Monthly Archives: July 2014

Should Personal Coaches be Worried?

Personal CoachingThe self-help and personal coaching industries continue to explode:  Personal coaching is now a $1.5 billion industry, and it’s only gaining momentum.

In the U.S. alone, there are some 15,000 professional life coaches, delivering services mainly by phone and email (still the top two delivery methods) and earning on average between $45,000 and $65,000 per year (source:  

And yet there’s now unlimited learning available to us all, often for zero or very little cost.  Prestigious Universities like MIT have opened their entire curriculums to the public, making programs that otherwise cost hundreds of thousands of dollars available to anyone, anywhere, for free.

Khan Academy, Udemy, and even YouTube have more free courses than could be consumed in a lifetime.

And that begs the question:  With so much available for free, how is it that personal coaches are able to charge thousands for teleseminars, conferences, and group coaching programs?

Too Much Learning, Too Little Focus

Perhaps personal coaches thrive precisely because there are so many (too many?) learning opportunities.  With so many options, how do we decide what to work on moment-to-moment?

Here’s an example:  This is what my desk looks like right now, as I’m writing this:

Joel's desk

The coffee cup is self-explanatory.  I decline to comment on the dental floss and single ear plug.

Here’s the shelf next to my bed:

Joel's bed stack

Books in varying levels of completion here…(and more earplugs & coffee money stash)

The stack just to the side of my desk:

Short Stack

The 4×6 cards are for the gems I find from my reading

And here’s what I’m currently carrying around with me in my backpack:

joel's backpack

Here’s what’s currently in my backpack

In addition to my reading, I have a playlist of audio books and podcasts on my iPhone with an eternity of hours, unlimited numbers of teleseminars I’m invited to, and probably two or three personal invitations to live events every month.

How to handle it all and keep focus?  Personal coaches play a huge role, including my leadership coach who helped me through a rough patch a year or so ago, as well as the two Mastermind Groups I now attend consistently.

I think coaches continue to thrive because they help us answer this simple question:  What should I focus on right now?

How about you?  How do you stay focused and get better at what you do?

If you’re a coach, how do you help others get better at what they do?