The Key Characteristics of an Effective Coach

It may be helpful to appreciate the recognised knowledge, skills and behaviours that make a coach effective. Think about the characteristics below and reflect on how you currently match up to them. There may be some that are not relevant to you, but try identifying those where you are already strong and those where you feel you would benefit by strengthening them. Continue to develop your strengths and look for ways to develop the areas that you know require strengthening, then your leadership capability will continue to become stronger and stronger.


It will be helpful to know:

  • what coaching means and what distinguishes it from other learning and helping roles
  • what the coaching process involves and the tools that underpin your development as a leader
  • where coaching fits within the wider developmental process
  • which personal and professional capabilities an effective leader needs to develop
  • how people respond to, manage, and resist or embrace change
  • how people learn, and how you can adapt coaching conversations to suit different learning styles
  • the limits and boundaries of your own knowledge and skills

Many of the answers can be found in this module but it is also important to revisit other relevant sections of the Practitioner and Senior Practitioner Programmes.


Be able to:

  • actively listen and communicate at different levels
  • trust and use your intuition
  • construct relevant questions that enable individuals to challenge themselves
  • be supportive in face of setbacks
  • demonstrate confidence in yourself and others
  • work openly and honestly
  • encourage individuals to engage in finding solutions and solving problems
  • focus on action
  • inspire persistance
  • act in the best interests of the other person
  • manage yourself
  • act ethically and with the highest integrity


  • demonstrate empathy and build rapport
  • be open and trusting
  • demonstrate your own trustworthiness
  • inspire curiosity to open new horizons
  • encourage self-discovery
  • be non-judgmental
  • value diversity and difference
  • show tact, diplomacy and patience
  • maintain trust and confidentiality
  • seek opportunities to build the individual’s confidence and self-esteem
  • critically evaluate your own performance
  • engage in continuous professional development (CPD)

The above lists are not exhaustive and you may want to add some of your own based your personal experiences.


« Previous