When I left corporate America several years ago to strike out on my own I was so happy to leave behind corporate greed and lack of loyalty.

I’d come of age as a professional in the 1990’s—the era of rightsizing, downsizing and reengineering. And I’d personally handled the layoff or reorganization of over 1000 people. I’d also done high level consulting, where again I was working on projects to streamline processes and improve profits while shuffling headcounts and impacting people’s livelihoods.

Now those are worthy efforts (streamlining, profitability, stability) —especially in the automotive industry where the tide needed to be turned (and still does). But I was tired of HOW it was done—over focusing on the bottom line, and under focusing on the people. We’re still seeing the impact of the damage done to worker confidence in the 80’s and 90’s.

When I found coaching as a small and burgeoning industry I was enamored! I found a way to do the kind of work I love—helping people navigate the dark and murky waters of change—but in a whole new, more positive and contributing way. I finally felt like I had found a place where I could thrive.

But in the last couple of years I’ve grown slightly disillusioned with my industry. I know many others from various industries share that feeling ….from financial services to real estate to automotive….feeling like the industry you once loved isn’t what it used to be.

In the coaching industry there has been growth, which is exciting. But there has also been a shifting tide which I believe is the result of trying to make it a legitimate industry and lucrative business. Not a bad goal at all. It’s HOW it’s happening that’s making me weary (just as before when I was a corporate change agent).

So many people have gotten over focused on the ‘holy grail’ of becoming coaching millionaires. In and of itself, that’s not a bad goal. We want growth in any industry, and need the creation of solid, stable coaching companies. However, what has happened is a loss of focus on the mission of coaching (the purpose for why we exist in the first place) and a shift toward over focusing on the bottom line. You don’t have to look too far back in history to see the downstream impact of that.

I feel the quest for Millionaire status has become the holy grail of the industry…at the expense of what got most of us started in the first place…making a difference.

There’s talk of private jets, million dollar homes, spa trips, bling, big ticket packages that price many people right out of the market and lots of bragging about who’s making what. In the age of social networking we get videos and pictures too boot! We’ve definitely accomplished the goal of not looking like psychotherapists…and instead started looking like Hollywood celebrities branding lifestyles instead of our contributions. Is that what we want?

Personally, I’m unimpressed. I care about the carbon footprint on this planet, so flying private just seems garish and egotistical. I don’t know of very many industries where the leaders talk so openly about their balance sheets—with the exception of sports and entertainment—and I’d prefer to be taken more seriously than that.

And worse, there’s a subculture telling us that if we aren’t playing that game our mindset is a problem. We’re not playing a big enough game. Hmmm. I know that you can make a great living at coaching. I know that coaching is a powerful force that dramatically changes lives. I also know that focusing on making money at all costs, forgetting your core mission, and overinflating the value of anything leads to a crash. I’ve watched the housing market, the automotive market and the financial market go the same route. My mindset is just fine, thank you.

So what’s a disillusioned coach to do?

I left corporate America to get away from the greed. I’m not planning to leave coaching on the same terms. What I am ready to do is stay grounded in my values and to stay ‘on mission’. I’m prepared to ride this wave, staying true to myself, my voice and my vision.

And, I know I’m not alone. At least 3 times a month I hear a client or colleague struggle with what to ‘call themselves’—not wanting to use the word Coach anymore. And there’s a groundswell of support for a new, more realistic way of approaching our craft. The change leaders are emerging as I write this and I couldn’t be more excited!

If you are disillusioned in your industry, here’s a few strategies to keep grounded and focused when things around seem to be going in a direction you can’t get behind.

1. Upgrade your environment as much as you can. I’m removing myself from the kinds of people who aren’t on the same page as I am. In my own business I get to choose the culture I play in. I’m only following people who are still ‘on mission’ and are shining examples of the best of what coaching has to offer. If you work for a company, you can still, to a limited degree, choose who you spend time with. Limit time around those you find toxic, draining or derailing.

2. Trust that this too shall pass. Everything shifts with time. In my case, I know this is a product of the newness of the industry and that eventually the pendulum will swing back to a more moderate ground. In the meantime, I have to stay my course and not let the trends cast a shadow on what I am most excited to do and become.

3. Take the longer term view. I look ahead, to where I want to be and where I want my industry to be in the future. I look forward to the impact, growth and contribution that will come from coaching when making a million dollars is no longer worth talking about and we’re on to bigger and better innovations in this great industry.

4. Reconnect with your own voice. We become disillusioned when we can’t find the leaders we’re excited to follow. That just tells you there’s a leadership gap and you may have to go within to fill it. Yes, search for likeminded people who get you. And step up as the leader you are.

5. Be the change you wish to see. As Ghandi reminded us, change only comes when we take a stand and serve as an example of what we want the world to reflect back. Be a successful, clear, confident, mission-minded expert and do great work. The rest will take care of itself.

Author's Bio: 

Register for your free e-course The 7 Surefire Strategies to Reignite the Fire in Your Belly at www.shawndriscoll.com. Shawn Driscoll helps high achieving executives and entrepreneurs breakthrough to the next level of success. She empowers them with the insights, tools and strategies they need to rise to the challenge of their personal mission so they can experience meaningful success while making a real difference in the world.