Top 5 Qualities That Define the Most Successful Coaches

5 Qualities of a Great Coach

When it comes to coaching people, there are many qualities that a good coach exhibits. In fact, every coach has some good qualities that you could list, but if you talk to enough coaches and you get to know the people at the top of the industry, you will notice a pattern starting to emerge.

There are some qualities that are self-evident in a good coach, for example, they should have a passion to help people succeed, they should be honest and motivated themselves to motivate their clients. You will see that the most successful coaches actually share some of the same attributes. Here are five qualities that the greatest coaches have. See if you can develop the same strengths so that you will be in that you will be able to sustain a successful coaching practice in the long term.

1. Self-Awareness

a good coach should be self-awareSelf-awareness is a big one. You want to know yourself intimately because if you are still struggling with finding out who you are, you are going to have a major problem coaching other people.

Coaches who are self-aware know their strengths and weaknesses, make better decisions, and are able to help their clients become more self-aware. Great coaches continually develop themselves. They help create a coaching culture where their clients are fully supported

2. Great Communication

a great coach is a good listener
Be a good listener

The best coaches are great communicators. They say the right things at the right times, and even more importantly, they listen.

Listening is a skill that you want to develop and you want to understand and empathize with the people that you’re listening to so that you can communicate not only what you want to say, but also exactly what they need.

A great coach is non-judgemental and without prejudice and is able to see different perspectives.

3. Perception

a great coach is perceptive

Great coaches are perceptive. They notice things. Coaches can tell when someone is not as motivated by being aware of even a slight drop in energy levels.

They can read between the lines and know what their client is not saying. This perceptiveness comes in useful when getting to the root of a client’s problem, and digging down into the beliefs and thoughts that drive a specific behavior. A great coach will enable their clients to find their own solutions.

A good coach can trust and use their intuition from time to time.

4. Organised and Professional

One of the challenges in the field of coaching is upholding levels of professionalism, standards and ethics. Good coaches are organised and consistent. Great coaches are not only professional, they always have

a great coach looks and acts the part
Organised & Professional

the right attitude, they are also well organised. Even if you aren’t naturally an organised person, you should develop the skills necessary – this may mean taking some advice or teaching, perhaps coaching! Being well organised is vital to running a good coaching business. You’ll be collecting information about several different clients and helping them each with  different goals, and unless you are well organised you will not be able to offer the best service for your clients.

5. Flexibility

The best coaches are also very flexible and adjustable. Resilience and perseverance are very important. They can easily bounce back when someone throws them a curve ball. Great coaches know when the coaching is working and when it is NOT working.

If a particular style of coaching or method isn’t working with a certain client, they are happy to change things and allow them to learn from a completely different place, even if it isn’t one with which they are not at their most comfortable. Or, they are willing to let go. Great coaches know when to quit. They know when to move on. They know that it is better to work on those who want to change.

Other Key Coaching Skills and Attributes

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success.

for more on emotional intelligence


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of your client. In a sense it is to be able to walk in their shoes.

Rapport building

Rapport is a close and harmonious relationship in which the coach and the client understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well. Building rapport is essential to developing trust in the coach/client relationship.

Questioning skills

Most of us can ask questions. When coaching, you need to be using powerful questions. These are questions that:
Are short, typically 7 words or less
Are open rather than closed
Deepen the learning of the person being coached
Move the person forward towards a goal
Examples include:
What do you want?, What’s important?, What’s the first step?


Reflection in coaching is a communication skill. It is like holding up a mirror and repeating the client’s words back to them exactly as they said them. You might reflect back the whole sentence, or you might select a few words – or even one single word – from what the client has just said.

Reflecting is the process of paraphrasing and restating both the feelings and words of the speaker.  The purposes of reflecting are:

  • To allow the speaker to ‘hear’ their own thoughts and to focus on what they say and feel.
  • To show the speaker that you are trying to perceive the world as they see it and that you are doing your best to understand their messages.
  • To encourage them to continue talking.

Tact & diplomacy

Tact is the skill and sensitivity in dealing with others or with difficult issues and diplomacy is the skill and tact in dealing with people. This is essential in dealing with difficult clients

4 Ways on How to Coach Difficult Clients

Make coaching difficult clients easier

make dealing with difficult clients easier
Difficult client?

