Ep #190: How to Create a Non-Culty Coaching Biz

Coaching communities are rarely cults, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t using practices – in marketing, selling, and coaching – that are a lil’ bit culty. And to me, this is the real dangerous area, because most of us don’t see it, until we see it.

This ep is a thick and juicy episode on what we’ve seen (and sometimes even done) that is a little bit culty, what to do instead, and how we got here in the first place.

We’ll do more deep dives into pieces of this conversation in future episode, but for now, grab your pens and notebooks, and let’s jump in.

The doors to Free to Paid Coach are officially open! If you’re ready to learn the foundational concepts of confidence that get you from being a free coach to a paid coach who makes six figures and beyond, join us right now!

What You’ll Learn:
  • Why it’s important to create a non-culty coaching business
  • Identifying cultish characteristics in coaching communities
  • What you can do when things get a lil’ culty
  • What is group think and how it discourages critical thinking
Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 190 of The Confident Coaches Podcast, the one where you just say no to that culty vibe. All right, let’s go.

Welcome to The Confident Coaches Podcast, a place for creating the self-confidence you need to do your best work as a life coach. If you want to bring more boldness, more resilience, and more joy to your work, this is the place for you. I’m Amy Latta, let’s dive in.

Hey friend. Hey coach. How are you? I hope you’re doing pretty good. I’m doing pretty damn good. So first of all, I am recording this episode the same day that last week’s episode dropped. So I’m recording this exactly seven days ago from one you’re listening assuming you’re listening on drop day and.

I just want to say thank you for the warm reception that my apology, I’m perpetuating shitty coaching and business practices in my own business. That was last week’s episode, and it’s a little weird when people say thank you for the episode when the thank you was to an apology. But I have truly loved the conversations that are just starting.

I’m sure there will be more that I have had by the time this episode comes out. But this episode it’s kind of a big one and this is worth grabbing pen and paper because this is the next part of the conversation. And it is for everyone, even if you’re brand new, even if you’re just in a coaching community and not really coaching yourself, and especially if you have an active coaching business.

And I think this conversation is important because when we think cult. We think the vow, right? The documentary on NXIVM, which was a life coaching organization that turned into a cult. They literally branded their members, you know, or we think Scientology, where you cannot leave or communicate with people who leave.

Lots of things have come out about Scientology or any number of religious cults or yoga cults that we think about, that we’ve seen documentaries on. And we’re like, well, nothing I have seen is like that, so there’s no way that anything that I’m involved in is anything like that. And most of us, honestly, not in danger from having that level of cultish on us, right?

However, there are a lot of things that can be just a little bit culty and full credit to that phrasing goes to, there’s an actual podcast called A Little Bit Culty by Sarah Edmondson and her husband, Nippy Ames, who they were members of NXIVM. They were very prominent in The Vow documentary.

And their show interviews various experts on cults. And they talk around all things cults and specifically differentiating between what’s a cult and what things are, just their phrasing a little bit culty. I have not listened to their entire catalog. There are other podcasts out there that I have also listened to, books I have listened to.

I’m going to link to many of those things in the show notes, but I certainly have not consumed all possible information that’s out there. This is based on observations of what we’ve seen. Based on kind of, you know, very unscientific. This is lots and lots of research, but hardly the end all be all, right?

So take this information and here’s the interesting thing. One of the things I’m going to call out in things that can be a little bit culty and what to do instead is, you know, take this information with a critical thinking ear, put your critical thinking caps on, and I’m sure that there are so many more things that you may identify that I haven’t even identified yet.

So it’s also super important. I cannot stress enough that life coaching in and of itself is amazing. I mentioned this in last week’s podcast episode. It’s completely changed my life. I would be an absolute liar if I were to tell you that this isn’t all completely worth it. I’m a better mom, a better wife, a friend, and overall I’m so much less overwhelmed, I’m so much less anxious, so much happier.

Like if my entire business came to an end today and I never spent one more minute coaching anyone ever. Yes, it’s been worth it. Absolutely! My life is good. Coaching and coaching communities in and of themselves are not a cult. I. It can be a big joke. There are definitely people outside of the industry and maybe even some inside, inside the industry who are like, listen, if it’s life coaching, it’s cult period. End of story.

In the same way that somebody would say, oh, it’s a CrossFit gym. Yep, it’s a cult period. Okay, fair enough. We’re not arguing with that here. What we’re talking about here are those things that are a little bit culty to identify in your business as well as in communities that you may be in and just highlighting some of those things.

And the things that I’m highlighting came from me listening to people talk about being in actual cults. So coaching in and of itself, you know what. Not a cult. Hundreds of thousands of coaches are out there working in all manner of organizations, private groups alongside politicians, celebrities, athletes, prominent leaders, CEOs.

