How do I find a good coach or therapist?

Updated: Apr 17, 2019

People often ask me this question. And my answer, the same way you find a good green-grocer, beautician, doctor or yoga teacher. It's as if they believe there's a one-size-fits-all professional who can work their magic and change your life.

Marketing from self proclaimed gurus and the media promote this to an extent. Headlines such as "Follow these 3 secret rules to become a successful millionaire!" "I can change your life in 3 easy steps", "change your life in one hour" are not uncommon... and it may work for some... why wouldn't it be true?

But here's what I've discovered having been on both the receiving end as well as providing therapy, there is no one-size-fits-all-solution and definitely no one-size-fits-all coach, psychologist or counsellor.

I spent a year having weekly therapy. It was required as part of my training but I also wanted to get something out of it. I chose her as you might expect, a rational decision. She was qualified, she worked across the NHS and privately. She was about my age. She seemed to have her life sorted or at least that's what she promoted. Looking back she was way too pushy and her style made me feel like I was broken. And she could fix me. I made a mistake. Her style didn't work for me.

What works for you might be very different from what works for me. Often we look for someone who is highly qualified just as I did. My mistake is that my therapist had a completely different background and life to me. She had not been through the kind of issues I was dealing with and her training had not taught her to ask the right questions. Her approach was "one-size-fits-all".

I remember feeling like a failure at the end of our year together. I pretended things were getting better to her and myself.

In reality I think her style had left me with a lot more questions. And so I've learnt that qualifications and recommendations are a starting point. However the research for decades across the therapy coaching spectrum is that "success" more than anything else is predicted by the quality of the connection and relationship.

Today I have a coach and she is open about her own journey and lives the kind of life I aspire to. So shop around and find out who you connect with. Look beyond the 'professional' mask. Remember you are not broken, you do not need fixing, you are as unique as your fingerprint. And one-size-definitely-does-not fit-all.

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