A dating coach is someone who mentors and guides you through the dating process. Because – let’s be honest – dating today can be overwhelming, discouraging, and often feel like the last thing you want to spend your time doing.
Yes, you want the relationships, lover-ships, and sometimes friendships that dating can result in – but the process to get there can be frustrating and painful. A coach helps you navigate that process with greater ease, confidence, and – dare we say it – even fun!
Who Is a Dating Coach For?
A quick peek at other articles out there might lead you to think that a dating coach is best suited (or really, only suited) to those people interested in long-term lasting love with one person of the opposite sex. Yet contrary to our cultural narrative, this is definitely not the case. Dating coaches also work with a broad spectrum of people who are looking for different kinds of outcomes.
For example, people benefitting from coaching include those who:
- Are dating across the gender and sexual orientation spectrums
- Know or suspect that monogamy is not for them
- Aren’t sure what they want out of dating long-term, and dating right now is partly about figuring that out
- Know that they want a committed relationship or relationships at some point, just not now, and they want to have some fun in the meantime
- Are in the process of exploring their sexuality, and dating is a part of that
And yes, many are dating to find a long-term committed monogamous partner right now. All of these are beautiful options. Ultimately, date coaching is for anyone who wants support, guidance, and mentoring around how they approach and show up in the courtship realm.
What Does a Dating Coach Do?
How a coach engages with their clients can of course vary greatly. One coach might be a focused on men, another on women, and yet another might prefer to work with people along the gender spectrum. Whatever the approach, a dating coach should address two basic needs:
- Your individual goals – and what you want to get out of dating at this moment in your life
- Your struggles in the dating process
Some dating coaches – particularly those focused on the online space – hone in on the tactical side of things. According to Pew Research, 30% of Americans and 270 million worldwide use online spaces these days to meet prospective partners and set up first dates. Figuring out how to do this effectively however can be overwhelming.
So for those dating online, a coach can help by:
- Orienting you to the available dating technologies and options
- Reviewing or editing your online dating profiles to help you optimize that first impression
- Consulting on image makeovers, body issues, and teaching you how to dress and show your best self
- Consulting on photoshoots
All of this can be helpful. But for many people, struggles with dating go deeper than the tactical challenges.
Some can be hampered by doubts about their attractiveness and desirability, their flirting skills, or how to navigate those early dates. Still others feel like they’re constantly drawn to the same type of person – someone who ultimately doesn’t match what they really want from a relationship. And some stumble because they’ve bought into the narrative that their goal should be a long-term committed relationship, but they’re actually ambivalent or conflicted about that.
In these cases, dating coaches dig deeper with their clients – often to shift mindsets, and unearth and change unhelpful patterns. They also work with them to increase confidence, and absorb the skills they’re lacking to navigate the dating world. The best dating coaches use a personalized approach, rather than prescribing from a set of “rules” about how dating should look and feel.
What Can a Dating Coach Teach You?
What you take away from your sessions with a dating coach depends on what you need or want from coaching.
Lessons can include how to:
- Flirt with ease, and from a place of connection to your innate sexiness
- Attune to your date and navigate the first kiss
- Communicate what you want from dating or a relationship
- Stay grounded on nerve wracking early dates
- Handle rejection, and how to let someone know that you aren’t interested with clarity and compassion
An experienced dating coach teaches you how to navigate your romantic engagements in a way that feels true to who you are. They also help you gain clarity around what you genuinely want from dating, and help you have joy and fun in the process.
How Dating Coaches Work
Dating coaches see clients either virtually (online, over a video chat app) or in-person, or a combination of the two.
Some coaches even do hands on, tactical work with clients. This means they go out into the field with you and be your wing woman or wing man at events. They might go on a few practice dates with you, or create experiences in the coaching space to allow you trying out new skills before putting them into practice in the wild.
Who Is the Best Dating Coach For You?
Ultimately, the most ideal dating coach for you is the person whose approach aligns with your needs. Their energy resonates with you, and they feel safe enough to do the vulnerable work of shifting those long-held bad patterns.
The best dating coaches DON’T:
- Tell you what you should want from dating
- Rely on tricks to capture someone’s attention
- Guarantee that you’ll meet the love of your life by working with them
- Insist you follow their advice
- Focus on your insecurities
The best dating coaches DO help you:
- Figure out and celebrate what you want from dating
- To manage and lessen nerves so you can more fully be yourself
- To stay out of your head and be more fully present on dates
- Determine the way to date that feels most authentic and easy for you
- Feel and see why someone would love to date you
How Much Does a Dating Coach Charge?
When it comes to how much you’ll pay for services, it’s important to note the difference between dating coaches and matchmaking services.
Matchmaking services often charge exorbitant fees (up to $50,000 a year) and many do not ultimately deliver for their clients. In comparison, a dating coach will charge a similar fee to a life coach or therapist in your area. The cost can however vary greatly, depending on your location.
Beware of coaching practices that charge huge sums for classes or workshops – and really only teach you a bunch of gimmicks or “tricks”. It’s better to find someone personable, affordable and down to earth.
Is It Worth Getting a Dating Coach?
Only you can answer this question for yourself, but here’s a basic exercise to help you decide.
Find a quiet time and place to do this – ideally at a time when you’re not feeling rushed to do the next thing, or don’t have to listen out for the doorbell, phone, etc. It shouldn’t take long – maybe 15 to 20 minutes.
- Settle into a comfortable position. This could be lying down (unless you easily fall asleep!) or sitting up in a way that allows you to fully relax (against a wall or similar). You could also do this as a sort of walking meditation. Most of all, find a way that feels natural to you.
- Start with taking a few mindful breaths. Simply notice your breath going into and out of your body. Notice the feel of your body against the couch or chair or bed, or the feel of your feet as it hits the pavement.
- When you’re ready, ask yourself: what does my experience with dating look and feel like? What’s easy about it? What feels good about it? Do I meet the kind of people that interest me, excite me, or turn me on? What’s hard or frustrating about it? What do I wish was different about it?
- As you ponder these questions, notice how your body responds. Do you feel lighter or lit up? Do you feel tension, pressure, nervousness or anxious jitters in your body? Are you mostly smiling and feeling joyful through this reflection? Or are you mostly frowning or feeling frustrated, anxious, or sad through it?
- Reflect on those answers and your somatic experience. Did you have lots of things that felt easy and good? Was your list of things longer on the hard and frustrating side of the equation? Did you like how your body responded to these reflections? Or were they feelings you wanted to quickly distract yourself from or make go away?
A dating coach can help you shift your experience from one of mostly angst and struggle to ease and enjoyment. And while no one can guarantee you’ll get the relationship or experiences you want from dating, an experienced coach can teach you skills you lack, and provide support where you need it most.
How much is it worth to you to make that shift?
How To Find and Choose the Perfect Dating Coach
Most dating coaches have a website or social profile where they explain their offerings and approach.
Read the words and see how they make you feel. If you feel relaxed and inspired, then the coach is probably a good fit for you. Make sure they feel trustworthy and aren’t making impossible promises – but instead offer to teach life skills that will help you date most effectively.
About the Author:
Gretchen is a dating coach and Certified Somatica Sex and Relationship Coach who helps people find greater joy in intimacy.
She gets great satisfaction helping others rewrite their stories around sex, intimacy, dating, and relationships. Regardless of what your relationship goals are – monogamous marriage, polyamory, a single life with lots of dating fun, or anything in between – Gretchen is uniquely qualified and excited to help you get there!
Gretchen sees clients in her Seattle, WA office, and online over Skype.