You know, there’s such a vast coaching industry, and yet some communities can take on characteristics of cult-like behavior multi-level marketing organizations, religion, fitness communities, and political movements. I have been at networking events of like regular business people and then like, this is so little bit, okay, so, what is it that makes something a little bit culty?

What are those characteristics? This is where you grab your pen and paper and jot some things down. And I invite you to take, like, leave space for jotting down anything else that may come to mind. This is hardly an exhaustive list, but this is what and I’ll give more of the qualifier towards the end.

So first and foremost, a belief system that promises everything. The idea that everything you need right here, it’s right here. What we do has all your answers. You don’t need anything else out there. Here’s the interesting thing. There have been points where I have myself in my own coaching company, in the services that I offer.

Like, I didn’t even realize that I was falling prey to that. It was like, oh, you want neuroscience? Okay, great. Let me go learn some tapping. You know? Oh, you want manifestation? You know what? I took a 21 day free training once, so, or not even free training I just participated in something for three weeks.

You know what? Let me add manifestation in. I truly believed that I was adding value by ensuring a one-stop shop kind of vibe, right? Like we love one stop shops, right? We love being able to, everything we need from one source, right? But there can be that when there’s a belief system that you don’t need anything else, that’s when it can turn a little sinister.

And that difference between adding value for your clients versus I don’t want them to go anywhere else. I’ve never consciously thought that thought, but I did have the thought of this is more valuable, the more bells and whistles that I put on it, even when something wasn’t necessarily my expertise.

So like, check yourself. Check your BS. Shout out to my amazing friend, Coach Shaquan. Check your BS. Check your belief system. That is her main teaching, that is her main vibe right there. Love her.

So, belief system that promises everything and they shouldn’t go anywhere else except for you to get what they need could be just a little bit culty, right?

The next thing, the belief that the leader is the only one who can help you. So, this is a little bit different take, right? So, there’s a community where you have everything you need, but then, it’s the leader, right? And here’s the thing. Oh God, I can actually feel the bile in my throat.

I’ve perpetuated this one in this simple phrase. If you could do it on your own, you would’ve already done it. That’s why you need to hire me. Oh, I’m so sorry for that one. It’s so gross, right? Like, if you could do it on your own, you would’ve done it already. You need me, like there’s something about it that sounds so innocent.

And also, god, does that come through. A huge, that is served up with a huge plate of pure crap, first of all, and also guilt and judgment and shame, right? This is also where, so like this idea that the leader is the only one who can help you do it I’ve perpetuated on one hand and then totally not on the other.

Because another way that this shows up is where marketing becomes about the person and about their life when people are of the business and your personal brand is actually part of what you’re selling. And we’ve all seen that proximity to the person being the selling point. People just want to be with me.

And they’ll pay me money. You know, just being in my presence gets people results, and that’s why they’re going to pay me. That is straight up cult of personality vibes. Now, cult of personality tends to be associated more with governments. That’s creating this idealized and heroic image of a leader.

Through unquestioning, flattery, and praise, right? Like think Donald Trump. But there’s a lot of that in coaching communities also. And listen, I’ve definitely shown a lot of my personal life and my marketing but it was always like, this is what my life is just really like there’s me snuggling with my dog, my Lou bear, he’s important to me.

Here I am at yet another baseball tournament this weekend. Like, here’s just what my life looks like, right? Like here’s what somebody who runs her own business, who’s a mom, who’s got teenagers, who’s got an adult daughter, who’s got family here and there who loves her daughter. Like, here’s what I’m eating.

Doesn’t this make you want to live my life too, Right? So, be careful of that aspirational marketing where it’s like, hey, I’m living my dream. Don’t you wish you were here with me, right? So, that belief that the leader is the only thing that can help you, and that they are the most important thing.

And that’s what you’re buying is the person and not the result or the tools that they’re selling, but you’re buying that person’s vibe and they’re the only ones who can help you achieve your goal as opposed to. I just want to throw this out there. I’ve talked about this on the podcast. I’ve talked about this extensively in my Coach Unleashed training back in January.

We talk about it all of the time in both Free to Paid Coach and at The Mastermind Level, which is, let’s assume that they can get help from 10 different coaches. Why should they hire you? What’s the vibe you bring to the table that’s different, but they can all achieve the same thing? You are not the reason they are going to achieve the thing.

Third one, a limit on outside information. This is very culty. This is about shutting down those negative voices. And listen, it’s one thing to shut out all the negativity out there. In general, if it’s not good for your mental health, I’m not talking about that, right? I’m not talking about curating your newsfeed so that you’re not just being bombarded with constant, like the world is on fire messages, because greed, that’s very dangerous for your mental health.

