10 Things That Make Great Coaches Stand Out

I’ve discovered 10 things that make great coaches stand out. The difference is not in their education or intelligence. What I found may surprise you. Take a look at the list to see how you measure up, and how you could improve. 

Great coaches


All coaches listen and ask questions, but some coaches – great coaches – go beyond technique. Great coaches embody attitudes, values, and mind-sets that make them stand out from others. These “ways of being” flow through their coaching conversations.

Many people do not regularly experience these traits in others and therefore have trouble adopting them. When you have a conversation with a great coach, you know! You will feel the difference and see the results in your life.

10 Things That Make Great Coaches Stand Out

Here is my list of what makes a great coach:

  1. Great coaches create a learning environment of safety, discovery, and small wins that excite and motivate the coachee to go further.
  2. Great coaches have an engaging curiosity, are genuinely interested, and actively listen for the coachee’s sake.
  3. Great coaches ask questions that inspire confidence, innovation, and action.
  4. Great coaches are infectiously encouraging – recognizing strengths and success but not flattering.
  5. Great coaches are uncompromisingly for the coachee – supportively probing assumptions and challenging limiting beliefs.
  6. Great coaches recognize and use intuition – correctly distinguishing it from ego.
  7. Great coaches have a developmental mind-set – focusing on capacity, process, and inputs, and not just abilities, results, and outputs.
  8. Great coaches build coachee independence not dependence.
  9. Great coaches are non-stop learners – continually sharpen their own skills, techniques, and learning tools.
  10. Great coaches do not do for the coachee, the coachee does for himself or herself.

These traits can be learned. It takes experience with feedback to grow into these ways of being. What steps are you willing to take to become a great coach?

Question: What would you add to the list? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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