The 6 Qualities of a Terrific Coach

Coaching, as an industry, is becoming more and more popular every year. When Brian (Colbert) and I train people to be coaches in the Irish Institute of NLP (, there are a number of factors that we do our best to ignite in our trainees. To me, these are the factors that determine how successful the coaches will be with their clients. Of course, there are more than just 6 but I figured it might be of interest if I was to suggest some of the ones I believe are particularly important. Whether you are a client looking for a great coach or you are a coach looking to become great, this may well prove useful.

1. Determination

The best coaches do not give up or give in easily. They are 100% determined to help you overcome your challenges and will work as hard as possible to make sure that they support you in achieving your goals. Failure does not phase them. It is only information that helps them.

2. Flexibility

A great coach has a wonderful ability to change their approach and adapt to whoever and whatever is in front of them. They are focused on helping you succeed and will do whatever they need to in order to help you. This means using creative solutions and doing things differently to how you would have done it as well as differently to how they would have done it.

3. Honesty

Top coaches do not bullshit you with promises that are over-the-top. They also do not tell you what you want to hear unless what you want to hear happens to be true. They are not just cheerleaders there to make you feel good about yourself. They are there to tell you what the reality is and help you see what it can be and what you need to do in order to get to where you want to be.

4. Belief

Every top coach I know believes in their client. They believe even when the client does not. This belief and faith enables their client to do things that they have not thought possible. It rubs off on the client and starts to create hope and belief which, in turn, leads to far more successful outcomes.

5. Inspiration

Inspiring people is part of your job as a coach. The more inspiring you are, the more motivated and determined your clients will feel after a session with you. Such inspiration often leads to the necessary actions and behavioural change that create the desired outcomes.

6. Sense of Humour

To me, the ability to get results in any form of change work requires a really great sense of humour. Your ability to be playful and get people to laugh about their problems or limitations is critical toward helping them to overcome such problems or limitations. Laughter changes the brain in really great ways and enables you to think about your issues differently and gain a more useful perspective.

In summary, be determined, flexible, honest, playful and inspiring with your clients. And believe in their ability to achieve their goals. It will make a big difference.

Let me also ask you, in your opinion, what are the key qualities that make a great coach?


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