How to become a great coach

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Task master or coach: which one are you?

The top desired skill for front-line managers is coaching, according to a recent survey in Chief Learning Officer Magazine. What makes a good coach – and how can you improve your coaching skills, and advance your career in the process?

As a coach to thousands of entrepreneurs, executives, career-changers and keynote speakers, I thought it might be useful to look at some of the key differences between managing and coaching – and why coaching is the most critical skill that any leader can master, in order to ensure career success.

Do you want to inspire your employees, or instruct them? Consider this instructive statistic: Gallup says 86% of employees think that their bosses are uninspiring.

When executed properly, coaching provides greater intrinsic motivation – in other words, inspiring the self-directed willingness to try new things and make new discoveries. According to McKinsey, when employees find greater intrinsic motivation, they are 32% more committed to their work and 46% more satisfied with their jobs.

What’s Different About Coaching vs. Managing Your Employees

The difference really comes from focus. In managing an employee, the focus is on being directive: here’s what needs to be done, here’s how I’d like you to do it, here’s when it needs to be completed.

The challenge with being a directive manager is that you create a syndrome of “Mother May I?” (Remember the children’s game, where no one could move until they said, “Mother May I”?) Employees learn to always ask the expert, which in this case is the manager. But the manager becomes frustrated. “Why do I have to have all the answers? How is this efficient if everyone is asking for my guidance on every little task?” Micromanagement becomes the feedback loop, because employees can’t manage to move without the boss’s ok.

Coaching takes on a collaborative and empowering approach, pointing team members towards their own resourcefulness and insight. Unlike training, where the curriculum and the trainer set the agenda, coaching focuses on the client (I believe that “client” means anyone upon whom your success depends – so your team members, boss, shareholders and your spouse are all your clients).

Instead of providing knowledge on processes, procedures and necessary tasks, the coach asks the employee to self-identify and self-direct towards what’s missing. The idea is to make the unconscious conscious, as the employee discovers blind spots and opportunities (rather than being told, scolded or critiqued in a particular direction). The coach’s agenda is insight – the kind of knowledge that comes from the inside – and behavioral change. Insight is critical because, in my experience, if someone doesn’t see something for themselves it doesn’t exist. You can get compliance from directive management. But if you want to inspire the hearts and minds of your employees, it’s time for a different approach, Coach.

How to Become a Better Coach

An effective coach – particularly a coach that’s interested in transformation and leading through change – knows how to point employees towards innovation and new discoveries. But managers can become impatient with this sort of self-discovery approach – and when they are, micromanagement increases, collaboration deteriorates and employee engagement goes way down. Here are three ways to become a better coach to your team – and to yourself – so that you can more easily discover new insights, and change the behaviors that are holding you back.

1. Become a better listener: Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to do their best work, according to this Salesforce survey featured in Forbes. At least 50% of every conversation is listening. unless, of course, you’re a manager who’s passing out instructions. Listening is the often-forgotten skill that managers lack. According to Chief Learning Officer, effective coaches understand how to listen at a deeper level. What would happen if your team felt that you were really listening to them? Doesn’t mean you have to grant wishes, or let the inmates run the asylum. But hearing other viewpoints can shape your own, as well as impacting the effectiveness of the entire organization.

2. Reject a Premise, Get a Promise: We all have a premise, if you will, that reflects how we see the world. That premise (also called a perspective, or point of view) is the reason we move forward, or stay stuck. Coaches challenge the premise, with the words of Nelson Mandela: “It seems impossible, until it’s done”. There are many things in my life that looked impossible: driving a car, getting married, tying my shoes. Yet, here we are. An effective coach practices self-leadership, to recognize that we all have limiting beliefs. Luckily, when those beliefs are seen and understood objectively, a new viewpoint emerges. Can you help your team to leave a limiting premise behind? Will they commit and agree to new behavior? Because if the commitment comes from them, you’re headed in the direction of new results.

