Who is offering their dating advice to you -- a 23 year old staff writer at a newspaper? Or how about a twenty –something guy who can successfully pick up women? How about a 30 year old woman who thinks she successfully met her match online and is not even engaged? What about a gay 30 year old guy who is giving women advice on how to meet men? Where do these so called dating coaches come from? And, what is their training and coaching experience? You really need to know!

On the other side of the spectrum from a dating coach there is the therapist who has been in private practice for over 20 years and is really clueless about internet dating and the modern ways people are meeting for dating. I had a conversation with a very accomplished therapist and she didn’t even know what a Meetup group was!

I did some background checking on the other dating coaches mentioned in the Washington Post Article with me (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/23/AR200809... ) and I was the only certified professional coach in the bunch. The other people just put their shingle out with little or no training. Most were under 30 years old. In addition, for many being a dating coach was a part time job.

Matchmakers can provide an important function of actually providing a pool of qualified candidates. However, to get certified they go to for a 3 day weekend class or buy a business in a box. They do not take any exams nor have any supervisions of their coaching to test their knowledge. There is the Matchmaking Institute that lists minimum requirements and a code of ethics for their members to abide by. Most matchmakers are selling coaching (really advising) services to supplement their matchmaking services.

Anyone can call themselves a “dating coach”. Next time ask them about their training. Are they certified from an accredited professional coaching school? You can go to the International Coach Federation website (icf.org) and find out if their training is from an accredited professional coaching school. Professional coaches are trained not to just give advice, and to also follow a line of questioning to help their clients decide their priorities and clarify what is truly meaningful to them. It is important to lead from a clients own motivations rather than the coach’s agenda. This is where real change occurs.

When I decided to follow my passion to help people who struggle with dating, I chose to invest in myself and get trained and certified as a professional coach. Then I had additional relationship coach training that augmented my certification. I felt it was important to obtain the best tools and skills possible. Truly I did not want to “mess” with people’s lives. I take my work seriously and found my training to be invaluable to my clients.

I look at their whole life and how dating fits in with their life. Many of my clients have other roadblocks like a demanding job or family responsibilities that get in the way of dating and finding their life partner. As a professional life coach, I take into account their values and life goals. And once a client is in a relationship, I can assist them as they progress to the next level of commitment. How do you sustain a relationship? That is the real challenge! Most people don’t have the basic skills to build a relationship.

Yes, there are many attractive, bright, savvy people who are calling themselves a dating coach these days. If you want to find a dating professional to help you focus on your goal to meet that someone special, I recommend you do your homework and find out about their training and experience, as well as their track record. What are their life experiences? As in hiring any professional, you need to do your homework!

Author's Bio: 

Coach Amy Schoen is a certified professional life coach and national dating and relationship expert helping marriage minded individuals to find and connect with their true romantic partner for a committed relationship. Discover her Motivated to Marry® strategies in her free e-course “7 Steps to Finding Your True Love Partner” at http://www.motivatedtomarry.com.