How To Find The Right Life Coach (Even If You've Been Burned In The Past)

Written by Priscilla Stephan

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Hiring a coach can be a valuable investment in your future.

Whether you're looking to lose weight, change careers, fall in love, make more money, or pursue a lifelong dream, hiring a coach who has been in similar shoes and can fast-track your progress can be a life-changing decision.

They will hold space when you feel like a mess, uplift you when you hit a speed bump, and push you when you think you can’t go any further.

However, not all coaching experiences are alike. If you've put your faith in a coach in the past and had a poor experience, you don't need to let that stop you from investing in future support.

Give yourself permission to learn the lessons from your past experience and to trust yourself moving forward to choose differently.

If you're in the market for a new coach (or just considering the idea), here are five criteria to help you confidently hire the best coach for you:

1. Resonance

My best advice is to follow your gut—every time. Your body is your barometer.

Does the mentor resonate energetically for you? When you think about working with them, does it feel good in your body (even if your mind is scared), or do you feel contracted? Do you have a natural rapport?

Every time someone has made a "bad hire," they knew on some level that it was a poor choice, but they tried to "convince" themselves otherwise.

If you’re in the market for a coach but don’t know yet whom to hire, set an intention for the right mentor to cross your path.

Meanwhile, start writing down the qualities and expertise you seek in a coach. Also, do a “taste test” ahead of time. Join the coach’s newsletter, attend one of their live/virtual events, or do a free session before signing on the dotted line.

Then consider whether they inspire you to go after your dreams and if they are genuinely invested in your success. At the end of the day, if hiring them doesn’t feel right, don’t move forward. Sometimes it's just not a good fit or the right timing.

Takeaway: Follow your instincts even if they don’t make logical sense at the time.

2. The requisite level and type of expertise

Make sure that the coach has helped other people achieve the kinds of results that you desire. In essence, do they have a proven track record in what they're offering?

Do you feel confident that they can help you achieve your goals?

Feel free to ask for references and to talk to past clients so you feel comfortable with your decision.

Takeaway: Find someone you trust can help you achieve what you desire and has proven success.

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3. The type of tools you need

If you are working with a coach, what do you feel you really need from them? First, in terms of their expertise but also the features they offer in their programs.

For example, if you are doing a one-on-one program, do you want unlimited email support to make big strides between sessions?

Do you like weekly accountability so you can stay on track? The clearer you are in terms of what will support you in succeeding, the easier it will be to find the right person to help you.

Don't compromise. If the coach you're considering hiring doesn't offer the kind of program you really want, either see if they will customize something for you or find someone else who has what you want.

Takeaway: Choose a coach with a program that offers the support at the level you need and in the way that will best help you.

4. The right approach

Do you want a coach who will be your partner? Who is open to your feedback as you co-create your success? Or would you rather be told what to do and follow a proven formula?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach that works equally well for everyone. This is where trusting yourself enough to follow the approach that feels true for you is vital. While coaches have valuable expertise to share, you are the only expert on you. So, trust yourself to ask for what you need and speak up.

Your coach is there to help you create your vision in alignment with your goals. They shouldn’t impose their agenda, timeline, or a specific blueprint on you.

Take-away: Trust enough in your dream to find a coach who will help you manifest it in a way that's authentic and aligned with who you are.

5. An authentic embodiment of what they teach

Choose a coach who embodies the values and quality of life you seek. Coaches can have a strong influence on your choices, so find one who lives what they preach and can be a positive role model for you.

Ideally, they have already achieved the outcomes you're pursuing and can share valuable lessons learned with you.

Make sure that whatever your desired outcome, your coach’s approach and focus match that. It's equally important that their personality is a fit for you. If you want a bulldog, don’t hire someone who is too soft and forgiving.

Take-away: Hire a coach who is a positive role model and whose approach will motivate you.

And finally, no matter how amazing your coach is, remember that you still have to put in the work on your end to achieve the results you desire.

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