What Are The Characteristics of a Good Life Coach?
5 Qualities of A Good Coach
Have you always secretly wanted to be a life coach?
A ton of people tell me, “Oh (insert wistful voice), I wish I could do that. I wish I could do what you're doing. I've always wanted to be a like you and have a coaching practice.”
In this article, I’m giving you a straight answer about what it takes to be a coach. This isn’t the type of blog you normally read on social media.
The coaching industry is still a new and growing profession. Personal development coaching has only existed for 20 years. And since it’s so new, there are many hopeful people who think they know the characteristics of a coach. But they often have a mistaken idea of the skills of a good coach and the most essential strengths of a great coach. Then when they compare themselves to this unrealistic list, they don’t measure up and this is why many wish they could, but they never make the leap.
So, if you’re wondering how to become a life coach, and start a life coaching business, I thought that it would be interesting for you to hear the five top qualities of successful coaches and two qualities you don't need to become a great coach.
The five must-have characteristics:
- Committed to your personal growth
- Compassionate, kind-hearted, empathic
- A welcoming and open attitude
- Respectful of others
- Endless curiosity
Quality Number One: Committed to your personal growth.
As a coach, you hold space for people; you have great conversations to help them get a new perspective and try something different in their life so they can have a more fulfilling life.
Coaching allows them to get more of what they want and less of what they don't want.
If you support people on their personal growth journey, you need to walk your talk. This means you also need to be on your growth path. There are many ways to further your personal development:
As an aside, it is interesting to see, the number of people who take coach training who have never actually been coached before they walk in the door for their first class. I highly recommend that before you make a final decision you experience coaching first hand, so you understand the powerful impact it has.
Quality Number Two: a welcoming and open attitude.
Coaches work with all kinds of different people, and you must make clients or potential clients feel welcome. Lots of times when people come to coaching, they're kind of nervous. They don't know what it is or what they're getting into. But they do know they want something different than what they have right now and they’re willing to try something entirely new. They either want more, or they want less of something important. Maybe they're stressed, maybe they feel stuck or overwhelmed. Perhaps they have a goal that they're trying to achieve, and they just can't figure out how to get it. It doesn’t matter why they’ve come what matters is that they want to grow. So it’s completely understandable they might feel a little nervous and vulnerable showing up to a call for the first few times.
When you welcome them with an open attitude, the client will feel more comfortable, and they will feel more settled so they can relax and have fun.
Quality Number Three: Empathy
Great coaches care deeply about people. They have a kind heart and can take on the perspective of others. They feel into their emotions and hold that space for the client. With this safety net, the client is more willing to try new things and learn new perspectives.
A coach’s empathy paves the way for more open conversations because the client feels accepted exactly the way they are. This does not mean that you absorb on other people’s emotions. That's not what it's about. It's about being able to connect with people at an emotional level from a desire to help them.
You learn how to create your own boundaries around being compassionate, while not absorbing everybody else's emotions. You reinforce healthy ways to support clients, without becoming entangled in a co-dependent relationship. Co-dependency doesn't serve them, and it certainly doesn't help you if you take on everybody else's emotions and then claim them as your own.
Quality Number Four: Respect.
Great coaches are respectful that others can and will choose the right path for themselves.
They know their opinion of the client’s choice is not important. What is important is to respect that the client will choose their True Path, and what they want to experience.
You're respectful of others, their choices and how they live their life and you respect them enough so they can make their own choices.
Quality Number Five: Endless curiosity
Next, let’s talk about the two qualities you DON'T need to become a life coach.
You don’t have to be an expert
So, the first is you don't have to know all the answers. You don't have to be the expert. If somebody comes to you for coaching on a topic that you're not that familiar with, that's okay. Your coaching provides them with a place where they will figure it out in partnership with you.
There are the right time and place for an expert. If you want to leverage your expertise, consider becoming a mentor or a teacher. Another option if you want to use your know how you could be a highly skilled consultant.
I know many new coaches, who are worried before their first few coaching sessions. They worry the client might want to talk about something they don’t know much about. Now you know, it's perfectly fine, and it’s to be expected. With this understanding, you can approach the session from a coaching perspective and not put all that pressure on yourself to ‘know it all’.
You don't have to be perfect.
You don't have to have your life altogether to be an effective coach!
You have your history, your fears, the things you’re struggling with and your incredible gifts. You get to enjoy the awesome fun things that you do, the great relationships that you have and the uncomfortable relationships too. You get to have all of these and be a coach.
In short, you don't need to be an enlightened being.
To be a successful life coach, you need to be human complete with strengths and weaknesses and everything that goes on in your life. One of the important key skills are communication skills!
If you’ve always wanted to become a coach, or you are already well on your way and would like to find out more about how to start a successful coaching business I’ve created a special free PDF with you in mind.