Qualities that make a Great Coach

There are many different types of Coach, however there are one set of qualities that run consistently through all of them, regardless of their speciality. Here we explore 5 traits that make a great coach: 

A Skilled Listener

A good Coach will be a good listener. A great Coach will be a skilled listener. A skilled listener doesn’t only listen to what you’re saying overall, they will also be observing many other nuances at the same time: 

  • Whether you repeat words that might indicate something useful
  • How you intonate certain words
  • What emotion you demonstrate when you’re talking (e.g. excitement, sadness)
  • What silences there are
  • What your eyes are doing when you talk
  • What your hands are doing when you talk
  • Your overall body language
  • What you’re not saying 

Asks Open Questions

A golden rule for Coaches is ask quality questions – questions that lead to you talking, thinking & reflecting. 

A closed question – one that leads to a yes/no answer – doesn’t really add benefit to you or your Coach, whereas an open question – one that starts with when, why, what, where, how – these all lead to rich responses and thinking on your part.

Builds Rapport through Trust & Respect

Rapport is another essential ingredient in the coaching relationship. Without it you will find it hard to be open with your Coach, which defeats the object of why you’re being coached in the first place. Reputable Coaches will always offer a chemistry meeting with you, usually before any contract is agreed – one of the purposes of chemistry meeting is to check that you’re both comfortable working together, that you feel connected in some way, and that you trust them.

Is Non-Judgemental

Your Coach will cast no judgement on you for the way you have dealt with situations, your behaviour, your psychology – your Coach’s role is to help you move forward, help you break away from limiting beliefs about yourself by challenging you, however not judging you. 

Encourages Commitment to Action

One of the expectations from Coaching is that you will “improve”, “grow”, “develop” – whatever you want to call it, it takes commitment, and accountability. 

Your coach will ensure that not only do you commit to action or actions, however they will also hold you accountable for them!

Here’s a typical script: 

Looking at what you agreed to do/try in our last session…..Did you do what you said you’d do? 

If “yes” – How did it go? How did that feel? What have you learnt from it? What’s the impact? On yourself and others? What will you try next?

If “no” – Why not? What stopped you? Why do you think that was? What are you avoiding? 


Each of these traits can be explored in much more detail – from how does a Coach develop these skills? through to how does a client actually benefit from these traits in their Coach? 

Comment below on what your experiences are of these traits, and what other qualities would you add to this list? 

If you liked this read, you might also like our Coaching & Contracting article.

The Coach Directory is a one-stop shop for coaches and their clients – a place where you will find coaches of many different types, across the world.  All our coaches are authenticated via a combination of their training, their credentials, their experience and their professional insurance. Get in touch if you need help matching with one of our listed coaches and read more about our trusted process for validating our coaches here.

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Great Coach




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