*Yes, you need a competent teacher. Someone who attempts to teach himself has a fool for a teacher.
*How do you know if the teacher you are following is capable of teaching you? Here, you have to do some fieldwork. I think it makes sense to start with examining his or her students. Are they people with whom you would like to be? That is, would you like to turn out that way? Try to see what kind of culture the teacher encourages or allows to flourish. That gives you some insight (but not completely) into what the teacher values or at least is willing to tolerate. Next, listen carefully to what the teacher is saying, ask questions when you can, pay attention generally, ask around ,and inform yourself. Is this person completely off the reservation, or is this in the mainstream of Dharma? If you feel comfortable among the students and you find that the teacher is someone you can learn from, then participate for a while. How do you know if you are learning, developing, growing? Well, are you less prone to BS-ing yourself? Is your meditation more stable? Are you gentler to plants, animals, and people? To people find you less unpleasant to be around? if so, then you are in fact learning. If not, then something's wet in your process.
does that help?
Indeed! thanks. what are some teaching results one could look for in students? Traits of a good teacher? There are Theravada suttas on required traits, but as I was saying these rules do not apply too Zen, which is one of the things that makes it so alluring! So how can you tell specifically?