Do You Understand The Qualities That Make A Good Coach?

By admin / April 4, 2011
By: Louise Yates
Category: Coaching

If you are thinking of using the services of a coach or have done in the past then you will want to think carefully about the qualities of a coach before you make a decision as to whom you choose. You may also be wondering whether you are cut out for a career in coaching in which case you too may be wondering whether you have the qualities which will suit you to this profession.

Desire to help others
One of the most important qualities of a coach and a reflection of their own personal values is their desire to help others. A good coach is there to help you achieve your goals and aspirations and has no agenda other than to help you achieve yours. So how do you establish whether a coach really wants to help others or is in it for the money? Just asking them why they chose a career in coaching is a useful starting point and can give you a good indication of their motivation.

An essential quality of a coach is to listen, and to listen at the deepest level. Not only should you feel that your coach is listening to the words you are saying they should be able to accurately reflect back your feelings, your mood and emotions leaving you feeling that you have been fully understood. Beware of coaches who do more talking than listening.

Building rapport
Linking in with listening is the ability to build rapport. Building rapport is the ability to really tune into who you are as a person so you feel on the same wavelength as your coach and feel comfortable enough to open up. If there is rapport you will also feel a sense of empathy from your coach and they will really understand where you are ‘coming from’. Rapport is often naturally built up when coach and coachee have similar interests or backgrounds as common ground is established and you will have the feeling that ‘my coach understands me.’ However a great coach will be able to build rapport with you regardless of your respective backgrounds and they achieve this through showing a genuine interest in you, putting their own agenda aside, asking appropriate questions and listening to really understand you.

Ability to ask great questions
The key role of a coach is to ask questions to raise your awareness, deepen your understanding, challenge you, explore your options, consider different perspectives and initiate action. So when you have had an initial conversation with a potential coach you should have a sense of their ability to ask such thought-provoking questions. If all they have asked you is a series of closed questions which have elicited a simple ‘yes,’ ‘no’ or one word answers then buyer-beware.

Holding off from giving advice
How often have you been told what to do and felt a total lack of commitment to doing it? A good coach understands the principle that in most situations each individual is fully creative and resourceful and has the ability to come up with their own answers to move forward. A coach who gives advice does not fully acknowledge your resources nor do they recognizing that everyone is different – a solution that might be right for the coach may not necessarily be right for you with your own set of circumstances. Allowing you to come up with your own solutions through the use of powerful and creative questions is a hugely empowering process which raises your confidence and increases your commitment to action

This quality forms the basis of ‘non-directive’ coaching. There is has been much debate about the term coach which has been applied to those offering consultancy and advice too, and confusion over the terms coaching and mentoring, so be sure to check out the approach taken by your coach to be.

Intuition is a quality which is so underrated in a society where logic prevails. However a good coach will not only use their intuition to understand what is really going on beneath the surface and what is not being said, they will be prepared to share this intuition with you as their client. A coach who does not use their intuition will only be able to reflect back what is being said at face value and not be able to accurately determine your underlying moods and emotions, what you are holding back from saying, and any underlying issues which may be holding you back from moving forward.

Prepared to challenge
To develop as individuals we have to sometimes make changes, take actions or even address issues that are difficult or uncomfortable. A good coach will challenge you to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zones and hold you accountable for your actions. A good coach will also ask questions which challenge and force you to think more deeply or even explore areas you don’t want to go to.

We all have strengths inside us but so often we cannot see them ourselves. Perhaps it is a long time since anyone has said anything positive about you perhaps you have become immune to positive feedback or perhaps you find yourself focusing only on your weaknesses. By really understanding you a good coach will naturally be able to spot your strengths and qualities and then feed them back to you. This is called championing.

Whilst you cannot always fully gauge whether a coach is right for you at the outset you can certainly get an idea as to whether they possess these qualities of a coach by asking for a pre-coaching conversation with several coaches before you make your decision as to which coach you choose.

Louise Yates runs a website describing the qualities of a coach and offers free coaching tools. She is also a qualified business coach UK.

Article Source: Do You Understand The Qualities That Make A Good Coach?
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