If you stay in the coaching business long enough, you are eventually going to run into what industry professionals call “problem clients.” These are clients that are difficult to deal with for whatever reason, and they often have to be handled with kid gloves.

The behavior itself varies, and can run the gamut from anger to inappropriate comments or touching. You need to develop a strategy for dealing with these problem clients and see if you can change their behavior, and if not, your strategy should include a plan for parting ways with them.

1. Be committed to their success

You want your clients to succeed but not at all costs. If you invest too much of yourself in their success, and they fall short, don’t take it personally. Don’t allow the outcome of a particular coaching project make you feel emotional or responsible. Coaching relationships are important but you need to leave a professional gap, a distance to prevent you from getting too close personally. After all, you will need to let go at some stage.

2. Watch out for warning signs:

Look for warning signs with difficult coaching clients
Warning Signs

There are often warning signs that you can look out for when you are working with clients to spot a problem long before it happens. Of course, this does take some experience so you may still have some problem clients at first that sneak up on you,  but be prepared to learn from each experience and look for those warning signs in future clients so that you can pre-empt any problems.Prevention is better than cure in some cases.

3. When your energy is waning..

If you have a client that is just draining you of your energy and enthusiasm every time you talk to them, even if they aren’t doing it intentionally, you may want to consider releasing them. If you have a client that is making you feel drained after a session, it could easily overflow and affect your personal life, and your relationship with your other clients.

4. Say what you need to say

let your yes be yes and your no be no
Yes! No!

Let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no’. Make sure that you are saying what you need to say and not being indirect or vague. Make sure that your client understands you, and that you have laid down firm boundaries and ground rules. Don’t be afraid to be direct with clients who start to make excuses for not responding to your coaching questions. In addition, if you have a client that you no longer think is a good fit for your coaching, speak up and tell them rather than letting it continue, because you’re not doing either of you any favours.

4 Avoidable Mistakes Coaching Online

4 suggestions when starting and online coaching business

If you want to be an online coach, you will want to put some things in place before you start taking on clients. That means learning everything you can about coaching, developing a game plan for helping clients and being able to bounce back when something isn’t working properly. You need a certain amount of resilience.

But even with the best laid plans you will still make some mistakes. Making mistakes is part of the learning curve that comes with starting any new business whether online or not. While it is difficult to legislate for every possible mistake, here are 4 avoidable mistakes when coaching online. Avoiding these mistakes will help you to establish your business a bit quicker.

Mistake 1: Trying to do everything

Starting a business may mean that you need to know about many different things, but if you try to do everything you will achieve very little (except burning yourself out).

Perhaps you can write well or maybe you are happier with connecting with people one on one. Perhaps you love video or developing your website. What about internet marketing, SEO, or starting a membership site?

In addition you may be a parent or grandparent with all the time that needs to be devoted to that. So, have about finding out what you are really good at – and then finding help with the other areas?

Mistake 2. Having an bad website

I have heard some entrepreneurs say that you don’t need a particular good website or even that you don’t need a website at all. Whilst that may work for some, most of us need a shop window to the world. Your website is important. Your website does not need to be fancy with all the bells and whistles – it can be simple (like this one) – but it needs to be easy for your prospective clients to navigate and know what you have to offer.

If you are going to develop your own website, make sure that you know how to continually improve it so that it is an interesting and informative experience for everyone who visits. Make sure that you spend some time and money making your website shine, because it is your face to the online world.

3. Concentrating Too Much on Training and Certification

It is important to know what you are doing and for others to know that you have taken the trouble to learn. But learning is a life-long experience. You can learn as you go along. In the early days of building your business, you need to invest in other areas of your business that will help prospective clients to know you are there. You need to consider the time and costs of website development, equipment, software, content and promotion for your coaching business.

Mistake 4. Not having enough cash to start and grow your business

Internet businesses require relatively little money to start up. You don’t need to lease an office, or travel to work – you can work from home. A bricks and mortar business would cost far more.

But you sometimes need to spend money in order to make money. If you are starting part time while you have a regular day job, then perhaps you can start with $200 or $300  – this would cover the costs of webhosting, domain names, website development and so forth.

