Good Coach vs. Bad Coach

by / ⠀Career Advice Entrepreneurship / December 17, 2013

 good coach vs. bad coach

I was having a conversation the other day with an entrepreneur from Silicon Valley, California who has hired coaches before, has regrets about his lack of success or rather limited belief that he lacks success and his inability to resonate with or see value in coaching because he’s invested and been burned one too many times.  Now, while I wouldn’t take him on as a client I wanted to write this for him because he asked a question that needs to be answered by someone who not only has results but can prove their results.  His question was “How do you know a good coach from a bad?”

The reality is that there are thousands of coaches and not every coach is going to be right fit for you.  With the coaching industry growing at an incredibly rapid pace and people using the term coach inappropriately to create an income stream without care and concern for their clients it can be tough to find someone who is truly in it for YOU and not for themselves.

Here are some distinct characteristics that separate the real from the want-to-be coach.



One of the first things I tell my clients is we will meet as much as you need me but as little as possible.  Coaching is all about serving the client, reaching the clients goals, providing direction, accountability, and clarity for the client.  Let’s use an analogy here we can all relate to. Suppose you are going to the dentist because you are in a lot of pain from a tooth that you know needs to be pulled.  You don’t care where the dentist got his degree from, how many times he’s done this before, if his nurses are certified, how many patients he’s helped and who those patients are.  What you truly care about is getting rid of the pain, after all that’s the whole reason you are there.  The same is true for coaching.  People seek out coaches because they are in pain, they’ve made a decision to seek professional guidance, and they want to see results as quickly, effortlessly, and painlessly as possible.  So let’s say you’re an average person who works really hard for their money and you ask the dentist “How much is this going to cost?”  The dentist says “$600.”  And, you’re thinking that’s a whole weeks’ worth of work so you proceed to ask “How long is this going to take?”  The dentist quickly replies “5 minutes but it can take as long as you want the price is still going to be the same.”  You are there because of severe pain, no amount of medication is going to resolve the issue so the only option is to pay a premium price to a service provider that can solve your problem in less than 5 minutes getting you in, out, and on your way back to a normal routine essentially saving you both time and money. This principle is also true for a professional coach, they charge premium prices, working with limited clients, delivering massive results, as quickly, effortlessly, and painlessly as possible.

Qualify Clients

Using the same analogy let’s say you went to the dentist because every time you flossed your gums would bleed, essentially meaning you have a gum disease.  And, while the dentist could fix this he realizes that there are specialists out there who are more qualified, and more expensive, but have the tools, knowledge, and resources necessary to fix the problem immediately. They are called specialists because they specialize and focus solely on one thing. So he sends you to a Periodontist or if you need braces an Orthodontist. The same is true for coaching if the coach you are speaking with isn’t qualifying their clients then they aren’t maximizing their own potential or the potential of their clients.  I turn away more clients then I help because they don’t meet the qualifications required to become a client.  The more specialized a person becomes, the higher their price, creating a premium product in the market place for only those who can truly afford and find value in the service.  In any of these cases if you can’t afford or use the excuse I don’t have enough money you will be turned away.  Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of coaches who don’t qualify, and plenty of coaches who sell time but those are the same coaches who AREN’T truly dedicated to not only your success but their own.  These are the same coaches that also refuse to walk the talk.

Have No Agenda

Traditional coaching is like a therapy session, where you sit down list your problems, hope the person you are telling has an idea or response and can get you results but those days have come and gone.  Non-traditional coaching for people who truly want results has no agenda, and if there was an agenda the only thing on it would say “Get Results.”  In a fast past, information overwhelm, instant access, techno driven world we are easily distracted thousands of times a day causing our dreams, goals, and ambitions to quickly and easily derail.  When you find someone who not only has the results you desire but can teach you how to implement the systems and disciplines necessary to achieve those exact results you quickly realize that you can work less and get paid more, serving the right clients who become happier, healthier and wealthier creating an endless stream of referrals and repeat business.  And there isn’t a coach on the planet that doesn’t want to create these types of stories and results.

Genuinely Care & Are Incredibly Authentic

Whoever it is that you decide to choose as your coach should prove that they genuinely have your best interest in mind and are there to focus on you and solve your problems.  Coaches whose sole purpose is to fund their bank account and dreams have zero interest in actually putting in the time and doing the work it takes to help you achieve your goals.  Coaches who walk the talk are incredibly authentic and real and don’t care whether or not you get offended by their words or actions because they are doing what’s best for you as their client and helping you get comfortable being uncomfortable so you can get the results you want in the shortest, most effective way possible.  As you can see it’s all about YOU!

Require a MASSIVE Commitment

The coach who truly wants to help you tap into your full potential and maximize your business is going to ask you to make a MASSIVE commitment and they aren’t going to accept a commitment from you based on money alone.  They are going to require that you are committed to results mentally, emotionally, physically, and psychologically.  They are going to push buttons, make you uncomfortable, create pain, which in turn helps you grow and ultimately this is going to dramatically transform both your life and lifestyle personally, professionally, and financially.  That is the whole reason you wanted a hire a coach to begin with.

REAL COACHES know their value, believe in their value, and offer their value to the marketplace in a way that repels want to be’s and attracts people who are truly committed at the highest levels to getting MASSIVE results.  If you are considering working with a coach use the criteria above to qualify and decide whether the person you are speaking with has your best interest in mind and can get you the results you desire.  If you need help, have questions, or want to be pointed in the right direction feel free to reach out and remember price is never the issue when it comes to the cost of success.

Image Credit:

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.