The Top 9 Characteristics Of A Good Coach

The Top 9 Characteristics Of A Good Coach

What differentiates a great coach from a mediocre one? In this guide, we have compiled a list of the top characteristics to look out for when selecting the right coach for you.

March 30th, 2022

With so many choices out there, selecting the right business coach can be an overwhelming task. However, when you know exactly what to look for, you can narrow down your search accordingly and make the process go far more seamlessly. We have narrowed down our top characters of a good coach:

1. The Right Match

Personalities matter! In order for the business coaching to be efficient, you need to trust the person coaching you. When selecting your coach, don’t shy away from selecting based on gut-feeling and intuition in the first place  - as long as you also consider all the other characteristics of a good coach listed in this guide. Intuition is our sixth sense telling us something of importance, that we should listen to and trust, also when it comes to selecting the right coach.

2. A Coach with People Skills and Emotional Intelligence

Although the outcome of business coaching relates to business outcomes, it also relates to personal growth and development. For this reason, one of the characteristics of a good coach is the right people skills and emotional intelligence to make a lasting impact on the client. The baseline characteristics to look out for include:

  • Attentive listening skills – they hear what you do and don’t say.
  • Empathy and high-level emotional intelligence – they can read emotive indicators and body language even virtually.
  • Asks deep, evocative, relevant questions.
  • Opens your mind to new possibilities and perspectives.
  • Helps you identify, understand, appreciate, and apply your own as well as the strengths of others and how these can compensate for your weaknesses.
  • Maintains the balance between challenging, supporting, provoking, and motivating you.

3. Education and Training

We can’t talk about the characteristics of a good coach without addressing their training within coaching - and the extent to which they have trained. Formal training gives your coach guidance on their personality, style of interaction, psychological strengths, and barriers. Well-educated coaches benefit from the feedback and supervision of their styles from senior coaches who watch them in live client interactions.

To understand if your coach has undergone intense training, simply ask for his/her license, degree and educational background. Make sure the education is formal and recognized, based on more than just a few days of training. Among the most trustworthy coaching institutions in the world are the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC). Trained and Licensed Business Psychologists also have years of training and supervision behind their title. You may also find extremely well trained coaches amongst former HR professionals, or even managers, who have “upgraded” themselves with a coaching education.

4. Elite Business Acumen and Organizational Experience

One of the most important characteristics of a good coach is their ability to understand organizational political dynamics and what it means to lead and work in modern organizations. One way to test the potential coach’s business acumen is to ask them how they intend to help you solve real-life business issues and challenges:

  • Does the coach speak the language of strategy?
  • What challenges do they foresee for your business?
  • Do they know what it is like to work in a modern organization?
  • Does the coach “get” what you are talking about when you share challenges and experiences?

A deep understanding of the above is necessary to maintain an effective coach-client relationship.

5. Stellar References and Recommendations

Alongside characteristics of a good coach, is how others perceive their character. Don’t be afraid to ask the coach for previous references and recommendations to see how clients rate their coaching abilities. It will be hard to trust a coach who does not have clients that will vouch for them. And without trust, you won’t get the most out of the coaching journey.

6. Coaching Methodology and Philosophy

One of the top characteristics of a good coach is one that has taken the time to solidify their coaching methodology and philosophy. Remember, there are a lot of different ways to be coached. At Session, we believe in building on Strengths, trying out the things talked about in the coaching sessions, imagining the next new and looking for collaboration and partnerships, wherever possible.

7. Can the Coach Deliver Online Coaching?

Another important characteristic of a good coach is their ability to facilitate meetings - particularly in an online setting. When selecting a business coach, consider and ask whether they can facilitate online coaching. Given the upfront benefits of online coaching, including the flexibility, time saving and smoothness of just having to open up your computer, we encourage you to find a coach who can do online coaching.

8. Can The Coach Help You Measure Concrete Goals and Track Success?

One of the characteristics of a good coach is their ability to be goal-orientated. For you to evaluate whether the coaching journey will help or not, it is important that the coach can set goals with you from the get-go. When selecting a business coach, make sure to ask them how they can help you measure concrete goals and track success.

Fluffy promises like “it will be great” or “it's hard to measure, but I know from experience that it works” won’t help you in the long run. The majority of clients, employees and businesses, need concrete and tangible ROI proof to maintain a coaching budget. A great business coach will not shy away from helping you measure and prove progress, in fact, they will insist you do!

9. Cost of The Coaching

Although cost is not a characteristic, it is still an important factor and can help you determine if the coach is in alignment with your, or your organization's financial capacity. Although there is no specific set cost to look for, we know for a fact that online coaching very often can be offered at a lower price than in-person coaching. The price does not always reflect the quality, so be mindful of what you end up paying, since motivational coaches very often cost a fortune, whereas very well-educated business coaches might be available at a lower price.

Summing Up

Choosing the right coach is no easy task. Consider the top 9 characteristics of a good coach from the list above, and you are one step closer to starting on a valuable journey which might very well get you closer to living your strengths, dreams and aspirations.

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