61 | How NOT To Join a Life Coaching Cult (with Margarit Davtian)

In this episode of The Gentle Rebel Podcast, I speak with Margarit Davtian who is a consumer rights activist, social scientist, and “cult slayer”. She exposes deceptive marketing practices, cult psychology, and New-Age conspirituality trends in the coaching industry.

Margarit, one of the founders of Ethics For Coaching, helps individuals seeking support in life coaching, business consulting, and self-help industries—the project shields against grifters and scammers who exploit vulnerable positions with undeliverable promises and unethical practices.

Ethics for Coaching’s mission is to educate, support, mediate, and raise awareness, giving consumers the power to make more informed choices. They aim to be a reassuring presence in an industry that can sometimes be hyped up, confusing, and misleading.

As you will know if you’ve been listening for a while, this is an area I am increasingly passionate about. I have seen bad actors take advantage of the trust and hope of good people, who have been convinced to spend ridiculous amounts of money on “high ticket offers” that promise the world and deliver disappointment.

Calling Out Multilevel Marketing Scams and Coaching Cults

I believe that coaching is a fantastic tool that can help us unpick challenges and find clearer ways forward in a desirable direction. So it’s frustrating to see so many horror stories of its manipulative misuse by bad actors.

I hope this conversation contributes in some small way to highlighting signs of a multilevel marketing scams and coaching cults so we can all distinguish between good and bad practices and make more informed decisions about what we are looking for and what a particular person is offering.

Margarit and I delve into the Four Pillars of Ethical Coaching. These are beneficial not only for coaches but also for clients, who should understand what to expect from the coaches they work with.

The Elements of Ethical Coaching Include:

  • Clear expectations and outcomes
  • Be collaborative, non-judgemental, and willing to accept feedback as a coach
  • Deliver on your promises (and promise no more than you can deliver)
  • Communicate with clarity and honesty
  • Don’t use scarcity and urgency marketing tactics
  • Don’t use mindset manipulation tactics to overcome objections
  • No high-pressure selling
  • Understand potential sources of emotional/psychological harm
  • Don’t use coercive control (e.g. programming fears/phobias or using thought-terminating cliches)
  • Commit to establishing competence and maintaining professional boundaries
  • Establish contracting between coach and client
  • Be open about areas of knowledge and expertise (and what is beyond your scope)
  • State and clarify objectives and outcomes
  • Testimonials should only be used with explicit permission
  • No coercive conditions for joining a program (e.g. you MUST share a positive testimonial)
  • Make relevant qualifications, certifications, and credentials known
  • Include refunds, plagiarism, risk management plan (how a client knows what to do when they have a concern)

Want to Know More About Ethics For Coaching?

They are looking for coaches who are passionate about this stuff to continue the work they’ve started.

Find Margarit on Instagram and YouTube

Conscious Revolution Podcast | Substack

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