So, you’ve followed all the tips for successfully launching yourself into the dating world. Instead of finding your knight in shining armor, you have tendinitis of the fingers from swiping too much; wasted a ton of hours winking, texting and chatting over chat apps and worst, frustration and hopelessness. Time to throw in the towel and call in the experts!
Dating Coaches: While it may seem that dating should be an innate skill that just magically happens, that’s not always the case. Think of it like any other sport or skill you’ve learned such as riding the bicycle. Without guidance and practice, there’s no way you can learn how to ride a bike. Similarly, without guidance and practice (remember the saying “You need to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince!”), for many of us we need guidance.
- How Dating Coaches Can Help You: The purpose of a dating coach is to help you meet (or at the very least, put you in a better position) your soulmate; help you determine whether a person is right for you; succeed in a new relationship; and provide practical advice even when it’s not something you want to hear (but, it sure is the truth!).
- Benefits of a Dating Coach:
- Provide Objectivity: While our friends and family are supportive of us, dating coaches provide an unbiased third party who can more easily spot patterns that may hold you back in successful dating.
- Help you Push your Boundaries: In the same vein as tough love, dating coaches are better suited to push you to do things such as asking someone out, or giving someone a chance that you may otherwise have passed. As David Steele, founder of Relationship Coaching Institute noted, “I am not your friend. I am here to tell you the things you need to understand to get what you want.”
- Help You Develop Your Inner Warrior: One of the biggest benefits that dating coaches provide for women is to help break unhealthy and dated mindsets/behaviors that continue to persist in male-female relationships. One particularly harmful mindset that many women (including the most fiercest females you know of, like your hard charging CEO friend!) continue to have, is an inability to hold firm when saying “no” to unacceptable behaviors. Dating expert, Wendy Newman, author of the best selling book “121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!)” notes, “The pressure to “go along to get along,” not rock the boat and avoid displeasing the other person at all cost is the cultural training many of us received as little girls. It touches us to our core. Our inner self whispers, “Just get through this. Be nice.” Newman notes that despite being vigilant about “consent” for sexual advances, many women don’t alway apply the same standard to other unwanted non-sexual behaviors. Along the same lines, while most women have no problems standing up against a completely obnoxious guy who insists on grabbing your butt, they struggle to hold firm with that “nice” guy who is cute, charming, and polite, even though it should make no difference. After All, whether he is a creep or or not, he has not respected your “no” and does not have your consent to the objected behavior. In her article, “The Dangerous ‘Red Flag’ Women Should Never Ignore with a New Guy”, Newman writes, “Spotting a dangerous man when you don’t like him is easy. But noticing his negative traits gets a bit fuzzy when he’s hot, or smart, or funny, or charming, or, oh boy, all four.” Wendy instructs her clients, when you meet a man that doesn’t honor your “no” on even the little things, that’s a red flag and you should run even if he seems so “nice”. Writes Newman, “No matter how “nice” he is, if a man doesn’t honor you saying “no” on the little things — RUN! Because, nice or not, he has just committed the #1 dating red flag! He may as well have said to you, “I care more about what I want than what you need.” For those of you interested in learning more about how to spot this type of behavior in seemingly “nice” men who masquerade as “tigers in sheep’s skin”, read Newman’s article . Bottom line: Make sure to the draw that proverbial line in the sand and keep it ( no, not like the line drawn against Syria)!
- Be Careful When Selecting a Dating Coach: Unlike mental health therapists who are required to be licensed, there are no licensing requirement for being a dating coach which has led to a wide range of competency. Steele likens the industry to bein similar to the wild west where anyone can call themselves a coach. The two ends of the spectrum can range from a licensed marriage and family counselor who has transitioned to be a dating coach to a person with no coaching training who markets his expertise upon having successful personal experiences in finding a partner. In the middle of the spectrum is the person who has gone through a coaching program that is certified by an agency that credentials coaches such as the International Coaching Federation.
