Why Life Coaches are Potentially Risky

Business strategist and blogger Makenna Johnston is out to expose sociopaths disguised as “life coaches” in her post “Is Your Business/Life Coach a Sociopath?

According to Johnston, qualified, successful professional coaches are calling out the posers and the truth is being uncovered all over. It’s so bad that Johnston is convinced “The coaching world is rife with sociopaths.”

Fortunately, she has narrowed down seven ways to identify these sociopathic business and/or life coaches.

Warning Sign #1: Ego Driven Self Identity

Johnston points out that “the self-esteem of sociopaths tends to be derived by personal gain, power, or pleasure.” You wouldn’t want this attribute in any other specialist you go to, and especially not someone there to help you shine. Look out for mood swings, a hyper focus on the positive, and professing of having a great life with no concrete information of how they got there.

Warning Sign #2: Whacked Out Goal Setting

One example Johnston offers is coaches whose personal goals focus soley on monetary gain and self-gratification rather than deeply meaningful things like a family, home, or experiences.

Warning Sign #3: Lack of empathy and Generalized Callousness

Sociopathic people lack the ability to feel for another person. They may disregard your feelings, calling it a story or a mindset. They also might show a lack of remorse, blaming their mistakes on you.

Warning Sign #4: Manipulation

Sociopaths manipulate with whatever influence they have, often with manufactured charm. According to Johnston, “Sales is showing people why they need your thing, manipulation is telling people they NEED IT no matter what.”

Warning Sign #5: Deceitfulness and Misrepresentation

Watch out for lying, embellishment, over-exaggeration, and misrepresentation of facts. All of these can show up in their “rags to riches story” they tell. Their inspiring tale is fine, so long as it’s true!

Warning Sign #6: Irresponsibility

This can show up in dealing with financial matters, such as them failing to come through on a refund when they didn’t deliver what was agreed upon. In general, they might show a lack of remorse for their irresponsibleness.

Warning Sign #7: Difficulty Sticking to Things, People, Plans

It’s a red flag when a life/business coach went from job to job constantly before coaching, as is their inability to create and nurture relationships. Sociopathic coaches may constantly rebrand themselves and launch new programs, but never see these projects through.

Some of these signs won’t show up right away, but Johnston lists four ways to catch them from the start:

  1. They tell you that you need their program.
  2. They guarantee a ridiculously high ROI.
  3. They went from broke to rich in a month as a coach, and you can too!
  4. They won’t give out references

This checklist can serve as a guide to weed out the sociopaths from the truly devoted life/business coaches.


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