Be an educated consumer of coaching

Becky Mollenkamp
8 min readMay 30

Finding a quality coach can be a challenge thanks to a lack of regulation and a dearth of bad actors. These 7 tips can help you make an investment you won’t regret.

By Becky Mollenkamp, PCC

Two women in one week told me horror stories about having been burned by bad coaching.

One felt she’d wasted $9,000 on a year-long coaching program that wasn’t helpful at all. The other said she’d invested more than $30,000 on a series of coaches who proved to be toxic and harmful.

These were just the most recent people to share these stories with me.

I hear from so many people who have paid coaches, or people calling themselves coaches, only to not get the results they wanted, to get completely defrauded with no services delivered, or to be harmed by the coach’s practice.

Many of my clients come to me having already had these types of terrible experiences. They are rightfully frustrated and skeptical.

I had a bad coaching experience myself with someone who failed to deliver on her promise. It was a $6,000 learning experience.

Before you invest in coaching, here are a few things to consider.

Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

1. Are they actually a coach?

Coaching is an unregulated industry. Anyone call call themselves a coach. That has led to a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. So, if you’re not clear about it, don’t feel bad! Sadly, even people doing this work aren’t always clear.

A coach is not a consultant, strategist, teacher, nor therapist. The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

Coaching is a client-led relationship. By asking powerful questions, the coach serves as a mirror to help the client see outside themselves. The goal is to help clients come to their own decisions about what they want and how to make it happen.

Coaching is not:

  • Giving advice or telling people what to do.
  • Sharing knowledge, best practices, or teaching a topic.
Becky Mollenkamp

Accountability coach for feminist founders.