We’re talking about purposely shutting out dissenting voices, thoughtful dissenting voices. People who have something that challenge your viewpoint. Organizations that are a little bit culty don’t want you to be exposed to dissenting voices, particularly if it doesn’t agree with the philosophy and the teachings of your coach.

That’s a surefire sign that you are involved in something that’s just a little bit culty. And to the next point, in general, not allowing dissent within. Okay, so, there’s the limit on outside dissent voices and the other side of the coin is not allowing dissent inside when critical thinking is shut down and discouraged.

That’s a huge red flag like your spidey sense should be going off the wall if critical thinking, and I don’t agree with that comes up guys. I have to tell you hindsight is, damn, if it’s not 2020 in my coach training week, I should have seen these red flags. I didn’t. April, 2016. Come on.

I’m recording this of June of 2023, and I’m just now going, oh my gosh. My dissenting voice was being shut down. Not necessarily from day one, but from week one. I remember raising my hand and saying, I do not agree with this and being shut down and made fun of. And at the time I remember it felt terrible, right?

That it wasn’t a red flag is something that I got to get like coaching and therapy on. Like shouldn’t I have known then? But I truly did believe, okay, I’m going to believe this expert here, that food should taste like sawdust and that it shouldn’t be amazing and delicious. Okay? I mean, I’m going to kind of do that anyway on the side, but I’m not going to let her know.

So, this idea of not allowing dissent, not you know, shutting down any critical thinking, not allowing people to have different opinions. This leads to group think. By the way, I’m going to whip out my communications almost minor. I was one class shy. Don’t know why I didn’t just get it. Group think, it’s the one thing I remember from my almost minor, the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility.

Nobody’s at fault when we all agree on the same thing and also nobody’s dissenting. Be aware of group think. It’s not good when we all agree, like we should not be moved by screenshots of people who say, I agree with everything you say. My coach has taught me everything I know. That’s like everything my coach says, I just do blindly. What the fuck?

No, what’s happening? Oh my goodness, like that should not be the thing that we are trying to emulate here. That’s a sign that you are either not allowed to think for yourself or you don’t think you should. Now, I want to be really clear. First of all, most coaches out there aren’t telling people what to do.

They’re helping people find their own answers. Sometimes a coach will say is I will redirect you when you are far off the path. But the path is really wide. There’s a lot of room to decide for yourself and figure out what you’re going to do.

And sometimes a coach does kind of need to go, okay whoa, we are going off the rails here. Let’s remember why we originally started, but to just blindly follow. That’s not a good thing. That’s not good.

So, be aware of discouraging critical thinking. This one came up in one of the episodes of a little bit culty. I thought it was really interesting because it’s a huge part of what life coaching is, and also their take on it was a little bit eye-opening. So I include this with a, isn’t this interesting?

Something that’s part of cult culture is the requirement that you go through a transformation. Now, life coaching is all about going through a transformation, so shouldn’t that be a requirement? Shouldn’t we be bringing transformation to our clients? And I think it’s the part of requiring that you go through a transformation that it’s not necessarily the transformation that you might personally need to go through, but it’s the transformation they’re going to force you through, right?

In one episode of a little bit culty, they talked about a re-socialization that changes your patterns of thought and behavior, and that is essentially life coaching, right? And essentially when used for good, that is life changing. But when it is, and again, it’s not against your will, but it’s a no, this is the change you’re going to make, as opposed to what’s the change that you personally are at the place in your life that you’re ready to make, or that your clients are ready to make.

Requiring your clients to go through a transformation that’s having an agenda and that’s forcing your agenda on them. And these are the thoughts and the behaviors that have to change, that need to change as opposed to allowing for the ones that are going to naturally change. Because you show up, you powerfully coach and you take your hands off the wheel.

You let them have the reigns. So, I thought that one was really powerful. I think it’s a different way of thinking about not showing up with an agenda, but be aware of when you’re forcing transformation. I know that I’ve done this in the past because my belief was that they’re going to get their money’s worth, right? To make this be worth their investment, they needed to have had this giant shift and it really took so much coaching to see the value of just a one or a 2% change in somebody’s life.

And how life changing, just a shift in thinking and just a shift in behavior whereas something that’s a little bit culty is like, no we’re like completely, like it’s a 90 degree as opposed to a one degree or a 180, so many, you know, whatever the number.

All right. So, there’s something there that can be a little bit culty. Are you forcing the transformation or are you allowing for it to take place naturally based on what the client is actually needing? Do you feel like you’re being forced into a shift or a pattern that you may not be ready for or that may not be for you?

It could be for your neighbor. It could be for your friend sitting next to you, but maybe it’s not for you. Again, this is kind of also that part of that critical thinking and bringing yourself to the table, and that leads to the next thing that’s a little bit culty is anybody who moves on or leaves this idea, they just didn’t get it.

