T Nation

Help With Selecting A Coach


The following questions relate to factors involved in selecting a coach (for either in-person or online consulting when the latter is an option) and also how to determine when the online option would be preferable to in-person coaching.

First, when would selecting a coach for online consulting be preferable to finding someone local? While the internet is a powerful tool, it seems like in-person coaching would always be the way to go unless living is a fairly remote location where finding quality local coaching might be more of a challenge.

This would seem to go doubly in cases where corrective work and significant soft tissue treatment would be involved, since such hands-on work cannot be had via the web, and having one person involved in your treatment and program design (ex. coaches like Bill Hartman and Coach Poliquin who are not only able to do soft tissue manipulation but are also highly-skilled coaches) would seem to be most optimal (or at the very least having a therapist and coach either in the same facility or close proximity so that they can consult and be acutely aware of the interactions between treatment and programming).

Secondly, for a client/athlete willing to travel anywhere and pay any price for coaching and the best results (whether for performance, bodybuilding, nutrition, etc.), how do you go about selecting between destinations/coaches when the potential available options all seem like 1, 1A, 1B, etc. as opposed to a clear-cut 1-2-3 and so on?

While certain coaches obviously have their specialties, there are quite a few who are highly skilled in so many areas that they can essentially function as “one-stop shopping.”

Examples: choosing between working with coaches like you, Mike Boyle, Mark Verstegen, Alwyn Cosgrove, Coach Poliquin, Eric Cressey and Tony Gentilcore, Mike Robertson and Bill Hartman, Joe Defranco, and others of that caliber. Or in the nutrition realm, consulting with Dr. Berardi, Lyle McDonald, Justin Harris, or even people like Mike Roussell, Joel Marion, Leigh Peele, Martin Berkhan, and Brad Pilon, all of whom have garnered more attention of late via the internet.

When the choice is working with someone like Alwyn Cosgrove or a bozo at the local Bally or between Lyle McDonald and some fossil of a registered dietician at a nearby office, the choice seems quite clear. But what happens when the choice suddenly transforms into, “I can choose to work with Alwyn Cosrgove/someone at his facility or Coach Poliquin/someone at his facility?”

This could apply to any comparison of coaches listed above or others out there in that realm. All would claim to produce the best results the fastest and have been at it for years, so it seems to muddy the waters.

On the one hand, you can’t go wrong, but by the same token you want to feel you made the absolute best choice for yourself, essentially selecting the best of the best.

These questions are out of genuine curiosity and not to pit one top coach against another or knock anyone’s particular methods.