Are Dating Coaches Worth It?

It’s a jungle, the world of dating, sometimes dark, intimidating, fraught with risk. Even if you safari your way to a safe, appropriate place to meet new people, how can you be sure you’ve got the right date-bait? You might consider hiring a dating coach, but clichés are clichés because they’re true: all that glitters may not be what it’s cracked up to be.

In theory, a dating coach teaches stuff about man-woman interactions: dressing to attract the opposite sex, holding a conversation, using body language, even how to kiss or hug correctly. How to kiss properly? How to hug correctly? Mull that over for a moment.

The coach may take you on a date and evaluate your performance, or set up across the room from you and monitor how you behave during a date. Like other kinds of professional coaches, dating coaches charge a fee for service, and those fees start at $75 to $100 per hour and can be much higher. So, we’re talking paying someone to watch you be you.

Suppose you head out with your coach for a nice evening of dinner, dancing, a few cocktails at a nightclub. That runs into impressive expenses, and who pays? Coach? I’d bet against that. You’re into real money, say four hours at $100 each, plus expenses. Maybe the end-of-night report calls your attire inappropriate. Maybe the coach’s ex-spouse wore blue, and you chose blue to show off your eyes. Does the coach think you talk too much? Maybe your favorite topic bores them to death, or their ego requires more attention.

Point is, you pay for one person’s point of view along with their human failings, baggage, and pre-formed opinions. Typically, that coach isn’t specially trained or educated. They may have little experience and weak credentials. Coaches aren’t licensed or regulated. You can wake up tomorrow and decide you’re a dating coach, and poof, hang your shingle — you’re on.

Anything a coach can do you can do. Cozy up to your inner voice, the one your mother introduced you to long ago. Mom said listen to your spirit, your inner guide, and you’d know when your path was on course and when you were going astray. She got it right. Most of the time, our own sense of self — call it conscience, soul, spirit, heart, or guide — sets us straight.

If you have trouble hearing that voice, there’s more value in having a trusted friend double date with you. He or she can provide insight from a position of love and trust. There are books to help fine-tune your approach, and your community probably has singles workshops to expand your thinking and opportunities. Your spiritual advisor can help with self-esteem and confidence.

Should you pay someone to judge your kissing skills or to determine if you hug properly? We face enough reasons to succumb to self-doubt and to measure ourselves against others’ yardsticks. You may believe you’re too tall or too thin. Perhaps your hairstyle feels too trendy or not trendy enough to compete with the rest of the world.

However, kissing and hugging, expressions of human affection and warm emotion, have been around for millennia. You were made to give and receive love, and what self-appointed expert can grade your sincerest offerings? Put your wallet away.

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