Most of you, non-Dutch readers, have probably never heard of Arjen Lubach. He’s a Dutch comedian, although provocateur is probably a better word, with a daily show on Dutch TV.
In the past, he used to broadcast once a week, and with better quality in my opinion, but like most ambitious and successful program makers, more is more, and so we now can watch him daily.
His current show format resembles the evening show formats in the US. He’s trying to copy the likes of Steven Colbert, not totally to my taste. I just think he’s better being himself, but the content is often still good.
I like him provoking.
But I like it even more when people become defensive.
When Arjen smells something is wrong or gets ridiculous, he digs in and finds the truth. Politicians have had to resign because of his investigative methods.
Parliament has conducted research into bad policy because of him.
When he comes after you, you better have a good story.
Or be immune to it.
One of his new show elements is called “This has to end now…” and earlier this week, he had something to say about the coaching industry in the Netherlands.
Here’s the storyline:
… We have nearly 100.000 coaches in the Netherlands, while the labor market is tight and jobs can’t be filled…
… We have coaches who take you on walks; we have coaches that teach you to learn from horses or dogs. There are coaches for everything now…
… The market for lifestyle coaches has exploded, 956% in seven years, predominantly in the past few covid years. If this trend continues, everyone in the Netherlands will be a lifestyle coach in 26 years…
Some of the country’s high-profile coaches were up in arms.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen coaches, that’s precisely the purpose of his show.
To provoke, get a message across, and create a conversation.
With amusement, I listened to one podcast of a well-known coach who was defensive for almost every part of her podcast, passionately protected her herd of coachees, aggressively pointed out where Arjen was unfair or untrue or both.
Only to end with a few denigrating comments about her own coachees, suggesting they needed more of her support so that they could withstand the pressure of people like Arjen threatening their business.
It was a shameless attempt to leverage a piece of satire on TV for her own personal gain. She blamed Arjen for being superficial and subjective and then threw her own coachees in front of the bus for personal gain.
The point of it all?
There are, indeed, too many coaches.
It’s an attractive profession. A low threshold to enter, lots of opportunities in different directions, freedom to do what you want, no need to have a boss or an office.
I’ll be honest and say here that I’m still figuring out whether I care or not about the inflation of the coaching profession.
I’m proud of my work as a coach in all its facets. And I also feel an urge sometimes to distance myself from those coaches that do training online and then call themselves a coach.
But, like in any industry, some people deliver quality work and some don’t.
Some of them, like me, have years of experience in business, have been in executive positions, and have had hundreds of professional conversations that can be considered coaching.
That’s the way I always have defined good leadership. You’re coaching your people to grow. On top, I’ve done my job educating myself to be a good coach.
I know how to consult and grow leaders. I know how to facilitate teams and help them with their challenges. I know how to enable change. I know how to design and deliver interventions that make organizations move.
On top, I’m curious, listen well, ask good questions, not political in my approach, and smell bad news faster than most.
I consider the above good credentials for a coach. My clients appreciate me for the quality of my work and who I am.
So why would I care?
Your turn: inflated or needed?
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