Riding the subway allows an opportunity to read. The trip is longer but I’ll do it anyway if I have time. With John Butler Trio playing through my headphones, book open, pen in hand, Mandeep tapped me on the shoulder.
“Is that a sales book?” He asked.
–”Well, it could be.” I said. “But it’s more about business structure.” I said, showing him the cover of Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself.
He told me that he was a new business owner and described his e-commerce store. What followed was a 15 minute impromptu business consult.
So there we were: Me and Mandeep on the subway Chatting like old buds.
“You must be a millionaire”, he said to me with wide-eyes after I told him how many people work in my business.
He told me that his mentor gave him books to read; one of them being Think and Grow Rich. Mandeep then asked me if I had a mentor.
–“I’ve never paid for a mentor.” I told him. “But I’ve had many mentors. My Dad and I spent 2 hours talking about organizational structure this morning, for example. I have a few friends who I call with questions and enjoy long philosophical conversations with about business.”
A mentor is very different from a coach but the two words now flow together like Reese’s Pieces. I’ve written a two-part series about the problems with fitness business coaches already. A mentor, on the other hand, is somebody who believes in you, helping you grow, guiding you to find your own way. Mentorship isn’t found by replying to a Facebook advertisement, filling in an application, and getting hard-sold over the phone. Mentors are earned by showing up with an eagerness and willingness unmatched by others.
Coaching is different. Coaching is about solving problems. It’s for some but a tiny fraction of the people paying huge sums of money are ready or prepared for coaching and, as a result, have bad experiences. Here’s where my conversation Mandeep continues:
“Do you wish that you ever hired a mentor or coach?” He asked.
–”No. Truth is, I might have achieved some success quicker with the help of a coach but recognized early on that the advantage of a coach is that they have a path. This path is a system they teach. In order to sell coaching, this person professes that the system worked for them and will work for you. Let’s assume that this is true (a big assumption).
“Success is not a straight line. You will, and should, get bumps and bruises along the way. During that process you need to acquire skills in addition to experience. This experience leads to robustness that’s required to withstand when things don’t go your way or somebody you don’t know or care about says bad things about you on the internet. Hacking that experience by paying for a quick path, even if you do have some success, doesn’t provide you with the wide-array of skills, knowledge, and experience required to make it in this game, whatever the game is, in the long-term. Entrepreneurial burnout and psychological trauma is a big issue these days and it’s because running a business is hard. Many are not suited for it. Even those who are need to grow into the role or else they break down.
In addition Mandeep, there are no secrets to success and nobody has hacked the system. Some people have figured out a few things that work a bit right now and maybe that’s worth paying for. Perhaps it’s ill-fated ego but, for me, I’ve never felt coaching was a good investment. Instead, I spend as much time as possible doing the hardest, and most important, work that nobody seems to do anymore – I think. I read a lot and I try a lot and I think a lot and I learn a lot and I fail a lot and I show up the next day and, if all goes well, I win a lot. I win because I take the time to deeply understand and try things and then separate myself from the nonsense on the internet to think about what happened and whether there’s a creative solution to the problem that others may have missed because they’re too busy copying one another.
So Mandeep, I have never hired a coach and it’s possible that, as a result, I’ve gone slower. But the hidden benefit is that I’ve forged my own path which has helped me achieve in places where others haven’t and I have a heluva lot of fun with my work. It hasn’t always been easy. I’ve wanted to give up. But that just makes the wins taste sweeter.
Here’s my biggest qualm though Mandeep: If a coach doesn’t get you fast results, they get fired.
Therefore, the model must be predicated on getting you a quick win.
I don’t believe in quick results. I believe in strategy. I believe in sustainability. And I believe in ignoring fads and looking for trends. Because, according to Jack Trout and Al Ries,
“A fad is a wave in the ocean, and a trend is the tide. A fad gets a lot of hype, and a trend gets very little.
A fad is a short-term phenomenon that might be profitable, but a fad doesn’t last long enough to do a company much good. Furthermore, a company often tends to gear up as if a fad were a trend.”
Waves are loud and exciting, but trends carve out the shore. Business coaches are forced to put an emphasis on fads.
The above is why I don’t offer coaching. Instead of coaching, I’ve decided to spend my time and energy producing resources to help you better understand the market so that if you decide to hire a coach at any point, you can make best use out of him or her.
At the end of the day your success is up to you and the skills that you can acquire. A coach can amplify those results if the situation is right but the work will always start and finish with you. It’s not easy, and most won’t do it The appeal of quick wins is strong. That’s why most struggle. My suggestion today is to ignore the shouting on the internet telling you that “you just need to do this one thing or else you’ll miss out” and pick up a book in order to improve your general understanding. It won’t help you get a quick win, but, added up, this hard work (that few will do will) will contribute more to your long-term success than anything else.
If you’re interested in anything that I’ve written, I suggest grabbing the entire book book bundle but if you just get one, grab a copy Viralnomics or the Highly Wealthy Online Trainer two-book box set.
All are available in the store and ship worldwide: