Generosity in The Coaching Business

My details on this are a bit foggy, so I hope I do it justice.

I remember when the best selling author of The Miracle Morning hit rock-bottom in his coaching business.

The Miracle Morning book cover

After graduating from Master Coach University…

…Hal Elrod had built a six figure coaching business with tons of clients.

But then he lost most of his clients overnight.

He found himself sad, disappointed, and down on himself.

His daily activity turned into watching TV…

…sulking on the couch…

…and feeling sorry for himself.

Then, Hal got a call that changed his destiny.

Over the phone, Hal’s friend and business partner, Jon Berghoff (another Master Coach University alumnus)…

…pushed Hal to begin what eventually became his ‘Miracle Morning’ practice.

That turned into the Miracle Morning book, the best seller that made him so famous.

But I think something else changed when Hal turned his coaching business around.

When Hal fell into that slump…

…he lost his generosity.

And, when Jon inspired Hal to practice his Miracle Morning for the first time…

…Hal reclaimed his generous self

…and began to give again.

This time, instead of just speaking and coaching…

…he shared his new found Miracle Morning practice…

…in a purely generous act.

He wasn’t charging for it..

He wasn’t expecting anything in return.

He just shared his ‘Miracle Mornings’ daily on social media…

Hal Elrod photo

…giving 100% of himself with NO RESERVATIONS.

THAT’S what made Hal a world-wide phenomenon and a best selling author.

Reclaiming his generosity.

Have you ever lost your generosity?

Gotten stuck in a purely selfish place?

How did you get past it?

(or DID you get past it?)

As I mentioned in the last email, selfishness is ok (in fact, necessary) in a coaching business…

But I also said that GENEROSITY is necessary, too.

You’d think that coaches have generosity handled…

…but many of them are pretty stingy

…even though the reason why most coaches do what they do is not because they’re…

…making big money

…getting lots of credit

…or becoming a super celebrity

Coaches still hold back on the giving lever.

Some coaches live in a scarcity mindset

…so they ‘hold on’ to their time, money, and energy

…which suffocates their generosity.

Some coaches lose their generosity before they even start their business.

Some coaches lose their generosity before they even start their business.

Something happened to them long ago…

…that caused them to close down, protect themselves, and get stingy.

(NOTE: If you want to learn how to start your own coaching business, then check out this webinar, called “How to Start Your Coaching Business in 30 Days  During the webinar, I’ll cover how to get your first paid clients fast and make it feel natural for you. Click HERE now to attend the webinar.)

Some coaches selectively chip away at their generosity…

…when their outreach, free sessions, or coaching isn’t applauded.

You might say, “Jeff, ‘generosity’ and ‘selfishness’… these are just concepts or emotions… they really don’t have any measurable impact.”

Not true.

These different aspects of a coach can be measured.

In fact, there are 3 things we measure in our advanced coach “Immersion” Trainings:

First, we measure coaching SKILL.

Skill is obviously a critical aspect to master in coaching.

Skill is obviously a critical aspect to master in coaching.”

Second, we measure INTEGRITY.

Why measure Integrity?

Because if a coach isn’t following through with their promises

…or they aren’t keeping their commitments

…they’re unlikely to have much power to contribute to their clients.

But we also measure GENEROSITY.

Throughout our advanced trainings, our coaching students face challenges that require tons of generosity.


To provoke those coaches to take generous actions

…that offer no immediate benefit to them.

EVERYTHING you do ultimately gives you SOME benefit…

…but to delay gratification until far into the future?

…to do things that provide no selfish payoff for you in the moment?

…to offer massive benefit to someone else?

That’s the definition of generosity.

Last week, I admitted what a ‘selfish coach’ I was…

…but also how generosity provides ‘two track motivation’ for epic progress.

Train tracks

So, go ahead… be selfish.

But if your generosity runs too low

…your coaching business is dead on arrival.

And I find that most coaches fail in their coaching

…not because they’re selfish

…but due to lack of generosity.

How does lack of generosity kill a coaching business?

The coaching business actually demands mucho generosity

…more than most coaches feel comfortable giving.

When I offer these ‘generosity challenges’ in our advanced trainings…

…many students complete their ‘generosity’ tasks…

…and they go on to be some of our most successful students.

(Hal, for instance, went on a generosity crusade immediately after his graduation from Master Coach University.)

But I can’t MAKE every student do it.

They have to CHOOSE generosity.

And some students never even attempt those ‘generosity’ tasks.

Then they set out to grow their coaching business…

…and the results are not usually very good.


Because they didn’t build that generosity muscle ahead of time…

That coach starts working on growing their business.

They run a few coaching sessions.

They build a nice website.

And then they wait for the ‘applause’.

They wait for the money.

They wait for some gratitude from their clients.

And when those things don’t come quickly.

The little generosity they had… runs out.

What happens when they’ve exhausted their generosity?

All that’s left is the ‘selfish coach’.

And they subconsciously ask the question:

“Where is my damn parade?”

And when they feel that way, the answer is clear:

  • “Something’s not working.”
  • “Something’s not OK.”
  • “This is not the right approach.”
  • “This isn’t going to get me what I want.”

And somewhere, deep down, they quit.

Or slow down.

Or sabotage.

Or start to make excuses for not playing full out.

And I find that most coaches fail in their coaching…not because they’re selfish…but due to lack of generosity.”

If you ever get into that mindset…

…that’s the beginning of the end of your coaching business.

Cut that line of thinking off at the knees… fast.

When your client sees no generosity in your coaching

…it repels them.

When an audience sees no generosity in your marketing material

…it repels them.

It’s the lack of generosity that’s to blame.

What’s ironic?

