The Ultimate Coach Checklist | How to Choose the Right Coach for YOU

I think everyone needs a coach. In this guide, I’ll be helping you learn how to choose the right coach for you, but I’ll also be helping you understand WHY having the right coach is so beneficial to your fitness journey. 

How to Choose the Right Coach for YOU

I am a big believer that everyone needs a coach. I, personally, have a coach and I can see how beneficial it has been for me to have the support, guidance, and accountability from someone other than myself. 

Because of this, I understand that for many people, the concept of asking for help, ESPECIALLY when it comes to fitness, is very alien. 

“I’ve been fit before, surely I can do it again”


“My partner is in great shape, so he can help me”


“I am a fitness trainer, myself. I don’t need to invest in a coach”

But, the reality is that if you’ve been stuck in the same place for months or maybe even years, what makes you think that the next 6 months or 1 year are going to be different?

Then, one day… it hits you…

You wake up and realize, you need help… you take a look in the mirror and you don’t know which way to turn or where to even begin looking to help make the changes you finally drummed up the courage to accept to yourself. The idea of hiring coach filters in and your search begins. 

But where to begin? This is the hardest part to officially “lock-up”. Because everywhere you turn and every person who took one pinky toe into the fitness industry has now begun offering coaching services. 

So what factors do you use to decide how to choose the right coach for you?

Let’s break it down:

1. Experience

Number one in my honest opinion is experience. I’ll get to credentials next, but without experience your credentials are unsupported pieces of paper in my humble opinion. 

You’re probably wondering how I can say that, but we all can read material, take a written test and then think we know what we’re talking about. But then you begin practicing and notice, the human body is an organism that literally and metaphorically has a mind of its own, and the material you’re provided with to test on takes a cumulative review of common topics.

Experience allows a coach to help you holistically, because if getting in the best shape of your life were ONLY about being given nutritional guidance and doing an exercise program, most people would be shredded. That’s why I think experience should come first in finding the right coach for you. 

2. Credentials  

When we explore the concept behind the credentials that are an absolute necessity as the catalyst to the experience. You cannot gain experience without having the credentials to begin in any industry; so the practical experience will be the supporting role to the credentials. 

Let’s break down the ideas behind credentials now. Being we live in a virtual world of options and endless opportunities, there are a plethora of educational resources out there to “certify” any profession. So how do you choose the right coach that has the proper credentials to support their business? Look for one that is nationally or, for our intents and purposes, internationally accredited. You do not want a certification or course curriculum that is only accepted in one specific state, region, or again, for our purposes, country. The further your education spans as being recognized, the stronger the study was and the more in-depth research files were provided. 

And on top of the accreditation, you also want to take into consideration what exactly your coach can provide to you as far as options. Is your coach only a strength and conditioning coach? A metabolic conditioning coach? “Sports Nutritionist” versus Registered Dietician or does your coach have a Registered Dietitian on the team? 

Does your coach continually keep up with their education so they’re always offering the most beneficial and current options to allow you to continually progress?

Another thing that you should keep in mind when vetting a coach is that credentials to work with specific populations are also incredibly important. For example, the pre and postnatal population are considered a ‘’special population’’, and most regular Personal Training certifications do not educate trainers enough to have the necessary knowledge to help these women. 

Specific courses and qualifications should be present for those working with moms (remember, postpartum is forever!) so you know that you will be getting the support you need for the body you have NOW, not the one you had before kids.

 The industry as a whole is progressing at an exponential rate, as should your coach! 

3. Results!

What are the ACTUAL results the coach(es) you’re interviewing are displaying or offering? Are the results “too good to be true?” If so, then they probably are. You always have to weigh the “at what cost” concept. 

We all want to see the strongest results in the least amount of time, right? But do we ever consider at what cost? Do we ever think about what the ultimate sacrifice will be? Or do you just dive head first into the coach that talks a good game? 

Listen, the gift of gab is a beautiful quality to have, if and only if it speaks the truth! And when it comes to achieving desired coaching results, the truth can be brutal.  And it can not give you exactly what you want at the exact time you want it. Most of the time it will not be in the timing that you want it. Because let’s remember, anything worth having will not come easily. 

So, let’s make sure that the results are not only real, but they are also realistic and sustainable. Anyone can lose weight drinking only juice for a week straight, but is this sustainable for you? For your lifestyle? Does it align with the life you want to have?

These are all things you should be asking yourself. 

4. Are they honest? 

By honest, I don’t mean they tell the truth about how they personally eat and train and talk about themselves with complete honesty. I mean, do they tell YOU the truth? Can they seem completely abrupt in their approach and maybe even brutal? Are they willing to compromise signing a new client by telling the truth instead of just adding another couple of bills to their bottom line? 

Some coaches are all about the almighty dollar and how many people they can pull and push in and out of the revolving door just to make a buck or two. This isn’t how the good ones do business. Real coaches worry about their clients. 

We (yes I said we) worry about the health and happiness of our clients. We worry about what the ultimate outcome will be not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. Why? Because that is what ultimate well being translates to. A beautiful aesthetic is amazing; but what good is it if you’re miserable trying to achieve it and cannot sustain it emotionally after the fact? A good coach will NEVER allow this to occur, because the true wealth of any person is their health! 

5. Do they have boundaries

When you ask yourself how to choose the right coach for your needs, ask about boundaries! A stellar coach will absolutely make sure you understand their limitations as well. No coach can be a master of all! Ever hear the saying “Jack of All Trades, Master of None?” Well when you are an individual requiring very specific needs to be met, how can someone who is a jack of all trades narrow down your particular situation? Chances are they can’t, so they guess and guess some more and pray the spaghettis sticks to the wall. 

You want to make sure your chosen coach fits your specific requirements. Are you postpartum? Prenatal? Looking to get pregnant? Going through menopause? Looking to compete in some sort of fitness show? Etc, etc, etc… 

Make sure you first know what your needs are and what exactly niche you fit into and then find a coach that suits them. 

We are not a one size fits all world and coaches cannot be a one size fits all coach. When you are aware and know what your personal needs are, your coach needs to recognize them! And they should be able to address your needs or know how to guide you through them. If they do not, then they are not the coach for you. 

6. Investment (Bonus)

It is important to understand that a coach comes with a substantial investment, and of course, it should be a consideration. However, it is also important to keep in mind what NOT making that investment is costing YOU.

Here are some things the ladies in my program were experiencing before they joined:

  • They had not taken pictures with their kids for a long time because they didn’t like the way they looked
  • Or they avoided social events because they didn’t want to be seen in their current shape
  • They refused to take their kids swimming because they didn’t like how they looked in a swimming suit

I think it is safe to say these are all things you can’t put a price tag on. 

Please understand that I am not telling you to just go crazy and remortgage your house to get help from a coach. However, you also need to be aware of the absolute fact, you do truly get what you pay for when it comes to customized fitness coaching. 

One of my favorite quotes says:

“If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur”- Red Adair 

Quality is ALWAYS the ultimate need. The right coach can either make or break much more than your physical well-being. And the detrimental side effects to the wrong coaching can take years to reverse if at all. So make sure you understand fully the investment that is needed, not just in your coach, but in yourself! 

If you want to learn more about my Customized Coaching Program, where you’ll get to work directly with me and my team to accomplish your fitness goals (and keep them)… I have just opened 7 spots for this coaching program.

For more information, send me a message HERE with the word “READY”.

Help other mamas learn how to choose the right coach for them! You can save this post to Pinterest and follow me there for more inspo! (@nathaliamelofit)

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