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Success coaching as a term – or as an industry – often gets a bad rap.

Is success coaching a scam? It seems everywhere you turn, there is another “success coach” who wants to convince you they either are – or have – the answer to all that ails you.

From personal success coaches, to sports success coaches, to relationship success coaches and so on. There is no shortage of experts out there who claim they can make you “better.”

But can they?

Having a success coach can be the “X-factor” between average results and jaw-dropping results. Good ones can help you with a variety of things from how to be more confident, the key to great relationships, advancing in your business or career, and even how to improve productivity / be more productive.

Nearly everyone who’s at the top of their game – or who’s accomplished dramatic things in their life personally or professionally – can point to a coach or mentor who helped them at some point. In fact, some of the most successful persons in history suggest finding a success coach if you’re wanting to improve any aspect of your life.

On the other hand, just because someone has experienced their own success, that doesn’t mean they can help you find that same magic too. I’m sure you’ve seen examples of this. After all, it’s kind of the crux of the problem. And it’s the very reason success coaching as an industry is somewhat mocked (or looked at with disdain) in some circles, by some people.

There are three basic types of success coaches you should avoid. However, there’s also a specific type – with certain characteristics – who may just help you achieve a greatness greater than you’ve ever imagined.

1. Avoid the success coach whose success isn’t replicable.

You may be thinking, “How do I know their success isn’t replicable unless I’ve chosen to work with them?”

This is a good point—sort of… It can be difficult to identify this success coach in some cases. On the other hand, most of the time there are telltale signs right up front.

This coach has often achieved some major success of their own. Yet, when you look at their story, it becomes clear that there were many variables to their success. This is fine IF they can explain how they controlled those variables. Certainly, we can make our own luck. But we must do so intentionally.

Can the success coach explain exactly how they achieved their success? Can those conditions be recreated in your situation? For example, maybe they are a business coach. In their success story, they had access to a lot of funding. Contrastingly, you don’t. Thus, their strategies probably won’t work for you.

Or perhaps they are a relationship coach but don’t have children. You do. Therefore, what worked for them to keep the heat or romance in their relationship may not be realistic if you have two children under 6 years old and a teenager.

2. Avoid the success coach who doesn’t know how to teach others to replicate their success.

So maybe the coach has previously experienced major success. And you don’t see any specific ways or reasons you couldn’t do what they did. But can they provide you with a blueprint or roadmap to follow?

This goes back to the question above—can they explain how they did what they did in a way that is easy (or even possible) to follow and duplicate?

An effective success coach should have a system—or at least a plan—for teaching you how to duplicate their success. Otherwise, you will both be flailing and wasting time. Since one of the major reasons to have a success coach is to shorten the road to success, allowing for greater success, this would be BAD.

3. Avoid the success coach who has never had success in the first place. How can they help you get results if they aren’t / weren’t able to help themselves?

This one is super-tricky. Sure, there are some “experts” who have put a lot of time and effort into study and theory. Consequently, they may be able to use that information to help you. On the other hand, it’s a good idea to be cautious if they can’t show you how they made their ideas, plan, or system work in their own life.

If your relationship success coach is single or has never had a long-term relationship – and if that’s what you want – can they help you really? Likewise, if your professional success coach’s business isn’t BOOMING – or they don’t have the career of their dreams – you might want to think twice about hiring them. If your sports success coach never made it past the high school team, you may want to pause before signing up for their services.

But what if they truly seem to know what they’re talking about and share with you some ideas that sound great—before you sign on with them?

Regardless of how pretty a picture they paint, if your potential success coach has not personally experienced what they will coach you to do, they should have evidence of their ideas and systems working for others. If they cannot produce testimonials or referrals from past clients they have helped in a big way, you’re taking a big risk being “first.”

Explore the success coach who meets the criteria below and you might just find you can have it all—that you are holding the golden ticket to your dreams!

Qualities of the best success coaches:
  • Have experienced much success themselves, in whatever they are teaching
  • Know exactly how they achieved their success
  • Don’t talk a lot about “luck”, “timing”, or other resources you don’t have or don’t have access to
  • Have a standard “plan” that will provide structure for you to follow
  • Have a great reputation in their industry
  • Provide testimonials, referrals, and feedback from other clients
  • Use measurable outcomes to determine if their work with you was “successful”
  • Offer you some sort of “guarantee” (money, extra time, etc.) that their success coaching will be beneficial to you


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