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What Makes a Good Life Coach?

Author: Carrie Wallis Jun 2017, Updated Nov 2021

skills of coaching

Coaches are born, aren't they?

Just like leaders, the characteristics of a coach are inbuilt? yes?


​While it is true that certain personalities are viewed as charismatic and likely to engender trust and followers. Coaching is a skill that can be developed, learn how...

Learn what qualities you already have and identify the ones you may need to develop further.

My simple coach test can help you to identify what areas you need to work on. Click here to test your coaching skills.

Here are some of the core qualities that make for an effective coach:

  • ​honesty
  • competent
  • forward-looking
  • inspirational
  • intelligent
  • fair-minded
  • courageous
  • imaginative
  • authentic
  • empathic
  • flexible

​These are pretty obvious qualities that you might expect a coach to have. However, there are other more subtle qualities that may not be so obvious.

For example, would you rather follow or work with someone that is genuinely interested in who you are and what you can do or someone that is only focused on what they can get out of you?

​I believe most people would wish for the former.

A basic facet of human nature is that we want to feel valued, recognised for the effort and work that we do. To feel 'seen' as a human being and not judged.

Most people would go that extra mile for someone who they felt truly "got them" and respected who they are and what they can contribute.

​Thus the most effective coaches and leaders are not necessarily the most charismatic or intelligent but rather they are the people who inspire us to action, for whom we would work that extra hour to get a project finished. For whom we would work a weekend to make sure the final test on a new facility is completed satisfactorily.

​It is no great surprise then that these are the qualities that set a person aside from the rest as a true thought leader. A leader as opposed to a manager.

These are the qualities that can be learned, learn how to show people you are really listening to what they are saying.

Learn how to recognise people in a manner that is genuine and respectful.

Learn how to develop that sense of when something is not right with a person and what to do about it.

Let's face it if you are a coach in an organisation and are not able to inspire team workers to do the task at hand in the manner required and produce results that are expected. As a coach leader, you will not last long.

Coaches need to be able to inspire creativity so their clients can thrive. Without, a business can stagnate, problems will remain unsolved or worse, be solved in a costly manner.

I find it interesting also to consider the rise of the self-employed, what impact has ineffective leadership had on those people who simply decide they do not want to be lead but would rather make their own path and rely only on themselves for business success?

I am sure many of you who are reading this will know what I mean when I talk of working in an environment where you do not feel valued for the person you are, nor have the contributions you have made recognised.

Lethargy can result.

How would you feel if you were employed and see something that could be done better and have ideas for how to improve a process. But you put up with it because you do not believe your comments would be welcomed or worse, you could be victimized for speaking out.

This is the result of poor coaching, poor management, and a lack of leadership in the workplace.

Now imagine, you are a coach wanting to establish your own practice. If you cannot inspire and help motivate your clients to the changes they hired you for, then your business will not survive.

Is it any wonder then that in Australia in 1990 there were 14% of the workforce self-employed but today that figure has risen to 17%.

In the United Kingdom in 1983 just 10% of the workforce were self-employed, but today the figure is 50% higher at 15%.

However, in the United States the pattern is reversed, in 1983 10% of the workforce were self-employed but this has dropped to just 6% in 2016. 

Does this mean the US has more effective leaders than the UK or Australia?

I do not know but it is an interesting question to ponder.

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About The Author

Carrie Wallis, Author and founder of the "From Strangers 2 Clients to Champions" client attraction system for helping professionals, has been successfully running her own business and finding clients in the online space since 2000. Over the years she has supported countless Life Coaches and Counsellors to build their own practice and find clients and loves nothing more than seeing her clients enjoy the time freedom that comes from having an automated marketing funnel in place. When she is not serving her clients she can be found chilling with her beloved family or out walking in the Australian bush.