Finding a good coach is always a challenge. The meaning of a certification really depends on how consistent the coaches that have that certification are. I do know someone who failed the certification--and were told they know the material, but just couldn't coach someone else with it. That at least tells me the certification means something. The fact that you are looking for a Starting Strength certified coach means that they will be instructed how to do the exercises as written in the book.
However, I will say that every coach is different, and while a coach might be a good coach, they might not be the right coach for you. Here are some things to consider when evaluating a coach:
- Is there a personality problem? If you grate under just hearing their voice, how open will you be to their instruction?
- Do they overwhelm you with information? It's hard finding the balance with providing enough information to fix your current problems, without burying the student with everything they are doing wrong at once.
- Can they do what you want to learn? Demonstration is the first step in effective instruction. The demonstration is so you can see how it needs to look, not so they can show off. But if they can't power clean, how are you going to learn how to power clean from them?
The first step in coach selection is the interview. Talk to them, about their training and coaching philosophies. You can learn a lot just from this exchange. If you need someone to yell at you cues while you squat, and you are talking to Mr. Rogers you might need a different coach. On the flip side, if you get easily intimidated, you don't want a drill sergeant.
If you are going session to session, then take it session by session. If the coach is still providing value to your training, keep going to the same coach. If not, find a different one.