LinkedIn coaches are springing up like daisies these days.  The platform is nearing a membership of nearly 500 million and the Microsoft buyout has brought new credibility to the site.   As a result, some see LinkedIn as a vehicle to make extra income and are marketing themselves as professionals that can help “newbies” optimize their profiles.

So it’s time to review how one can choose a qualified coach to help navigate the dynamic LinkedIn playing field in order to achieve real success.                            

Here are 7 characteristics to consider in the selection process.  If given some thought, these points should help you to make an informed decision about which coach can truly provide the best assistance.  The list below is followed by a brief discussion of each point.

  • Length of time on LinkedIn.
  • Length of time coaching others.
  • Experienced at making money on LinkedIn in a field other than coaching.
  • Thought leader status?
  • Have they been vetted by LinkedIn?
  • Quality of Recommendations?
  • Lead-generating strategies.

1)  As you know, LinkedIn has evolved from a job-finding resource to a social selling advocate to an enormous global networking site.  In addition, LinkedIn now offers a robust educational aspect with the purchase of Lynda.com in 2015.

Someone who has witnessed these stages of transformation will have a better understanding of LinkedIn benefits than a person who is fairly new on the scene.

Recommendation:  Choose someone that has been on LinkedIn for 5-8 years.

2)  Coaches, like wine, tend to get better over time.  No one approach will work for each client and an experienced coach will know that a generic course will be of limited value.

Recommendation:  Seek out a coach that will spend some time qualifying your goals, skills and experience in order to customize your training appropriately.

3)  Many LinkedIn coaches were coaches at something else before they chose to teach others about LinkedIn.  It is rare to find a coach that has used the LinkedIn platform profitably in a non coaching field before they became a LinkedIn coach.

Recommendation:  Find a professional that successfully “monetized” LinkedIn before they became a LinkedIn coach.

4)  In the early days of LinkedIn designated 150 prominent leaders to contribute their ideas freely on the platform.  These included Richard Branson, Deepak Chopra, Warren Buffet and others.  However, over two years ago LinkedIn opened up thought-sharing to ALL members.  If a potential coach has not taken advantage of LinkedIn’s publication feature, then they will be limited in their ability to help you establish authority or thought leader status.

Recommendation:  Choose a coach that publishes articles of value regularly on LinkedIn (and elsewhere).

5)  LinkedIn introduced a new feature this year called Profinder.  It was designed to help professionals that want specific help in an industry find qualified LinkedIn members.  LinkedIn “vets” these individuals before they can be designed as a Profinder in a given field.

Recommendation:  Find a Profinder that has been vetted by LinkedIn to help you locate someone qualified to help with your marketing, lead-generation or job-seeking needs.

6)  I was recently referred to a car mechanic by someone that has referred over 50 people to this same mechanic!  You can believe that I will visit this mechanic at my first opportunity.  Likewise, a LinkedIn coach should have accumulated quality Recommendations over the years on their profile.

Recommendation:  Find a coach that has at least 10-15 Recommendations from clients.   Specific benefits should be stated rather than the person was just “likeable” or “qualified”.

7)  Optimization of a profile is very important on LinkedIn.  It helps you to get found for the skills that you wish to promote.   It is also one way to generate leads, but not the only—or even the best—way to get them.  A coach should have the ability to articulate several lead-generating strategies that can be implemented once optimization has been accomplished.

Recommendation:  Interview prospective coaches and find out their plan to teach you optimization, lead-generation and authority enhancement.

By Gary Kissel | LinkedIn Strategist | Speaker | Author