Ever had a friend who was super smart, yet you could rarely ever understand them? I know I tend to be that person when I talk about computers.

I have a friend who will smile deeply as I talk and then say:

Dude all I’ve heard for the last 5 minutes is “I’m a big nerd.” I have no idea what you said or what computer I should buy. So…what computer should I buy?

Coaches can be guilty of this as well. Many of them start out practicing a craft, such as underwater basket weaving or llama wrestling. But then they started coaching and moved their whole business over to giving advice.

Sure, they read about the latest developments in llama wrestling but when you ask them which singlet is the sexiest for you, they haven’t put a sexy singlet on in years.

As you sit under their llama-wrestling tutelage it’s just not working, and you don’t know why. Allow me to present the three reasons coaching typically doesn’t work. These conclusions are based on the people I coach or the coaches I’ve hired. I’d like to humbly think that number one never applies to me.

Yes, I’m the most humble person I know.

1. Too much theory and complication.

Like I said, if your coach is totally out of the game you’re trying to play then the longer they’re out the more their advice is theoretical.

[Tweet “Your coach should still be in the game you’re trying to play. “]

Though more and more of my income is generated through coaching, I still almost always have a client where I’m building their site or helping them get more members.

I’m still sending proposals regularly. I’m still talking to possible web clients weekly. I’m staying in the game so I can give you the best advice possible out of my experience.

Make sure your coach is still in the game with at least some of their time.

2. Little time spent translating it to your work.

Number 2 is on you. When you hire a coach, book out at least a few extra hours a week to make sure you’re getting the work done they asked you to do.

If you’re not going to read the books they ask you to read or give them the answers they ask you for, or do the extra research or emailing or writing, then why are you wasting your money with the coach?

Make sure you set aside the time to do the damn work your coach is asking you to do.

3. It’s hard work.

When you started working with your coach were you looking for a magic pill? Some tidbit of advice that would suddenly launch you into peak productivity and maximum business success? It’s not like that, is it? Speaking of his own coaching habits, Michael Stanier, author of The Coaching Habit says:

Here are the support systems I’ve got around me to change and embed good behaviour: a coach; a mastermind group, which has weekly check-ins and bi-weekly phone calls; another mastermind group, which checks in every three months; and three habit apps on my iPhone. And I already know this stuff.

Note that he has all this support for the exact content he’s teaching you in his book. He knows it’s hard so he’s set up processes around him to stay on track.

The first three times I read Book Yourself Solid I felt it was a good book but I couldn’t quite understand why everyone raved so much about it. I read it a fourth time because I figured there was something wrong with me since it didn’t change how I approached clients. It was that fourth time–when I actually did the work–that I found out why everyone said the book was so awesome.

It was the work and the thinking that led to self discovery that turned it from a decent book about ideal clients to a book that changed my business.

If you want coaching to work for you make sure your coach is still in the game. Do the work they ask. Finally, remember it’s hard work and it’s this hard work that’s going to yield the best changes in you and your business.

photo credit: pasukaru76 cc