3. Safety and the Biggest Promise You Can Keep: Can you listen to your employees or clients without judgement, no matter what comes out of their mouths? That’s tricky! The impulse to correct, fix and change is a strong one in effective managers. And I can relate! Luckily, my approach today is different – because of my experience as a transformational coach. Coaches realize what managers don’t: There’s no such thing as constructive criticism. The only thing that criticism constructs is defensiveness. Maybe after you reflect on the criticism you can make something of it, but criticism doesn’t create an atmosphere of safety. In other words, the sense that we can say and explore anything, without fear of retribution, criticism or correction. That kind of safety is vital to new ideas. Can you offer that environment to your team? If not, it’s understandable. But maybe some objectivity is what’s required – an objective outside resource to help coach you to new results. Because processing information without judgement is critical to helping people see things afresh. The objectives for the coach and the manager can be exactly the same, but the approach is completely different. When clients see new possibilities, new promises take shape. Masterful coaches create a safe environment for new ideas – and sometimes, that role can’t be filled by a manager.

Directing employees is a necessary part of the chain of command. Breaking that chain doesn’t create anarchy or disaster. It creates freedom. Greater freedom for the leader, and greater empowerment for the employee, when coaching is done correctly. Motivation – the desire to do anything – only comes from one place. Inside. To really change behavior and inspire new efficiency, focus your attention on where that drive really comes from – and you will be coaching yourself (and your team) to greater results.

How to become a great coach

Becoming a better coach, and leading remote teams

Leaders today understand the value of coaching – and employees are hungry for the kind of guidance that goes beyond instruction. Chief Learning Officer magazine says that coaching is the number one skill that’s targeted for front line managers. Add the complexities of leading remote teams, and coaching has never been more vital. So, what’s the key distinction between management and coaching? There are two words that illustrate the core difference. If you are interested in becoming a better coach, consider how your next conversation with a team member will shake out. Here’s how to incorporate these two words more effectively, and lead your team to new results.

Ownership: Coaches know what managers don’t: the responsibility for change and transformation always rests with the coaching client (or, in the case of the manager, with the employee). Coaches look in the direction of receptivity: in other words, helping to open up the conversation so that a team member is receptive to new ideas – starting with the idea that new objectives and new results are the team member’s responsibility. In a coaching conversation, ownership is transferred from the manager (who has an incomplete task and a need) to the employee (who’s going to either get it done or face the consequences). If you’re interested in being a better coach, do you wish to instruct or inspire? Ask your employee how things could be better – and point them in the direction of ownership.

Here are three ways to be a great coach at work – and drive greater ownership:

  1. Whose perspective matters most? It’s always the employee, client or team member that’s being coached – otherwise, it’s not coaching. Now that’s not to say that the effective coach agrees with every perspective – often there’s a misunderstanding that’s caused the reason for the coaching conversation. What is that misunderstanding? To resolve it, start by understanding the employee’s perspective. Part of my training for managers focuses on listening – the often-forgotten skill that hard-charging executives identify as either squishy, or useless, or both. But is it? Often I dismiss things that aren’t easy as being dumb or ineffective, when really those words better describe my own bias. Without effective listening, you’ll never get to the viewpoint that matters most – and it’s never found in your own bias. How can you help people to create change if you don’t know where they are, and if you aren’t using some emotional intelligence around other perspectives?
  2. The Best Advice is No More Advice: an effective coach sees other points of view with detachment, not agreement. And smart coaches know that advice is the last thing you ever want to give to a team member. Here’s why: have you ever given someone great advice, and they still didn’t take it? “Just dump that guy, he’s no good for you”, “Stop eating donuts, they’re no good for you.” What happened? Author Daniel Pink explains the reason people don’t respond to advice, even if it’s in their best interests. In his book, Drive, he shares that motivation doesn’t come from the outside. Intrinsic motivation is where change comes from. So let me give you some good advice: stop giving advice. Ownership is where transformation happens, no matter how good your counsel might be. If you think you’re smart, why isn’t your employee changing their behavior? How smart is that, coach? Maybe leading through change isn’t about how smart you are. Maybe motivation and change comes from someplace else. Hey coach, ask your team member what they would say if they were coaching themselves. Ask them how the team or organization could look at the situation differently. Open up the conversation in the area of discovery, not instruction, if you want to coach more effectively.
  3. Am I a Good Coach? That’s the wrong question, coach. Stop focusing on yourself – that’s not where you’ll find someone else’s results. How do you know if your coaching is working? Ask yourself this simple (and better) question: How’s your teammate doing? If they’re seeing things in a new way, and accessing their own internal compass, you’ve got a lot better chance of leading through change. Otherwise, you’re just offering a punch list of items (which are really your to-do list) and instructing someone on how you’d like things done.

