Coaches are in big demand these days as more and more people are looking to run their own start up or step up their current business game. If there’s one trend that I’m seeing everywhere, it’s the rise of business and personal coaches. It feels like every other post on my Instagram and Facebook feed is a quote from a “guru” or a perfectly manicured, story of an Insta-Coach in LA selling the dream lifestyle. 

Low to no barriers of entry are allowing more and more people to call themselves coaches – and that presents some issues. Without a governing body any old person can wake up one morning and decide they want to be a coach, whether or not they have the qualifications to match. It’s this type of Malibu Barbie approach to coaching that worries me. 

Just to clarify, I am a huge fan of coaching! I, myself am a Business Turnaround Coach, I’ve worked with plenty of coaches on their businesses and I’ve worked with coaches to step up my own business and most have had a positive and significant impact on my life. Some of the most successful people in life and business have coaches. A truly legitimate coach can help you level up your life and business! 

So how can you tell if the personal coach or online coaching service you’re thinking of paying for really knows their stuff? These are the questions you need to be asking:

1. How long have they been a coach?

When researching a coach, you should definitely ask about their previous experience in terms of clients and years of practicing. If they have just started, then it’s reasonable to assume that they don’t have much expertise, or they may not even be as committed to the work as the coaches that have been in the game longer.  If you see some history, then that’s a great sign that they are committed, experienced and have value to bring to the table and most importantly your life or business. 

Everyone has to start from somewhere, yet an inexperienced coach can simply charge as much as an experienced coach. So it’s important to understand value. 

2. Do they have the experience in the area you need help?

This is just a nice way of asking if the coach has actually done the things they promise to help you overcome – because *spoiler alert* many haven’t. If you seek personal help in your life, ask the coach if they’ve been through and overcome the things you’re experiencing or at least something similar? 

On a more professional level, ask if this coach has started a business, created wealth or been at the levels that you aspire to? Ask them about their career and what they’ve actually done and achieved. Remember to be specific, and listen for candid responses from the coach. If their answers seem too basic and surface level, it might be best to let go and move on. 

3. What are they actually saying?

Legitimate coaches will have more substance than just inspirational quotes and beautiful Instagram images. They might be writing articles for publications, discussing new learnings on video, hosting seminars and workshops, sharing their own experiences or finding other ways to provide value and support. Professional coaches should also have a plethora of testimonials from their clients or a portfolio of the work they’re doing for others.

Another thing to note is the language they are using. If they constantly say that you can feel a certain way, or live a certain way, or that they have some special secret, then it’s probably a good idea to exercise some discretion. 

Probably the biggest red flag is how often they talk about association. Do they name drop or talk about celebrity this and their “billionaire” clients all the time? Look no further than the failed Fyre Festival as an example of association gone wrong.

4. What’s on their social media?

Check their social media! If all you see on their Instagram are quotes on pastel coloured backgrounds (and many of the quotes are their own!) with their freshly created logo, then check out the depth of their writing and go beyond just the Insta gorgeous quote. If there is no substance, then check out all these other points and it might be a good idea to move on quickly.

You can see how far back their social media accounts go or look for other evidence of their work online. That way you can determine if they are brand new, or have been doing this work for some time.

5. Do they have references?

One quick and effective way to validate a coach is to ask for references. If they are experienced and successful then they will definitely have great references.

If a coach is too new to have references, that’s okay. But they should be upfront about it. Then you can make a judgement call based on how you feel about them and their pricing.

6. Are they qualified?

The university of life is amazing, but you are potentially putting yourself and your business in their hands. So are they qualified to help you with you and your business?

7. Do the numbers stack up?

We can all get impressed by the 6 figure and 7 figure claims and let’s be clear 7 figures is £1,000,000. So if you are impressed and influenced by their claims – ask to see the evidence and do the numbers stack up? Are they talking about the vanity of turnover or the transparency of profit? If it took 7 figures to earn 7 figures that’s not smart. Check out the numbers – the numbers do not lie.

Finally is the image owned or leased? Check out whether it’s smoke and mirrors and if in doubt ask to see the numbers.

Remember there are always exceptions to every rule, but these questions are effective in sniffing out any red flags. At the end of the day, you’ll want to look for honesty, authenticity and expertise. 

The truth is, I cannot help you build a six-figure business in two minutes flat. Nor am I going to show you a 10 step programme / colour by numbers plan. Also “If you do what I’ve done you’ll get what I’ve got” is not a strategy! 

That’s just not real at all and it is not sustainable!

I can give help you shine a light and get under the skin of your business and together we you develop a plan to get you more clients, make you more money and have a better sleep at night.

Starting a business is as easy as 123 and any Barbie can do that!

But building a business takes time, hard work and humility.

You could have the best of intentions and then not do a single thing and I’m not about to take ownership over your lack of action.

For more business advice and support head over to my Facebook Group now and join the fun! Alternatively, if you’re looking for some one-to-one advice then sign up for your Free Strategy Session now.


Linda x

Photo: Mattel


  • Linda was a Expert Business Coach & Entrepreneurial Mindset Mentor. She built a great reputation as a business turnaround expert and has been privileged to work with some amazing people and businesses. Professionally qualified and passionate about supporting Entrepreneurs and Business Owners to have the business and life they love. Successfully manoeuvred through 3 recessions – with the experience and scars to prove it! Hugely credible with significant experience spanning 30+ years with a proven track record of doubling, trebling + business turnover fast and always gets results! Now choosing to take life a bit slower, and focus on a small number of great businesses owners and individuals she coaches on business turnaround, performance mindset coaching encouraging her clients to dramatically improve their effectiveness, their efficiency, turnover, embrace change, learn the tools to be more resilient and to lead the lives and develop the businesses they desire. Her personal website is