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Ten Qualities of a Good Coach — Everyone Needs Them!

Everyone needs these 10 qualities of a good coach, as you can use them to coach and enrich your life and that of others personally and professionally.Coaches, do you need more clients? Here’s an opportunity you may not have even considered… approach local businesses and offer your services! Today coaching has become an essential leadership skill that employers and management need to get the best from their employees and teams. When the qualities of a good coach are applied in the workplace, it creates an atmosphere of greater productivity, creativity, and synergy. Even industry leaders are recognizing that they themselves attain better results personally and professionally through life coaching. 

Everyone is a coach in some way, either of themselves or others. That’s why it’s so important to hone these ten essential qualities of a good coach. As you read through the following list, think about which ones you’d most like to work on next. A practice of mindfulness and somatically experiencing your sensations will accelerate your growth in these areas. 

1. Be an excellent listener. Listening is one of our most important skills. Without it, we won’t connect. We live in a distracted world. Our thoughts or external influences fight against our focus. But curiosity is our secret weapon. It helps us show genuine interest and suspends all judgment so you can really hear what the person is saying verbally and nonverbally. Equally as important, we must fight the tendency to interrupt.

2. Reflect back accurately. When you absorb and register what you hear, you show that you’re really listening. And it helps you confirm that you’ve digested the right information. Reflecting allows the person to hear what she said to see if that’s what she really meant. You can reflect back by:

    • Paraphrasing or restating the essence of what you heard.
    • Summarizing the main message in short and concise sentences that organize the train of thought, focusing on the most important issues.
    • Repeating meaningful words, which builds built rapport by mirroring their speech.

3. Use questions skillfully. Well-worded questions are short and to the point. Good questions are open-ended letting others express their thoughts and feelings, rather than closed – yes or no – answers. They deepen the understanding of the person being coached. You don’t provide answers. You help your clients find answers for themselves. This reinforces in their minds that you believe in them and empowers their own self-worth. If they’re struggling to come up with an answer, use leading questions that progressively move the person toward the desired goal.

4. Challenge constructively. Help your clients see any contradictions between what they say and what they’re doing. People are only motivated when they fully understand the situation. They may be held back by some limiting belief, so help them challenge these, because everyone is capable of achieving more. What they’ve done in the past is no indication of their future.

5. Provide feedback not criticism. Never assert your expertise at the cost of your client feeling inadequate. Strive to make your feedback specific, relevant, helpful, and positive.

6. Focus on your client. Focus on your client’s agenda, not yours. This means you need to help them identify their core values so your leadership keeps them on track with their goals.

7. Create accountability. Get a commitment from your client that she will accomplish a specific task by a specific deadline. Achieving measurable results builds self-confidence and motivates your client to accomplish more.

8. Present different perspectives. Help your client explore different perspectives so that she can choose the one(s) that are most empowering for her.

9. Provide encouragement and support. Help them to keep going and not give up. Acknowledging them is incredibly empowering.

10. Keep confidentiality. It requires trust for your client to open up and that can easily be broken by revealing their confidences to others. Get their permission to speak of their results or only speak of generalized results in a way that can’t be attached to any one person.

These ten key qualities will not only make you a great coach, but they are also skills you can pass on to your clients so they can become better managers or leaders. They dovetail nicely with ICF Core Competencies. If you’re working toward ICF Credentialing or you’d like to expand your personal and professional skills, please contact me for a free consultation to discuss what services or programs are the best fit for you. 

Thank you for the photo Nathan Lemon

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