What to look for in a perfectionism coach + 3 red flags to avoid
How do I know if I’ve found a great, trust-worthy coach? What do I need to look out for? And what do I need to avoid when choosing a coach?
These are important questions to ask yourself, when you’re considering working with a coach.
Online coaching hasn’t been around for long. Perfectionism coaching is a new field altogether.
So I definitely understand that it can be hard to figure out exactly what you need to look for and the red flags to avoid when choosing a coach.
A little while ago, I was looking to buy a new couch. (And feeling like a real adult!)
After some research I learned that a good quality couch has a solid wood frame and reinforced corners. As a couch-buying newbie I was clueless. I seriously appreciated the manufacturer explaining what to look for and then linking me straight to some couches that fit those criteria. They informed me and made me an educated buyer, so much so that I was confident with my purchase.
This blog post is about to do the same for you. Not on the topic of couches of course, but when it comes to looking for + finding a great coach to work with.
Let’s dig in.
/ 1 / Do they hold space for their clients?
A coach’s primary job is to hold space. Space for their clients to sit with questions, figure things out in their own way and on their own time, let them come to the right answers themselves + empower them to listen to and trust themselves more.
Coaching is about helping clients find their OWN answers and solutions to their problems.
A great coach gently guides you to your own self-discovery. The work itself can be a big deep dive into you hopes, goals, fears, and biggest dreams + a tool for self-discovery around the things that may be holding you back and the areas you would like to improve and grow in.
As a coach, my job is to facilitate that discovery for you and offer up exercises, tools, techniques + strategies to support, guide, and empower you in the pursuit of your goals.
Holding space is truly the most important work I do with my clients. Holding space for self-discovery, mindset shifts around perfectionism and other fears, action planning + ultimately a transformation from being stuck in inaction to making your big ideas happen in your creative business.
So much of the time you can feel like you need fixing, when in reality there’s so much more you can achieve by existing in that anxious, fearful space instead of trying to fight your way around it. My job is to help you do just that and to hold that space for you.
/ 2 / Is their approach personalized to your specific situation?
A big, red flag is when a coach, or any online expert for that matter, claims to have THE answer which offers a solution to ALL things for ALL people.
We all know that capital A answers don’t exist.
Now, that doesn’t mean that coaching packages can’t have structure or be based on a framework, but when a client has to contort themselves to fit into a set framework with a predetermined outcome that’s a red flag for me.
My Ditch Perfect + Take Action coaching program has a program that each client works through, a structure in place for support and accountability + a clear, 4-week timeframe. But… the program is customizable to fit the client’s needs and the result or outcome of our coaching program is always personalized to the client’s specific situation.
As a coach, it’s not my job to have all of the answers. It’s my job to bring my expertise, experience + energy to the table. It’s my job to listen, to ask good questions, to show compassion, to use the tools and gifts and strengths I have available to me to help you bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.
Because there is no one-size-fits-all strategy out there to help you make things happen in your creative business. There are tools you can develop, skills you can hone + growth you can embrace, but ultimately it’s about truly understanding your vision, your values, and your brand + moving forward and paying attention every step of the way.
Don’t let any coach tell you otherwise.
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/ 3 / Do they treat both the symptoms and the cause?
Let me explain what I mean by this. You see, I used to be an avid blog reader. Lifestyle blogs, finance blogs, health blogs… you name it.
Almost all blogs have one common goal: they want to help you live a better life, whether it’s through financial planning, health + weight management, overcoming your perfectionism etc.
But I’ve found that 99% of money advice and weight loss advice and perfectionism advice (basically ALL advice) starts in the wrong place.
It treats a symptom (living with debt, spending too much) without addressing the cause (buying things to keep up with our friends, shopping when we’re tired or overwhelmed).
Here’s the truth:
You’re not going to have any money to invest if you keep shopping instead of getting an understanding of what actually makes you happy.
You’re not going to lose a single pound if you keep eating away all of your stress instead of feeling your feelings.
You’re not going to overcome your perfectionism if you keep throwing around a superficial mantra like “Done is better than perfect” and hoping it will stick instead of getting deep down to the root of your perfectionistic coping behavior and actually changing it.
A great coach helps you address the real issue and treat not just the symptoms but also the cause. A great coach does foundational work with you.
My coaching philosophy is to not just work together to solve one specific problem at one set point in time, but instead to increase your ability to solve those types of problems from now on forward.
That's why my coaching program has two tracks:
a specific ‘Take Action’ track, which allows you to take one specific big idea you have for your business and make it real in 4 weeks time; AND
a foundational ‘Ditch Perfect’ track, which helps you tackle the underlying issues and fears you’re facing, change your coping mechanism + adopt a new anti-perfectionism way of thinking.
A few helpful questions to ask yourself when choosing to work with a coach:
Do they treat the symptoms AND the cause?
Do they do foundational work with you?
Do they increase not only your self-awareness but also your problem-solving skills?
Do they make you stronger, more self-reliant + independent?
I hope these questions were helpful for you, no matter where you are in your creative business right now.
As with any online advice, the ultimate red flag is when a coach portrays their work and results as quick and easy fixes, when, in fact, setting up or running a creative business is messy + progress isn't always a straight line.
No coach should tell you how to run your business or what the right mindset for running a business is. Instead they should be a catalyst for your own discovery and exploration in your work. Because when you look for someone else to tell you what to do, you outsource the leadership of your business + the only person who can ever truly lead it is yourself.
And if, after all of this, working with a perfectionism coach sounds right up your alley and my Ditch Perfect + Take Action coaching program is a great fit for you, I’d love to work together to come up with a personalized action plan to help you ditch perfect + make that big business idea happen. Find out more about working together + get in touch with me here.
Hey, Wendy here!
As a perfectionism coach, I help online creatives #ditchperfect, overcome their perfectionism + take action on the big ideas they have for their business. Let’s work together and make those ideas happen.