Need advice? Experts (me included) will be glad to share! Unfortunately, there is a problem. The experts (me included, again) are often not qualified and can be very wrong in the advice they give. I get it, I need to walk a fine line here, since this article itself is an expert opinion, but hear me out.
First, let me tackle the main problem with experts today. Everyone seems to be one. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and try this little test for yourself. Stop the next 5 people you come across and ask them what they happen to be an expert in. You are sure to get an expert in social media, an expert life coach, an expert in home remedies, an expert in marketing, and, my personal favorite, an expert in coaching experts.
Now, please don’t get me wrong, experts are needed. The next time my dishwasher breaks, I will want an expert in getting the thing fixed. And sure, if my business is struggling in marketing, I will want a marketing expert to help me. The thing is, you need to separate the good from the bad by watching for these 5 warning signs:
1. They Haven’t Been There & They Haven’t Done That – You want a coach or expert who has actually done what you are doing. While a coach may have training in your field, nothing can top hands on practical experience. Look for a coach that has actual, direct personal, real life experience in what you need advice about.
2. Big Words, Little Action – It is easy for an expert to gain credibility by writing (hey, look who’s talking, ahem… writing). Many experts quickly dominate the blogosphere with sage advice. But the reality is words means nothing if you can’t execute. Look for coaches who both write about what they do, and do what they write about.
3. Render Advice, When They Shouldn’t – Ever ask an expert what they think about your product or service and they then go on to tell you why it is a horrible or great idea? I don’t care if you have 100 years of consulting experience, if the expert is not the end consumer of the product or service his advice is wrong. The consumer knows what she wants. Listen to her. Tip – if you want to quickly qualify an expert, ask them what they think about your offering. If they offer advice, without qualifying (or disqualifying) themselves based on their consumer experience, they are likely giving you bad advice.
4. Don’t Have A Coach Themselves – If a coach doesn’t have their own coach, red flags should be every where! This indicates that the coach you are hiring doesn’t believe in coaching himself. It may also indicate that the coach feels she has nothing left to learn. Another major red flag.
5. Doesn’t Learn From You – An expert doesn’t mean having knowledge of all things. It means having superior knowledge and hands on experience in one category. To apply this knowledge, they must learn and understand your business. If they aren’t thirsty to learn about your industry and seek your direction, you may be getting a “one size fits all” solution, which at the end of the day, is not a real solution.
Experts don’t always have the best advice. You can ask five experts in the same field for advice, and end up with five completely different answers. When you need an expert in a certain field, be discerning when seeking them out. Remember, you want someone who knows what they’re talking about, does what they talk about, is constantly learning, and doesn’t seek to solve all problems with one easy-fix solution. Be cautious and you’ll find an expert who is knowledgeable, experienced, and gives some great advice!