If you want to start full time, then you will need to have some savings to fall back on – probably enough to keep you going for 6 months while you start to get a regular income stream from onloine contacts.

These are just 4 mistakes to avoid when coaching online.

Easy Budget Recipes: Chicken Casserole

Chicken Casserole

chicken casserole

Perfect to cook in the slow cooker or in the oven.

Ingredients for chicken casserole

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 chicken portions
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 450ml chicken stock
  • 2 tsp mixed herbs (or chopped fresh herbs)

Method for chicken casserole

  1. Heat the oil and cook the chicken pieces over a high heat for a few minutes, turning to get all sides golden.
  2. Remove chicken from the pan to a plate while you cook the onion in the same oil and heat until soft.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients including the chicken to the pan, stir well and bring to a simmer. Put the lid on and leave to simmer on a low heat for one and a half hours.
  4. Mash a couple of the pieces of potato down to thicken the gravy a little and serve straight to the table.



6 Powerful Reasons Why Mentors Should Have a Mentor

Why every mentor should have a mentor

A mentor is someone who teaches, guides and lifts you up by virtue of his or her experience and insight. They’re usually someone a little farther ahead of you on the path—though that doesn’t always mean they’re older! A mentor is someone with a head full of experience and heart full of generosity that brings those things together in your life. – John Maxwell

1. You need a Mentor!

For years as a salesman, I struggled to make the grade. I made the calls without any real conviction, tried to reach targets that somehow I couldn’t quite reach, read all the good books on selling but still failed to motivate myself. I was in Dead End Street.

What I needed was someone to share my journey but show me a different road. It didn’t have to be by cutting corners or a short cut. I was burning out, wanting to quit, because I seemed to be on the road to nowhere. There was something I was missing, something I didn’t quite get.

In the great movies, this is when along comes Obi Wan Kenobi to guide the young Luke Skywalker, or, a Yoda, or a Mary Poppins turns up. Even the great heroes of the bible needed someone when the going got tough. Moses needed Jethro, Joshua needed Moses, Elisha needed Elijah and the disciples needed Jesus.

Every mentor needs a mentor
CC BY-NC by Han Shot First

The point is that we cannot succeed on our own. Someone who has been around the block a couple of times needs to show us the way.

Then I experienced a mentor in my own life, in the shape of a Field Sales Manager. Even then a field sales manager was old hat. Modern managers at that time were office bound, numbers people. But here was a guy who had been there and done it. He shared my journey, made the calls with me, he asked me the right questions, encouraged me to share my experiences with the customers, relax and enjoy the journey. Eventually, the success came. I still made the calls, did the presentations but with a passion and a purpose.

I spent many years as a salesman and a sales manager and it took me to many different countries. It would be easy to say that I did it my way, but that would be only half a story. I recognised that any success that I experienced was down to the others who had shared my journey.

2. A mentor can help you move forward

Mentors are generally volunteers. They volunteer for many reasons, but often they want to ‘put something back’ or, ‘pay it forward’. So why is it that many mentors, especially in the voluntary sector, do not consider having a mentor themselves?. Perhaps they feel they do not need a mentor, or that nobody would want to support them.

On the surface, it may seem strange that someone who can help another person to achieve their dreams, does not consider it for them personally. Everyone has hopes and dreams, and having support from outside of our immediate circle of family, friends and colleagues, who do not carry the same baggage, can make a significant difference.

But if that mentor would consider it carefully, they would decide that a mentor would be a good option for them.

3. Two people can share a journey

Sometimes we need someone who has “been there and done it” to help us negotiate a difficult situation, someone from outside who can get a different view of things. This is a mentor’s role. You are worth the time and investment.

Being on the mentee side of the mentoring relationship will give you fresh insights into your own role of mentor.

4. Having a mentor will make you a great mentor

You may think that you don’t have what it takes to be a mentor. You cannot see yourself in the role of wise and trusted guide. Perhaps you think you are not qualified to be a mentor. After all don’t mentors need a degree in some ‘ology’ or other? Put your mind at rest.

