The Top 15 Characteristics of Excellent Coaches

The article was provided by Coaches Network

By Bill Cole, MS, MA

What makes for an excellent coach? What personal qualities do top coaches possess that separate them from the good coach? Is it more the training or the inner qualities? Is it more coaching technique or the artistry? Is it more coaching knowledge or its application? Is it more natural talent for helping people or cultivated abilities? Is it insightful analysis of people or an abiding presence with them?

There probably is no one single attribute that all excellent coaches possess. Top-flight coaches can be comprised of many stripes and can come from many places, but they all connect with their charges, they know how to make changes with their players and they know how to get results. Bottom line, they get the work done.

This is my own personal list of what I like to see in coaches. Over my 15 years as a college educator I trained many, many future teachers and coaches. I was master teacher to many of them. I mentor many coaches on a private basis now. Probably the major qualities I saw that distinguished the great from the very good were these three:

• They cared deeply about people.

• They had incredibly high personal standards and ambitions.

• They had a high level of self-knowledge.

Those three are at least a wonderful starting point. Now on to the other 15 attributes of top-notch coaches. Top coaches possess many of these:

• Exquisite self awareness.

• High emotional intelligence.

• Broad vision with focus on important details.

• Nuanced, crisp, superb communication.

• Highest regard, caring and respect for clients.

• Creative, innovative learner and developer of custom coaching methodologies.

• Perceptive, intuitive, curious and inquiring.

• Quick study with capacity for deep and wide learning.

• Student of coaching and other disciplines that support helping others.

• Sincere interest in clients and desire to help.

• Continuous learner of themselves and their experiences.

• See coaching as a two way interchange of energies and learnings.

• Humble, open, nurturing and grateful to the world.

• View coaching as a calling, an art and a discipline.

• Walking the talk and modeling a good life for their clients.

Expert coaches work on themselves unceasingly. They are open to new ideas and philosophies. They study coaching seriously and take coaching seriously. They care about the person across from them.

That’s what it’s all about anyhow, isn’t it? Helping people?


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