M-O-N-E-Y Money!

How do you feel about money?

Is money “good” or is it “bad”?

Money itself is inherently neutral. As Counselor Deanna Troi famously says to Data in Star Trek TNG:  “Feelings aren’t positive or negative. They simply exist. It’s what you do with those feelings that becomes good or bad.” The same applies to money.

Are the following ideas true?

Money is not more important than people.

You can always lose and make more money.

Money is necessary in life – you need it to live. It is what it is. You can choose to worry about it or not and it won’t change anything.

At different times in your life you may have more money than at others, which is why it can be precious.

Although I have been coaching informally for years, I am relatively new to the field professionally. As in any profession, I am learning about coaching; not only techniques, but also that there are different “levels” of coaching. Different coaches have different specialties, while some coaches coach people, others coach only other coaches, etc.

One thing I have noticed is that some of the top coaches in the profession are very blatant about their wealth (the money they have made as a coach). I have mixed feelings about this.

While money is necessary to live and most people do need an income, I personally am not in coaching “for the money.” In contrast, I knew that as a prior business owner for 12 years, that my experience could help others, and also I was at a place in my life where I needed a career change.

For some reason, society tends to view rich people as “evil” – think about the expression “dirty money” or “filthy rich” for example. Now the origins of those two phrases come from money that was originally ill-gotten (ie. through illegal activity for example), but over time the meaning has changed into an association that people who have money are somehow dirty/filthy/bad or immoral.

Like I said, money is not inherently bad. In fact it is necessary in order to survive. You must have it. So how could it be bad?

Money is associated with those who are “bad” for the way people behave once they have it. I have said in my award-winning book Full-Time Woman, Part-Time Career, that “People are funny about money,” and it’s still true! Some people change once they have money.

So back to my observations about the top coaches in my new profession. Some of them really “flaunt” their wealth, while superficially (in my opinion) pretending to care about others. I find this distasteful. I have seen this in the emails, newsletters, and tele-seminars of some of these people when they talk about their lifestyles – having a personal chef, a full-time nanny, a million dollar house, etc. Where does that money come from? Answer:  their clients! Think about that! They are making a nice living from the people who support them, all the while flaunting their upscale lifestyle in the very face of their customers/clients, the ones who are paying them! Is this in poor taste?

I would say yes! What other answer could there be? Well, aside from the obvious, in actuality they are using an envy-based sales and marketing technique. In other words, if everyone else can see what they have, then they will want it too, and ultimately these same people will buy what they are selling so they too can have it!

This is in complete contrast to the background in GIS where I came from, where most people who enter the GIS profession genuinely want to use the tool to help others make better decisions (see my previous post “For the Greater Good”). Shouldn’t this be what coaching is too? A tool used to help other people make better decisions?

Yes, money is important, but what is far more important is how you treat other people, especially once you are in a position of wealth and/or power. Do you look down on others (or perhaps just consider them potential customers or buying units), or do you still treat people fairly, decently, kindly?

What would you rather be known for?

How much money you have, or how you treat other people?

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6 Responses to M-O-N-E-Y Money!

  1. Karen,
    Your perspective on money, flaunting wealth and the coaching profession is refreshing.

    I don’t think people should undervalue their time and skills. AND I’ve grown tired and jaded with years of “offers” from coaches and teachers online who use their wealth and lifestyle to lure their so-called “ideal” clients into their products and services pipeline. In my opinion they are often over-valuing the outcomes of their programs (or not even marketing in terms of outcomes).

    Without going into a long discussion of how I come to this conclusion: I conclude, the end result for many coaching clients is feeling that they’ve failed when the outcomes they achieve don’t match with the money they paid (in terms of value).

    • Kate – thanks for taking the time to reply! I really appreciate your thoughts. I agree that people should not undervalue their time and skills. I know this from personal experience – when I taught GIS and GPS in my former career, I was one of very few people in the U.S. that actually had that kind of specialized knowledge and experience, but looking back, I know now that I was not charging enough for my services, especially when I taught for the State in Austin, where I lived at the time. Some wise speaker said “you can’t be a prophet in your hometown” and that is so true!

      On the other hand, there is a difference between being paid what you are worth (market value) vs. overcharging. Definitely research the outcome and results that coaches and other experts can provide before you hire them! If they don’t have any true stories or testimonials from people they have helped, or they are more interested in what they can make instead of what people can actually afford to pay, then that is a problem.

      Potential clients should not have to take out a home equity loan just to pay some “expert” and/or enroll in their program. I have a real problem with that. These “experts” should price their services accordingly. Kind-hearted people (think of vets who love animals) do not take advantage of others by pricing their professional services so that they are out of reach of the average person, rather they are reasonably priced. If veterinary services were overpriced, then more people would not have pets because it would be too expensive to take care of them (which in turn, is not good for all of the homeless animals out there that need to be a adopted into a good home!).

      In my book, Full-Time Woman, Part-Time Career, I list four contributing factors in determining your rates and what to charge:

      1) Cost of living and the going market rate in your part of the country.
      2) The services you are providing.
      3) The client’s ability to pay.
      4) Competitor’s Rates.

      Unfortunately today I have seen a lot of high-end solo-preneurs and other professionals not follow these principles just to see what they can “rake in,” which speaks to their character and integrity. I find the practice distasteful, and frankly somewhat greedy. I mean how much money is enough? I guess once their lifestyle gets to a certain level, it must be sustained, which is their justification for charging the higher fees.

  2. terricraig says:

    Karen, this blog post is so on point. Equally as distasteful is folks that publicly claim to be making lots of money (doing whatever) when you know them and know differently. It causes their integrity to be in question. It makes me sad to see folks that cannot be genuine about who they are and where they are in their own evolution – personally and professionally. For many, money is a poor measuring stake for happiness, true wealth and accomplishment. Yes, it is important for folks to have money to pay their bills, feed their families, to support any philanthropic goals they have and to obtain the things that are important to them…but it is sad when it becomes their only measuring stick (and when they think others have that same view).

    • Thank you Terri! I appreciate your comments.

      Here is another perspective to consider – I do not know the people to which you are referring, but is it possible that they are trying to emulate success?
      One of the steps to happiness is to “make a conscious decision to be successful” and then to “fake it until you make it” by patterning yourself after successful people. Could this be what they are trying to do?

      • Terri Craig says:

        Hi Karen:
        “Fake it til you make it” could very well be what they are doing. I am an anti-“Fake it til you make it” person. I believe when you are doing that, you are not being true to yourself, nor others (overtly or covertly). I feel that it devalues oneself (internally) and doesn’t acknowledge “continuous improvement” and that we are all “works in progress”. We need to all feel confident just “being” and not trying to be or behave like something or someone we are not.

  3. Julie Geigle says:

    I agree. I took a break from a few professionals I used to follow because I got tired of hearing them brag about how great they had it and all the vacations they were always going on. I think balance is key in all areas of your life. I look for people who are trying to give back in whatever small way to their community or society at large. That speaks volumes of their integrity.

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