Finding a Good Coach is Like Finally Addressing That Annoying Random Bump on Your Skin

Okay, bear with me here – this analogy will be worth it, I promise. Just come along for the ride.

So, I’ve had this weird bump on my toe for 2 years now. When it first joined my life, I thought nothing of it. It was just this small, weird, annoying thing on my toe that was sure to exit my life just as quickly and was not worth my time and focus. 

A year later, it was still there, but had gotten a little bigger. I debated going to see the doctor. But like most busy people, I thought, “Why should I take off work and bother my doctor with this ridiculously small issue – it’s probably nothing. I’m going to try a few things to fix it myself.” 

So, of course, I first looked it up online so I could properly diagnose myself. Could be a callus... Could be a wart… Could be a bad blister thing…. Doesn’t look like an ingrown hair... Doesn’t look cancerous… 

I went to the pharmacy and picked up a bunch of random foot-focused interventions: callus removers, wart removers, thick band aids, little pads, long things, wrap-around things, sticky things. 

I made sure to give each intervention a good college try and adhere to the recommended time and dose recommendations. One said give it two weeks, then try again for another two weeks, then again for another two weeks if the last attempts don’t work. Another indicated that I must give it a good 3-4 months.


I might as well have been using healing crystals and concocting my own ointments. 

A year later, this thing is still there, now raw and painful from all these random treatments. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time and money on sub-par treatments, rather than going once to the doctor and getting an accurate diagnosis and specific course of treatment that would have been tailored to my issue. 

You get my drift here?? 

Anyone, regardless of level of educational attainment or experience can get a "coaching certificate", hang up a shingle, and call themselves a "coach"? And there are so many types: leadership coach, life coach, management coach… you name it and there is a coach for it. 

But if you are thinking you need a coach, that means you are experiencing a problem that concerns you that you know needs to be addressed. Before you start trying to diagnose your issue and finding the least expensive way you can get rid of it with a few coaching sessions, you may want to consider the cost vs. benefit of that approach. 

Like with most things, our attempts to cut corners, make things simple, or get rid of problems as quickly as possible often backfires. We almost always spend more money and time, and end up more frustrated, when we don’t give ourselves the time and care we need. 

More often than not - just like taking care of our physical health - taking care of our work, life, and relationship health is an important investment in your current and future success. You want to make sure the investment has high value (i.e., the cost-to-benefit ratio is in your favor) with measurable outcomes that connect with your goals. 

Think about the last time you made a major investment, for example buying a home or getting an academic degree. The factors you probably considered included things like (1) long-term value compared to up-front investment, (2) extra unique value compared to other similar prospects, and (3) past performance. Would you want to do the same for your current and future person and work success?