The second word that’s vital to the coaching conversation is here: Agreement.

In a management conversation, team members don’t have to agree that the inventory report is important or that they will meet the November deadline for the proposal. You just need somebody to get it done. Compliance works, compliance is quick, compliance doesn’t require anyone’s permission. But coaching does, if you want to uncover innovation and lasting change. Need a quick fix, or do you want to capture the hearts and minds of your innovative employees?

Great coaches see things as they are, not worse than they are. They have a firm grasp on reality, and are honest with themselves about where they stand. Unlike most people, however, they do not dwell on problems; they tackle them head on. They have the proper skills and knowledge to assess the situation and find the best path to move forward. Fear and doubt do not play a role in their mission, even though they must take necessary risks to help others break through to the next level.

Great coaches also have vision. They can see things better than they are and help others to share in that idea. They can create movement that inspires others, so that they roll up their sleeves and do what it takes to get the job done. It goes well beyond directing activity, as a great coach will define the future and make it real and attainable for others.

Great coaches also understand strategy. They realize that transforming a vision into reality requires incremental changes that amount to radical results. It’s not always about the resources available, it’s knowing how to maximize resources — someone’s will, energy, creativity, courage, faith and determination — to achieve goals.

In this video, we can see how Tony Robbins helps world-renowned coach Pat Riley take his game to the next level. He explains why it is so essential to make a goal palatable, understandable, and attainable:

Header image © shutterstock/Brocreative

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

corey beasley

by Corey Beasley

Coaching is one of the most rewarding and frustrating things that you will ever experience. You will have good times and bad times, kids that listen and others that drive you mad, but in the end you will have made a difference and helped a lot of people improve. Here are a few things that I have learned over the years and am always trying to implement with my athletes. I am no expert, but hopefully some of these tips will help you get better results with your team, athletes or other people that you are working with.

1. Inspire Change

Great coaches lead the way and inspire athletes to change, improve and stay the course. This takes a lot more than simply opening the doors of the gym, barking orders and expecting people to listen. Inspiring change requires passion, vision, patience and the willingness to say it over and over again until you are blue in the face. Show people the way, open up their eyes to possibility and help lead them down the path to better habits and success. One of the best ways that I do this is by constantly learning, reading, attending workshops and getting around inspiring people. This constant drive to improve opens doors, refines my program and continues to evolve over time.

For more info, check out this talk from Simon Sinek on How Great Leaders Inspire Action

2. Establish Trust

Most of us walk around with baggage, issues, challenges and other things that have scarred us in the past. As a coach, we must realize that developing trust with our athletes is highest priority. Trust will break down barriers, open lines communication and avoid resistance. Once trust is developed coaching becomes easier and progress can be made at a faster pace. The easiest way to develop trust, from my experience, is to simply care about the people that are asking for your advice. Many people glorify the athlete, but I could care less about “Uncle Creepy”, “Cookie Monster” or whatever…I make decisions and act to help the person. Performance is important, but the person’s life will last a lot longer than their career.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” – John Maxwell

How to become a great coach3. Change Takes Time

Results do not happen overnight, but we live in a ‘microwave society’ that wants everything fast, quick and easy. Developing an athlete takes time, so in order to keep people interested and focused, we must paint the picture for them, show them the way and then hold them accountable until the goals are reached. This is easier said than done, because life has a funny way of throwing up obstacles that can derail our progress. It might be an injury, family challenge, accident, cold, kid, or any of a thousand other things that get in the way. The key point here is to realize that you must make a plan and then fluid enough to react to the challenges that always show up. Be patient and stay consistent.

Did you read this yet? If not, give it a read and share with your team.

