So many of my clients have recommended The Prosperous Coach book by Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin. I’ve tried reading the book several times and couldn’t get through it, because of deep disagreements with the fundamental strategy the book espouses.
I feel like this book/movement has hoodwinked a lot of coaches. I don’t think the authors are bad people. I’m sure they have helped many people via their programs. (I’ve heard great things about them for years.) But I do think that this book offers a bad strategy to coaches.
First, let me begin with what I do like about the book:
What’s good about The Prosperous Coach
They talk about avoiding the people-pleasing type of sales where you’re just schmoozing with many people, trying to tell them about coaching, hoping someone will get interested and become your client.
Instead, they recommend giving people an experience of coaching. In fact, they recommend doing a 2-hour free session with anyone who wants to try your coaching.
(I disagree with the 2-hour recommendation and will say more about that later in this post.)
Another thing I like about the book is that they encourage you to tell the client/prospect what others in their life are not willing to say to them. To really notice their strengths, as well as their opportunities for growth, and to call out their blind spots and resistances.
To say things you really believe, that others aren’t willing to say? This is something I do all the time in my content and teach people to do. So, I’m aligned with the authors here.
What I don’t like about Prosperous Coach
First of all, I can’t believe the price for the Kindle edition of the book (which essentially could be $1 and still be profitable for the authors) is $129.95, with a “sale” price of $38.29, which is still exorbitant for a relatively Kindle e-book. In fact you can see that the Audible costs just $9.99 and it’s because the publisher/authors cannot set the price of Audible– it’s set from Amazon based on audio length.
I’m not surprised. The book’s title focuses on making money, rather than serving others, even though once you start reading it, the strategy seems to be based from a heart of service.
Yet, it’s a bait-and-switch.
First, you think the method will make you money, but then you end up spending hundreds of hours giving free sessions to many people. Sure, some of those people might become clients, but I would’ve liked to see you use all that time and energy in a better way.
If you want to grow your experience of coaching, that’s great, but I’d rather see you do it with (1) actual paying clients or (2) skilled colleagues to trade feedback or (3) acquaintances who know they’re helping you out as a volunteer client (rather than going around in your life thinking that anyone could become a client.)
Although I like that they recommend giving people a sample experience of coaching, I disagree with the idea of a 2-hour free session.
Instead, it’s much more efficient to record a short session of 15–30 minutes with a friend/client who doesn’t mind being recorded. Then sharing that sample on the internet where it could be viewed by hundreds of people or more.
Instead of doing multiple 2-hour free sessions, you’ll save so much more time by recording several of these shorter samples, and putting them out on social media.
I get that it’s not as personal and powerful as 1–1 sessions, but there are other issues with giving such sessions away:
- The possible feeling of resentment that you’re spending a lot of energy/time with someone who doesn’t sign up.
- The other person might feel guilt (and awkwardness in your relationship) that they’re using so much of your energy/time and can’t afford to (or don’t want to) sign up.
I think it’s much better to have content out there online, and then have people reach out to you about your services, then doing a 15–30 minute exploratory call.
Ironically this is what the authors of this book have started to do in recent years:
- Rich Litvin’s youtube videos where he demonstrates his coaching
- Steve Chandler’s youtube videos where he talks about coaching
The authors are applying the same strategy that I’m writing about here ;-)
Also, I feel that the 2-hour free conversation is a bit disingenuous because by the end of a long conversation, the prospect’s energy is worn down. You’ve charmed them with your presence and energy. Their defenses are low and they are more susceptible to your direction, i.e. towards signing up for a high ticket package, which is what the authors of the book recommend — high ticket offers rather than cheaper coaching.
There’s also the natural human reciprocity that they’ve used so much time from you, that it’s only right to pay you back.
None of this I like.
The energy and time spent with one person could instead be used to practice creativity that serves hundreds (or thousands) of people.
In fact, Rich Litvin made a video after the book was published, called The Prosperous Coach 2.0 where he admits that the 2-hour session isn’t the best idea, and now recommends, get this, a 15-minute exploratory call. Wow.
Other Bad Ideas from The Book
The book also teaches that “enthusiasm doesn’t last” so you should jump on it while the prospect is hot. Wait… this is just a regular sales technique! I don’t like it, because I believe that your ideal clients pursue you rather than the other way around. My recommendation is to have people to pursue you by creating interesting content — which all of us can do with practice and the willingness to say what others might not be willing to say.
I like that the book says to stop hunting for clients, but what the book actually recommends is to always be on the lookout for potential clients because you want to be giving as many coaching experiences as possible. I don’t like going around in my life with everyone being a potential client in my mind. It’s exhausting!
The book also says to force people to say a clear “yes” or “no” to your offer, but I find that to be intrusive and awkward for any connection that you’d like to maintain.
The book also recommends that we emphasize pain points — what might happen to them if they don’t change or what kinds of bad things could happen — and I don’t like that at all. Instead of pain points, consider joy points.
The book says to stop spending time on social media and just “focus on the person in front of you.” When I read that, I said, “Well, duh! Of course we should always do our best to focus on each person in front of us” and yet, we should also value the power of social media due to all the value and benefit we can give to others. Interestingly, both authors of this book maintain active social media presences, too!
Again, I think the core strategy taught by the book is not a good idea for most coaches (especially beginner coaches) — giving away long sessions of coaching to see if people are interested and then try to sell them. Spending 2 hours with intensive coaching (yet doing it for free!) will pretty much wipe me out for the rest of the day. Bad use of time.
If you want to give away coaching, consider the Tapering Strategy for Client Enrollment instead.
So, instead of using The Prosperous Coach to make yourself and others feel on the hook for some kind of reciprocity, it’s better to have shorter exploratory conversations after they inquire with interest about your work.
How we get them to inquire is via authentic content on a consistent basis, which increases our creativity and knowledge about our field, as well as serving thousands of people and having the right people reach out about our work.
Let your free content do the heavy lifting for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Every piece of content you create could benefit dozens, or maybe hundreds of people (some of it will benefit thousands), allowing many people to get to know (without you having to talk to them) so that when they are ready, they come to you.