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What makes great coaches great?
The term "life coach" has become more popular over the last few years. Over the years it has been known as several different names like mentor or trainer, but essentially it refers to an older or more experienced person taking on someone to train them in particular skill or role.
In my life I have had a number of occasions where I have been mentored or coached and times when I have be the one coaching. In this article I want to share some of the skills or attributes that have made my mentors or life coaches great.
1. A great coach spots talent
Great coaches seem to have a gift for spotting talent in people. These talents or gifts may be present at the time or they see something in the person's potential. Sometimes this talent may be obvious to spot like a physical ability or other times it might just be a feeling that they have about a person. Great coaches seem to be able to see things that others may not see and are committed to developing this talent.
2. A great coach gives opportunity
The great coach also knows that while someone may have talent they need to have the opportunity to practically work on their talent and develop. As time goes by the coach may try the person in different roles to find where they fit best or to develop certain aspects of their character. The great coach knows it takes time to develop and is patient and re-assures the apprentice along the way.
3. A great coach communicates well
One skill that is particularly important for the coach or mentor is to be able to communicate their message. Getting your message across is vital if you are teaching someone a new skill or wanting to encourage them to head in a particular direction. A skilled mentor knows how and when to speak the right message in the right way. Sometimes it might be a direct challenge or at other times it might be a gentle encouragement. Either way it is for the purpose of growing the person and seeing their potential reached.
4. A great coach knows their players
Great coaches also know their players. Over time they really come to understand their needs, talents, character, temperament and strengths and weaknesses of the person. The great coach is able to plot the improvement or growth of the apprentice over time and recognises when they are struggling or need extra help. Alternately, they also know when things are going well. Because of the understanding the coach has of the player they know when they need to sit on the "bench" for a spell or be promoted to higher duties.
5. A great coach gives and receives advice
A trait or attitude of most successful people is to be able to give and receive good advice. A great coach or mentor gives positive and constructive advice that is aimed at seeing the person grow and develop. This advice is usually well thought out and considered before passing it on. A great coach is also open to and listens to the advice of others and has a team around that they trust to speak into their lives. They realise that for growth to happen feedback and encouragement can come from a variety of sources - even the apprentice!
6. A great coach leads by example
Great coaches lead by and set a good example for others. They do not live by the statement "do as I say, not as I do". They prefer to live by "do as I do". Their heart is to model a work ethic and moral character that inspires people to work hard and be honest and fair in all their dealings. They realise that being a person of integrity inspires confidence and fosters trust in those around them. This moral integrity also gives the apprentice or those around them the desire to follow their example.
A great coach realises that a vision or a clear picture of the future is vitally important. They understand that without a vision the people will perish and become unmotivated and lose their way. The great coach realises that it is normal to get discouraged at times and is skilled at keeping the vision or picture of how the future could and should be in front of the apprentice or team. They know that while the vision may take time and at times it may seem like nothing is happening, things may be going on in the background and are about to take off.
So wherever you are in your coaching efforts, I would encourage you to follow these principles and continue to positively input into the lives of those around you. You never know where one of the people you encourage and coach will eventually end up. A big part of their success might be because of your encouragement, training and the seeds you sow into their lives today!
By Dave Quinn
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