“Before you open your mouth, the colors you wear communicate a message about you.”

So begins a description of “color coaching,” a method that claims to reveal to a client what the person is telling others about themselves by the colors they choose to wear.

Is that coaching? Or it is a dress-to-success sales gimmick?

The folks at the UK coaching school Noble Manhattan say it’s coaching—not as serious as other ways of engaging a client, but coaching nonetheless:

“An exciting, new initiative in the coaching world, designed to bring you personal and financial rewards,” reads a Noble Manhattan course description. “Colour Coaching is a fun, practical, creative and transformational process, empowering both you and your clients to look and feel fantastic all of the time.”

Noble Manhattan teamed up with Mandy Ellesmere, a color, style and makeup consultant who also describes herself as a “confidence and self-esteem coach.”

The relationship between Noble Manhattan and Ellesmere includes an association—fairly rare among coaching connections—with a skincare and cosmetic company:

“Noble Manhattan Colour Coaching is an exciting and empowering new initiative within the coaching world and it is designed to reward you both personally and financially. It is a practical, fun and creative business that will help you and your clients build amazing new confidence and self-esteem, which in turn can have a truly positive impact in all areas of your/their life.”

How does that work? By teaching clients how to “feel their best” by wearing the right colors—and keeping them “in harmony” with eye color, hair color and skin tone.

“Behind every color is an emotion and a message,” says Thelma van der Werff, the founder and owner of Colour Comfort, a New Zealand company that trains color coaches.

In one hour seminars, van der Werff teaches “how to use color in an effective manner, in your personal and professional life.” It is, she says, “a tool for the rest of your life.”

But is it really coaching—or is it another business using the word “coaching” as a marketing tool?

Van der Werff concedes in her marketing materials that “color coaching” is a “self-help tool.” Still, she believes “scientific discoveries” are adding to coaches’ knowledge of color, and how to use those discoveries to help clients.

For Noble Manhattan, color coaching represents a decidedly different offering from a traditional coaching school—known for training life and executive coaches since its inception in 1993.

Color (or “colour”) coaching was added to the curriculum in October as part of Noble Manhattan’s “flagship coach training programs.”

But use of the name “color coach” may be more often used in venues far from “real” coaching. Take, for instance, “The Color Coach,” a U.S. business that offers “trained, licensed color coaches.”

These “coaches,” though, have “worked with homeowners, designers, contractors and professional small business owners. Their work is referred by painters, paint stores and manufacturers, flooring distributors, contractors, interior designers, decorators and a network of satisfied clients.”

But can they truly be considered coaching clients?

We received no reply to our requests for an interview with Noble Manhattan about color coaching and how it fits into a life and executive coaching curriculum.

The school says this in its marketing materials:
“As well-established leaders in the field of Coach Training and personal development we have, for years, worked with both individuals and companies to raise their level of self-empowerment and achievement. This is achieved through the delivery of both NLP and Life Coach Training programmes.”

As for color coaching, Noble Manhattan says “becoming a Colour Coach offers many individuals the opportunity to achieve exactly what they want from life, giving them increased self-confidence and a business that is not only very enjoyable but rewards them on many levels.”

Can color coaching truly have a home alongside life an executive coaching?

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