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Red flags of the coaching industry

Throughout my travels, I have had a few coaches and teachers.

I'm a woman who loves to learn. Some have been marvellous, super supportive an knowledgable - and delivered in a way we can all understand. These experiences taught me aspects of being a great coach, which I have continued on. Some also have left negative impacts on my life, and others.

These not so great experiences helped me know what NOT to do to be a good coach in someones life. So in this post, I am going to share my perspective of what red flags to look out for when hiring a coach (of any sort) Why?

So you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did - and propel forward to find the right coach that fits you.

1. Telling you to keep pushing through events such as death or serious injury of a loved one, or significant events of the sorts

I first hand experienced this around one of the most difficult periods of my life.

Taking a break from work, or time to pause does NOT mean you do not have grit.

Taking a break to process what’s happening in your life allows you to move forward.

“Just put your head down and keep on going” has a dangerous downside:

It requires us to ignore some feelings, which cuts off a feedback loop that could be important.

Plus, it trains us into a problematic pattern; as Brené Brown says:

When you numb one feeling, you numb them all.

Because I experienced a version of this with a coach I trusted (and parts of me didn't want to be a failure to her), I actually carried those emotions around for over a year because I kept pushing; instead of processing what happened and allowing myself to slow down when I needed it - it actually turned me into someone I didn’t want to become and I really suffered bad burnout from it and still had to deal with stuff later.

But instead of it being a challenging process initially - it was one of the hardest things that lasted months. This was detrimental to my overall health.

Big red flag if your coach does not promote rest, recovery and consolidation and guidance on how to ease back into things.

2. "I start my day at 3am and finish at 9pm, sometimes I work the whole way through"

Another big red flag, building something does take effort and some times more time in different seasons - but it should never be this extreme. Whether it be your body, your self confidence, your business - but it should NOT require you to never rest. I had a coach who once said she wouldn’t sleep for days at a time, and work for up to 3 days straight!

She said this is what it takes to be successful. She would also say ‘balance’ but her actions said otherwise. Not sleeping, and missing out on the fundamentals of good health consistently is not going to create a healthy balance. Not the role model I wanted, but I did become a version her for a period of time and had to unlearn these behaviours because I was stuck in the 'grind' mentality.

I had to find my version of success an what that looked and felt like for me.

We become who we surround ourselves with - so choose wisely.

3. We all have the same 24 hours in a day

This one is a fave. Not. Simply because, we do not all have the same 24 hours in a day. We all have different life circumstances, beliefs, skills - you name it. For someone to blanket cover that and emotionally guilt you for not being able to do all the things they do - run far away, because they can’t see anything else but themselves.

4. Real coaches never sleep when you want to build something No, we do. Real coaches especially in the health and wellness industry should be adhering to what they promote. “You can sleep when you’re dead” - well, you will be dead sooner if you don’t sleep.

5. Unsolicited and unprofessional advice This is a big one. I was once in a business ‘coaching’ container - and one of my fellow classmates was going through a difficult time in her relationship due to her working too much, and her friends were dropping off. The coach we had told her to break up with him as he’s a distraction for her business she wanted to build. “Do you want to be successful or not?” she would say. Listening to that conversation was absolutely gut wrenching. My personal opinion is when someone is safe enough to share with you what’s going on in their life - even if you are qualified, for decisions like that - it’s not the coaches decisions to make. It’s our job to hold space for them and support in the ways we can. In this instance, I would have looked at her life and business structure if she felt open to it - because it’s significantly out of balance and impacting the relationships around her and she where she can free up some time and stream lines some things. Business isn’t everything - especially if you have no one to share it with.

6. Advertising “customised coaching” but its all cookie cutter This one is important. Alot of coaches advertised as custom coaching, but in fact - it’s not. They charge a premium for something that is given to everyone. How to know if this is being done? Unfortunately it’s hard unless you’re in it to discover this. But one point you can be aware of to look out for is if the coach/team does not ask about your personal circumstances or situations (e.g. how much time do you have to train, what are your goals?) because then you know, it’s not customised around you.

7. Guilting you into re signing / being horrible if you cancel I once had a coach who played the guilt card.

The shame card.

The won’t you be successful without us card.


If someone is with you, yes of course ask them if they would like to continue on - but if they don’t, thats their decision.

If you're a client, you have every right to finish up when it feels best for you based upon your terms and conditions of course!

Within the coaching I do, if they have gotten all they can from me they usually leave - and thats more than ok.

I actually encourage this, encourage them to take a break to consolidate and put them onto more advanced coaches in the industry for when they are ready to go to their next level.


Because it’s important to learn and no one person has all the answers. Let people be free. This leaves a positive experience for them.

Like one of my previous clients said when she finished up:

"My favourite thing about your coaching is your support and it feels like you go above and beyond to give personalised tools towards me and what I’m struggling with at the time. I also love the voice memos/videos because they’re so sweet :) I also love that you don’t mind me finishing up with coaching with you as well, I’ve worked with a coach in the past who got extremely offended when I left her and it put me off coaching for a long time. I’m super grateful that I’ve had you for these past 6 months, it’s been a blessing having your support"

A good coach will leave on a positive note, it keeps a beautiful relationship. 8. Inflexibility or rigidity (my way or the highway) This one is interesting, because on one side as a coach we teach methods a specific way - but it’s important these methods can be flexible. Not every method in a set way will suit every single person. Being adaptable and teaching people in a way that can compliment their life is super important.

Being adaptable as coach means embodiment and exploration. A coach that can adapt, means they have practiced something through and through - and has thought outside of the box to adjust in ways that are require.

So a coach who refuses to adapt or modify slightly to suit if needed is a red flag.

9. Money mindset manipulation I just simply dislike money manipulation. If they wanna buy something, they will - no one needs to be manipulated into buying something. I fell into this trap once when I learned it from a coach, it always felt ick when doing it - so when it feels this way, trust your gut.

10. Trauma coaching Unlocking peoples emotions is no simple thing. The support and care that is needed is more than a single session or a guided course. Be mindful of ‘mindset’ ‘breathwork’ or ‘life coaches’ who specifically target your traumas. If you do decide to work with one, make sure to ask about what support you can receive and their credentials - because there are some real knobs out there that only want your money and don't care what they mess with in your mind.

I hope you enjoyed this article :) I do want to note, it's important to note that people do make mistakes - but it's what people do with those lessons which determines a different outcome. No singular person is perfect, and I have made plenty of mistakes so far

(and probably plenty to come - thats life). This is why self reflection and feedback is important because we can look at ourselves from a zoomed out lens, see what we're really doing and make adjustments from there. That could even be another point... those who never believe they are wrong or believe they never make errors can definitely be a red flag.

Because it's in inevitable to make mistakes as we learn.

Next week, I will be doing a 'green flags of the coaching industry', where I will share my positive perspectives of what to look out for when hiring a coach of any sorts.

Green flags are the good things!

Subscribe below to have it delivered directly to your inbox :) Kirsti xx


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