They just didn’t get it. They don’t know they weren’t ready. You know what? They just didn’t have a hard enough why. I’ve heard all of those repeatedly so many times, and there was always kind of this thing of like, okay, I don’t understand why, like I am surprised that this isn’t like for them, but like, I guess it’s just not for them.

I don’t know that I was ever like, oh, they just don’t get it. Or they just don’t know, or they’re just not trying hard enough. And yet that’s repeated so many times, right? And, I think it really comes down to like this idea that people can’t leave. What the fuck? Of course people can leave.

People do not owe you anything. They do not need to renew their coaching contract to validate that you were a good coach or that you helped them. They don’t need to stay. They don’t need to keep renewing over and over again. That’s not what we’re doing here. Requiring that is a little bit culty. Now, not a lot of people have asked me for refunds, but I have had a handful that I remember.

You know, two, I 100% agreed. Like we were not a great fit, we were not energetically personality. This is not working a hundred percent. One was they weren’t selling paid coaching, which isn’t what I coached them to do. You didn’t implement the coaching. Of course, you aren’t making money.

You’re selling free coaching, but there have been one or two that I remember who weren’t comfortable for whatever their specific reason, and I coached them to stay, they approached me mid group coaching and I coached them to stay because I genuinely thought I’m giving up on their dream if I don’t coach them to stay and keep going.

A little bit of that requirement that they go through a transformation. So, it wasn’t so much culty from that place of like, nobody can leave, and yet they were still unheard and that’s not okay. And it’s super important that we are listening to what people are telling us. Are we forcing a transformation on them that’s not for them?

Listen to what they have to say. Are they telling you that this room, this space isn’t for them? Have that conversation and don’t make them wrong for it. I’m actually going to get way more into what we should do instead and after the, after this list, and that leads to the next thing that’s a little bit culty, which is continuous upselling, right?

Listen, upselling is not culty in and of itself. Upselling can be like you offer a freebie and on the thank you page you offer like a $19 or a $49 book or something. It’s a very common marketing tool, right? As somebody is buying something, you offer them an upgrade, and that’s called an upsell.

You are being upsold all of the time when your waitress comes to you and asks if you want some fried pickles for an appetizer. She’s upselling you, right? When she comes and asks for dessert, oh, would anybody like to see the dessert menu? We have an amazing New York cheesecake. She’s upselling you.

Upselling happens all of the time. It’s not a bad thing. You may not love that, but it’s so common and it’s everywhere, and it’s what marketers do all of the time. I’m talking about this program leads to this program and there’s always a higher and a higher cost, and there’s always going to be that as soon as you up level, there’s always going to be a new program for you to up level into.

And there’s never any reason to ever leave this coach ever. And then the next thing you know, you’re at Sea Org level in Scientology thinking how the fuck did I get here?

Having tiered programs that lean into one another is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s the idea that your audience owes you in some way, or they’ve wronged you in some way. If they don’t naturally tear up, they don’t naturally level up within your organization and your organization only.

That’s when it’s a little bit culty. That’s when it’s not okay. People are allowed to leave. People are allowed to have dissenting opinions. People are allowed to decide, you know what? I want to see what else is going on out there. I want to spend some time integrating this information that we’ve been doing.

It’s been great work. Let me go integrate it and let me keep a couple of those dollars in my pocket while I’m doing it. Or you want to know it. I’ve loved our work here, but I keep bumping up against this thing here. I think there may be another modality I need to check out over here. Okay, when we don’t allow for that’s a little bit culty, right?

And again, this is also tied into that you should never leave because everything you need is here mentality. Another thing that is a little bit culty is the ends justifying the means if it works can’t be bad. It works, if people are changing, people are making more money, or people are losing a lot of weight, or whatever the thing is, the results are there, then it’s got to be good.

That is a whole podcast episode right there. The bottom line is no, the ends don’t justify the means, like the idea that no matter how the sausage is made, doesn’t matter as long as it’s delicious. No, that’s not what we’re doing here. That is not what life coaching is. The ends don’t justify the means that the tactics used.

We’ve seen this in raising of children, in schooling. This is so pervasive that as long as the team is getting the results, it doesn’t matter how the team got there. And that’s bullshit. And we know that. And in 2023, we should definitely know better. I also want to caution, overused buzzwords. I’m raising my hand right here.

I am raising my hand right here. For those of you going, Amy, yes, I know neurodivergent. This ethical, that ethical is the big one right now. Every time I hear the word ethical, anything I get a little like, ugh. I wish I could remember what podcast or TV show or audiobook I was listening to when I heard this next term and it just like came up and it slapped me across the face.

