Many of you have asked me how to evaluate different coaches and coaching programs for next year.

I’ve had the pleasure of being coached from the very first month of my business until today in one form or another.

Normally, I make my coaching decision during the very first conversation I have with that person.  I evaluate that person based on the questions below.  I’m hoping these questions will make your decision process easier.

How do I decide which coach/mentor to work with?

1.  Start with gut instinct – do you respect this person? Do you agree with her values and what she stands for?  Notice I didn’t say do you like her.  Like and respect are different things.  You don’t need to be friends with your coach.  You just need to know that she will take a stand for you and your dreams – and be willing to say what needs to be said to move you forward.

2.  Does this person embody and utilize what she is teaching? If she is a business coach – is she making great money and growing her business?  If she is a health coach, does she appear healthy?

Your coach doesn’t need to be perfect or have it all figured out – no one does.  But she has to be practicing what she preaches.  Walking the talk, growing and inspiring you to think bigger and do more each and every day.

3.  Does she/he offer what you need?  Let’s say you are looking for a business coach.  If you are just starting in your business, chances are that you need step-by-step guidance to help you implement all of your foundational activities.  Training classes are helpful here.

If you are more advanced in your business, you need one-on-one support for specific strategy and planning that is customized to you.

Does this person offer step-by-step training, customized strategy or both?  Is it possible to upgrade to one-on-one work when you are ready?

4. Have you enjoyed other materials from this person?  Have you enjoyed reading the newsletters, watching videos or listening to teleseminars from this person?  If so, then you’ll most likely jive with her teaching style and enjoy her coaching.

Every coach has a different style in terms of explaining and teaching.  Some coaches provide a more intuitive approach.  Others are more linear with step-by-step systems.  Others use more stories and analogies.

You don’t need to be able to “classify” your coach – you just need to know that her style is one that you learn well from.    You can also identify her style from the way she explains things in the sales conversation.

5.  Does she/he have a good track record?  Does she have lots of testimonials or clients that she has worked with in the past?  Do you relate to the people that she has worked with in the past from reading their stories?

6. Do I need what she is teaching right now?  This one doesn’t necessarily have to do with the coach, but I find it is the main reason many people struggle with coaching programs.  They are doing the right program at the wrong time.  There are so many programs out there that are tempting – everything from how to do a video, to how to write a book, to how to do social media.  Be clear and honest with yourself – what do you need right at this moment?

If the answer is cash flow – then you need to learn how to get clients.

If the answer is more leads to your website (and you already have clients) – then a class on social media might be great.

If the answer is a way to get to a wider audience (and you already have a full practice) – then a book-writing program would be a good fit.

Be clear about what you need so that you can find a program that is a good fit.

7.  Are you ready to give 110%?  At the end of the day, no coach is magical.  You also have to evaluate your own desire to give it your all.  Are you ready to listen to what she has to say and implement it? Are you ready to trust her advice and follow it?  That is the key to success.

Over the years, there were many times when I didn’t understand exactly why my coach wanted me to do something.  I did it anyways.  I kept asking why until I understood it, but I went ahead and took action at the same time.  And there were times when I didn’t fully understand the why until I had already done the action.

There is a certain amount of faith that comes with working with a coach.  You’ve got to trust that person, especially when you are anxious or scared.   If you’ve answered YES to questions 1-6, then this trust should come a lot easier.

I know that picking a coach can be confusing and downright frustrating.  I hope that the steps above make it easier as you make the decision.  Ultimately, I ask my gut instinct what the answer is.  Then I go through these questions to see if the facts back up my instincts.  95% of the time they do.  5% of the time, I find that the facts actually tell a different story.  Usually I then re-check my gut instinct and determine that my original feeling was caused by insecurity, desperation or fear.  I re-check my gut and then make a decision.

Let me know what variables you use when you are choosing a coach. Leave a comment on the blog, as this topic brings up quite a bit of discussion for folks – I’d love to see your thoughts about it all.

To learn more about Monica Shah visit her website at

“Would you like to learn how to run a business that you love while creating the lifestyle you deserve?  Check out my website, for F-R-E-E articles, resources and to sign up for my f-r-e-e report “5 Simple Steps to Double Your Income in 60 Days or Less”.

Monica Shah, MBA, is the Breakthrough Business Specialist.  Her M.O.R.E M.O.N.E.Y system effectively teaches women to take their passion-based business to six figures and beyond.