Mentors, Coaches and Gurus, Oh My!

13 replies
You may read this thread and be completely confused as to why I would even start it. But there is a method to my madness and once this ball gets rolling, I promise to share my madness.

OK, so everybody has heard of Frank Kern, right? I'm going to use him right now because he's the real deal - one of the big names that many of us aspire to be like. If you had to label a guy like Frank, what would you call him?

It seems to me that the phrase "guru" has come to have a sarcastic meaning attached to it. Refer to someone as a guru and what you're really saying is that they're the farthest thing from it - a fake - they're full of crap. I see post after post where the word "guru" is being replaced with the phrase "so called guru".

There is clearly a group of "people" in this industry who set bar and have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. The guys who are crushing it - the Frank Kerns, the Mike Filsaimes and the Mike Koenigs. Would they be insulted if I referred to them as gurus? If you had to label them - is "guru" appropriate? Or is "coach" or "mentor" a better choice?

Some of you who will read this are already on their level - does the phrase "guru" have a positive or negative meaning to you?
#coaches #gurus #mentors
  • Profile picture of the author Lazy
    For me, it's negative. It sounds like a snake oil salesman.

    I much prefer mentor, or life coach.
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    • Profile picture of the author LetsGoViral
      Originally Posted by Lazy View Post

      For me, it's negative. It sounds like a snake oil salesman.

      I much prefer mentor, or life coach.
      Hmm, those 2 don't sound good as well. Mentor = guru. And life coach just sounds weird.

      I feel more trusting towards tags like "analyst", "specialist", "consultant", etc...
      Time of thinking is over.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Call me a skepchick, but to me, "life coach" always sounds like someone struggling to make a living.

        There are more "qualified life coaches" than there are clients for them.

        I understand that the marketing of "life coach qualifications/training/courses" can be a hugely successful business, though.
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  • Profile picture of the author jwardz
    I agee. Life Coach, Personal Trainer, Coach, are much better than Guru. But understand once they start using the term so will all the 'snake oil' salesman. So best they ignore the term and just focus on doing what they are doing. They are not in anyway hurt by the term guru since they have built their credibility.
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    • Profile picture of the author Thirty3Down
      I wish we could just go back to calling these guys/gals Heros
      That term just means that you look up to them.

      When Someone uses the term "Guru" it always makes me feel like the person who is telling me about the person (the "Guru" in question) wants me to know the following:

      1) They look up to that person.
      2) They Think I should too

      Number 2 is where I start having a problem

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  • Profile picture of the author alcymart
    I prefer Teacher. Some call me master, guru whatever and sure its flattering, but I'm just a teacher and have lots more to learn myself.
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    • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
      Originally Posted by alcymart View Post

      I prefer Teacher. Some call me master, guru whatever and sure its flattering, but I'm just a teacher and have lots more to learn myself.
      I've been doing this for a little while.

      I must say I also know some people that do really, really very well at this.

      I have to admit though, I've never heard anyone come up to them and say "Hello Masterrr!" :rolleyes: I only ever saw that on Lord of the Rings.

      Wibble, bark, my old man's a mushroom etc...

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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    What's wrong with the word 'Expert'?

    I have no intention of trying to be like these guys and I always tell people to follow their own path rather than try and copy what I do. I've met these guys and they're just normal people. Sure they do step in to the IM Expert limelight and accept that people want to hear what they have to say, but from what I can tell they're just regular guys doing the best they can with what they have to keep the bills paid and enjoy their life.

    Doing the seminar circuit can actually be hard work and very tiring so however they're making their money they're still working hard so don't be fooled that they're all sat on the beach not thinking about how to make the next dollar or create the next product.

    Technology changes so fast that being a technology expert is like being a football player - you can do well for a while but you have a shelf-life unless you're prepared to transform yourself along the way to change with the shape of the landscape.

    The problem with labeling people is that the label itself is subjective. No-one in their right mind would call themselves a guru in IM. It's such a diverse and colourful concept that there are thousands of ways to slice off an entire field you could spend full-time focusing on and testing.

    The biggest problem with using the word Guru for IM experts is that we've all seen some unethical idiots called get called a guru at some point so it has lost its meaning in this context. One person who you may call a guru could be someone who I know pays people to pretend to be successful affiliates in his promotional videos, or pays people to run to the back of the room and pretend to buy his coaching at seminars. There's a lot of dodgy stuff going on behind the scenes and when you consider the 'fake it til you make it' brigade who are positioning themselves as gurus in order to sell you information they got from someone else as evidence of their expertise - you can understand why people get different feelings about the use of the word guru.

    I don't think labeling successful individuals is a good idea. Your group of candidates would be different to mine and everyone else's so you'd then need to go with a general concensus - which is just a popularity contest.

    I say don't bother trying to label them. Just watch what they do and learn from them. Model their success and adapt your own actions but don't get so wrapped up in them that you lose yourself and your own ideas, mind and business plan.


    nothing to see here.

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  • Profile picture of the author JustinDupre
    Never really liked word guru.. coach, and mentor sound more legit to me.
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  • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
    Who cares what someone calls someone else.

    If you spend your time thinking about things like this, then you aren't spending your time thinking about your own business.

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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      What Michael said. Who cares?

      And what happened to just calling these people what they actually are...
      successful businessmen?

      The world is label crazy and label hung up. I don't, and never got caught
      up in that game.

      And in regard to your thread title..."I'll get you my pretty...and you're
      little dog too."

      We may not be in Kansas but we're certainly in "who gives a crap about
      this stupid trivial nonsense" land.
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  • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
    Yeah, it's a semantics game more than anything else. One man's "guru" is another's "charlatan" and so on. I know there are different actual dictionary meanings, but I think a lot of us use some of these terms as synonyms. I might call someone a mentor while you'd call that same person a coach or teacher or even guru. In the end, it's not really important. What is important is what you learn and if they inspire more action from you.

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