But beware, like buzzwords are performative intelligence. I’m smarter than you. Look at the big words that I use. I have knowledge, you don’t, because I’m used throwing out 35 cent and 50 cent words, right? I’ve totally done this. Oh damn. I think I’ve done it. I’m going to do it in this episode.

I think it’s moderately better because at least I know I’m doing it and I’m like, okay, we got to find some new words that aren’t so fancy span. I’m like, some of it can be coach speak. But I’m not just talking about coach speak. Coach speak is like we speak in a language amongst coaches that our audience isn’t necessarily going to understand it.

That’s what it’s not. What I mean by performative intelligence and overused buzzwords, I’m talking about the throwing out of words to show people that you’re smart and you got something that they need and you’re fancy. It’s this idea of buzzwords that are hype when I’m not the expert in those areas. I just read a book.

And now I’m like a toddler spotting things out in the wild that they just learned about, oh look, mom, you know, you just read your toddler book about colors and they finally understand what red is, and they’re pointing out, that’s red and that’s red and that’s red. Oh, I just listened to a podcast on ethical.

And that’s ethical. And that’s ethical. And that’s ethical. Right? Which again, I’m realizing I’m not doing, I’m calling myself out. Does that make that better? But just be aware that this also comes down to like the reason performative intelligence is prominent in culty spaces is because the leaders don’t want their people to think that they need anything else.

That’s what’s making it culty that you can get everything you need here. I solve all your problems. So, yes, do I know about ethical this and neurodivergent that and neuroscience this? Yes, I do. I’m going to perform my intelligence for you. I’m going to use a bunch of buzzwords for you. So you don’t think you need to go outside of me in order to learn that, even though that may not be my expertise in any way, shape, or form.

Trauma informed is another one, right? I am never going to tell you that I have trauma informed coaching because I have not been trained in that. Am I aware of trauma? Yeah, I see it. I see it miles away. I am very aware and I’m going to put up my own like flares and red flags of like, I see we’re going somewhere that we are not going to go here in this conversation because that’s not what coaching is.

The other side of this coin is when people aren’t performing intelligence, they’re just telling you those things aren’t important at all. So that’s a different side of the coin of performative intelligence is where you don’t need to know anything about that. That’s not important. So, they’re going to use the buzzwords in a way that are like, those are just buzzwords being used and they’re not important.

They still don’t want you to go outside to learn those things. So either they’re using the buzzwords of performative intelligence to convince you that everything you could possibly need is inside, or they’re convincing you. You don’t need those things at all. Both sides of that same coin, little bit culty.

I won’t go into it here. It’s not my area of expertise, but through the Little Bit Culty Podcast and some of the other podcasts, and through Leah Remini’s work on all of her Scientology work, I frequently heard about Steve Hassan. His bite model that is behavior, information, thought and emotional control.

Those are all hallmarks of standard, typical cults. So, if that is an area that fascinates you, that’s what you want to look up and read more about. But you can see how coaching communities dance around behavior, information, thought, and emotions. This is literally the work that we do. It’s the controlling part of it that makes things a little bit culty.

Also this conversation is specifically, so like where we now need to go is how we can be the people who stand witness to brilliant transformation without that little bit culty vibe, how our work does affect clients’ behavior, where they choose to get their information changing, their thoughts, becoming emotionally resilient, and yet we aren’t cult light leaders that are leading them.

Two things can be true at once. You can be an expert and lead a room and not create a following of fawning people who lean on your every word and don’t ever question anything. And also you can have a heart of gold with the best intentions and sometimes your marketing and your coaching can prey on the vulnerable or gaslight people into not believing what is real for them.

We just went through a pretty extensive list with lots of me talking about each individual, one of things that are a little bit culty. So what do we do instead? Like first thing, stop trying to be everything to everyone. Sell your expertise. Even if you’re new, you have plenty to bring to the table your expertise with life coaching, your own transformations that you’ve had, what you’ve seen in any coach training that you’ve taken.

Any free clients that you’ve had, and also don’t overlook your pre-coaching background. Both those soft skills and those hard skills of your previous work experience. You don’t have to offer things you just learned yesterday or you know, I read a book and now I’m an expert on manifestation, right?

Let people see those things and be what you are in the marketplace, not something else, because everybody needs to get everything from just you and sell the results that you offer and the tools by which you give them.

People don’t change by being in proximity to you. They changed because you coached them and you brought knowledge and experience they have yet to gain. They change because you hold a mirror up for them to see what they need to see, not what you are forcing them to see. So sell the results of your coaching, not you.

Make sure you are listening to what your people are actually saying. If what you are providing isn’t helping be willing to own that and explore other options with them. You know what, I think this really for me, Is like, okay, this thing that I’m coaching, you worked really well for me, but I can see that it’s not clicking for you.