- Dating Coach vs. Therapist: The fee charged by licensed therapists as opposed to dating coaches may be substantially higher due to their extra training in family and marriage counseling. Depending upon your goals, you may or may not want to pay that extra premium for a licensed therapist. Before determining that, you should know the differences (besides fees charged) between a licensed therapist and a dating coach. A dating coach is generally used on a short-term basis to focus on a client’s current behaviors and beliefs that are preventing him from finding a romantic partner. Therapists, on the other hand, are usually engaged for a long term (sometimes even years), and focus on their client’s past to help that person understand what is happening in the present. So, when researching a dating coach, ask yourself, “What is my budget, goals, and needs?”
- Be Careful of Coaches Who Promise Too Much and/or Approach Focuses on Outward Attributes: If a coach guarantees that he can get you a successful relationship, run for the hills. Be careful of the coach who offers services that solely focuses on outward changes such as dressing better or having a better profile picture. What you really want is a coach who focuses on the developing deeper skills required for creating and maintaining a healthy relationship, not just how to package yourself. To do this, a dating coach will ask questions to help you examine and understand any limiting behaviors or beliefs. What it all boils down to is the ability to be intimate with another person in spite of the vulnerability inherent in opening yourself to him. As Ken Page, a licensed clinical social worker and dating coach who has written the book Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy”, “If you are not growing your basic intimacy skills, you are not growing in your ability to find love”.
- The 4 Things to Look for in A Dating Coach: Terri Orbuch is a psychologist and research professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan who has researched dating and relationships for over 27 years. Using information gathered from her research, she trains dating coaches in four areas and suggests asking yourself those four questions when selecting a dating coach: Can this dating coach help me to (1) become ready for a relationship; (2) help me identify my values and challenge my beliefs about what makes a successful relationship; (3) assess and improve my dating behaviors such as learning to make healthy choices on who I pick to date and how I communicate with potential dates; and (4) succeed in a new relationship and understand what will make it healthy. If the dating coach you are considering can help you in all four areas, then hire her and don’t look back!
View from the Couch on How to Maximize Your Coaching: Once you’ve selected your dating coach, make your dollar worth it by following these tips from dating coaches:
- Be Clear About What You are Looking for From a Dating Coach: Just like writing a mission statement, write a statement of the type of person and life you want.
- Casually Date Three People at First: As they say, practice makes perfect. So, take those baby steps and go out on a few casual stress-free dates.
- Don’t have Sex Right Away: Try to date for at least two months before having sex; this will prevent you from becoming attached to someone you don’t know, or who might not be right for you.
- Optimize the Outer You: Just because we said to be wary of a coach that is focused only on outward changes, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t improve your dating potential by making changes to the outer you. Perhaps, try a new hair style, hire a stylist to update your wardrobe, and update your profile.
- Be Open to Meeting Someone Anywhere: Don’t rely only on dating apps. Meeting potential dates can occur anywhere in your daily life: at the gym, grocery store, or party. Practice talking to strangers.
- Be Open About Your Intentions: If you approach someone, tell them why you have approached them. If you don’t tell them why you’re interested, they may find you creepy. Thomas Edwards, the founder of The Professional Wingman, a coaching agency in Los Angeles suggests saying, “I know this is random, but when I saw you, I had to come over and introduce myself”.
- If You Like Someone, Ask the Person Out: This advice is not confined to men. In this era of the empowered women, there’s no stigma if a woman asks a man or woman out. Just make sure that you have specific plans in mind when you ask someone out. If you don’t, chances are the date will never happen.
- Don’t Take Rejection Personally: As all successful entrepreneurs will attest to, “Success is the result of many rejections”. If you don’t put yourself out there because you’re afraid of rejection, you have already taken away your chance for any romantic relationship.
With many dating coaches out there wanting and able to help you in the world of love, there’s no excuses for pouting about your single status. What’s stopping you?!
****Cocktail Chatterers, have you ever used a dating coach or would like to?****
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