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Who coaches the coaches?

Coaching is a growth industry, but as Ada Slivinski notes, it’s an open question whether some only excel at marketing themselves.

Spend enough time at networking events and you’ll overhear a lot of conversations about coaches: business coaches, fitness coaches, the elusive life coaches and you’ll probably hear a pitch from one - promising to help you “uplevel” and “manifest success.”

“I have met so many very young and inexperienced people who say they are a coach who support entrepreneurs. Usually their only experience with running a business is setting up their very new coaching business,” said Sabrina Chammas Doumet, founder of L’Atelier Vancouver Coworking.

I have my doubts on how someone who knows very little about being a business owner can really help. Most of these coaches I meet or stumble upon online seem to spit out the same ideas about ‘limiting beliefs’ and ‘manifestation’ which are not always practical or useful.”

According to Forbes, coaching is estimated to be a $2-billion industry globally and growing rapidly. Part of the growth comes from those coaches who encourage those they’ve mentored to become coaches themselves.

In some cases, it might be the blind leading the blind and there is something potently ironic about young people in their 20s giving life advice.

The International Coaching Federation estimates that there are 53,300 practicing professional coaches worldwide, half under 45.

"They're getting younger and younger," said Johan Premfors, former CEO of the Coaches Training Institute, told VICE.

"We used to see a lot of people in their mid careers. Now we're seeing people in their 20s and lower 20s."

When it comes to business, Chammas said she has grown hers by seeking out advice from people who have specific expertise in the area she wants to grow:

“If you need help becoming an Amazon seller, ask another Amazon seller out for coffee rather than paying for a coaching session.”

However, she adds that she doesn’t feel this way about all formal coaching relationships:

“I am sure some are very qualified and could be a huge help to new business owners, it’s just that it’s difficult to distinguish those with real experience from those that are just doing a good job at marketing themselves and don’t have much to offer.”

Kristen Day, Owner of Omful Lounge and Ascension Life Coach is putting on a “Speed Dating” event at the lounge where people can meet with coaches, ask them questions and see who can provide the kind of guidance they’re looking for.

Her best piece of advice:

“Ask them what credentials they have. With the increasing number of coaches out there, too many do not have schooling to accompany their life experience.”

“It's the combination of both that equal the expertise that you deserve when paying your hard-earned money.”

Ada Slivinski is the Founder & Principal of Jam PR, a boutique agency focused on helping small businesses get big exposure. You can reach her at [email protected]