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Ten Important Tips For How To Choose A Therapist Or Coach To Achieve The Results You Want

Written by: Janylene Turcotte, Cl.hyp, ACC, RTT, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Each time I meet a new client, the first question I ask is what steps, if any, they themselves have taken to actively solve their issues? And I am always surprised by the number of people who claim they have not been able to find a therapist or a coach that felt like a good fit.

When faced with a major life and/or career transition, you quickly realize that you need help to cope with the multi-faceted aspects of your transition— be it emotional, physical, psychological or financial— and that finding people who are able to support you in these areas is crucial to your success.

After having worked with many clients over the years, I devised a 10-tip guide to help you make the right choice when selecting professional support :

1. To establish a baseline, list the people you have worked with in the past with whom you have had positive results.

Think about what it was about them that you felt made it a success by asking yourself some simple questions:

  • Was it how they behaved?

  • What occurred during the exchange (s) that made you feel it was successful?

  • Was it something they said?

  • Was it something they did; their approach, tone of voice?

  • What impacted you the most?

If you have never sought help before, try asking a friend, colleague or family member about their own experiences. If, like many of the people I talk to, you feel like you never found the right fit for your needs, you might be jumping in too fast without doing your due diligence or, you might not have realistic expectations.

You may also have deep-rooted, subconscious beliefs working against your motivation.

  • Nothing works for me, I am a special case

  • I am too old to change, it’s too wired into me

  • Change doesn’t last

  • I am not a good judge of people

  • I don’t believe in therapy

  • I don’t really need help

  • People who get help are weak etc.

If any of the above sounds familiar, I encourage you to start by seeking help in changing these preset beliefs, as this will be instrumental to the success of any other changes you want to make. You may want to put those beliefs to the test:

  • How do you know this belief is absolutely true?

  • Could it be false or partially false?

  • If you could choose a helpful belief instead, which one would you choose?

  • What would you gain from changing this limiting belief to a healthy belief?

  • If a friend were to tell you that he/she has this belief, what would you tell them?

2. Establish what your needs are?

I remember when I went through my own transformation, I needed so many things– to lose weight, stay sober, gain energy, detox my body, become emotionally stable etc. Once you have your list, you can start interviewing practitioners to see which person has the expertise to best address your particular needs. Sometimes, a nutritionist and a personal trainer together can help you gain energy, each in their own way and each equally important. One question I always ask a new practitioner is ‘’ Now that I have told you what I want to accomplish and what my situation is, what contribution can you make for someone in my situation?” Their answer will give you an idea of the overall contribution you can expect.

3. Understand that there is not a ‘ one size fits all’ coaching approach or therapy to solve ALL your issues.

If a specialist tells you that he/she can help you with all your problems, run… fast! Because, while it may be true that certain approaches have a large spectrum of possibilities and could cover many of your needs, every practitioner has both areas of expertise, as well as limitations. Stay away from people who want to be your guru and ask that you work exclusively with them— unless you have a very specific psychological or physical situation that requires this type of help.

4. References from friends you trust who have had a good experience with someone are a great place to start.

You might want to ask your friends how they used the services of the person they are recommending and about their overall experience with this person. When approaching a new person, it’s always good to mention, where applicable, that you have been referred by someone. Sometimes, they may offer financial compensation, but more importantly, it is a good way to break the ice and establish a kind of ‘connection’ which can make those first sessions seem less awkward. Additionally, this person may be able to suggest other professionals they know and trust and this can be helpful when seeking out different resources.

For example: Let’s say you are going to see an Ayurvedic doctor, you might want to ask them if they know a lawyer, an osteopath etc. Most often, talented, trustworthy people know other talented, trustworthy people and because they already know you, they will be able to refer you to someone that will be a good fit. In this way, you can slowly build your own little community of support.

You might also want to look into the possibility of an exchange of services, if this is suitable in your line of work. For instance, if you are an accountant, you may be able to offer a therapist your services in exchange for theirs.

5. Be clear about the results you are expecting for your overall situation and trust in their process.

This is essential as it ensures you have reasonable expectations. When I go to the massage therapist I always say: ‘Do what you do best’ because I have learnt that when you allow people to play to their strengths, you get so much more from them. When you are interviewing someone to be your therapist or trainer etc. ask them about their area of expertise? What are they most known for or what type of people have had success with them?

6. If meeting in person is not essential, choose the best fit, even if they are on the other side of the world.

With today’s communication technology at everyone’s fingertips, you can choose from a broader selection of specialists from anywhere in the world! I work with clients across the globe and I feel as close to them as those that I see in person. Don’t shy away from online services or less experienced practitioners. Sometimes a new practitioner that is really passionate and enthusiastic might be the right person for you and less costly.

7. Ask for a clear progress timeline.

You can ask, within reason, for the specialist to give you an idea of how long you can expect to require his/her services, based on others they have counseled in similar situations. This will enable you to consider the scope of your provider’s role in your transition. Be reasonable in your expectations and plan for revaluation at some point in the process.

8. Ask questions about how best to communicate with your specialist between sessions.

Establish the boundaries of communication beyond your scheduled sessions. Some people may have podcasts, videos or other resources that you can access between sessions to keep the momentum going. Podcasts, blogs and social media groups etc. are also a good way to find a network of professionals.

9. Be prepared to say goodbye to your coach or therapist if/when either of you feel you have reached your maximum results in working together.

This is a common occurrence and it is perfectly normal. I had a client who had to end her piano lessons because the teacher told her she had achieved her best and would not get better. I explained to her that it was not that she could not do better, it was her teacher who had reached his/her own limits with a student like her. It was the teacher’s limitations, not hers. So she found another teacher who took her on and pushed her forward. Sometimes, even the best team members are no longer right for you. You have to be able to end the relationship and be open about it. A professional will understand and not let his/her ego get in the way.

10. Make sure your team has complementary skills and that they all have your best interests at heart.

This means complementary and not contradictory! For example: You would not consult someone to help you get pregnant at the same time as someone to help you lose weight! This is, of course, a seemingly obvious example to illustrate a point. When you have contradictory objectives, you risk negating your efforts altogether or worsening your situation, which can cause confusion. The goal is to ensure that the ‘big picture’ (your main objective) makes sense and that you can clearly identify what each team member brings to the table and what the costs associated with each are.


TRUST yourself and the process!! TRUST that you will choose the right people for your needs. TRUST the person ( people) you have chosen and TRUST your gut instincts, as this is always a good place to start. Additionally, by having multiple people on your team, you will be able to compare attitudes, results etc. and how you feel about each of them. Be open to being pushed outside of your comfort zone and ask for it; this is really the best way to grow. Make sure you choose people who will challenge you in a way that is respectful of who you are and what YOUR objectives are.

If you want to know if my approach is right for you and your situation, I offer a 30-minute free consultation… Moreover, I will be happy to answer any questions as noted above:)

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Janylene Turcotte, Cl.hyp, ACC, RTT, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

After more than 25 years as a top level executive in the corporate world, Janylène Turcotte made a 360 degree career change and became a certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Coach and HypnoCoach. While going through her own major life transformation, she developed a unique 3-STEP MODEL as a tool to help herself, and now, her clients, through the complex process of transformation and transition. She graduated from the Marisa Peer School as an RTT (Rapid Transformational Therapy) Therapist. She has been an ICF Certified Coach for more than eight years and host the podcast ‘’ It’s Just a Belief’’.



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