When Not To Hire A Coach

You're invited to a new microclass: How to Coach Yourself

Hi! Happy New Year. I hope that in this first week - so far so good - you’re feeling into the sweet zone, the one that new beginnings so often bring.

It’s been a little while since I last wrote, and I’m excited to announce a new micro-class to set the tone for 2021. Candidly, I’ve thrown out lots of drafts of this email to you, and in the end I think I should just be direct.

I want to teach you how to coach yourself.

It may sound a little zany, but I assure you I’m quite genuine about this. And the reasons are many.

  1. It’s not sensible to always have a coach, not 24/7/365, so learning a basic framework for sleuthing out your own stuff is just common sense.

  2. Even when you have a fabulous coach, a great coach-client relationship should aim for independence, and therefore one day will end. Will you feel equipped and empowered on that day? I think you can. It just calls for a little thinking through.

  3. What about when you’re in a state of confusion? Because of your emotions, external pressure, the chaos of society, or a combination. It’s hard to be coherent much less use words with a coach when things are all a jumble. Better be equipped to coach yourself in that case, yes?

However the most compelling reason to learn how to coach yourself is because you, and only you, can be the best, most trustworthy person about yourself.

That may not always feel true, and that’s another reason for this class. Getting through your mental clutter so you can trust yourself more, and being able to rely on that process, is one of the most rewarding things I’ve seen a human do. (And yes, I’m also talking about myself!)

When you get stronger in your relationship to yourself, you get better at expressing your needs and dreams. Then you can have better external relationships and outcomes. Even your coaching - with a coach that’s not you - will get better!

There’s lots more to say about this. How to coach yourself, where to start, how to guide the conversation, what to expect, and more. And I want to cover that in a teaching format on Thursday, January 21, from 12pm to 130pm pacific. Reserve your seat here for USD $35.

For now…let’s talk about When Not To Hire A Coach: The Straight Goods


Before diving in, let me address the elephant in the room. Clearly, I’m a coach, and I’d certainly love for you to consider hiring me this year. I’m not actually trying to fire myself or put a turd in the coaching soup tureen.

However, after more than 20 years of private coaching, I can vouch for this: there are excellent times to hire a coach, TERRIBLE times to hire a coach, and, in between times, too. And because I can’t help it, I want to help you (coach you?) to see this clearly and make the right choice for you. Here are eight reasons not to hire a coach:

(1) When You Don’t Know What You Want

Getting help when you’re unclear, or uncertain can be a good idea, but, if you have very little idea what you want, no amount of coaching, no matter how great it is, is going to help. Save your investment and wait until you’re at least a little clear about what you don’t want. That’s often easier to be clear about, at first.

(2) When You’re In Financial Strain

It’s possible to get results quickly from coaching. But it’s not without risks. Do an objective assessment of the coach’s chops, your ability to go beyond your comfort zone, circumstances and people around you, technical knowledge, timing, etc. Is there a more straightforward way to dial down your money pressure than coaching? Do that first. If coaching IS the best bet, okay, but think it through first.

(3) When You’re Pre-verbal

Traditional coaching is verbal. If you’re in a state of not being able to describe things well, you’re not ready for a coach. Being in a state of knowing something important is happening, or out there, but not being able to describe it is special, a kind of sacred liminal space. Take time, whether in nature, in somatic and spiritual practices, try non-verbal reflection like stone-mapping or art therapy, and like a seed waiting to germinate, allow.

(4) When You’re Hyper-verbal

Confession - when a new coach tells me they have a client who won’t stop talking, it’s a flag. Not that it’s bad, it can be good, provided the coach is capable of inserting guidance and moving the session forward. Sometimes though, the person just needs to vent, and there’s no need to pay a coach for that. Even verbal processors should come to coaching to hear the coach talk at least some of the time. Sort it out a bit, then come back to coaching.

(5) When You Want a Yes-Person

If you’re looking for someone to agree with you, or bolster your ego, or a position you’re attached to, you’re not looking for a coach, you’re looking for a lackey, or minion. Coaching should be challenging and uncomfortable to some of your defaults, and you shouldn’t hire a coach if you not ready to yield to that. (P.S. Coach? Try not to take on clients like this.)

(6) When You’re Super Fragile

I like to say, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most fragile it’s possible for a human to be, if you’re more than a 7 more often than not, try a therapist instead of, or at least alongside hiring a coach. Rushing to create outcomes, pretending things are okay when they’re not, these things can harm more than help. Take a moment for yourself before setting off on a coaching adventure. You will be richer for it.

