This episode of the podcast is a short and sweet one. Business coach red flag podcast

But it’s a very juicy one, because sharing the biggest red flag I avoid when choosing a business coach. Of course, I’m also going to tell you how to spot that red flag in what they are teaching online.

There are plenty of things that give me the ick, because there are plenty of mediocre and quite frankly dodgy business coaches out there… and I think you’ll be surprised by the biggest red flag I look out for!

PLUS I can’t wait to hear if it’s one you look out for as well… and I have a special invitation for you to test and question me!


Let’s get into it!

Warning business coach red flag online marketing

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EPISODE 397: Listen using the player below, or click the links to your fave platform to subscribe and listen over there:

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I’ll be honest – there are plenty of things that turn me off from business coaches, mentors and gurus.

Especially these ones:

  • Toxic marketing: bypassing people’s consent in their sales and marketing process.
  • Agitation-based messaging: Share giant results and minimise the effort required to get them. This makes audiences feel inadequate, because they haven’t done this one little thing that would create massive results… all they need to do is work with the coach and BOOM their life will be fabulous. So much ick!
  • Hustle-oriented messaging: Particularly coaches recommending the 5am club. A lot of ‘hustle’ content is created by straight white men (with wives who take care of all the household responsibilities) for straight white men (with wives who take care of all the household responsibilities). They say it’s applicable to everyone, but they’re coming from a privileged position that they can’t even see is privileged. You’ve likely heard me say, “I care not for sunrises”. I love a sleep-in, thanks!
  • Quoting Tony Robbins: Coaches saying he’s a shining example of personal development or business strategy. He uses hypnosis to make sales without first gaining consent to do that. It should be a giant red flag to anyone! Right? (I will probably get push-back on that one, but even if you’re okay with hypnosis without consent for you, that’s still coming from a place of privilege – that experience is unsafe for many.)
  • They don’t prioritise inclusion: If a coach has a homogenous audience and client base, that tells me that marginalised people don’t feel safe in their spaces. It can be a sign that they are using toxic marketing strategies, spiritual bypassing language, or not acknowledging lived experiences. If their spaces allow racism, homophobia, ableism, to proliferate? That’s a giant red flag. Of course.

… So I don’t work with anyone who does the above.

BUT… There’s one big phrase that I hear from coaches and business mentors, that’s the biggest red flag.

It’s a bit more subtle, but it’s a “run the other way as fast as you can” red flag when I’m looking for a coach…

When they use the statement: “The only way to do x is y“.

They are basically saying that the only way to achieve a certain outcome, is to employ one particular strategy or take one particular action.

So you might hear them say something like: “You should always focus on building your business through a Facebook group, not a Facebook page”. The truth? The only way THEY know how to build a business is through a Facebook group. See that?

Or if you are running webinars instead of challenges, then you’re doing it all wrong, webinars are dead, you should be running challenges. What they are actually saying is “The only way I know how to help you grow a business is by running challenges”.

What it tells me… 

That is a big red flag for me because it is a sign that they are a copy, paste, business coach or mentor. If you want to have success with them, you have to be able to grow your business by copying and pasting whatever it is that they’ve done, or they do with the majority of their clients.

A common example lately is the messaging-oriented coach, who says “If you don’t create discomfort in your audience with their current state, you won’t be able to get them to buy from you.” What they are really saying is “The only way I know how to get sales is to agitate your audience and make them feel deeply uncomfortable with the situation they’re in right now, so that they will do anything to get out of that situation, including buying from you when it isn’t actually the right offer, or it’s not actually going to get them results.”

Of course, that’s a huge red flag.

it means they don’t have the ability to discern between different niches, different markets, or different business models. It means that if the strategy they teach you to copy-paste doesn’t work for you, there’s no nuance or adjusting. They will likely blame your mindset, or tell you that there’s something you don’t have, that they can’t fix. (Sometimes they say you don’t have a strong offer, even though they told you that your offer was brilliant on the sales call before you paid them.)

That way, your lack of results is not on them, because they’ve taught you everything that they promised they would teach you.

If it didn’t work, it’s on you. It’s not on them.

And unfortunately, that’s the most common horror story that people share with me when discussing working with me. When people join the Take Off program, or even the Accelerator, they share that they have unfortunately wasted a lot of time and a lot of money. They’ve worked with mentors who just wanted them to copy-paste their strategy, sometimes even their messaging. And often, it turns out THAT was just a copy-paste from THEIR mentor.

When it comes to applying strategy and messaging to a different niche or market, and for different business owners with different strengths, we need far more nuance. Your business should be built to your strengths, around your zone of genius, and around the conversations you are passionate about having. There’s so much more to the decision-making process and strategies, and unfortunately copy-paste mentors just don’t have the capacity, skills or experience to support that.

So… if you hear a business coach say that it’s always better one way, or to never do it another way… or that the only way to make X work is to Y, that’s when I recommend to turn around and run the other way. It’s the biggest red flag in selecting a business coach, because they won’t be able to apply their strategy or ideas to my specific needs or business, with any form of nuance.

To support this episode, I’m inviting you to question ME!

Where you’ve heard ONE thing is the best, or the worst… even if you’ve heard it from me – let’s get the nuance happening!

Pop your questions at – and I am going to do a special podcast episode in which I unpack them all!

Thank you so much for joining me for this episode and until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.

Tash Corbin Business Mentor and Strategist