Becoming an extraordinary coach is such a blessing. Coaches create the opportunity to develop ourselves and others at the same time! Coaching is a helping relationship in which the coach and client become partners in assisting the client to reach their personal and professional potential. Spiritually, coaching is a way of being a servant human being, focusing on the growth and development of others.
Coaching has become one of the most fulfilling parts of my business over the last 30 years, 20 of which I have been coaching in organizations and training others to become coaches. Below is a list of six characteristics of extraordinary coaches! What really makes an extraordinary coach is not just one, but a combination of all the characteristics below. Enjoy the journey of becoming a coach. I highly recommend it!
1 Positive Attitude & Passion
Having a positive way of being balanced with what is factual and real to maintain perspective allows the “coachee” to feel supported and uplifted and also address fact versus fiction or perception during a coaching session. Being passionate about your coaching practice is so important; people feel your passion and dedication to what you do and want to hire you as their coach!
2 Artful Communication Skill
This is about being present and asking powerful open-ended questions that encourage people to think deeply and come up with their own solutions. It’s about coming from a place of seeking to understand and help the client to understand, too. Humans naturally want to solve problems for others, but coaching is about allowing the person to come up with their own solutions, which creates a thinking being versus a doing being.
3 Skilled Listening
Listening is an art: truly being present, slowing down and listening without judgment until the person has stopped talking, creating space before jumping in and commenting or asking a question. It is amazing what happens in a coaching session or any conversation during the silence. “Silence is a source of great strength.” — Lao Tzu . It is in the silence that creativity and solutions are often found.
4 Walking the Talk
Be a role model as a coach and demonstrate confidence and skill. Hold that mirror up to yourself and be real with what you see. Once you see yourself clearly, strive for growth and performance just as you would advise a client to do. Stretching to grow as a person can be hard work, but you need to do it as a coach in order to understand what others experience.
5 Seeing the Big Picture
As an organizational or human capital coach, it is our job to not only believe and support our clients’ goals, but also to connect those goals to the organization they are working for. We need to be sure their values, goals and objectives are also in alignment with the organization’s values, goals and objectives. This means taking the time to research the organization and schedule conversations with the managers and leaders of the person you are coaching. Without this step, you can coach a client to personal growth, but their professional grown may not match the needs of their organization. This is a critical step for an organizational coach!
6 Continuous Learning
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”Albert Einstein
Coaching is really a practice, like yoga, where we as coaches continuously learn, grow and develop our skillset of coaching. I recently took a class with a “Master Certified Coach” and learned so much, even after 30 years in the field. It is amazing how much we can learn when we open our minds and hearts to continuous learning and how much better we can serve the people we are coaching by continuously developing ourselves with new skills as a coach.
Find ways to bring these Six Characteristics to your coaching practice today. Whether you are a new coach or a seasoned coach, challenge yourself to continuously develop yourself through education and certifications – you won’t regret it!
P.S. for Managers:
Coaching can be part of a manager’s job as well as a specialty practice. If you’re not a coach now but have interest in developing coaching skills to become a better manager, a great place to start is the Coach Training Alliance. CTA offers a wide variety of classes, so maybe try out a couple of beginning coaching classes to see if they fit with your job or your life. Alternatively, you can read “A Manager’s Guide to Coaching,” by Anne Loehr and Brian Emerson, to see how basic coaching skills can help you manage better before you invest time and money in classes.
Managing projects and tasks is important, but coaching your reports to up their game and find fulfillment and happiness in their job is deeply satisfying for them and for you. You’ll find coaching skills to be a valuable part of your management skill toolbox – or maybe even a new calling!