Parker Geiger hadn't come dressed in a shark cage. But as he openly conversed at a casual event hosted by a friend, the need to protect himself from a natural predator emerged.

A friend of the friend had begun studying Geiger, a well-established image- and brand-development coach and CEO of Atlanta-based CHUVA Group. Had Geiger realized how hungry the guy, also a business coach, was, he might have been less chummy.

Geiger smartened up when he discovered that the man had taken portions of his business model that pertained to what Geiger calls "personal branding disciplines."

"He repackaged himself from all that I shared with him" at that event, Geiger said. "Lesson learned? You bet."

Although Geiger's not threatened - he knows he possesses more credibility in the area - he said it's disheartening to see this happening in his industry.

"You don't want to live in a world where you don't trust others," Geiger said, but for this man "to now market himself as a bona fide personal branding coach to our mutual clients seems very deceptive to me."