4. Work with People that are Ready and Committed.

A lot of people want to win, but few are willing do what it takes to succeed. As a coach, you must set expectations and hold people accountable. In order to keep your sanity and your reputation, its important to work with athletes that are ready and willing to commit. In all areas of life, people make excuses that hold them back. Training is no different. If you work with enough athletes, you will soon realize that its no surprise why some succeed and others fail. It almost always boils down to who is ready and willing to commit to the process. Find the ones that are ready and pour your blood, sweat and tears into making them better.

“Once a man has made a commitment to a way of life, he puts the greatest strength in the world behind him. It’s something we call heart power. Once a man has made this commitment, nothing will stop him short of success.” – Vincent “Vince” Lombardi

5. Stay EngagedHow to become a great coach

Coaching is a hands on profession. I think that its important to stay involved, get your hands dirty and experience what your athletes are going through. As a strength coach, I expect myself to stay in shape, healthy and lead the way both physically and mentally. While I am not perfect, I still work hard to keep improving every week. This not only helps me create effective programs, but also keep me mentally sharp and prepared for the challenges that are coming our way. Staying engaged will also help you relate to some of the issues that your athletes are facing and keep you and your advice relevant.

6. Establish Boundaries

Give somebody an inch and they will take a mile. When working with an athlete or a team, it is important to set expectations and healthy boundaries with them. This makes it easier to hold them accountable, keep them on track and preserve the relationship moving forward. Set a standard for attendance, work ethic, attitude and other things that you feel are important to their success. My biggest one for our athletes is consistency. Ask anyone that trains with me what is most important and they will confirm: “Corey gets pissed when we miss a workout.” I dont do this for my own ego, but its because I know that consistency yields huge dividends over time. Establish your boundaries, talk about them all the time and people will fall into line. If not, then its easier to send them elsewhere. I’d rather see someone consistent with someone else, than inconsistent with me.

7. Communicate Effectively

This is probably my weakest link, but is something that I am working on very hard. Communication with your athletes is essential. They need to know what to expect, when to expect it and how that plays into their goals. On the flip side, it is just as important that the athlete is open and clear with the coach. How are they feeling, whats going on with their body/mind/life, their nutrition, their recovery, their performance, etc. Keeping an open line of communication with the athlete, their other coaches and whoever else is involved can help streamline the process, avoid over-training and keep the athlete moving efficiently toward their goals. A simple note, message or conversation every week can help.

Coaching is one of the most rewarding things you can do and although it can be frustrating at times, I still believe that the positives outweigh the negatives. Hopefully some of these tips will help you streamline your program, navigate around the BS and create a successful plan of attack for you and your team.

How to become a great coachCorey Beasley has been a strength and conditioning coach for almost 20 years and works with some of the best combat athletes in the world. His work has been featured in multiple magazines, newspapers and showcased around the UFC, Bellator, Invicta Fighting Championships, ADCC and more.

How to become a great coach

Can a manager be an effective coach? Some professional coaches suggest that managers cannot and should not attempt to coach their employees. After all, the manager has too much of a vested interest in the outcome of the coaching and couldn’t possibly be neutral enough to hold back on their opinions.

Then again, a lot of managers think they are already coaching when what they are really doing is a lot of teaching, advising, and telling—or, in the worst case, micromanaging. They use the phrase “coaching” to describe just about any conversation they have with an employee. It helps to first understand the definition of coaching.

Aligning on the Meaning, Behaviors, and Types of Coaching

Coaching is the skill and art of helping someone improve their performance and reach their full potential. Coaching skills are often described as either directive or non-directive. Directive skills include:

  • Teaching
  • Advising
  • Giving Feedback
  • Offering Suggestions

Non-directive coaching involves asking questions and listening versus offering ideas or approaches. The real magic of coaching is when the coach takes a non-directive approach by asking challenging questions and listening as the individual works on solving his or her own problems.

When people come up with their own solutions, they are more committed, and the fixes are more likely to be implemented. Additionally, this problem-solving experience helps individuals develop the self-confidence to solve similar problems on their own.

Great coaches help minimize the “noise” and distractions that are getting in the way of someone’s ability to figure out what’s going on and what to do about it. Great coaches know how and when to ask the right question at the right time, when to give feedback, when to advise, how to get the person to focus, and how to gain commitment. Managers can do this, but they have to let go of a few beliefs and pick up a few mindsets and skills. Here are five critical behaviors for managers who want to coach employees.

