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Good Coach, Bad Coach

How to spot a dodgy coach and things to ask to make sure you work with the best

In Australia life coaching and business coaching is unregulated. Anyone can set themselves up as a life or business coach and charge exorbitant fees for trying to help people achieve goals or desires in their personal or professional lives.

At the same time, the coaching industry is booming. As our desire to find fulfillment in all areas of our lives increases with people such as Tony Robbins and Dr Phil telling us not to settle for ordinary, so has the number of people seeking a coach to help them.

Although there are no exact figures available on the number of people who have engaged the services of a coach, the International Coach Federation, the leading global organisation for registered coaches, now has more than 1300 members throughout Australia and New Zealand, compared with just 150 members back in 2000. So one of the biggest questions I get asked is how do you go about finding a coach that is worth your time and money?

The simplest method that I see recommended is to check their qualifications, testimonials and also check for complaints. Just as you wouldn’t hire a builder to renovate your home based on reading a directory listing, you wouldn’t hire a coach to rebuild your life and business based on information you find on the Internet. It is recommended you meet the coach in person or at least over Skype or the telephone and ask the following questions:

  • Do they have specific qualifications?
  • Do they have formal tertiary qualifications specific to coaching, psychology or human behavior?
  • Do they span areas of behavioral science, adult education or business?
  • What workshops or training programs have they attended to expand their coaching knowledge?
  • Have they run a successful business themselves?
  • What results have they achieved for themselves and their clients?

As I work in the business mentoring space I now focus more on business strategy, product creation and leveraging my clients IP through my programs, I have seen the different types of coaches people need along their journey. Most business owners that employ a business coach in their start-up phase often don’t get the results they are looking for as at that stage they really need more of a life-coach. A coach that can work on the individual to get him or her in the right space to allow the success to follow.

Coming back to biggest issues I see today in the coaching industry are the numbers of life-coaches that want to work in the business coaching field without running a successful, or even self sustaining business themselves.

I never teach my clients anything that I haven’t done myself and now that I have just celebrated my first seven figure year in business, I have the results on the board and so do my clients. Testimonials, or social proof is very powerful especially in video format. So are numbers, figures and tangible results your clients have achieved as a result of strategy implementation or product creation. If your current coach hasn’t achieved the results you want to achieve, you simply might have outgrown them and it is time to look for someone that can stretch you and get you the results you want.

Just remember, in the end, it is you that needs to do the work and take the action steps that your coach gives you as they cant play ‘the game’ for you, only be their telling you how to play it. I also believe that the master will appear when the student is ready and I have never actively gone looking for my coaches and mentors, they have just come into my life at the right time.

To finish with I want to share a quick insight on how you might be able to spot a coach that doesn’t have you best interests at heart. If you are told that they can help you before finding out anything about you or your business I would suggest you take the time to talk with someone who will find out if they have the necessary skill set to match your specific problem.

Natasa Denman is a skilled business coach and mentor, author of five best-selling books, and founder of The Ultimate 48 Hour Author. Within her mentoring program she guides time-poor entrepreneurs and business owners through the publishing process so that they can have their own story in print. For more information visit


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