Having a mentor will help you to find your own strengths. The best qualification for a mentor is often ‘experience of life’. If you are in a business setting, perhaps you have had experience in starting an online business, or have been the CEO of a medium size company. Then you are perfectly placed to help someone else go through the same challenges.

You may have no business experience. Perhaps you have experienced and overcome family breakdown, financial difficulties or long-term unemployment. Who would want someone like you? The answer is anyone who is going through similar tough life circumstances. How much would they value support from someone who knows what they are going through. A listening ear and the wisdom that comes from hard-earned experience could be a life-saver for someone who is socially isolated by difficult challenges.

5. A mentoring relationship works both ways.

One Way or Another

A mentoring relationship can be life changing for both the mentor and the mentee. When a mentor asks the mentee the right question, a light-bulb moment can happen as the mentee arrives at a solution to their own problem. This can be a revelation to both parties. In guiding a mentee through stormy waters, a mentor will often experience a light shining on some event in their own life. These are great moments in the relationship.

6. Matchmaking makes mentoring meaningful

Some mentoring relationships seem to be made in heaven. This happens when care is taken in matching the mentee with a suitable mentor. This is not rocket science. When both parties are keen to make the relationship work, then it has a better chance of being successful – just like any relationship in marriage or business. Having a good mentor will add to your value when you are mentoring.

As Featured On EzineArticles

Check these great resources for coaching and mentoring:-

John Maxwell

14 Good Questions Regarding Strengths

Good Questions regarding Strengths

  1. Can you find your strengths?
  2. What could you work on?
  3. What is your greatest strength?
  4. What strengths would other people select for you?
  5. Even though things may be tough at the moment, what strengths will help you get through?
  6. Do some of your strengths get you into trouble?
  7. Do you use some strengths more than others?
  8. Has anyone ever criticised your strengths? – Do you think they were right?
  9. What strengths do you need to work on?
  10. Have you lost some strengths you used to have? Why did they go? Could you get them back?
  11. Are there any strengths you wish you had?
  12. What strengths could sort out this situation?
  13. Do you know anyone who already has these strengths?
  14. How could you get these strengths?

How to Raise Self-Awareness Using Strength Cards

Your clients can discover their strengths

The Strength Cards are a great way for raising self awareness in clients individually or in groups.

Strength cards for use by coaches, managers, teams or teachers to inspire powerful coaching conversations. Strength cards can be a highly effective as conversation starters so that clients can open up to talk easily about what is on their mind, accessing both thoughts and feelings. These cards can introduce another dimension to the coaching conversation.

Here are 10 ways on how to raise self-awareness using strength cards:-

  • Just spread out the cards and ask you client to choose 5 cards that really stand out for them. These are strengths that are natural for them and give them a positive vibe. When they consider these strengths, they will feel like these are there core strengths – in a sense they recognise that these are wired in.
  • It is best for the client to get some feedback and ask someone else, who knows them well, to choose their top strengths for them. See if they match. If others recognise those strengths in you, it helps the client to confirm their own selection. Can that third party give you specific examples of the strengths in action.
  • Get your client to Understand how their core strengths play out in their lives. How are they used? In what situations are they used? What postive impact do these strengths make on their life? Encourage them to use their main strength intentionally every day. Set a task for your client to purposefully and intentionally use one of the core strengths on a regular basis, say, at least once a week.
  • Encourage your client to use their  core strengths in an original way. So, instead of just using their key strengths habitually, support them in developing a particular strength by extending its reach. So, for instance, if ‘persistance’ is one of their strengths and they use it currently to try and finish a difficult project, see how this strength might play out when setting particular goals, or researching a new subject.
  • We should each have a number of strengths, many of which are not tried and tested on a regular basis. Which ones do you under use and why? Choose one of these strengths and start to use it consciously in your life. Strengths are like muscles – use it or lose it!
  • For you and your clients – if you are facing a specific problem at work or at home, check through the cards and choose a strength that might help you cope with this problem. It may not be one of your strengths so it won’t solve the problem, but it will act as a catalyst to understand the character strength you need in a difficult situation and perhaps ask for the help of someone you recognise with that strength.

