There was a joke going around Twitter at one point about how every second person is a business or life coach. I resisted calling myself a business coach (I talk about that resistance on my coaching page). There is a lot of hoo-ha and baloney in the business. It looks like anyone who has ever fronted up to a ballroom for a weekend seminar feels qualified to give out business advice.
It’s annoying as it is potentially dangerous.
Here are the three things a business or life coach has no bloody business advising you on or to do
The structure of your business
Advising on business structure appears to be a new favourite for the business and life coach set. I wish I could find the source of this problem.
A business or life coach should not be advising you on the move from sole operator to company. That is a decision for you after talking to an accountant or financial advisor.
Yes, there are benefits related to business about changing up your structure. It can make it easier to get funding from some government and private sources. However, you can still get grants from these sources as a sole operator. It simply means how much and what kind may change.
Being a company reduces the liability. If you get sued as an individual, your personal assets are at risk. If you are a company, it’s the company assets.
However, being a company isn’t for everyone. Changing to a company does cost money. The necessity for the move lies in your future plans and current financial details.
Again- it’s an accountant, not a business or life coach, that should be giving you this information.
Taxation and/or financial advice
If I hear one more life coach or business coach telling someone they do not need to declare tax until a person is registered for GST, I swear I may implode. Or that you don’t need to do a tax return until you earn $75K. Or under the tax-free threshold.
It’s flat out bloody wrong to be giving this advice.
Everyone needs to declare their income. Everyone needs to pay some form of tax unless they are under the tax-free threshold. And even then, you still need to declare it in case it influences any government support. This includes support like disability pension, family benefits or like JobSeeker and JobKeeper.
I’ve heard crap about how you don’t need to declare tax. That you don’t pay tax until you register for GST. Or that if you call your business a hobby it is tax exempt. None of which is actually true. These are distortions of what happens and what you are legally required to do.
Oh, and remember, the ATO does not take ignorance as an excuse. You will still end up facing tax you need to pay, fines for being in breach, and potential legal action.
None of which your business or life coach can help you with.
If the business coach is attempting to lift up the financial hood, stop them. A simple statement like “What do you suggest I discuss with my accountant?” is usually enough. Or stating the bleeding obvious “thank you but I already have a financial advisor/accountant to help me with that”.
Check on your taxation obligations with an accountant and/or the ATO. And take investment advice from a financial advisor, not a coach.
Business stress when its actually mental health related
I am a mental health advocate. I attract people who have been dealing with prolonged stress and mental health conditions. And that’s fine.
But I am well aware of the limitations of what I can and can’t say as someone with lived experience.
My job is to refer people for extra support. I have spent time learning the difference between a person who has a business stressor versus someone who needs more than what I can qualified to give.
It absolutely kills me that business and life coaches don’t even consider doing the most rudimentary training. That they are loathe to refer people when they may need extra support. And that many coaches wouldn’t know the difference or where to refer a person in need of mental health support.
As an industry, we should be far more accountable than we are. It should be reasonable to expect that if someone is going to crack your head open like a walnut, they know the difference between a walnut and a pecan.
And it’s part of the reason why people distrust coaches. Because a lot of coaches are learning one person’s way to do one sort of coaching.
What they need are models. And context. They need to be able to look at a situation and apply the appropriate structure. There has to be some critical thinking in the mix.
Plus, I have seen it far too many disgusting times. Business and life coaches that adopt the “just think of the money” attitude. They ignore that their treatments are not reaching a person and sign them up anyway. They sell their services instead of what the person needs.
There’s little wonder why there is such resentment towards business and life coach programs. They divorce themselves from the responsibility of actually having to help people.
Don’t be afraid to ask your coach questions like:
a) What do you see as my roadblocks?
b) Have you got any training in mental health?
c) What do you believe extra sessions/your coaching course can offer me?
Get the right advice for your business
You don’t have to worry about someone pretending to be a psychologist when they should be coaching. Or getting financial advice from someone who has no business giving it. Or throwing away your perfectly good sole operator structure (or turning your business into a not for profit etc.).
You are asking for business advice. Not for someone to take over your business. That’s the real difference.
A coach should be there to support your decision making. They’re your sounding board, ally and someone who lets you grow into your business’ next adventure. Not some truth telling oracle who knows all and is a one-stop-shop for business perfection.
I can’t make up for all the business or life coaches out there. But I can offer you a better alternative. CHECK OUT MY COACHING and let’s get you sorted.
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