life coaches do that make people so angry? As coaches aren’t, we meant to do the opposite?

I belong to several online coaching groups and came across this interesting post by “Anthony Paul-Lewis Lungabardi” titled:

 “What is it that coaches do that make you the angriest?”

With 120 comments this 60,000 strong membership of the “principle into practice” FB group had a lot to say. And being a coach myself, I wanted to learn more.

Here’s what some of them had to say   

As some of them were similar in “angst” I have grouped them:

  • Coaches who cast themselves as experts when they are not.
  • When they make assumptions and thinking on behalf of the other person
  • No boundaries coach.
  • Suggest affirmations as the solution to everything.
  • Some coaches are arrogant.
  • Telling clients what they need to do.
  • They think everyone needs rescuing.
  • Talk too much, do not listen and their ego.
  • Taking advantage of their client’s trust.
  • Give their opinion when I did not ask for it.
  • Muddling coaching with mentoring/counselling.
  • There is a trend in coaching where a large majority are always talking about 6 figure, high paying clients.
  • Interrupt while you are talking.
  • Manipulate into dependence.
  • Overstepping the bounds of coaching such as medical or psychological advice.
  • Cheerlead without any practical help.
  • When they get off being right, it shows I’m not the priority.
  • It seems there is a growing section of coaches who have identified that the number one problem coaches have is finding clients. All promising to get coaches clients, all to no avail. They are like vultures.

As a coach

I’ve been around personal development for over 20 years. As a qualified coach, I did not spend years obtaining my diploma and gaining experience to read these comments; it saddens me to know there are so-called ‘coaches’ out there who are clearly acting in an unprofessional manner.

As one person said to me
"You could get better advice from the bloke behind the bar at your local pub than some of these so-called coaches!"

It’s time to address some of these “angry” remarks on behalf of my fellow hard-working coaches.


“Telling clients what they need to do” – Coaches don’t give advice

As professional coaches, we do not give advice, tell our clients what to do, or pursue them. The focus of coaching is on the client. Clients already have all the resources they need to achieve what they want (or help them create them).


“When they get off being right, it shows I’m not the priority” –  A Coach focuses on the client. A professional coach will focus solely on a client’s situation, goals and outcomes. It’s never about the coach. The client is always the priority.


“Some coaches are arrogant + talk too much, do not listen and their ego” Coaches leave their ego and agenda at the front door. As coaches, we do not bring our personal lives, thoughts, feeling or emotions to the coaching table. However, a good coach will be self-aware, grounded, and may even practise yoga or mindfulness to get into state before a coaching session. 


“Overstepping the bounds of coaching such as medical or psychological advice” – Coaches set boundaries. A good coach will set boundaries from the start of any future coaching journey with a client. You can view a code of ethics here, which I am proud to work to.


“Manipulate into dependence” – Coaches do not fix or manipulate

No one needs fixing. You may however have an area of your life that’s not working for you anymore and needs focus and help.

Coaches come from a presupposition that “people work perfectly” No one is wrong or broken. We are all executing our strategies perfectly, but the strategies may be poorly designed and ineffective. I help my clients find out how they and others operate to change a strategy to something more useful and desirable.


There are no un-resourceful people, only un-resourceful states of mind. Therefore, people have all the ability and resources they need to succeed or make any changes they want.

The emphasis is on your internal thoughts and feelings and intentionally creating resourceful states of mind.


“Muddling coaching with mentoring/counselling” – A coach will enquire how the client wishes to be “coached?”

I undertake an ‘ intake session when a new client comes to me. This comprises general information about the client, contract to sign, times, dates, and sessions.


This is also where I manage expectations. The “housekeeping rules”, what’s expected from the client, arrive punctually and be ready, willing, and able to be coached, together with other rules.


Also, what they can expect from me as their coach, to be challenged, inspire, motivate, and contribute to their development, goals and outcomes. I will also during this intake session ask the client, “how do you want to be coached?” pure coaching? Mentoring? 


“Interrupt while you are talking” – Coaches only Interrupt when. 

During the ‘intake session’, one of the housekeeping rules is to ask the client”, do I have their permission to interrupt If I feel the coaching session is going off track and bring it back in line?” It is the only time a coach should interrupt a client.


Interrupting the client does not give them space and grace to finish what they want to say. The focus is always on the client, not the coach.


To conclude

I hope this addresses some of the unprofessional practices that people purporting to be coaches do. Studying to be an accredited professional coach is not a race to the top. It is not about completing a book, course or workshop in record time. 

That is saying more about the ego and the race to finish, than the journey, learning, and experience gained.


To become a coach of true excellence takes years of practice, and you never stop learning. Each new client brings an opportunity to take a journey together, walk side-by-side into the future, to make a difference not just to their life but in yours as well. Keep up the excellent work, my fellow coaches. Your skills are needed more than ever.


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