How not to choose a coach

And how to choose the right one

No one cares what you know

I guess we all use advisers or coaches for help – from time to time – in different areas of our lives.

But how do you choose a good one?

First things first – do you need a coach?

Well, before we get into that, the first question is surely whether you really need a coach – to help you find your ‘sweet spot’ in life?

According to Bill Gates – founder of Microsoft 😉 . . .

Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether we’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player.

We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.

And Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google says:

Every famous performer has a coach. Somebody who can watch what they’re doing and say, ‘is that what you really meant?’

A coach gives you perspective – and that’s the one thing none of us are good at – seeing ourselves as others see us.

So a coach really helps.

That said, let’s explore how people choose the wrong coach.

The classic behavioural trap

And just knowing this could save yourself thousands of pounds in costly mistakes.

So, what’s the trap?

Well, it’s right here in this brilliant observation from Teddy Roosevelt.

No one cares what you know

Or rather it’s in the flip-side of that quote.

You see, I’m sure we can all agree with Teddy’s idea here… that what really matters to most people – when dealing with others – is getting a ‘feeling’ that the other person cares.

And that’s true in our personal lives too right?

But there’s a dangerous flip side to this ‘need for care’ tendency – and it’s this.

If you don’t care how much people know until you know that they care…

… you might also not care (to check)

whether they know much at all 

as long as you ‘think’ that they care !

Sound about right?

Now, if you’ve not experienced this trap… have a think about your friends and family.

Who do they follow for advice or guidance on important issues around health and wealth?

Are their ‘guru’ advisers all competent?

Or… do they sometimes lean on people just because they think that they care?

Or… have they chosen their guru or coach or adviser based upon how confident that person is?

Well, these are really not good reasons to choose a coach, are they?

So, please, don’t choose your suppliers that way – and don’t let your friends make this mistake either.

Known and Liked

The thing is – that anyone in business these days will have read (or been told by their business guru) that to win clients…

… you need to be known and liked

And let’s be honest, there are some advisers and coaches who rely solely on this attribute to win business…

… and place little value on ‘competency’ and ‘trust’.

But that’s really no use to you is it.

Nor might it might serve you well to choose a coach because:

  • You – or your children – went to the same school or
  • You share the same passion for Golf orGolfers
  • Sailing or
  • Rugby or
  • Designer clothes
  • Fast cars or
  • Baking or
  • Anything else.

You get my point I’m sure… these are simply not good reasons for selecting any kind of supplier.

Sadly, I’ve seen a lot of people choose their adviser this way… and then be surprised when they lose (often quite a lot) because of bad advice.

So, how about a checklist?

Yes, well if you want to ‘buy in’ some expertise or get a good coach, you really must check their:

  1. Knowledge and Skills
  2. Qualifications
  3. Experience
  4. Testimonials and
  5. Value for money

Here’s my fun way to remember what to look out for:

8 Cs of choosing a coach

And be sure to ask yourself that question about communications too.

Can you really understand what they’re talking about?

Some of the ‘so-called’ experts out there will try to hide their ignorance behind a load of old gobbledygook.

So, you need to beware of that.

Just because it sounds complicated…

… or they quote some ‘Nobel’ prize-winning idea which allegedly supports their work, does not necessarily make it ‘right’.

You see, when it comes to matters of money and economics there’s one thing we know for sure.

The economics profession is truly confused about how things work.

They even issue Nobel prizes to people who hold opposite views.

Yes, seriously, and you can learn more about that here

So, if your adviser sounds like they’re trying to baffle you with science… watch out. As they might be trying to hide the fact that they don’t understand the issues themselves.

So, demand a plain English explanation – every time.

Extra checks on financial advisers

In addition to the factors listed above, if you’re talking to a potential investment adviser, ask them to explain their approach to investment risk management.

And get them to put it in writing.

Sadly, too many advisers use flawed models of risk and you really don’t want to be one of their clients at the wrong time!

Remember what Warren Buffet said about hidden risks.Buffett see who's been swimming naked

And given that the tide (markets) is well and truly in (high) at the moment…

you might not be able to see your risks right now.

Learn more from the smarter investment ideas (drop down on the Insights tab) on this site.

The bottom line

Make sure you understand the risks of any investment you’re getting into – before you commit to it.

Those risks should be clearly described in the key features and other documents you’re given before you sign on the dotted line.

And if you haven’t heard about the ‘risks’ – then something’s gone badly wrong with the advice process.

So, apply the brakes.

Stop the sales process and demand to be told about the risks – in full – however well you know these advisers.

Of course, if you’re sure that your adviser is highly capable… and he or she also just happens to share an interest or hobby with you…

… well, that’s just fine – that’s definitely a win-win 😉

But do, please… take care out there

Thanks for dropping in


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