What Makes a Good Coach? (Coaching Series Part4)


Michael Kogutek, nonprofit management coach

Michael Kogutek


As you consider the possibility of getting a coach or using coaching in your managerial approach; you may wonder about the traits of a good coach. I do not pretend to know all of the answers but will provide a few tips and guidelines.

The most important characteristic of a coach is the capacity to listen and empathy. In listening, you want a coach who is totally present and without judgment understands your perspective and experience. A good coach listens for the client’s visions and values as well as client’s agenda; not what the agenda or direction should be. The empathic coach attempts to walk in your shoes. This is different from sympathy. In sympathy, one cares about your feelings and suffering. In contrast, empathy is about feeling your suffering and the experience attached to it.

Curiosity is another important quality in a good coach. In my opinion, asking questions in the coaching session is essential. It provides a space for the client to develop their own critical thinking process. As a result the client comes up with their own path, possibilities and decision making.

Personal integrity, wisdom and the ability to be non-judgmental is key. You also want a coach who will be firm with boundaries and and demand accountability from their selves and the client. This translates to formulating and communicating clear and concise goals and objectives.

Last but not least, you want a coach who is authentic and genuine. They need to walk the talk.

As a coach, I work mindfully on all these guidelines to become a better coach and person. It is easier said than done and always a work in progress.

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Author:  Michael KoguteK, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org