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How To Not Get Ripped Off By A Coach

Every time I start to scroll through the internet time warp, I get smacked with serious buzzkill. You don’t have to look too far to find someone proudly promising “Hire Me to Make a Million Overnight Without Breaking a Sweat” or hear about someone’s friend of a friend who is also a “life coach” plus a Mary Kay lady and receptionist and…

Anyone can get on Vistaprint, shell out $10 and get themselves their very own business cards, proudly proclaiming them as a life coach. They can pass them out and be a coach. No rules broken, so no harm, right?

The problem I have with this is any yahoo can spread the word that they are a career coach, give bad advice and potentially leave the innocent bystander with a false sense of what real life coaching can offer.

Coaching, something that I spent over half a decade to deeply learn, hone and build, can be watered down by a slick website, someone’s hobby job or a lack of regulations.

I worked my butt off in an intensive coaching and leadership training to get my coaching certification, in what would be the equivalent of a master’s degree. After which I worked on the production side in two other year-long coach certification programs, where I mentored up-and-coming coaches getting certified. I have well over 1,000 hours of coaching clients and 400 hours of getting coached under my belt.

Yet, people like myself with extensive experience are in the same sandbox as the sexy masquerading coaches.

Fine Print: This isn’t to say that the only worthy coaches are doing it full time and have a bunch of letters at the end of their name. When I was just starting my coaching business, I was also teaching yoga full time. Some of the best coaches have a little side entrée to give them a little variety. Plus, coaching was a thing before governing coaching boards came down with fancy certificates and qualifications.

So you want a coach?

Sweet! It’s a great choice! But before you fall into the trap of the next self-made overnight “life coach,” do a little research. You are hiring someone with a high price tag that will hopefully change your life and become a major presence for years to come. Ask around for references, the most successful people in your life are likely working with a coach. Or check out coaching directories like Noomii.

It is also important you understand the different types of coaches, the pros and cons of hiring a coach, local versus non-local coaching and whether or not hiring a career coach is the right choice for you.

Listen to your heart

Most importantly, find a coach that resonates with you and your personality.  Would you want to work with them every week?

Look for their qualifications

When you are looking at hiring a coach, look at their qualifications. What type of training do they have? Was it a weekend warrior training or an accredited extensive year-plus long training? What if any credentials are from the International Coaching Federation (ICF)?

Who are their people?

Find a coach that speaks to you and what you want. For me, I coach people craving more power and motivation through clear communication at home and work. Other coaches may work primarily with stay-at-home mamas craving to get their “Me time” back in balance, or executive CEOs looking to be a better leader. Or maybe their clients are single men in their 90’s looking to get their mojo back? Because, well, everyone could use a coach.

Many of the coaches listed on Noomii are specific about the type of clients they work with, so you can easily find someone that matches you.

Coach vs advice hustler

Do they start shelling out advice or do they ask you questions that knock your socks off and make you realize things about yourself you never thought possible? Regardless of their approach, most life coaches typically spend a good amount of time (at least the first session or two) getting a better understanding of the client, their values, desires, goals, etc. before offering up any type of solution. Beware those who act as if they already know you and know what you want.

Life learners

Have they done the work themselves and show you their humanity? Find out if they have a coach. Are they willing to invest in a coach and continue being lifetime learners?

Last but not least. Run from anyone promising overnight success without you doing the work. Run like Usain Bolt.

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Don’t get ripped off by a coach – Visit and find a perfect match for you! Browse our directory of career coaches or request a personalized coach recommendation!

About the Author Kelly Melsted

I am certified coach for people whose unbalanced work life is sucking the joy out of them. I help people powerfully achieve their goals & create more balance amidst a world hiding behind digital smoke screens & small talk. Courageously grow that business or confidently move into that dream career. All the while, bringing more time, real relationships & reasons to celebrate. Connect with me on Noomii, Facebook, my website or email directly at

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