I believe there are three groups of people who go to coaches/gurus (I think these terms are synonymous).
The first group is made up of people like myself who know quite a bit about nutrition and training and have a significant amount of experience but were unsure of how to go through a contest prep. That is, they likely know that along the way, when there are stalls in progress in fat loss, they will have to lower calories and/or increase physical activity. However, they are unsure of what specific changes should be made and how aggressively they should be made. Perhaps they can’t make a reasonable estimation about how much they will have to weigh at a shredded weight and thereby can’t figure out how long they will have to prep.
If I were younger and had years to compete, I would have figured it out myself, knowing that if I did one contest and flopped in my condition, I could use it as a learning experience and try to do better next time. But I did my first contest last year, and knew there was a big chance that I’d likely never do a show again considering my age, marriage, and effort to have a child (I think my wife told me she was pregnant a little more than a month after my show).
The second group of people is likely the group in which my pal Arash fits. Having known him for 20 years, I know that he likes things to be perfect. So though he knows a great deal about his body, is an intelligent guy, and got lean a few times in the past, he wants to come in mint condition and have a second set of eyes and guidance for that. There are others like this. Jay Cutler comes to mind. Though he was very in tune with his body, I believe he didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Apparently someone like Dorian had a better grasp on things when left to himself and had more confidence that he could get the job done alone. Same goes for everyone before the guru/coach concept came along.
The third group is made up of… OK, how am I going to put this? In saying what I will say here, I don’t mean to be mean-spirited. However, anyone who knows a few people on the inside will attest to it: many bodybuilders are idiotic! I don’t know if they are literally are idiots or morons, but how they behave or reason is idiotic! You or anyone else might be astonished by how little they know about nutrition or the manipulation of it or how to track their progress or how to visually or even mentally assess their visual, physical, and mental condition. Dan Duchaine once said in an interview for Ironman magazine, “Being a contest prep coach is like being a babysitter to a 250 pound baby. ‘Don’t do that,’ that’s all it is. They’ll call you up with the dumbest questions. ‘Coach, can I have the cheesecake?’ ‘Don’t do that!’”