Help! I think I Picked the Wrong Coach: 3 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Tell

The numbers are daunting: one third of all small businesses will fail within the first two years and only one half will make it to year four. When it comes to internet businesses, though, those statistics look positively rosy. According to Sean Donahoe of the ADD Marketing Group, 95% of all internet marketers fail to make any money at all online. According to Donahoe: “The problem is that people want immediate results and as soon as they hit any form of roadblock they change course or give up. They do not have the helping hand that guides them to success and profits.”

Lynda-Ross Vega

Lynda-Ross Vega

There are so many ‘moving parts’ involved in successful internet marketing (squeeze pages, auto-responders, shopping carts etc.) and the rules change so quickly (video v. audio, MySpace v. Facebook) that it is difficult to master without guidance. As a consequence, there is no lack of helping hands available to fledgling internet entrepreneurs—in fact, the focus of many internet entrepreneurs is to help others build successful internet based businesses.

But taking advice from a successful internet marketer and emulating their style without an understanding of your own skills and talents can lead to frustration, burn out, and failure.

If you are currently working with a successful coach or mentor, but are not experiencing the kind of success you envisioned, the problem might not be on your end—you may simply have picked the wrong person.

Here are three major ways to tell if you have the picked the wrong coach/mentor:

1. You enjoy what they say, are enthusiastic after a coaching call or mastermind session, but trying to implement what you have learned leaves you feeling tired and worn out.
2. You try harder but are left with unanswered questions and a vague sense that you are almost getting it, but not quite.
3. When you ask for clarification or help the response you get can be boiled down to “keep on trying and you will eventually ‘get it’.”

Successful entrepreneurs build their business around a core of the natural skills they have, and when they mentor others, those are the skills they’ll emphasize. Their advice and coaching will be about helping you to do what they have done.

It sounds good, of course—but the problem is that their natural skills are often not the same as yours. As a consequence, what is easy for them is not easy for you.

We all have a large but finite set of skills and abilities that are natural to us. These skills and abilities are always easier to grow and develop than those that don’t come naturally to us—what are known as acquired skills.

We are naturally attracted to people who fill gaps for us—i.e., those who accomplish easily what we’d like to be able to do. The problem is that this focus on “what is missing” leads you to focus on acquired skills. Working hard to develop these missing pieces takes time and energy away from developing the areas where you naturally excel.

Find a coach/mentor who recognizes your natural potential and can open the doors to skills and abilities that come naturally to you, but are underutilized in your business. As for the ‘gaps,’ it makes more sense to hire someone who does what you don’t than it does to try to emulate a mentor who’s too different from yourself. Success is built on doing more of what you love, not less.

This approach requires that you have a working knowledge of your own natural skills and abilities, but the time spent discovering this knowledge is well worth the results and the frustration avoided.

Lynda-Ross Vega: A partner at Vega Behavioral Consulting, Ltd., Lynda-Ross specializes in helping entrepreneurs and coaches build dynamite teams and systems that WORK. She is co-creator of Perceptual Style Theory, a revolutionary psychological assessment system that teaches people how to unleash their deepest potentials for success. For free information on how to succeed as an entrepreneur or coach, create a thriving business and build your bottom line doing more of what you love, visit

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