A Bad Professional Coach

6 Signs of A Bad Professional Coach

Coach TriumphProfessional Development, Areas of Coaching Leave a Comment

Bad professional coaches don’t listen to their clients, they base all of their advice on their own experiences, they don’t ask open questions that can encourage the individual in front of them to open up and they generally don’t base any of their guidance around the information that the client is providing to them.

Bad professional coaches aren’t just a waste of money, they can be downright damaging. Let’s take a look at the 6 signs of professional coaches that aren’t doing their job properly.


Whether you go to a professional coach to improve your goal setting skills, to find motivation during periods where everything seems to be getting on top of you or simply to try and find some direction during a period of stagnation. The last thing you want is to walk out of the room feeling like you’re in the same position as you were when you entered, or even worse, further back.

Sadly, with a bad professional coach, that’s exactly what might happen. Here are the 6 signs of a bad professional coach so that you know when It’s time to place your trust into someone else.

They Base All Of Their Advice On Themselves

Bad professional coaches provide guidance that comes directly from their own life experiences. Even though their advice can seem relevant, one of the cornerstones of a great professional coach is that they remove themselves from the situation.

A bad coach always turns the conversation back on themselves and provides advice that doesn’t have anything to do with you as a person or your current situation. The advice you receive should always relate to your specific needs and wants and allow you to achieve them during times of hardship through tying into your emotional values and triggering you into inspired action.

Instead, a bad coach will just leave you feeling frustrated as they talk about themselves and their own life, thus neglecting you in the process.

me and myself

They Ask Closed Questions

Closed questions are questions that don’t prompt the other person to provide an answer. They don’t lead onto free-flowing discussion and they’re completely ineffective at encouraging someone to open up about their thoughts and feelings.

Bad professional coaches don’t understand the importance of open questions and instead make statements or ask questions that require a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response. This doesn’t give you the scope you need to be able to talk about how you truly feel about your current circumstances and therefore you’re unable to start making any kind of progress in your personal or professional life.

They Tell You What To Do

A great coach allows their client to develop their own answers through open discussion and encourages them to explore the solutions that they feel are best based on their current circumstances.

Bad coaches tell their clients what to do. They don’t allow them to explore their feelings effectively and they generally tell them how they should feel, what they should think and how they should react.

You should never settle for a coach that tries to dictate any of the above to you, as it never gives you the space you need to understand and evolve your inner mechanics of your own accord. Self-empowerment is the key to progression as opposed to dictation.

coaching session

They Don’t Forward Plan Your Time With Them

The start of a professional coaching session should never begin with the phrase ‘what would you like to talk about today?’ – this simply implies that the coach hasn’t put any time into discerning the notes from your last session and formulating an effective framework for you to move forward with during your time with them.

Instead, a great professional coach will have some kind of structure that they want to try and work with over the course of your session based specifically on where you left off last time.

Otherwise, you’re just paying them for a conversation. Though coaching is conversation oriented, it does need to have some kind of inbuilt progression and strategies to allow you to evolve your current circumstances.

They Use Buzz Words Frequently And Focus On Cliches

You’ve probably heard them before. There’s always going to be one coach that can’t shake off the stereotypical coach image from movies and always uses words like ‘transformation’ and phrases like ‘win win’ before and after every sentence.

These phrases aren’t relatable. They don’t have anything to do with you as a person, nor can they help you to achieve anything on a personal level. They’re simply tags that a bad coach perceives to be impressive sounding.

When you hear phrases like this being dropped frequently in conversation, there’s a good chance that your coach is trying to hide behind a mask of jargon to baffle and confuse you into paying them by the hour rather than actually focusing on speaking to you on a real, interpersonal basis via effective open conversation.

They Provide Self Remedial Coaching

Though coaches often get into their industry because they’re inspired to help others based on experiences that they may have had themselves, bad coaches actually use your sessions as a means of providing their own therapy.

A bad professional coach will try to address their own personal issues through providing a coaching service itself. Sure, everybody has situations and circumstances that they’re working through in life, but your time with a coach should be solely for your benefit.

As such, it’s imperative that you don’t work with coaches who are experiencing serious difficulties in the areas that they claim to be experts in. How can you trust them to help you progress if they haven’t been able to help themselves, after all?


Do you recognise any of our 6 signs of bad professional coaching in someone you’ve spoken to in the past? Or perhaps you can remember a professional coaching experience that set you back as opposed to allowing you to progress? What was it like for you?

It’d be great to hear all about your professional coaching experiences in the comments section and we’d love it if you could share this post so that other people can find the coach that they truly deserve.