Let’s figure this out together. Let’s go explore some ideas. What other things might be true. Sometimes I think that conversation right there could change anything. Instead of just saying it’s just a thought error. It’s just your thinking. I mean, sometimes it is, and a lot of times it’s not. Actually, it’s really funny.

In a coaching session today, I was literally like, this is a classic case where it really is just your thinking. Whereas another client in the group, it was all about like, okay, this thing hasn’t been working. Let’s discuss some different ideas here. Okay. So your willingness as a coach to not always be right and listen to what your people are actually saying and if something isn’t working for them, your willingness.

Which leads into allowing critical thinking, your willingness to allow critical thinking. This doesn’t work for me. I actually think this instead. And your ability to say, okay, great. As long as that’s working for you to think that, then let’s go ahead and run with that. And if you’re in a group setting and what do you guys think, what’s your take on this fostering conversation?

Even if there is dissent, because then, this is empowering. People feel empowered to disagree and not make it mean that anyone is wrong or bad. This builds rapport, this builds trust, and most importantly, people feel heard. Now, Group think and those kinds of things, you know, we want to allow for the flow of information.

Avoid group think. That’s like much less likely to happen in one-on-one. But still, even in your one-on-one conversations, people want to feel like they’re being heard. Now you might have some hard boundaries, right? Like I don’t allow anyone to spread and queue enough theories in my groups, right? Hopefully my messaging is keeping people like that out.

Or more practically speaking, let’s say you are a weight coach and your coaching requires that they utilize intermittent fasting. You do get to decide if that means that this program isn’t for them, or if you’re willing to allow them to decide differently, and no one is wrong. The problem that we get into is where they’re telling you that they don’t want to do that or it’s not working for them, and you are trying to force that transformation on them, right? Which leads me to being open to criticism and feedback.

Listen, it’s lazy to just call everyone who doesn’t agree with you a hater, because if they’re all just haters because they disagree with you, then you don’t have to do the real work. And that’s what I’m going to invite you to do. I’ve done an entire podcast on this one.

What to do with criticism? It’s an oldie. I’ve had this conversation multiple times. If there’s one thing that I know for sure, being open to criticism, feedback is one of my superpowers. I’m not saying it’s fun. I’m not saying I enjoy it. I’m not saying it feels super good in my body. I get a whole flushing over my body.

I feel hot all of a sudden. Sometimes my stomach gets queasy, my heart’s racing. I didn’t say it was like, oh, I love it, but I’ve always had the policy to receive it, though I understand the why and what I do with it much better today than I did when I recorded that episode, because either the feedback is going to be something that they see that I don’t, and that’s going to make my program better.

I’m going to improve my coaching and my program if they see something. If you see something that I don’t see, and I’m like, I can see that’s, that is important. I’m just going to keep making my programs better and better because of that feedback. Or you might bring something to me where I see something that you are not seeing, and that’s an opportunity to refine my messaging.

That’s an opportunity to get clearer on who this is and is not for what we do here and how we operate. I can’t possibly make my program better. If I’m not allowing people, if I’m guessing what people need, if I’m guessing what’s not working for them, right? And again, that one against everything I was, that was being modeled for me, I can’t tell you why that one, I just ran with that piece even though I was definitely told not to.

Another thing, set your community and your company values and your personal values, what’s important to you? How are those things being replicated throughout your coaching and your company? How are they replicated in your life? I created a values, practices and privileges document that you can find on my site.

I’ll link to it in the show notes, and I spent time and a lot of care crafting the five things that were most important to me, the values that I’m going to run this business by. They become your North Star and then everything gets to be run through. Every decision, does this emulate what I set forth in my values?

Why? How does it emulate it? How doesn’t it, why doesn’t it is anything like, and like it is anything going against my values, maybe I need to rethink that decision. By the way, my friend Molly Claire, who I’ve done an interview with, she’s been on the show and I’ve been on her podcast too.

She’s great at people at helping people craft values. The last part of this I want to offer, I realize this is a long thank you for hanging in here with me. I realize this is a long episode. It’s longer than my normal ones that aren’t interviews. This is we’re to the third part, the third and the shortest, but I would say the most important part.

This is also the part I’m still working on myself, and that is understanding why our coaching communities can be a little bit culty. Why we are drawn to these things because we can’t deconstruct them. By the way, deconstruct, that’s a buzzword. I know I read I’m going to tell you the book in a moment, but I heard it in a book and I keep talking about it and I’m like, such a buzzy word.

We have to understand the why. We are attracted to things that are a little bit culty. And so, that we can deconstruct our minds and make sure that we aren’t just emulating that in our own communities. There’s a reason why we quote unquote fall for these things. Why smart and intelligent, educated people find themselves in these communities.

