The other day, a new client asked me, “You’ve been coaching for a long time. How has your coaching and the advice you give to clients changed?”
This took me by pleasant surprise.
Most people ask about my past or about where I’m at now. They want to know about my self-improvement journey. They want to know about the people I work with and the problems I try to solve.
It’s rare someone wants to know how my approach to all this has changed over the years.
So it got me thinking…
I want to give you all a behind-the-scenes look at the evolution of a dating coach. Specifically, I want to share how I’ve learned to coach people better and become a better coach.
I tell you all the time to get out there and have real-world experiences. Those experiences then challenge you to grow and adapt.
The same goes for me as a coach. Working hands-on with people has transformed my abilities to help others. I couldn’t have gained the insight I possess from only reading books.
I do things a lot differently now than when I first started. My values have changed and my advice has been re-prioritized. I’ve discovered what changes people for the long-term and what should be completely disregarded.
Here’s how I’ve changed and why you should, too….
1. I Aim To Listen And Understand People As Much As Possible
When I started coaching, I felt I already knew the advice people needed. I was eager to provide solutions. I wanted to give immediate answers to help someone right away.
For example, if someone couldn’t introduce themselves to an attractive woman, I believed they just needed to learn what to say. Or they had to experience a rejection to see it wasn’t a big deal.
Now, I’ve realized that while we all face similar hurdles, our struggles and the paths to growth can be very different.
Maybe what that client needed was to distract himself from overthinking in the moment. Or to find social activities where they felt comfortable and more excited to meet people. Maybe they needed to start with simple ways to challenge their comfort zone like making eye contact with strangers.
Without understanding the individual, it’s nearly impossible to give effective, tailored advice that applies to them. So I’ve learned to assume almost nothing.
I ask tons of questions. I dig deeper. I sit back and listen, really listen, when they open up. I want to know their experiences, their struggles, and their goals. I want to know what gets them fired up. Only after that do I consider how I should coach them moving forward.
Because I know if I can truly understand someone, I can figure out the best way to serve them.
2. I Don’t Actively Sell My Services To People Anymore
Well, I mean “selling” in the traditional sense.
I started in sales for real estate, tech, and then the pick-up industry. Throughout each job, co-workers and sales books doled out advice that I felt was manipulative.
I was told to gloat about having a superior product. I was told to pressure people and make them feel like they needed me to get anywhere. I was taught to use scarcity tactics so people felt they had to make a decision in the moment. I was instructed to bash competitors and exaggerate benefits.
Basically, I was told to do whatever it took to close a deal. It didn’t matter if the client felt comfortable or we provided the right solution.
That type of sales makes my skin crawl.
By the time I started my coaching business, I was sick of shady sales. I vowed to find a healthier process I could stand behind.
Then it hit me. As I’ve already said, I learned that understanding someone on a deeper level helps me coach them better. Coincidentally, seeking to understand someone is also the best way to have people want to do business with you, all on their own.
Now once I get to know someone, I share how I think I can best help them. I show them I understand their current struggles, their goals, and provide my vision for a gameplan that produces real results.
Then I invite them, not sell them, to work together.
When I feel I can’t give someone the value they need, I’m honest about it. I tell them they should seek other services first or that their current situation is out of my scope of expertise.
I only want to work with someone if it’s a great fit for both of us. And in my opinion, that’s the same way you should approach your connections in life.
By conducting sales like this, people trust you have good intentions. They can trust you care most about helping them. They know you aren’t just desperately trying to close a deal.
Because of this, most people I talk to end up working with me then and there.
For those who don’t have the means or time, I tell them it’s no problem and I’d love to help when they’re ready. Those people usually reach back out to me to start coaching once they’re in a better place.
With person-to-person sales, people are buying YOU, not the product.
3. I’ve Realized Less Is More
I got into dating advice when it was mostly men trying to be “pick-up artists”. There was an obsession with knowing everything about meeting women, attracting women, developing social skills, learning to flirt, and having sex.
I read books and blogs endlessly. I knew every method, every line, and every tactic. And I loved sharing that meticulous expertise with guys.