Let Go of the Belief That Their Job Is to Have All of the Answers

While many managers won’t admit they think they know more than the sum total of their entire team, they still act that way. It’s human nature. We all like to be advice columnists when it comes to other people’s problems. The problem is, when you don’t give employees the opportunity to solve their own problems, they don’t develop. Instead, they become dependent and never reach their full potential.

Believe That Every Employee Can Grow and Improve

A manager can’t coach an employee if they sincerely don’t believe in the employee. Instead, they should be reading How to “Coach an Employee Out of a Job.”

Be Willing to Slow Down and Take the Time to Coach

Yes, it’s quicker and simpler to tell and give advice. Coaching does take a little more time and patience upfront, and it takes deliberate practice to get good at it. However, it’s an investment in people that has a higher return than just about any other management skill. People learn, they develop, performance improves, people are more satisfied and engaged, and organizations are more successful.

Learn How to Coach

You can’t just throw a switch and be an effective coach. You need to have a framework, and it takes practice. Most coaches I know use the GROW model as their framework. They like it because it’s easy to remember and provides a roadmap for just about any coaching conversation. While there are many versions of the GROW acronym, the one I use is:

  • G = goal: “Tell me what you want to get out of this discussion?”
  • R = reality: “So what’s actually happening?”
  • O = options: “What could you do about it?”
  • W = what’s next: “What are you going to definitely do about it? By when?”

Managers Should Study the Experts and Practice the Techniques

To learn how to coach, managers should experience what it’s like to be coached by someone who’s really good at it. Then, read a good book on the topic. Then, practice, practice, practice, and get feedback. After a while, you become less dependent on a linear framework and begin to comfortably bounce from one step to another. It also helps to have a toolkit of favorite questions to ask for each step in the GROW model.

The Bottom Line

Managers who want to be effective coaches will most likely need to let go of some assumptions about themselves and their employees, be willing to learn and practice a style of management that will initially feel unnatural and awkward. However, the rewards will be well worth the effort.

By BlessingWhite , a Division of GP Strategies

If you own a computer, chances are you’ve probably seen, heard, watched, or even written something about the need for more and better coaching in organizations. Whether it’s a Deloitte report, a David Rock presentation, an article in HR Magazine, or one of the most frequently accessed Harvard Business Review articles, the message is clear: Coaching. Is. Key.

The current trend on the coaching leadership style is in relation to Performance Management, and the need to stop looking backwards at what employees did and begin looking forward at what employees can do. Progressive companies are abandoning the ratings system and the annual conversation in favor of more regular coaching from managers, consistent career discussions, and performance-related dialogue that is focused on future contribution. Slightly less-progressive companies are loosening the restrictions around performance management coaching, and providing guidelines for more frequent conversations. And the most progressive companies already consider performance management a thing of the past, and are equipping managers with the skills they need to effectively coach their employees to higher levels of satisfaction and contribution.

What still remains slightly enigmatic, however, is the “right” way to coach. There are models for how to be a great coach, there are guidelines, systems, and rubrics… There are, in essence, a million ways to coach. But what makes coaching challenging is the reality that every employee is unique, and therefore has unique needs. Are there similarities? Yes. Trends? Absolutely. Best practices? You bet! But at the core, every person is different. Each of us has different drivers, motivators, values, needs, desires, and visions. Buck Blessing (BlessingWhite co-founder) once said, “To some, coaching is a pat on the back; to others, it’s a kick in the pants.” Some employees will need constant feedback, others not so much. Some employees want guidance on how to grow their career; others are content where they are. It’s no wonder managers struggle with this seemingly elusive concept of coaching.

We need to have a bit more empathy for today’s manager. A manager is expected to continue producing as a full contributor, track their team’s workload and capacity, follow management policies and procedures, give feedback, provide training, offer advice, AND coach their employees. How can a manager as a coach be expected to do all of that, with the caveat that each of their direct reports will want and need something different in order to succeed?

Consider these five ways to help good managers become great coaches:

  1. Provide managers with a tool to help them understand what coaching actions are important to each of their direct reports.

