So, you’ve decided that hiring a musician coach wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
But what sort of qualities and qualifications should you look for in a musician coach?
If you know the following, it’s going to make the decision a lot easier.
So, ask yourself these questions when considering a musician coach:
Do They Ask Good Questions?
It may seem innocuous, but this is the most critical question you can ask.
A coach knows how to get out of their own way, listen attentively, and ask questions that change the way you see the world around you.
They will ask the questions you’re not asking, and by doing so, make you aware of blind spots, new perspectives, possibilities, opportunities, next steps, and more.
If your coach is doing all the talking, there’s something wrong. If they’re not asking questions, there’s something wrong. If they’re merely telling you what to do next, they still have much to learn.
A seasoned coach has had to generate results in situations where it was difficult if not impossible to do so. And they got there by asking powerful questions.
At the foundation of coaching is the ability to ask good questions.
Do They Have a Coach of Their Own?
The best coaches always have coaches of their own.
And if they don’t have a coach right this minute, they’re at least on a steady path of personal growth – reading articles and books, listening to podcasts, watching videos, taking courses, and generally investing in themselves and their knowledge.
If a coach doesn’t show any interest in self-development, they’re not going to make for a good coach.
Look for signs that they’re committed to being lifelong learners.
Do They Have a Website?
While creator economy apps like Koji are near omnipotent in their capabilities, the potential downside is that anyone can set up a free account, buy followers, and claim to be an expert on a topic.
A true coach might have a link in bio, but they wouldn’t balk at investing in the creation of their own regularly updated website. In fact, they would prioritize it.
Whether it’s domain names, web hosting, logo design, videos, blog posts, or otherwise, they’re not afraid to set forth the financial resources and time necessary to develop their brand.
A coach that’s invested in their online presence treats their job with a degree of seriousness others simply do not.
Do They Have a Book?
A book isn’t necessarily a requirement, but it does say something about a coach, namely that they’ve gone to the trouble of documenting their best tips and advice in written form.
Writing a book is a commitment. It’s at least 10 times the length of any term paper you’ve written in college.
A coach with a book better understands the dedication, discipline, and commitment required to make an album, because writing a book is just as extensive if not more so.
The other reason a book is valuable is because you can learn about the coach’s methodologies before even hiring them. At 20 bucks a pop, you really have nothing to lose.
Plus, if you take the time to read, you’ll be more committed to the process and get more out of the coaching. You’ll make for a better client, and that improves the coach-mentee relationship!
Do They Have Systems?
Sure, there are times when a coach needs to throw away the scripts, ditch the templates, abandon their methodologies, and get in the dirt with their clients.
We’re all human, after all!
But if a coach doesn’t at least have a battery of questions they use to better understand your circumstances and guide your next steps, are they honestly any better than an unpracticed bassist that “wings it” at a gig?
Coaches should have systems – be it video conferencing software (Zoom, Google Meet, or otherwise), PDF document templates, notes on their clients (along with a filing system), or otherwise.
You don’t want to be shooting from the hip as a client, and a coach shouldn’t be either! If they’re coaching you, they should be in the right environment with the right resources and processes to serve you to the best of their abilities.
Do They Have Demonstrated Results?
I need to say something that’s a little paradoxical here, but it is important.
A coach doesn’t necessarily have everything you want in life.
After all, they specialize in coaching, not in being a successful artist (that’s your job!).
They may have demonstrated results in their own career. It never hurts.
But what we’re talking about here is demonstrated results in the careers of others.
A coach needs to be able to help her clients first and foremost. If she can’t do that, it doesn’t matter what results she has in another area!
A coach always leaves his clients in a better position than where they started. Look for evidence of that.
Do They Have Quotes / Testimonials from Past Clients?
Quotes, testimonials, and reviews are always worth checking, and this goes hand in hand with demonstrated results.
There’s one major thing you should be aware of concerning social proof, though:
First is that even if a coach doesn’t have many reviews, it’s not necessarily a bad sign.
Ask yourself how many times you’ve left reviews on Amazon, Google, iTunes, or otherwise.
Unless it was a mind-blowingly amazing or mind numbingly horrendous experience, you probably aren’t compelled to leave a lot of reviews in the first place.
The point is – people don’t just hand out reviews like they’re candy, and even superb coaches don’t always have drawers full of references.
The other thing that’s good to be aware of is that reviews can and have been manufactured.
It sucks that I even need to bring it up, but some “coaches” out there claim to have taught fictional superheroes according to their website. Sorry, just no.
Obviously, the reviews you find on a coach’s website are going to be talking up the coach. No competent coach is going to use negative reviews on their site.
But complete fabrications are worth looking out for.
There are other questions you can ask to determine whether a coach is right for you, but the above should serve as an excellent starting point.
If they have a 15-minute free consultation or something of that nature, you could take advantage of that…
Or you could email or call them for more info as needed.
But don’t overthink it and let yourself get off the hook without deciding, that is, unless you want to go back to the rut, you’re trying to crawl your way out of.
P.S. Have you signed up to receive my print newsletter for independent musicians, Elite Players: Newsletter yet? We’ve thrown in over $3,000 in bonuses as an ethical “bribe.” Click HERE to learn more.