What makes a great coach?

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Many Olympic athletes, high-powered executives, business leaders, and successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common: they rely on coaches to help them achieve their goals and succeed.

While there are many factors and variables that go into finding the right coach for you, the qualities of a great coach are the same. As you begin your search for a great coach, remember the following qualities.

What defines a great coach?

A great coach is defined by their ability to lead and inspire others to reach beyond their current situation, and achieve something extraordinary. Great coaches are more than just their use of words or tools – they have a unique ability to drive action, optimize resources and elevate individuals to new heights of achievement.

As Tony Robbins oftensays, the right life coach can help you reach and even exceed your biggest dreams and goals. The ability to lead, inspire, teach and elevate others is a special gift. Great coaches have polished this gift and understand how to become trusted partners who inspire others to take big actions toward even bigger goals.

Qualities of a Great Coach

Great coaches have different life experiences and backgrounds, but they all share a similar set of positive traits. The most important qualities of a great coach include:

  • Realistic: Sees their clients and the situation as they are.
  • Maintains a Clear Vision: Helps clients develop clear and compelling goals.
  • Communication: Fosters trust and progress toward goals through clear, honest, and understanding communication.
  • Accountable and Strategic: Ensures clients have a clear strategy to follow for success and holds them accountable to the actions needed to achieve those goals.

These qualities together form the cornerstone of what it means to be not just good, but a great coach, capable of transforming both individual and collective performance.


How to be a Great Coach

Learning how to be a great coach involves developing the qualities listed above into techniques to inspire others and challenge them to want more. Recognizing the importance of certain skills, such as strong communication, attentive listening, honesty and accountability, goes a long way to understanding what makes a great coach.

Great coaches understand that improvement won’t happen overnight, and that it takes hard work, dedication and support. For progress to occur, life coaches must create an environment that gives their clients space to explore and uncover their true potential.

Views Reality As It Is

Great coaches see things as they are, not worse and not better. They have a firm grasp on reality and are honest about where they stand. Unlike most people, however, they do not dwell on problems; they tackle them head-on. They have the proper skills and knowledge to assess the situation and find the best path forward. Fear and doubt do not play a role in their mission, even though they must take necessary risks to help others break through to the next level.

Maintains a Clear Vision: Co-creates Your Compelling Future

To accomplish anything, great coaches also help you craft a future vision – a future where you live life on your terms, a future that YOU find compelling. They must be able to look at clients not just as they are, but who they can become.

Like great leaders, a great coach inspires you to see this vision as not just possible but also attainable. They can help you see your strengths from a new perspective, showing you that you have everything it takes to get the job done. It goes beyond directing activity and when your future is compelling, it’s easier to set goals and achieve them because you feel excited to make it happen.

Rapport and Effective Communication Skills

Great coaches understand that communication is key to building a foundation of trust and respect between themselves and their clients. Effective coaching understands that people communicate in various ways, not just verbally. They listen to their client’s non-verbal communication, paying attention to their facial expressions and body language.

Clear, open and honest communication will help the coach and the client get the most out of their coaching relationship. When everyone is on the same page, it encourages growth and commitment.

Another aspect of effective communication is that a great coach knows how to embrace the power of deep listening. Coaches appreciate the fact that their relationships cannot exist by talking at their clients – they need to talk with their clients, which starts with attentive listening. When the client speaks, a great coach will give them their complete attention.

These qualities of a great coach create an environment where the client feels empowered to be vulnerable and open to exploration. A client will only see success or make change when they feel safe to do so. This is why it is so important for coaches to spend time building rapport between them and their clients. Breaking down walls and barriers is an important step on the path toward greatness. Clients can only achieve their dreams when they feel that someone sees them, hears them, and empowers them to do the work.

Accountability and Strategic Thinking

Great coaches also understand strategy. They realize that transforming a vision into reality requires incremental changes that amount to radical results. It’s not always about the resources available. It’s about knowing how to maximize resources – someone’s will, energy, creativity, courage, faith and determination – to achieve goals.

A coach’s work isn’t done when they deliver the strategy. Great coaches know that the odds of success are greater when they hold their clients accountable. It doesn’t matter how incredible the strategy is if you’re not held accountable for seeing it through. A great coach will continually check in with their clients to ensure they’re making progress. Once the client understands their coach is in their corner and has their back, they’re more likely to follow through on the strategy and reach their goal.

Discovering the Power of a Great Coach

Great coaches come from all walks of life. They’ve all had different experiences and approach situations uniquely. However, they all have these same six qualities. That’s what makes a great coach.

Great coaches embrace communication, knowledge and observance. They know that to inspire and influence, they must embrace their leadership skills and become clear and efficient problem solvers.

Connecting with a great coach who really inspires you can lead to incredible transformations in both personal and professional life.

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