How to pick a useful course / business coach and what to look for.
This article is going to help you think about some things that you may not have thought of before when you're trying to choose a business coach or course that's going to help you along your way.
So the reason I'm writing this article is because I was dudded out on a couple of courses that I paid a whole lot of money for. And I did ask a lot of questions. And I just got told what pretty much the salesman thought that I wanted to hear.
I thought since the businesses that I was paying for this course had already been around for quite a long time that they would be good businesses to support my business. I also want to give you a bit of headway. There wasn't too much naivety on my part, though it was about too much trusting. And so I want to impart some of the lessons that I learned and make sure that you do not make the same mistakes. As a reference the worst courses I signed up for cost over 10k to do for a year long. And it promised me that it was going to be able to help me with some of the aspects that I needed in my business as a method to be able to help me to scale my business better.
So that term "scale" is always thrown around quite a lot. And I had got quite anxious about the idea of scaling my business. I scaled my business in New Zealand by myself, and I thought this time that there was too much at stake, which is why I was employing the services of someone who knew how to do it better than me, (according to our conversations) and someone that would be able to guide me along the way and had done it with 1000s of other people and that sort of thing.
So fast forward to starting the course. And when I was in the process of following the procedure that they'd given me in order to scale my business: I had tried to take what was the best out of what they told me, but I'd also had to add some things to it because the process they suggested just seemed rather jarring compared to what I knew from being a professional comms expert, as well as from running businesses for now about 16 years. So it didn't quite seem right to me, but at the same time, I've been wrong in the past about one or two things, and I'm sure in the future I'll be wrong about one or two things. And these people had apparently proven at scale that the way they did things was correct. So building on that I followed what they told me to do, and I added a few extra bits that tried to soften the blow for my clients.
That was when the mess really happened. I had set everything up just the way they'd said. I was a bit reserved because the way of scaling my business meant that it was either you'd have to do it all in one week, or not do it at all, because logistically there wasn't any space to add any more sessions in the way that they'd propose that I did it. And they did say that they'd worked with a lot of busy business owners before that didn't have any slots on their timetable and that sort of thing. So it took me a while to set all of the things up that were required and I set a date. And I had been secretly (not in front of my clients) telling the course that I was on that I was a bit reserved and hesitant about doing it because it just didn't feel right the way it was being rolled out even with the modifications that I told them about.
And pretty much the response was “Why haven't you done it yet? Are you serious about this? Because if you're serious about it, you'll do it and you have to decide whether this is something that you want to do. If you don't want to do it then just don't do it. What's the point?”
So from that, I thought, Well, okay, well I guess that this is them giving a form of tough love because you know they're supposed to be so experienced. This is definitely someone answering back to me because I'm quite self determined. So, I flicked the trigger and it was an absolute brown fuzzy crap storm. And I had clients that I'd worked with for years, telling me that they didn't want to continue training with me based on what I was suggesting. And even people suggesting that they didn't want to have anything to do with me and they immediately wanted refunds and that sort of thing. So in the midst of this all going down, I got in contact with the business course. There was a group chat, and I was asking them what to do. And I got banned from the group chat and I later on got pulled onto a call where pretty much they were telling me on the group call that I should make a decision that the people that chose not to continue training with me are just not my tribe, because they don't agree with what I'm doing. And for me, I found that really hard because it was kind of like trying to brainwash me for poor implementation and lack of their skill.
And also, it was very evident that they actually didn't have the experience that they were talking about that that their whole logo and motto of being able to take busy pts and scale their business was just an absolute lie. And I was absolutely heartbroken because not only did I lose the money on the course, but I probably lost about a six figure amount of revenue as a result of listening to their advice. So it's not just what something can potentially cost you in the form of the course but it's also what it can cost you in the long term. So I'm telling you this, to say that it's not all sunshine and roses when it comes to selecting a course. It is really great that people select courses to do and I haven't stopped courses as a result of this. I just know to ask more questions and do a bit more due diligence on the people that I'm enlisting to do this stuff.
So here are some of the lessons that I learned from this absolute crap storm. If I can call it that.
1. besides asking questions of the people trying to sell you the course, see if there's any written reviews about the specific thing that you want the course to help you with.
2. think about this specific thing that you want to work on and find the person that is best known for that specific thing you want to work on. I would happen to say that just finding someone to help you get more leads in your business isn't necessarily a good measure of what you might want from your business course. Only because anybody can get you leads but it doesn't mean that they're highly qualified leads and it doesn't mean that the conversion is going to be that great. And if you get someone that helps to teach you to be better at sales for these people that never wanted your services in the first place. Well then now you've got an even worse problem because you've got people that weren't necessarily wanting your course in the first place and now you sold them into something they didn't necessarily want. So your chance of them asking for a refund after you get them through the door is even more highly increased, which to me is quite a bit of a risk and quite a bit of a headache.
3. On top of that, work out what the methods are that they use to achieve the course outcome. This course I mentioned that I think was an absolute waste of my money. They told me in a way that made me believe that meetings would occur one-on-one with the person that was running the course. And instead what I found out after I paid the money is that it was delivered in group calls. And the group calls weren’t great, we were just listening to one favorite person that was on the course that the course director really liked to talk to on most of the group calls. So let's call that girl Tanya, it became the Tanya show every week. And the entire group call was, you know, used up talking about the problems that this person was having in their business. And those were not problems that I find very relevant to my business because i was in a later stage of business development. So I just found that that was actually something that I never thought to ask. Because the way it was delivered to me in the onboarding was that it was one on one sessions. And when I was being briefed about the sessions, it was always said to me, you'll get access to two calls each week. And so I was asking, if I can't make the calls. Will I be able to go to them at any time. And they said yes. Now that to me does not suggest these are going to be group calls? And when you mean can I have access to them at like other times? Does that mean that you're just saying you're going to record a group call because I didn't think to ask that. But you can see how I didn't think to ask that.
4. Another one that you might want to do is have a look at all of the content that is put out from the person or the business or the course and really read all of the free stuff that they're putting out there. Because sometimes you'll find that by reading through the free stuff that they're putting out there, that there's a lot of things that they are just like they don't quite dot the i's and cross the T's with or that you know, like a lot of their websites are 404 errors and that sort of thing. That could be a real indicator. On top of that it might be worth asking the resources that you will get and have access to.
So one of the courses that I signed up to it seemed like it would give you a whole bunch of resources and instead, they reckon they give you access to a membership portal but the access never worked. You also want to check to see whether there's a really good retention rate as with anything, so if there's not a good retention rate, maybe try and find out some of the people that have previously been on the course and have a candid conversation with them and see what they're willing to tell you about the course.
5. I think the final thing that I would say is ask if they've got any guarantees because if they're willing to stand by what they're saying, then they're likely to put a money back guarantee on it. And failing that, potentially negotiate with them. If you are disappointed by the first few weeks of their program, don't be afraid to ask for a refund or make sure that you read the fine print in the contract so that you know what your obligations are with that.
These are some of the tips that I've found to be valuable or come up with as a result of being burned quite severely. I would absolutely in a heartbeat learn from experts in any area I want to get to know better again, I just would ask more questions. Because when you do a course you're actually learning from the mistakes that the other person has made. And so I hope from reading this article, you'll learn from the mistakes I've made so you don't make the same mistakes as I did. Let me know if this has been helpful. Stay tuned as I'm writing my 7th book helping personal trainers to succeed in skillset, business models and have longevity in the industry.