How else can the manager know all the variables that contribute to an employee’s unique sense of self? Assessing the importance of specific performance management coaching actions is a great way to start a dialogue around how to be a great coach.

  1. Train managers to have authentic, productive conversations with their direct reports about what they find important.

It’s not good enough to just understand what employees find important; it’s what you do with that information that will truly make the difference in the manager-employee relationship.

  1. Equip managers with a framework or guidelines for how to have effective coaching conversations.

There are a myriad of different performance management coaching models and guidelines; find the one that works for your organization and train managers on how to use it. This will become the language that is used throughout the company.

  1. Help managers focus the type of coaching leadership style they provide to respond to the dynamic needs of the organization and the employee.

Coaching an employee through a performance issue looks very different than coaching them through career growth, which looks very different than coaching them through a merger or acquisition. Providing managers as coaches with tools to focus their coaching on the issue at hand will make for a more meaningful conversation.

  1. Give them time and room to practice their coaching leadership style.

We can’t expect managers to intuitively know how to coach well. We need to give them room to try saying the words out loud, to make mistakes, and to get feedback and help on how to be more effective. As they say, practice makes perfect.

In the end, a good performance management coaching relationship between a manager and his/her direct report can make all the difference. Not only will it increase productivity, learning, and performance, but it will also build stronger bonds and make for a more enjoyable workplace. Those who coach will reap the benefits of an engaged team, and leave work feeling proud to have made a difference.

Building trust in a coaching relationship is just the first step. Good coaches also put effort into finding the right coaching balance.

What do I mean by that? As a coach you have to set the right tone for your protégé. This means you have to be sensitive to a number of factors: How do your actions and intentions come across to your protégé? How do you project yourself toward your protégé? And how does your protégé project back to you? Your challenge is to achieve consistency among these perceptions.

Balance your coaching approach by keeping these rules in mind:

1. Cheering: Be encouraging, not inflating

Good coaches understand the importance of encouragement. You want to provide your protégé with a sense of momentum and a feeling of confidence. This is the “you-can-do-it spirit,” the slap on the back, the extra emotional boost. When your protégé faces a difficult moment, you want to be able to be there with the right note of support and encouragement.

Cheering, while helpful, also has to be appropriate. To the degree that your cheering is seen as a celebration of your protégé’s accomplishments, it is always positive. But sometimes cheering becomes too aggressive, and it seems as if you’re trying to get someone to go further than his or her capacity will allow. So be careful and make sure that you cheer in celebration. When you cheer to motivate, make sure you are not asking the protégé to exceed his or her capacity.

2. Sponsoring: Be supportive, but don’t push

Good coaches understand that they need to be supportive of the efforts of their protégés, and to give guidance regarding avoiding organizational pitfalls. When coaching, you are often acting as a political sponsor. Your role is to assist your protégé in maneuvering successfully around the organizational terrain.

Coaches, however, must avoid becoming micro-political consiglieres who become overly involved with a protégé’s tactics and strategies.

As a coach, you understand that your protégé is responsible for his or her own activities. While you want to be supportive, you have to be careful not to push too far or too much.

3. Counseling: Be empathetic, but maintain boundaries

Good coaches know they are responsible for helping their protégés think about and analyze their interpersonal skills in the context of the situation and the people they are dealing with. If you sense that your protégé is rubbing others in the organization the wrong way, take him or her aside and suggest ideas to handle the various office personalities.

Good coaches understand how to see the world from the eyes of their protégés to better help them analyze tough situations. The more you stand in the shoes of the other, the more empathetic you can be, and the more help you can offer. But you still have to maintain boundaries. Good coaches understand that they can’t lose their voice in helping others. Letting your empathy overwhelm your boundaries will kill your objectivity and weaken you as a coach.

4. Balance educating: Be authoritative, but not authoritarian

Good coaches never lose sight of their role as educator. When you assist your protégé in acquiring skills, knowledge, and processes, you are taking on a classic mentoring role. Your objective is to share your expertise and experience with your protégé, so your protégé can better meet his or her personal goals.