(7) When You Can’t Find a Coach Who Resonates

Trust and intimacy are an indelible part of coaching, and it’s hard to have either if you and the coach get along like a bag of hammers, knocking around at each other unpleasantly. You might say, ‘it’s better than having no coach,’ but that’s not true. Coaching at best has harmony, rhythm, drive, a spark. Like music. If you don’t get a yes, say no. It may seem illogical, but this is about a match, and not every match is worth the effort.

(8) When You’re Not Going to Listen

Look, coaching is often not a small investment. You wouldn’t buy a beautiful new phone and then never use it, right? In a similar way, don’t hire a coach if you’re not going to listen to what comes out of your coaching. It’ll save both you and the coach light years of angst.

A word about getting high ROI from your coaching…

On the flip side, clients who enter coaching actively seeking new ways to be, who are delighted to try new things, who egg their coach on to lean in more, to go deep, take them to transformational places? Invariably, they’re the ones who get the most ROI on coaching and are the happiest clients.

And there’s the rub, isn’t it. Return on investment.

I tell you what. Selfishly, I want for all the coaching clients in the world to have the most delightful, thorough, rich, and lasting experiences of coaching that their return on investment is yell-from-the-top-of-the-roof undeniable. Which is where the above list may, I think be handy. If you avoid doing those eight things, you’re in a good place to start looking for a coach and…to make the most of it.

Of course, there are exceptions to the above, there are other reasons not to hire a coach.

But I think the above eight reasons are enough to be a little helpful as you seek support in this first new beautiful quarter of 2021. And if you have questions, by all means, hit reply, or comment below. (Pssst… if you already have a coach, you might see what you can do to up the ante with them. Start with something like, “So I’ve been thinking about how to make our coaching sessions even more awesome and I was wondering if we could talk about that…”)


Which brings me to, once again: HOW TO COACH YOURSELF, the new microclass I’m teaching to kickoff 2021

By learning to coach yourself, you:

- will start to listen better to yourself, feel less itchy in your skin
- observe what you don’t like about your situation, your responsibilities, your Self and can start to shift those
- gain alternative perspectives
- get clearer, which helps you communicate, which gets you over some of your hyperverbal-ness, or your preverbal-ness.
- give yourself space to feel, and…

You become stronger within yourself so when you’re next in a coaching relationship with someone not-you, you can have an even more rewarding time.

Or… not. Maybe you wind up not needing a coach for a while. That’s not a bad thing, either.

2021 for me is a year of doubling down on holding coaching, coaches, and coaching clients to the excellence we all want. I hope to see you along the way.

Ready to sign up for the Microclass? It comes with live class on January 21, 2020 from 12-130pm pacific, a recording, detailed notes, and a $35 credit to use towards something else (maybe a longer group training - I’m working on it!) but only should you want. I look forward to more on this topic with you.

By the way. If you’re curious about when it’s better to join a mastermind group or training instead of a coach, more about how to get the most out of your coach, how to hire a coach efficiently… please comment or reply and I’ll put more of that in the queue for this blog.


A final few thoughts for you as a coach who wants 2021 to be your best coaching year so far (me too)…



Do you have additions to the above list? Deletions? As I say, there are exceptions, but I’d love to hear more from you about going deep and fostering self-empowerment in our clients anytime!


Meanwhile… my colleague Joanna Lindenbaum leads one of the coach training program I most often recommend, and I’d like to put it on record. If I were to do it all over again I would (hope to be so lucky as to) train with her as a coach. If you’ve been looking for a way to sharpen your coaching saw as we kick off this year, she’s leading a very special virtual event this week called:

The Art of Client Transformation

In it, she will be leading coaches to create deeper breakthroughs, effect lasting transformation and turn clients into those raving fans we all want.

I won’t say too much more because she does a great job at her page, however I am able to offer you a discount code that gives you 50% off. The code to use on check-out is DEPTH. Check it out if you have a goal of serving clients even better than you have before…it’s a wealth of wisdom in a strikingly generous package, which I don’t know if Joanna will ever do again.

(Joanna, if you’re reading this, I hope you know how proud and grateful I am that you take a stand for coaches in the way you do. You are a gift! Thank you.)


And…that’s it for this time. Thank you so much, as always, for reading, thinking, feeling, and being who you are. I look so forward to the journey into 2021 with you.

Image credit: Analia Baggiano on Unsplash