So you’ve decided to take the plunge and hire a coach, but you’re now faced with the daunting task of finding the right one for you. Choosing to work with a coach is a financial investment, but it’s also an emotional one. You’re not only putting your money on the line, but you’re also putting your hopes and dreams for your body on the line as well. In this week’s column, I’m going to be sharing how to get your next coach or trainer beyond just how much they charge.
Who Do You Need?
The answer to this question will help you decide the level of emotional support you need up front so that you select the right coach to provide it for you. There are two layers to the answer to this question. The first layer is your coach’s style. So is she tough as nails like Jillian Michaels, is she nurturing yet firm, or does she have a very lenient or laid back style? This first layer of questions will help you decide if the coach can provide you with the level of accountability you need.
The second layer has to do with empathy. Like I said earlier, weight loss can be an emotional journey. It requires you to change your life without guarantees that the results will be exactly how you picture it. And even though there are clear cut things you can do to lose weight, it can feel like you’re gambling with your time, money, and emotions. To help mitigate this is your coach’s training and experience and what you need from that experience can help. Here are some questions you can ask:
- Do you need a coach who’s been on your journey and was once overweight? Do you need her to walk the path with you and point out potential trouble spots before you get there?
- Do you need a coach who has a track record of client testimonials that shows her body of work with clients? Do you need to see that she’s helped others achieve what you’re trying to achieve?
- Or do you need a coach who’s all up on the current research and can tell you what that means for you and your results? Do you need someone who can co-create a plan with you using eating and exercise principles based on peer-reviewed research?
What Do You Need?
The answer to this question is more clear cut. But before you dive in and say you need a meal plan or an exercise plan, I want you to look at your life. Can your life handle a structured meal plan, is it predictable enough for you to put together meals based on someone else’s prescription or would you be better served by learning how to eat in a way that can be adapted to surprises? Are you fine with long workouts or do you want short and sweet?
Let’s face it, you can’t have everything your way. But the things you’re willing to do can serve as a good starting point for your plan and can help you decide who’ll be a good fit for helping you achieve your goal. Vetting a coach’s fit can be as easy as reading her blog, signing up for her newsletter, or contacting her. This isn’t exactly the same thing as finding a weight loss coach, but when I’m about to invest in someone’s services like a business coach or a graphic designer I look at the following things:
- Her Blog: What is her point of view? Does it look professional? Do her values shine through in her writing and does it resonate with my core values of family first, keeping my word, and treating others fairly
- Her Consistency: Does she communicate consistently on her blog? Something about being able to rely on new content on a regular basis makes me feel like I can trust she’ll be there for my project
- Her Responsiveness: Does she respond to emails? If I’m going to invest my time and money with someone, I want to know that she’ll answer my emails
- Her Body of Work: Surprisingly enough this is the last thing on my list. It’s important but the other things are more so because they help me feel emotionally taken care of
So what’s important to you? What do you feel you need from your coach? Use that to vet her in advance to decide if she’ll be a good fit. Check out her blog, her newsletter (if she has one), and try getting in touch to get answers to any questions you have.
How Much Can You Pay?
Most coaches have different ways that you can work with them. Some offer one-on-one coaching or group programs. But I can tell you that the more support you need, the more you’ll have to pay. So if you’re on a smaller budget and the coach you want to work with is financially out of reach, it never hurts to ask if the coach you love to work with has other ways that she can work with you for less.
When you’re selecting a coach, pay attention to her track record of results but also focus on how she makes you feel with her free content and your experience of her even before you choose to work with her.