I have had the chance to meet a lot of coaches over the years. Life Coaches, Business Coaches, Executive Coaches, Leadership Coaches, Law of Attraction Coaches and even a Speaking Coach. You name a type of coach and I most likely know one.
Coaching was touted as the second fastest growing profession (behind IT), so there are a lot of coaches out there. I have met coaches that ask (and get) tens of thousands of dollars an hour for their coaching and advice. I have met coaches who have a waiting list for clients who want to be coached. I have met coaches who have had had the same group of clients for more than a decade.
But what makes a great coach?
Here are some signs that you are in the company of a great coach …
1) It’s Personal
A great coach is someone that is interesting, but more importantly, interested. If you are looking at hiring a coach, you feel you can really trust this person. For some reason or another, you like them and feel you can really open up to them, and feel safe in doing so. They are confident, yet humble. You feel like they genuinely care about you, and will tell you the hard truths when needed.
2) They Walk The Walk
Great coaches are congruent. First and foremost, they have a coach. If you were to hire a personal trainer, odds are you would select one who mirrors the fitness and health goals you have for yourself. The same rings true with coaches. Your coach should be someone you would want to emulate. They should be ferocious learners, always looking for ways in which to grow.
3) They See Shades of Grey
No, not the movie – rather, they don’t think in terms of “black and white” or concrete and clear. A great coach has an open mind. They see the possibility and potential in most things. They believe in your dreams and goals as much as you do and they genuinely want to help you reach them.
4) They Know How to Speak, and When Not To
I read a great quote the other day; “Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you. Listen in such a a way that others love to speak to you”. When you speak with a great coach, they are extremely interested in learning more about you. You have 100% of their focus and they listen more than they speak. Even so, every time you are with a great coach, you feel THAT conversation is the best you have had in a long while, even though you did most of the talking.
5) They Question, and question some more
Great coaches know how to ask really great questions ... the types of questions that stop your train of thought. Sometimes the questions a great coach will ask are like a slap in the face. They bring about “a-ha” moments in thinking. Sometimes the questions will bring about a host of emotions; from anger, to fear, to sadness. Meanwhile, your coach will be there throughout the rollercoaster of emotions and help you process your thoughts until a new way of thinking emerges.
6) They are Highly Disciplined
Great coaches have a great respect for their time, and yours. They understand time is our only finite resource – so they like to get the most out of their days. They focus their energy on things that they are good at, and things that matter. More importantly, they help you to focus on what matters most, and will get you the best return. They play to their strengths, and they will help you to discover yours as well.
7) They are okay with being unpopular
Make no mistake about it, when you hire a great coach they will tell you things about yourself, many of your closest friends wouldn’t dare. They are there to help you grow, and in order to do that, you might need to hear some unpopular truths. A great coach understands that the road to growth is paved upon leaving the things that are holding you back behind. Sometimes those things you have been carrying for years, and in order for you to release them, your coach will tell you things that you need to hear, not necessarily want to hear.
8) They won’t take your excuses
Having a coach, is about having an accountability partner. You hired them to get from where you are now, to where you want to be. If you could do it by yourself, you would not need a coach. Therefore a great coach will never let you off the hook, will keep you focused and motivated towards your end goal.