I indulged clients’ questions with tons of specific ideas and examples. I’d also try to cram as much advice as possible into a coaching session. I figured the more insight I could provide, the better.
If I took an inexperienced guy out, I’d try to teach him how to introduce himself, how to hold a conversation, how he should ask for a number, and so on.
All this ever did for the client was make him feel overwhelmed. He’d be stuck in his head worrying and scared to take action.
It’s easy to feel like you’re making progress when you have a lot of knowledge. But the truth is, understanding human connection is an emotional process.
You need a general guide, but then also tangible experiences to develop that emotional intelligence. You have to build your own authentic listening skills, wit, leadership, and comfort through practice.
Now, I advocate a deep understanding and commitment to a FEW concepts in each subject such as how to listen well and then relate emotionally, not just with facts. Underlying principles like those make the biggest impact if you can express them genuinely without rehearsed lines.
I challenge people to implement the ideas using their own personality. Then, I narrow a client’s focus into taking one or two small steps to apply those concepts.
I’d rather someone master one or two key factors of emotional intelligence than think about 100 different ways to text a girl.
4. I Tell Clients To Avoid Online Dating Until They Work On Their Photos
In 2007, online dating was in its infancy. Sites like Match and OKCupid dominated and anyone could message anyone they wanted. Users were not yet jaded by the never-ending process of swiping, messaging, and possible flaking.
Back then, I helped clients write detailed profiles and craft thoughtful online messages. Pictures were still important but they were just one piece of the puzzle.
Now, I’ve seen how pictures have become EVERYTHING in online dating. Apps have users make split-second decisions to choose someone based on their photos. Profile lengths have dropped to the size of tweets and don’t actually matter much. Intricate messaging is pointless when the most effective messages are 1-2 casual sentences.
Guys will spend months or years swiping in misery when just a few hours of taking decent pictures will provide the most significant improvement in results.
So when guys ask me for online dating help, I ask to see their photos before doing anything else. And if those pictures are mediocre at best, I tell them to fix those first and teach them how to do so.
Because if you can’t commit to taking higher-quality, more flattering photos, you’re wasting your time with online dating.
5. I Hammer In The Importance Of Making Friends And Having A Fulfilling Lifestyle Outside Of Dating Women
I got into the dating industry at 19 years old. Back then, my focus was all about trying to get laid (if I’m being honest here). I had a couple of friends I saw occasionally, but every other moment was spent thinking about women. I didn’t take care of my health, discover hobbies I loved, develop new skills, or enjoy an enriching social circle.
I thought this was absolutely normal. Who cares about anything else when you’ve got hot women in your life? What I didn’t realize is that this lifestyle encouraged me to place my entire self-worth on my ability to get women.
When things didn’t go well, I was crushed. I felt isolated and unhappy when I wasn’t chasing a girl. When I dated someone, I focused all my energy and time trying to be with them. I had no sense of independence or an interesting lifestyle. And therefore, I became less interesting to women once they got to know me.
During my first years of coaching, I’d give clients advice about meeting women even if they had nothing else going on. If they asked me to help with working on their life outside of women I would, but it wasn’t critical to me.
Eleven years later, I’ve realized how dating is just a small part of living a whole, happy life. By building my own lifestyle I’ve traveled the world, fallen in love with all sorts of hobbies, made friendships that will last a lifetime, and become more active and healthy than ever.
And through all of my coaching experience, it’s nearly impossible to find a seduction-focused guy who has a healthy sense of self, maintains mutually-independent relationships, and feels truly fulfilled. You can’t sit on Tinder for hours per week and not expect to feel like shit.
Now I ALWAYS drill into my clients the importance of a balanced, active lifestyle.
6. I Teach Men To Connect With Themselves First
When my life was all about women, I always tried to figure out what they wanted.
I wanted to learn the best lines to introduce myself to make them like me. I tried to pre-plan conversations and stories that I believed made me attractive. I didn’t share certain parts of myself because I thought women would find them weird.
I had to turn into one of those guys women wanted…because I didn’t like who I was.
