Well, today has been an interesting day after my exposure of the very thorough theft and plagiarism of all things LBC by Noel Clark of Maximum Fitness Consulting.
Anyway, I will be addressing the response Noel Clark posted on her blog in a later post, but in the mean time, much to my shock and dismay, it was brought to my attention that another former client of mine who is an online coach was passing off LBC work as their own. After reading all the posts and comments on the LBC FB page and this morning’s blog post, I received this message:
Ok, after after reading your post on you being plagiarized, I feel compelled to tell you that I was very surprised to see the layout of your spreadsheet workouts, diets, etc. Not only in that Noel Clark has stolen your work, which is very appalling, but I must say your layouts looked very very familiar to me. Back in April of last year 2012, I hired a coach to help me with my diet workouts and contest prepping. This coach is a former client of yours. I knew this when I hired this coach to help me with my prepping for the contest. But what I didn’t know then is when after seeing your post about Noel Clark and the comparisons I was surprised and shocked because she uses the same format as you do. I believe that this coach uses your format in which they used with you to use with their clients. I don’t know what you’ll do with this information I just thought that I would let you know.
Naturally, my next question was, “well who is it?”
I was then informed who the coach was and I asked to see the program in its entirety. Once again, I was very disappointed. This program was in fact a replica of the first program I gave this coach when they were a client of LBC. The difference was the name on the program and the company logo. Outside of those changes it was the same; essentially, saved and forwarded. Now hey, it was a darn good program but still.
So of course I had to reach out to this coach and former client to open the lines of communication and see what’s up.
My initial contact:
I am not sure if you have been following the issues on the LBC FB page, but if not, well, you can read it for yourself if you’d like. That said, I have just been contacted by an ex-client of yours and she has forwarded me the program you gave her. The program you are giving this client is an LBC program from line 1 to the end – and it is a cut and paste of one of the programs I designed for you. I’ll await your response. I hate that I have to even write this message.
Now let’s do a little compare and contrast here. Here is the response that I received in return:
I hate that you had to send the message also and i am ashamed. I don’t know what you are looking for me to say.
All I can say is I am sincerely sorry. I am no longer consulting as of 2 months ago. I can dispose of any programs you had given me if you wish. I really do not want any harm or drama. It doesn’t undo anything but I am willing to bow out or whatever you’d like. I don’t know what you’re looking to do towards me but i am at least communicating my regrets. I am sincerely sorry. I hope to communicate through this.
The contrast between a response like this, and the one on the blog of Noel Clark is striking. In the former you have full acknowledgement and ownership of wrongdoing and a message of sincere apology. In spite of the wrong doing, I have respect for this. In the latter as you’ll see in a follow up, you have no remorse, no acknowledgement of wrong doing, no apology and instead, a justification for her choices and an attack on my character and LBC followers (labeled as sycophants of all things) for ‘outing’ her for her professional misconduct.
My response to this coach?
First off, thank you for responding and more importantly thank you for responding as you have. After what I have been through this week, I appreciate your response.
I do not need for you to dispose of any programs. That’s not necessary. I just would appreciate you reformatting, perhaps learning from the principles of that program and then recreating something with your spin on it. Not just passing it on.
I do not plan on doing anything given how courteous your response has been. I certainly will not name you or anything so you needn’t worry.
What i WOULD ask for you in trade, is for you to allow me to use what you have said here (name excluded) as an example of a classy, taking ownership for wrong doing response.
Is that fair to you?
Believe me, I don’t like having to have these emails, or find out things like this, but I also am not one to want to create trouble for other people either.
Other coach’s response:
Thank you and that’s a more than a fair trade. Again my sincere apologies and this has been a humbling experience and will make me an authentic person. I am ashamed and I appreciate your kindness.
That’s just one point I want to highlight between what really should be the expected response of someone caught in wrong doing and the response of Noel Clark to far, far more damning evidence of much deeper theft and plagiarism. The difference? One knows they were in the wrong and owns it and one still doesn’t think they’re in the wrong, attacks and defends it.
The second point of this blog post is to offer anyone who is an online physique coach, or anyone aspiring to become one, some professional advice. Listen, I understand there are many people who would like to work in the fitness industry, whether as a personal trainer, an online coach, a combination of the two, or whatever. I get it – I did too and I am always thankful for my blessings and success in this industry. It’s a great industry and it can be amazingly satisfying to be a part of life transformations, and it of course, if you’re good, can be quite profitable. I also understand that many of us have at one time or another, or even several times worked with a coach ourselves. I’m just going to continue this example by talking about my company, Lean Bodies Consulting, and my clients and ex-clients.
If you are, or have been, a client of LBC’s and you decide to start your own online coaching business, more power to you! In fact, I would honestly expect and even moreso hope that you would adopt the LBC coaching philosophy for yourself as it pertains to diet and exercise (we all know, not everyone likes my very “direct” coaching personality lol) within your business model as you work to serve your clients as well. Why? Because it’s a good philosophy. LBC has become known for preaching balance, long-term healthy, sustainable and maintainable fat loss, avoidance of extreme measures, sensitivity and care to metabolic health, priority being placed on non-physical achievements like self-esteem, confidence, elimination of food issues and labeling foods ‘good’ or ‘bad’, responsible coaching, and so on. LBC has become known for this and this is why LBC has grown and why the demand for coaching is always so high and why client retention is very high. In short, I care about the long-term health and well-being of all clients, not just a contest placing for competitors and not just a nice body for non-competitors. There is more to your life than your body and your trophies.
And this? I want it to spread across the industry; an industry where this philosophy is currently considered the coaching ‘outlier’ (especially in contest prep circles) and not the norm. Those considerations from the last paragraph need to become the norm, the standard of excellence. So yes, if you are an LBC client or a former LBC client, I hope you take what you have learned from me and you USE it.
Now I am not a ‘teacher’ or a mentor to clients; I am first and foremost a coach and as much as I’d love to teach everyone the whys behind every programming decision I make, it’s just not feasible. That said, in providing clients with the programming required for them to get the most out of a coaching experience and helping clients troubleshoot over time, clients, if they pay attention, will pick up a tremendous amount of knowledge as a secondary benefit. THAT is what you use.
So please, use what you have learned in your time with LBC, or for you other people who have worked with other coaches, use what you have learned from your coaches too; what you have learned from studying their programming, their philosophy, etc. The LBC philosophy becomes obvious very, very quickly to clients; heck, you don’t even need to be a client if you are a regular follower of the LBC FB page or you’ve spent time reading all the free content on the LBC website or the LBF forums.
Here is what you should NOT do. Do not copy and paste. Do not plagiarize and call it your own. Study, learn, seek to understand and then take that philosophy and understanding and recreate it and repackage it with your own unique style and spin. That will lead you down a very successful professional path and you’ll be rewarded with a satisfied following. Not heeding this might just prove costly one day.