My younger brother messaged me today saying he got his first “hater” commenting on his music on Soundcloud. His music is experimental and dark screamo-rap. Not exactly my cup of tea, but it’s certainly creative and different!
I told him, not everyone will appreciate his music. But he doesn’t need to please everyone, especially perhaps the mainstream, classical or pop-rock listeners. He just needs to focus on his tribe – which is people who like rap as well as weird and experimental music.
Marmite and subjectivity
Like Marmite - some people love it, others hate it. It’s a matter of personal preference and taste. I personally think it goes great with melted cheese! However it is difficult to objectively determine whether or not Marmite is “good” or “bad”.
And the same will go for you as a person as well as your content, your work or your projects.
Some people love me. Let’s call them “my tribe”, which includes doctors of clinical psychology, as well as therapists, psychiatrists, neuroscientists and GPs, in addition to celebrities, CEOs, influencers, musicians, actors, and of course, other coaches.
It also includes the clients who have given me 45+ five-star reviews on Google, and others whose lives have changed as a result of working with me.
And it includes a psychiatrist who said to me, “We need more people like you to treat what we call ‘miserable life syndrome’ which is not depression, not anxiety, but just people not doing what they got to do - you’re doing a fantastic job.”
And then there are people who sadly hate me (“haters”), or at least, strongly disapprove of either me or my work (let’s call them “White-Coat Nazis” or WCN for short) who believe that everything must be cold, clinical, methodical, scientific, academic, done by the book, very rules-based and strictly regulated when it comes to working with people.
Life coaching is an art and a science
Not that ethics, research, clinical studies, professional boundaries or coaching qualifications aren’t useful (they mostly can be!) but there’s certainly a camp of people who treat coaching and therapy too scientifically, who treat it as too much of a science. They forget that coaching (and therapy) are as much an art as they are a science!
This may explain how and why people are still stuck, still not living the life they want - despite perhaps having seen a therapist for years and years.
I would perhaps say the WCN are perfectionistic and rigid. Sadly you even get some of these in 12-Step Recovery; they seem to be more concerned about enforcing rules and quoting literature (out of context and its original intent) than they are about spiritual and personal growth.
Relationship, relationship, relationship
I think some of these people totally miss the point of coaching/therapy – in that it’s definitely not all about technique, but also about rapport, relationship, warmth, empathy, connection. Research by McKenna & Davis (2009) suggests 30% of therapeutic and coaching outcomes is down to the relationship alone.
I once nearly hired a very qualified therapist with stacks and stacks of qualifications… and in the 10mins I spoke to her, my skin was crawling, I felt so uncomfortable, to the point I actually sent her a strongly-worded (but polite) email with several points of feedback.
In comparison, I did some work with a much less qualified (but highly competent) psychotherapist before, and despite the fact she had just a humble Diploma in Psychotherapy to her name, she was terrific – because her energy and her demeanour were very healing, respectful, loving and caring.
The WCN will dismiss things like NLP for “not having enough evidence base” – even though it’s helped a lot of people, even though powerful techniques like The Rewind Technique was largely created from NLP Phobia Cure (and Rewind has promising clinical studies according to Human Givens School of Psychotherapy), and even though the highest-paid and most famous life coaches in the world like Tony Robbins have been trained by the cofounders of it (John Grinder mentored Robbins).
Talent doesn’t necessarily require qualifications
The WCN forget that Freud didn’t have a PhD/MSc in Psychology, and neither did your wise old aunty, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t great at helping you change your perspective, nor does it mean that she wasn’t a fantastic motivational source! Psychology is still a young discipline compared to chemistry and physics.
Food for thought:
- Socrates did not have a degree in Philosophy
- Michael Jordan doesn’t have a BA in Basketball
- Jimi Hendrix did not have an MA in Guitar Playing
- Steve Jobs did not have a PGCert in Entrepreneurship
- Jesus did not have a dual-PhD in theology and evangelism
All are phenomenal at what they do though.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe there is some value of psychology and coaching qualifications, which is why I’ve done the following courses and had training in:
- Positive Psychology for Coaching
- The Integrative Enneagram and Psychodynamics
- Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP)
- Human Givens Psychotherapy for stress, anxiety, anger management, depression, addiction
- Existential Coaching
- Cognitive Behavioural Coaching
- Positive Psychology Resilience Skills
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)-based Coaching
- Rewind Technique for Phobia and Trauma
- Co-Active Coaching Fundamentals
This is of course on top of my 13+ years of personal development, as well as my 4+ years of supporting others and doing service in 12-Step addiction recovery programmes.
But what I’m also saying, is that there are, equally, very talented people, who are amazing and dedicated to their craft, but don’t have a piece of paper to say otherwise.
When I left Cambridge Judge Business School’s Accelerate Cambridge programme, I didn’t leave with an MBA or a PGCert in Entrepreneurship – but I did leave with plenty of entrepreneurial skills for life (and a venture which I went to raise £250,000 for). To me, that’s just as valuable, if not, more, than a formal piece of paper.
You cannot please everyone - you are not a jar of Nutella
The penny has dropped: I do not need to, nor can I please everyone – especially the WCN! As one of my coaching supervisors said, “the only thing that matters is how do you feel about this and whether your clients are happy and safe”. (Having said that, feelings are not facts – they are signals!)
Who is your tribe - and where can you find them?
(Hint: these are the people who will like you and appreciate your work).
If you don’t know where to find them, then put your content/yourself out there; those that stick around and like your stuff will be your tribe. Focus on them. Don’t worry about the haters; you will get them no matter what as you cannot please everyone.
Those who make disparaging remarks are not your tribe. Forget about them.