After a few years, I grew a lot and started to develop some real self-esteem. But still, the old way of thinking about developing dating skills trickled into my coaching.
I taught men how to come off as witty and interesting to the average woman. I told them what types of conversation topics they typically found engaging. I would hear about their situation with a girl and try to tweak the advice to fit her personality.
It worked…to a degree. They got better results. But I was also inadvertently training these men to perform and mold their personalities around women. I wasn’t reinforcing that they should explore their own personalities and become comfortable expressing their best selves.
What makes someone confident and charismatic comes back to their relationship with themself. It’s about knowing yourself, loving yourself, and having a willingness to show yourself to the world with passion. THAT’S what attracts people who genuinely like you for you.
Currently, I filter most advice to men through the lens of connecting back to themselves. I remind them to:
Think about what they love to discuss with people. Ask questions they would be captivated by. Get onto topics they can talk endlessly about. Lead with their intentions rather than try to read people’s minds and figure out what they want.
Everything in life gets easier when you focus on self-acceptance rather than trying to be accepted by everyone else.
7. I Try To Learn About People’s Pasts To Better Understand Their Current Struggles
I became a coach because I didn’t want to be an armchair psychologist. I believed there was a lot of value in having people talk about their issues, but I wanted to help them take action as well.
Early in my coaching career, I’d mostly listen to people’s current problems. I didn’t want to touch that “tell me about your childhood” routine. Instead I taught them practical ways to build confidence, social, and romantic skills. I thought that would be enough.
This sort of worked as my clients saw more success with women. But they also still struggled with their own worth and made all these improvements often for validation from others.
And it’s because we rarely discussed why they struggled with these issues in the first place. I didn’t address their deep-seated pain. I took a surface-level solution to problems that existed on a much deeper level.
So while I never pretend to be a licensed therapist, I now understand we have to explore clients’ pasts at least a little bit.
Getting them to open up about their baggage helps them start to come to terms with it. I can reassure them they’re not alone because I’ve dealt with many of their struggles, too, and so have my other clients. They can start to forgive themselves, process what happened, and accept that they need to move forward.
Then, I can tweak my advice to better suit their needs and accelerate their growth.
To summarize: almost NO problem is only surface-level.
8. I Seek Out Other People To Partner With
I worked really hard on myself and my coaching for years. I wanted to be the best coach this industry had ever seen.
By then, I had worked for other companies filled with con-artist coaches. I saw incompetent coaches with no real deeper understanding of their work. I witnessed internet marketers posing as coaches focused only on getting sales.
When I did find a few people I respected enough to collaborate with, things didn’t work out. We had different values or visions for the long-term.
I decided that the only person I could trust to deliver was myself.
So I started my own company. My site and business took off. Hundreds of thousands of people started reading my work and gave me the chance to help countless amazing clients.
I continued doing everything myself until I hit roadblocks and burnout. I didn’t have enough time. I couldn’t expand into different avenues I thought would further help people. I reached my limits on the value I could provide to others.
Then people like Julian and Krissi from LoveLifeSolved reached out to me. Through them I met Sarah Katharina, a world-class photographer. Jason Connell, a coach and public speaker on leadership at the time, emailed me and became a very close friend.
I’ve grown and served others infinitely better because of colleagues like them.
We’ve hosted life-changing confidence retreats around the world. My clients rapidly honed their social skills by practicing with Krissi, an insightful female coach. Men have gotten engaged and my credibility has skyrocketed because of Sarah’s photos. And together, we’ve generated endless new content ideas, approaches to coaching, and values we want to share with the world.
Now, we’ve got group remote coaching programs and online courses in the works.
I’ve learned that you can’t do everything alone, nor should you try to. It’s naive to think you’ve got all the answers. And if you’re helping others, you’re doing a disservice to them by not bringing in other people who complement your strengths and weaknesses.
I’m a better coach now than I was eleven years ago. But I was only able to improve because I accepted that I had room to grow.
And a decade from now, I hope to grow in ways I can’t even imagine today. Because as the French poet Anatole France said,
“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”