It’s not because they’re dumb, it’s not because they should’ve known better. It’s because we’re literally wired for things that come naturally inside culty, little bit culty communities. This part of the conversation so important to me, right? We as women, especially, we’re made to live in community, to nurture and be nurtured.

We’re drawn to that and we want to recreate that, right? Gather your community, even though this is a phrase that we are no longer using and we shouldn’t be using because we’ve appropriated it. But your tribe, without language was huge 10 years ago, all over the place. It’s just that something got corrupted along the way, so we are yearning for this ancient thing and now we’re paying for it.

So it makes sense that we’re drawn to it. So how do you deconstruct that mildly or overtly coldly vibe from your life and from your business knowing that it is something that you’re naturally attracted to? Because of how we’re wired and how we’re built, right? Like, our brain is not rewired as fast as our society.

And our culture has advanced that’s why these are so comfortable. So how can we deconstruct that and be aware of it? You know, I can just share that my own experience that last summer, I think I talked about a little bit about it in my journey through the goo episode that I experienced a grief and a destabilization.

I spoke extensively about feeling unmoored, right? The positive side was feeling untethered unleashed. When you truly stand in your own feet with nobody else’s influence and truly speaking for yourself out into the world and how that feels like freedom, but actually it also feels very unmoored and you can feel very adrift.

Again, that lure of being within community. It’s always so strong. So I had to experience the grief of that loss of community. I didn’t understand it at the time, but a year later I do see, you know, I’ve always felt like I don’t really fit in. I’ve kind of always felt alone, and that was always a negative thing for me.

So it makes sense that it would go seek community and then conform within that community in order to fit in. That makes sense to me now. I didn’t see it even when I started doing these podcast episodes last summer. I didn’t necessarily see it then, but it makes sense. We’re drawn to community. We seek to recreate it and we often think that the stabilization comes from being in the community.

This is why I found myself, guys, I got to go find my next group. No, I don’t want to be in another group. I left that group. You know, I’m leaving these two groups on purpose. I’m going to see who I am on my own two feet. Okay, well, let me go join a gym.

Let me go find a networking community. It’s so wild now that I can see how I then just like jumped and let me go find something else so that I could get that unmoored feeling I needed to create that, right? I wanted to stabilize myself again, so being on ourselves so that we just don’t jump right back into completely different, a little bit cultish community that may replicate the very things that you just left.

You know, and it’s really funny, like one of them has been a very slow backing away of like, oh, I’m just a little bit kind of like creeping out the door, but like keeping one toe in because like, oh, that unmoored feeling is so, like, that can be just as terrifying as the conformity of something that, you know, to be a little bit cultish. By the way, lots of therapy is so helpful. Lots of emotional release work. So helpful.

So for me, you know, when I think about for myself, I think about how therapy emotional release work, having a neutral third party to just be able to give me space to talk things out, understand my perspective and other perspectives, and just kind of holding up a mirror and saying, Hey, You know, maybe that’s not necessarily true.

So that for me, that deconstructing in my own mind is one part of it. The other part is deconstructing out of the programs that we’re in, right? It is two different things. If we’re not going to keep replicating it, we have to deconstruct in two areas. I realize I keep using another bed word. I just don’t have, I don’t have another buzzword to replace it with.

So we’re going to run with deconstruct for right now. So, deconstructing your own mind and then deconstructing your coaching and your business specifically. So for me, this meant taking well over a year now of big, full-blown sales pushes. I mean, I have to do some because I can’t run my business with no clients.

But in full disclosure I’m unsure how much I’ve sold in 2023, but my revenue as of right now is about 60 K, mid-June of for this year. And, I made 425 just a year and a half ago. I need to deconstruct these little bit cultist vibes from the coaching that I’m giving people. So this made me turn inward. And by the way, yeah, did I freak out? Oh, yes, I did.

My brain is definitely like, we’re all going to die. No, we’re not going to die. This is very intentional and my focus turning inward on my existing clients, deep conversations with my existing clients and what matters most catching things even as they’re coming out of my mouth sometimes being like whoa.

You know what? This thing that I just said I’m actually going to reverse what I just said. I actually no longer believe that to be true. So let’s explore what else might be true. This actually happened in the middle of a business class when the words were coming out of my mouth and I was like, you know what?

No wait. This is not; I think what I want to teach at all. I actually don’t think I want to teach this part and I’m going to need to rerun this class. Was it a little awkward live on air? Yeah. And also as the words came out, it was very clear, we’re not. We aren’t talking about this conversation in the same way, and I need to go figure out how we are going to have this conversation without those red flags.