    strength cards for self awareness
    Strength Cards from St Luke’s
  • To enhance relationships, ask your partner, work colleague or family member to choose their top strengths. Give them examples of where you have seen these strengths play out.
  • Here;s a way to postively affirm someone else. Choose a strength card for someone you love, or an individual you work with. Perhaps even someone you are facing difficulties with. Give them the strength card and tell them why you have chosen it for them, offering positive praise.
  • Use strengths cards and language readily and frequently. Strength cards are a valuable addition to any coaching toolkit. Great for use in a variety of contexts with individuals and teams, the playing card size and format makes them easy to carry around and use spontaneously or as part of a planned exercise.
  • Clients can choose to work with words or images.  discovering or confirming a client’s strengths and then exploring ways of using these strengths to help them achieve their goals.
strength cards showing humorous, caring, hopeful
More strength cards from St Luke’s

14 Good questions regarding strengths

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Easy Budget Recipes: Basil Pesto Chicken

Basil Pesto Chicken


Delicious and easy to make, this Basil Pesto Chicken is an absolute winner for a mid-week spring meal. It’s also great to reheat for lunch or dinner the next day.

Serves: Two

Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients for basil pesto chicken

  • 200g dried fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 single chicken breast fillets, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1 cup cream
  • shaved parmesan, to serve
  • basil leaves, to serve

Method for basil pesto chicken

  1. Cook fettuccine according to the packet directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add chicken and cook, stirring often, until brown.
  4. Add pesto, cream, salt and pepper to frying pan.
  5. Reduce heat to medium and cook for five minutes.
  6. Drain pasta and add to pesto mixture.
  7. Toss over low heat until well combined.
  8. Transfer to serving bowls.
  9. Top with parmesan and basil.
  10. Serve warm.


Easy Budget Recipes: Basic Tomato Pasta Sauce

Basic Tomato Pasta Sauce


Ingredients for basic tomato pasta sauce

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 x 400g cans good-quality chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 organic chicken or vegetable stock cube

Method for basic tomato pasta sauce

  • Place a saucepan over a medium heat, add a splash of oil and the onion, and cook for 5-10 minutes until softened.
  • Using the flat of a small knife squash the clove of garlic, add a pinch of salt to create friction and continue pushing down and rubbing the garlic against the board with the knife until you have a paste.
  • Add the garlic to the onions, cook for a minute, then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée and cayenne pepper, and crumble in the stock cube. Mix all the ingredients together and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly and the stock has totally melted.
  • Serve with your choice of pasta.


Easy Budget Recipes: Bacon & Veggie Slice

Bacon & Veggie Slice (Lunch alternative to sandwiches)

 bacon and veggie slice

 Ingredients for bacon & veggie slice (serves 6)

Extra light olive oil, to grease

4 bacon rashers, rind removed, diced

1 leek, halved lengthways, thinly sliced crossways

2 medium zucchini (courgettes), grated

2 medium carrots, peeled, grated

105g (11/4 cup) grated tasty cheese

150g (1 cup) self-raising flour, sifted

5 eggs, lightly beaten

125ml (1/2 cup) extra light olive oil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Natural yoghurt (optional), to serve

Baby spinach leaves (optional), to serve

Method for Bacon & Veggie slice

Grease a 19cm (base measurement) square, heatproof microwave-safe dish lightly with the oil.

Place bacon in a large, heatproof microwave-safe bowl. Cover with paper towel and cook on High/800watts/100%, stirring after 2 minutes, for 4 minutes. Add leek, cover with paper towel and cook on High/800watts/ 100% for a further 1 minute. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.

Stir in the zucchini (courgette), carrots, cheese and flour, and mix well.

Whisk together the eggs, oil and mustard in a medium bowl. Add to the bacon and vegetable mixture, season with salt and pepper, and mix gently to combine.

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Place the dish on a microwave-safe rack or upturned saucer to elevate about 2cm above the turntable. Cook, uncovered, on Medium/500watts/50% for 15 minutes or until the edges are firm and the centre is slightly wobbly.

Preheat grill on medium-high. Place the dish under the preheated grill for 4-5 minutes or until top is golden and centre is firm to touch.

Cut into pieces and serve warm with a dollop of yoghurt, sprinkled with pepper, and spinach leaves, if using.