July 25, 2012 -- It's no secret that love can be tricky to find, but one Arizona woman is determined to make finding "the one" just a little bit easier.
Joann Cohen, 55, claims that she can turn both men and women from "duds to studs" in 30 days.
"The most important thing in life is finding love and there's nothing more rewarding in life than achieving that goal," Cohen said.
With a master's degree in education and a concentration in human relations and counseling, Cohen has been working as a dating coach to help both men and women with their dating woes since 2008. The four-week program begins with an assessment. Cohen evaluates the client's strengths and weaknesses and then designs a plan to get the client into action.
Cohen insists on putting her clients in action, whether in the comfort of her office or out in the field, practicing in real-life situations. The program, which costs around $2,300, also includes a makeover with an image consultant.
Take one of Cohen's clients, Ryan Grant, 25, for example. In an interview with ABC News' Arizona affiliate KNXV, Cohen explains that Grant's biggest problem is his nervousness.
"Saying hello to a complete stranger is uncomfortable," Grant told KNXV.
In order to help Grant overcome his nervousness, Cohen insisted on putting him into action out in the field.
"He's going to be meeting with women who would be acting as his first date while I continue to critique him and go over and over it until I bust down those barriers and he's going to feel completely natural," Cohen said in the ABC-15 interview.
In addition, Cohen took Grant shopping with a professional image consultant, Brian Swan. Swan explained that it's important to stand out by wearing chinos—pants that are casual, but nicer than jeans—and layering the look with a sweater or tie. He told KNXV that men should avoid the typical look of a blazer, button-down shirt and jeans, while also avoiding the biggest fashion faux pas: dirty shoes.
Dating Coach Tips
However, Grant made the same, fatal mistake that many men make. Cohen explains that many men go for "the close" too quickly. According to Cohen, if a woman knows the man is trying to pick her up, she will be quickly turned off of the idea.
Cohen explains that when it comes to dating, the most important thing for a man is body language. Appearing confident makes women feel comfortable and safe. However, conversation skills are a close second.
"[The guys] get near a beautiful woman and their minds freeze," Cohen explains.
She encourages men to ditch cheesy pick-up lines for casual conversation starters. A good strategy is to talk about current surroundings—commenting on a nearby restaurant or store, pets, or tattoos could be good conversation starters. According to Cohen, the biggest mistake a guy can make is appearing too nervous.
Cohen also encourages both men and women to stay away from "energy vampires," people who complain about the opposite sex. In addition, one of her most important pieces of advice is to never give up.
"Focus on the positives. There's a lot of great guys and girls out there. Look for relationship material in people. The guy who could be that forever partner might be shy, but he could have a spark that could grow," Cohen said.
However, not everyone welcomes the concept of dating coaches so openly. Little research has been done on dating coaches, especially since there's no central accreditation agency. Experts encourage skepticism when considering getting help from dating coaches.
"If the person is getting good advice on positive relationship skills, then that could be good. There's a lot of research on relationships to help those skills, but there's no licensing required, so there's no quality control on their training," said Charles Hill, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Whittier College.
Carl Hindy, Ph.D. and author of "If This is Love, Why Do I Feel So Insecure?", explains that there can be serious consequences in poor treatment.
"People are drawn to the doctor of desperation…They feel like they've played their last card, but somebody's only going to go for help so many times," Hindy said.
Similarly, Diana Kirschner Ph.D., lecturer, media psychologist, and author of the best-seller "Love in 90 Days," agrees that one must do research before hiring a dating coach.
"You have to be careful with matchmakers. Often times they'll promise you the sun, the moon and the stars, but you have to be careful because sometimes they don't know what they're doing. You have to ask them what their background is, how long they've been doing this, can they give you referrals … What is the money-back guarantee?" Kirschner said.