Whatever new endeavor you embark on—from writing a book, to learning to golf, to taking up a new style of yoga–hiring an expert to teach you is a very logical next step.

YOUR GUIDE . . . ?

Some people will buy a second hand set of clubs, head for the range, and teach themselves to golf—sorta, anyway. But most of us? Take some lessons! Hire a pro to get you functioning faster and better.

The same goes for business coaches, marketing gurus, and writing experts. They’re guides. They know their shit. When you find the right one, they pick you up and set you down on The Right Path for achieving your dreams.

When I work with clients, I may ask them to go to dark, uncomfortable places, and we may work together for months–or years. We go deep. So how do you choose this all-important person to go deep with? How do you know who’s the right guide for you when personalities, energies, and approaches all vary?

Check out these four keys below, then let me know what you think.


1 – Listening is great, but do they hear you?

You know the feeling, right? The person you’re speaking to could probably parrot back your words, but you have this . . . sense, that they haven’t heard a word you said. Trust that sense.

We all have our own agendas from a business relationship, or any relationship for that matter. We often want something from it–knowledge, profits, experience, friendship, love–which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The problem arises when the other person’s agenda isn’t the same as yours, and may have more importance for them then for you. Done right, you will both benefit from the relationship, but to do so your expert must truly hear your needs, your goals, your heart. Listen for this.

Keep searching until you find the person who does hear you, and you may only know because it “feels” right. See #2.


2 – Trust your guts

Yes. Go with your instincts. Give them the power they deserve. Sound woo-woo? Perhaps, but we do it all the time. We “trust our guts,” we rely on it “feeling right,” and we take the plunge because, “It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

I’ve found that some of my most intuitive clients are . . . businessmen. Surprising, right? I think they use intuition naturally even though they may not call it that. More than once I’ve had a lighting fast “Yes” from a businessman, followed by, “I just knew you were the right one, let’s get started.”

I’m currently working with an amazing person on a writing project. Bev Martin is helping people tap into their inner knowledge, aka, their intuition. She says everyone has this ability (and let’s face it, we all know we do), but we let our tools get rusty. Society, western culture, self-doubt; these all dampen our natural inner knowing.

With practice, we can sharpen and shine our intuition. Use it when choosing your guide. Trust your guts.

(Check out Bev’s website and get an intuitive reading from her. An amazing experience, http://bevmartin.com/)


3 – Align your goals, and then realign them

Write your relationship goals out, share them in emails. Your guide will probably ask you to do this anyway, but if they don’t, take the initiative. Once you’ve agreed on your mutual outcomes, then keep revisiting these goals!

Life goes on, progress is made, we get distracted, life happens. Make mutual goals, write them out, revisit them regularly. Assess where you are and what you still have to achieve.


4- Qualifications and recommendations

Ho hum. The most boring of the keys; checking out your guide’s qualifications and recommendations. The problem is they may have 100 bestsellers under their belt, but if #1, #2, and #3 aren’t kicking in, well, you’re probably wasting your time.

On the other hand, they may be new to the business, yet amazingly talented. You may be their very first client, and they have every incentive in the world to make you a success.

The key is to yes, check out their qualifications to do the job. Have your feet on the ground. But don’t make this the most important quality. On its own, it isn’t enough. You need to know they hear and understand you; your instincts need to be in agreement; and your goals need to be aligned.


What to do if something goes wrong?

Let’s say you’ve done all of the above and everything checks out great. Then one, two, six months down the road, things aren’t working so well. Maybe you aren’t seeing the results you were expecting, maybe the communication isn’t as clear. What to do?

– Talk. Seems obvious, but this is so often the last resort. Revisit your goals, have the tough talk, LISTEN.

– Realign your goals. Did something go off the rails? Did your goals change and you didn’t realize it? Did your mutual expectations change? Talk (see above) then realign those goals if necessary. Reset deadlines, measurable outcomes, whatever is relevant.

– If that doesn’t work–make peace and move on. Don’t waste your time if you can’t get realigned, but through communication you can leave amicably.

– If they won’t make peace? Tis their problem, not yours. I’d hate to live in that un-peace-making head, wouldn’t you?

What about you? Have you got insights and experience with choosing the right guide? Or the wrong one? Share them here.