YOU will benefit from employing your generosity in your coaching business as well.

If you’re generous enough, you’ll experience…

  • The pride in knowing that you did a good thing.
  • The satisfaction and fulfillment of giving when it’s not ‘deserved’ or ‘warranted’.
  • The impact that a truly generous act can bring.

So, for those ‘selfish’ coaches in Master Coach University’s advanced trainings…

…there’s no need to chastise them for being ‘selfish’.

Instead, they need help thinking through the impact they could create as master coaches.

They need to be challenged to build their generosity muscle.

It reminds me of the first moments that I began to build my own generosity muscle.

My first ‘generous moment’?

I remember 24 years ago…

…joining the “Tony Robbins Basket Brigade” during Thanksgiving…

…to give out free food to some of the most undernourished in New York City.

When the ‘Tony Robbins’ crew first invited me to join their ‘generosity project’…

…I was afraid to join.


I was afraid that I wouldn’t gain anything for myself.

At that point I had never done anything generous in my life.

I found myself thinking…

  • “What if ‘giving selflessly’ doesn’t do anything for me?”
  • “What if this is some kind of trick?”
  • “What if this is a dumb idea and I feel stupid afterwards?”
  • “What if giving away so much means that I’ll have LESS for myself?”

However, after much ‘mental constipation’…

…my fear subsided.

I realized that I would somehow survive all that generosity.

I commited to join the project.

That commitment was a powerful step on a new journey in my life.

A journey that broadened and widened my impact

A life that wasn’t just about me

There was real freedom in that new journey.

Even though it was 24 years ago, that commitment still impacts my life and mission to this very day.

My coaching journey started…

…the moment I committed to a generous act.

Now I love to give generously…

I love to give as much as possible

Not because I get applause (although sometimes I do)…

Not because I get paid (although I do get paid a good bit)…

But because it’s the ‘generous’ thing to do…

…which seems ‘right’ to me.

My coaching journey started…the moment I committed to a generous act.”

I’m not usually in soup kitchens handing out free food…

…but I have my own personal way of expressing generosity.

Coaching allows me to be generous in a way that reflects my unique abilities.

That kind of generosity always juices me.

It’s a healthy addiction that I don’t want to give up.

It’s the same feeling I experienced handing out baskets of Thanksgiving food in Tony’s basket brigade.

When I work with our advanced students on being generous…

…I don’t share ANY of that with them.

But since I’ve had enough of these ‘generous’ experiences…

(…And, sometimes, enough of a student’s trust…)

…some of them see that bigger ‘generosity’ picture.

A few of them begin to believe that their generosity…

…their striving to help

…their putting out more energy than they’re getting back

…is part of the ‘mindset muscle’ they need to build.

How do you build your own ‘Generosity Muscle’?

1. Identify your ‘generosity zones’…

These are the areas in your coaching (and coaching business) that demand generosity in order to function well.

How do you find your ‘generosity zones’?

Ask yourself:

  • Where in my coaching business do I have to give more than I get back?
  • Where does it feel like I’m giving more than I’m getting back in my coaching business?
  • Where in my coaching business does a project feel like it’s ‘not worth the trouble’?

Assuming that these areas are still a good fit for your time and resources, you’ve found a ‘generosity zone’!

…a zone in your business where you’ve got to ‘dig deep’, and give more of yourself than you receive in return.

2. Increase your investment in these ‘generosity zones’…

If you already invest time, money, and resources in your ‘generosity zones’, great!

But you can always give more.

Coaching business generosity zones

Ramp up the investment and find how much more you can GIVE.

Ask yourself…

  • Where can I invest more time in this ‘generosity zone’?
  • Where can I invest more money in each zone?
  • Where can I provide more value? More resources?

3. Reward yourself for your generosity…

The whole point of generosity is that the ‘outside world’ doesn’t reward you.

You’ve got to reward yourself.

  • Pat yourself on the back for being amazing.
  • Give yourself a bowl of vegan ice-cream.
  • Indulge in a night out to celebrate.

But watch for these pitfalls in building your Generosity Muscle:

Sometimes depleted generosity hides itself.

Some coaches (that are very generous in their personal life) start a coaching business…

…and become completely ‘selfish’ in their coaching business.

Why would someone so altruistic become so ‘selfish’?

Because they imagined their coaching business as the ‘vehicle’ to serve their selfish desires.

As a result, they felt driven to make their coaching business ‘all about them’.

Maybe they felt the need to feed their ego (since it was left hungry from an altruistic personal life).

Successful business people and executives become coaches, but fail to achieve much for the same reason…

They ‘gave like crazy’ in their original career, but they didn’t use the same approach in their coaching

…so their coaching fell flat.

Finally, as Dr. Coiner discusses HERE, some of the most generous coaches fail in their marketing because they see marketing as inherently selfish

…and so they restrict their generosity while marketing their coaching…

…rather than using altruistic marketing the way Dr. Coiner explains.

Why does generosity work?

The difference for our successful students…

…when they get new paying clients

…when they reach six-figure coaching businesses

…when they change the world for millions of people…

…is that they continue to cultivate their generosity…

…way after most coaches’ generosity is depleted to zero.

When you cultivate generosity in your coaching, you gain plenty in return.

It doesn’t come to you immediately…

That’s why it’s a generous act.

But generosity, over time, shows the world what you’re committed to.

Generosity attracts reciprocation, investment, and opportunity.

Generosity attracts reciprocation, investment, and opportunity.

You might not see the rewards coming to you at first.

Be patient.

Time is needed for that generosity to return to you.

So, continue to give your gifts generously.

And, eventually, your gifts will make room for you.

Jeffrey “Generosity” Sooey

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