Coaching: 7 Abilities of an Outstanding Coach

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Are you a coach? Before you say “No,” ponder how often you do coach. Consider what happens when we parent, help a friend or family member resolve a problem, or manage people. Most of us coach way more than we know.

In our photo, we see a 22-year-old wrestling coach in 1980 named John G. Miller with a megaphone in hand. It was an effective tool, for sure, but we don’t need to be loud to be a terrific coach. There are certain tools/abilities outstanding coaches possess, and in this blog, we’ll briefly mention seven. Feel free to forward this piece to anyone who finds themselves in a coaching position paid or unpaid!

7 Abilities of Outstanding Coaches

1. Paint verbal pictures

Since the human mind never thinks in words but only in pictures, great coaches know how to communicate effectively through images. They use stories, not lectures, to help people understand their message and lesson. Are you a skilled storyteller?

2. Admit mistakes

As we write in the Outstanding! book, “Humility is the cornerstone of leadership.” It’s also the foundation of great coaching. Remember, arrogance repels, humility attracts. When coaches admit their own foibles, those being coached hear them much better.

3. Create an encouraging environment

Part of the value of being encouraging is, of course, the value of being positive. But equal to that is helping another person to feel safe in taking risks, trying new things, failing, trying again, and finally … growing. Be an encourager.

4. Exist to serve

Clearly, if a coach is inwardly focused, self-centered, and not interested in serving people, he or she shouldn’t be a coach! Do you exist to serve?

5. Celebrate each success

Lauding small victories and wins throughout the journey is the only way to help someone move forward. There are few, if any, “overnight successes.” Never forget, joy and satisfaction exist in accomplishing those baby steps!

6. Draw people out

Outstanding coaches are natural questioners because they are innately curious. Being able to bring the best out of others from deep within is their greatest gift and this always begins with a question. Are you an excessive talker or an intentional questioner? Be the latter.

7. Know when to be quiet

Truth: “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Timing is everything for a coach. Excellent coaches know when to ask, when to counsel, when to confront  and when to shut up. Through silence, the best coaches let the “self-discovery” phenomenon happen.

So, if you fancy yourself a coach, or simply do coach more often than you thought, which of these seven abilities do you have now and which ones do you need to acquire?

Comments always welcome!

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