Coaches inevitably must speak with some authority, but they must be careful not to be authoritarian. They must share and explain their ideas, but must not dictate and insist upon them. When authority figures act in an authoritarian manner, they lose the balance of a partnership. They lose the balance they need to be a solid coach.

Ultimately, the best coaching relationships are balanced. As a coach, you do not want to dominate your protégé. Rather, you should work toward being accessible and ready to listen and assist when called upon.

Five Steps to Becoming a Life Coach

Coaching is a vast field, so professionals have a myriad of niches to choose from. This helps coaches market their services to a specific type of clientele and gives potential customers confidence that the coach has expertise helping people with their unique challenges. Some of the possible areas of specialization for life coaches include:

  • Business
  • Career transition and job search
  • Romantic relationships
  • Academic issues
  • Spirituality
  • Aging
  • Work-life balance
  • Weight loss
  • General wellness

Helping people improve different areas of their life is a big responsibility—and requires specialized training to be effective. During training, prospective coaches learn the psychological principles of coaching, how to conduct a coaching assessment to determine clients’ needs, ethics in coaching, and communication skills. In order to get the best results from their training, students should find a program that has been accredited by industry associations like the International Coach Federation.

Earning a certification in addition to a degree can go a long way toward gaining the trust of potential clients. Credentials, which are provided by professional associations like the International Coach Federation and the International Association of Coaching, requires expertise and demonstration of high work standards.

For example, the International Coach Federation offers a Professional Certified Coach certification that requires professionals to have 500 hours of coaching experience—450 of which must be paid—as well as at least 25 clients. In addition, people who apply for this certification must successfully complete the Coach Knowledge Assessment, which tests on their understanding of coaching agreements, ethical guidelines, active listening skills, goal setting, and accountability.

Similarly, those who want to earn the Master Masteries Coach designation from the International Association of Coaching must complete a series of tests to demonstrate their knowledge of coaching principles. In addition, candidates for this certification must submit recordings of their coaching sessions with clients in order to be evaluated for the association’s coaching masteries—such as the ability to actively listen and help clients set clear intentions—into their sessions.

In order to get certain legal protections as a business owner, life coaches can get a business classification, such as a Limited Liability Company or Corporation designation.

Although life coaches are not required to carry insurance, getting coverage can help protect their business and give clients peace of mind.

How to become a great coach

Have you ever wondered how to be a good business coach? You may not want to be a business coach yourself, but this is important information if you plan on hiring a business coach. The 6 tips on being a good business coach explained here will help you find a coach who can take your business to the next level.

Before you hire a business coach, you need to know how to be a good business coach. Let me explain.

If you know nothing about what makes a good coach, you are susceptible to being swindled by phony “coaches” who only care about your money. Understanding how to be a good business coach helps you get loads more value from the coaching experience.

How to become a great coach

1- A Good Business Coach has had Business Success

There is no point in learning how to grow and sustain a business from a businessperson who has never grown a successful business. Look for a business coach who has both proven business success and proven coaching success. Some of the most successful people in a given industry make the lousiest coaches.

Before you hire a business coach, vet all the claims they make on their site. If someone says they were featured in an industry publication or other media outlet, look for that content.

Look for client and customer testimonials. Stories of customer satisfaction and client success serve as proof a business coach is competent.

2- A Good Business Coach is a Good Listener

Being a “good listener” is important for success in both your professional and personal life, but what does it mean to be a good listener?

First, it takes other-orientation. You have to focus your attention on the other person and the message, both verbal and nonverbal, they’re sending. A good business coach treats their client as if they are the most important thing on their mind.

Good listeners also backtrack, which is simply repeating what a person says to ensure they have understood the message clearly.

3- A Good Business Coach has a Love for Teaching

It is easy to assume a good business person should be able to teach others what they know, but many fall short in this department. The truth is a lot of successful business people are selfish with their time. They always feel as if their time can be better spent on something that directly affects their business.

Remember those client testimonials mentioned earlier? A coach’s testimonials, or lack thereof, give you a clue as to whether they love teaching. The initial consultation meeting gives you a chance to feel a coach out. Ask these following questions:

  • Why did you get into business coaching?
  • How do you deal with failure?
  • What makes a good business coach?