So, as I’ve mentioned in last week’s episode, I’m going to mention it again. You know, being open to challenging viewpoints, besides the podcasts and, like the more cultish and culty podcast of like looking at those things, which let’s be honest, I’ve been watching and listening to those things for years.

That’s not new. But what has been new is introducing myself to other business leaders like Tarzan Kay, Maggie Patterson, Kelly Diels. There’s been a few others that I will make sure are in the show notes. All names I’ve followed, all have said things that challenged my thinking and it made me uncomfortable because I had to ask myself, is this because I don’t agree, or is this because it’s just so ingrained in my mind and I never questioned it, and that can take time.

We’re not just going to turn ourselves into people that other people are going to follow blindly, right? And we’re not going to take these people who do have dissenting views and just like flock them that they’re right and everybody else is wrong. We’re not following mob mentality either. What I’m inviting you to do is to allow yourself to challenge your own thoughts on why you do and don’t do things, and is that packed practice that you see everybody doing, but some people over here and said, that’s not a good practice. Be willing to challenge that.

There are a lot of things that I replicated in my marketing over and over again because darn near every single one of my friends were doing it and it was like, well then it can’t be bad. Because I know that we’re all nice people. That’s a terrible reason to replicate something over and over again, right?

And I will include a book that I just read. It’s called Hey Hun, by Emily Lynn Paulson. And specifically about the multi-level marketing community, but like take out Rodan and Fields, and her struggles with alcoholism. And, I felt like I could have written the book myself in so many ways. And it’s honestly why these episodes are coming out now.

That book was recommended to me by a colleague at the beginning of this month. I listened to it and it was like, yep, it’s time. This is this. We need to have this conversation now. So these changes, yeah. They’re starting now. And so I just invite you have so much compassion for yourself. Let’s keep these conversations open.

I flat out expect I would hope that I continue to find and discover more, and that we’re constantly just improving this experience for our clients. How can we have coaching practices that honor our clients that are not manipulating them while also helping them pursue uncomfortable and amazing things, right?

How can we create that income in a way that isn’t off the back backs of our clients, but is actually for the services in the deliverables that we are out putting out into the world because we are delivering results for our clients? Because here’s the interesting thing. One thing that we all have to reconcile is that we’ve removed all these amazing things from our lives that made humans naturally healthy, community fitness, healthy food movement, fresh air.

There’s actually a TikTok that talks about this. I can’t find it, but if I do, I’ll put it in the show notes. Okay. I know it was from Hope Peddler on TikTok and the thing is all of these things have been removed from our daily life and they’ve been repackaged and sold back to us. And thanks to a beautiful conversation that I had with my client, Karen C.L. Anderson who’s in my Mastermind right now, we put these things together.

That coaching is one of those things. We are part of the reselling what we are naturally desiring. We have commodified and capitalized mental health and community. So these conversations need to continue to be had because how can we acknowledge that and how it does kind of suck that is the human reality and the modern times while also knowing that there are people out there hurting that we can help and it’s okay to charge for our services.

These are the conversations that we are having. They aren’t always comfortable, but they are necessary and they are powerful. How can we change the conversation? I invite you to stay here with me as we continue changing this conversation and having this conversation. You’re always welcome to hit me up at amylatta.com if you ever want to speak to me directly.

Honestly, I just can’t wait to see what we all do. We are at episode 190. 200 is 10 episodes away. Where are we going to be in what? Two and a half months? I can’t wait to see the new ideas that you come up with, that you share with me, that I share with you. These conversations, like the conversation I had with Karen where I was like, holy shit.

Yes, these are the conversations that need to be had. And also, we’re good friends. We’re doing this. I can’t wait to hear from you. I’m so excited to see what you create in the world, and I’ll talk to you next week.

Coach, it’s time to sign your first free client, your first paid client, your next client, and to learn how to do it consistently and having a hell of a lot of fun along the way. This is exactly what you’re going to do in Free to Paid Coach. It’s the only program giving you step-by-step what to do to become a paid coach and step-by-step how to handle the roller coaster emotions that come with doing what you need to do to become a paid coach.

If you know you can’t not do this life coaching thing, but believing that you can do it, handling rejection and remembering how to do all of those things shuts you down, the Free to Paid Coach Community is waiting for you. Find everything that you’re looking for inside. It’s only $1,000. Payments are available, and then you’re in forever.

Visit www.amylatta.com/ftpc to join us right now. See you inside. Let’s get paid, coach.

Thanks so much for listening to The Confident Coaches Podcast. I invite you to learn more. Come visit me at amylatta.com and until next week, let’s go do epic stuff.

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Hi, I’m Amy.

For years, I took a ton of action to sign clients.

I learned to create self-confidence and powerfully believe in myself first, and then built a multiple six-figure coaching business.

And I can help you do it, too.

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