Pay attention to both the verbal and nonverbal aspects of how a coach answers these questions. You should be able to feel the passion in their response.

How to become a great coach

4- A Good Business Coach has a Positive Mindset

There is a reason “ perception is reality ” is a popular cliché. So much of success comes down to mindset. A good coach has a relentlessly positive outlook on life. They don’t see failure as something negative, but rather as a learning experience.

This positive mindset is how business coaches help their clients develop the resiliency necessary to thrive when challenged.

5- A Good Business Coach is Accessible

The best business coaches make themselves as accessible as possible to their clients. They go beyond scheduled sessions by answering emails, calls, and text messages whenever they can.

Be sure to ask about a coach’s accessibility policy during the initial consultation.

6- A Good Business Coach holds you Accountable

Some coaches don’t actually care whether their clients succeed, so long as they keep paying for sessions. You want a business coach who pushes you to apply their methodologies and generate results.

While it may come across as tough love, a business coach who holds you accountable has your best interests at heart.

Final Thoughts on how to be a Good Business Coach

To recap, the six aspects of a good business coach we just covered are:

  1. Business Success
  2. Great Listening Skills
  3. A Love of Teaching
  4. A Positive Mindset
  5. Is Accessible
  6. Holds You Accountable

Now that you know how to be a good business coach, you have all the information you need to find the right coach for you.

Arman has over a decade of experience helping entrepreneurs like yourself interject sustainable growth into their business. Schedule your consultation here.

By Adam Gordon on Jan 20, 2020 7:58:23 PM

Topics: How to get a coaching job How to get into Coaching

How to become a great coach

How to become a great coach

6 Ways to break into Coaching

Get Your foot in the Door! – You have to start somewhere and establish yourself as a coach. Honestly it doesn’t entirely matter where. You just need to work with a program and have a coach or a staff that can vouch for you. There are many ways to do this. I recommend getting your start in a HS, AAU or JUCO program that has a history of producing high-level talent. You will be able to get your reps coaching on the court, but you will also establish a recruiting base that you will always be able to go back to when you need players later in your career.

If you have the luxury of being a student, then a great way to get your start is as a manager. If you are already out of school, then you may need to volunteer for a year. Obviously, this is harder for someone with a family, but it’s not impossible. Listen to Hall of Fame Coach Tim Ryan of College of Central Florida on the Rising Coaches Podcast explain how he got his start volunteering at a local JUCO while working full time and supporting his family.

Crush it! – Once you get that opportunity it is crucial that you do a tremendous job. Your best, and in many cases only chance of advancing at your current school or anywhere else is to earn a glowing recommendation from your coaching staff. It doesn’t matter if the program you’re in is dysfunctional and loses every game. You need to leave there with allies.

Find Your Niche – Be great at something. Some coaches are great at recruiting, some coaches are great with player development, some coaches are great with video and graphics. Of course you want to be well-rounded and good at all the aspects of the job, but if you are truly great at a specific skill, then you will always be able to get a job. Figure out what aspect of the job you love and are truly good at and work to make yourself one of the best in the country at that particular task.

Network – Coaching, like most professions are all about who you know. There are some great ways to meet people in the coaching profession. Contact coaches and DOBO’s and ask if you can come watch practice. That is a great way to build a relationship. Other ways to meet coaches – work camps, attend or work recruiting events, attend clinics. One thing to remember when networking is you never know who can help you so it’s just as important to network horizontally as it is to network vertically. Don’t just reach out to head coaches. Try reaching out to coaches who are lower on the totem pole.

Ask Questions – Networking can come off as awkward and fake, but if you are genuinely interested in learning from people, you can create long lasting relationships. Always have questions about the game ready. Coaches love to talk about their sport. Go figure! A simple question about ball-screen coverage often turns into an hour long chalk-talk. Listen, pay attention, ask questions and be a sponge!

Decide what level you want to coach at – There are so many different levels of basketball and they all have their pros and cons. There is no right answer or wrong answer, there’s just the right answer for you. Each level has their own inner-circles so the sooner you decide which level is best for you the sooner you can work on establishing yourself at that level. You can always change levels later, although you may have to sacrifice salary or role in order to make the leap.