How to be an Effective Coach

Do you want to learn how to be an effective coach?

Use these 8 coaching tips to take your coaching skills to the next level and  learn how to be a more effective coach.  Firstly, I must ask you the critical question. May I coach you? It’s a pretty straightforward question, right? Chris Carmichael coached Lance Armstrong to the yellow jersey. Bob Greene coached Oprah Winfrey to shed pounds of fat. William Edwards Deming coached Japan to international business stardom. What did they all have in common? Teamwork.

One striking denominator of highly successful people is that they employ the use of a good coach or mentor. Throughout history, the celebrated achievements and the overcoming of immense challenges have been the result of an outside coaching influence. Almost every effective leader throughout history has utilized the empowerment of great coaching.

The sole purpose of a coach is to improve performance. An effective coaching process helps you stay focused, motivated, and committed to your intended outcomes. 

Ultimately, a coach challenges you and holds you accountable for sticking to your goals and priorities. Coaches help their clients reach within themselves to become who they really are. It doesn’t matter whether it’s coaching employees, communicating with team members, family, politics, science, marriage, art, or sports—each of us has areas that we want to improve, and we all can improve our coaching skill-set. The right coach is the key to discovering self-awareness to capitalize on our strengths and weaknesses to achieve what we want.


You, too, can be a coach. If you want to coach your sales team, your son or daughter, an employee, or your best friend. Perhaps you know what it would take to improve someone’s team performance or employee performance, and you don’t know how to get started.

Here are 8 coaching tips that will get you through the door and reinforce how to be a more effective coach.


1. Understand the outcome.

Why is it that you want to engage in coaching? Commonly, many people do don’t know. What is the goal that you want to achieve? What’s the big picture? Do you want to help the person you are coaching to work better with other employees, increase sales, improve technical job skills, drive company culture, ease personal challenges or tech them how to be a more effective coach? Additionally, ask them what outcome the person being coached wants to achieve. It simply won’t be effective without understanding the needs, goals, and dreams of the person you are working with. To determine your coaching style, you must know what you want and what the person you are coaching wants!



2. Determine if you are the right coach.

In order to understand how to be a more effective coach, you sometimes have to focus on your own self-reflection. This is crucial. The great men and women of the world aren’t necessarily more intelligent than the rest of the others; they simply have the right person to coach them. 

In the first place, you have to ask yourself if you are the right coach or if you should find a more compatible coach for this person or situation. This involves asking yourself an ego-attacking question: “Are my motives self-serving?” The purpose of being a coach is to help another person to take action. When coaching, keeping the other party’s interests in mind is essential. 

Secondly, if the answer is yes, can you accept their constructive feedback? If you want to advise in hopes of validating yourself, persuading another to do what you want rather than what might be best for them, or because you want to see if they will take your advice—don’t coach them. The best coaches are the ones that understand their value-add to their clientele. If there is a better person, sometimes that referral is all the accolade you will ever need.



3. Ask permission to coach.

Admittedly, this one is often forgotten. Therefore, avoid offering unsolicited advice. Asking the right questions will help to determine if you are the best person for the job, and getting permission to coach is the green light to continue. Coaching conversations can feel intimidating to others. 

Consequently, if the person doesn’t want coaching, even the best advice and leadership skills will fall on deaf ears. Trying to coach the uncoachable is futile. A few ways to ask for permission might be: “May I coach you?” or “Are you interested in coaching?” or “Do you know how to be a more effective coach?”If they aren’t necessarily ready to be coached, share these 8 coaching tips with them.  Perhaps they just need a template to follow to start being accountable for fulfilling their goals and priorities


4. Take the code of confidentiality.

Naturally, we disclose to those we trust. Allow others to reveal their innermost thoughts, concerns, and dreams confidently. The best managers, the best family members, and the best of friends are people we can trust to share our thoughts and feelings. When people confide in you, remember that what you talk about is 100 percent confidential. Maintain your code of confidentiality.

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, and most fools do.”

Benjamin Franklin


5. Compliment more than you criticize.

Impressively, that’s why great coaches underscore what is already being done right. People want to know how they are doing, good or not-so-good. You’ll be considered a nag if you only offer feedback on how a person can improve. A good coaching technique is to use positive reinforcement three times as much as constructive criticism. Remember to ask open-ended questions before you offer your opinion. Chances are, they may already know where they need improvement. That’s three positive things they do well and one area of improvement.



6. Listen with your whole body.

Let your body be part of your active listening. In essence, let your face express a range of emotions to show you are listening (this is much easier if you are actually listening rather than planning what you will say next), and let them know that you care about their well-being. Remember to make eye contact (effective communication is like an electrical current, it takes two to complete the circuit). Don’t speak unless you have something relevant to say or a clarifying question (let the other person make their entire point before you speak, and don’t finish their sentences). Silence expresses more than you might think.



7. Invest in frequent meetings.

A great way to keep the momentum going is a follow-up meeting. Since your coaching relationship depends on as many one-on-one meetings with your clients as possible. These interactions open the door for communication. You can achieve this during lunch, early morning, or mid-day meetings in person, by phone, by video conferencing, or by email. 

One thing to consider is that meetings are the medium to share essential trends, goals, upcoming pitfalls, current challenges, and success stories. This time with you is your client’s opportunity to let you in on the effectiveness of their new skills. At the end of the appointment, discussing what assignments or tasks will be completed before the next meeting date is paramount.



8. Record it in writing.

The palest ink is better than the best memory. This sounds so simple it’s almost ridiculous! But its power is enormous. To illustrate the power of writing, use a pen and paper or electronic means to put things in writing. Don’t forget to write down these 8 coaching tips and keep them within close reach.  Refer back to them often. If there is any possibility of not remembering something, write it down with the date and time. Additionally, use a planner, notepad, or journal to script a summary of each meeting, important milestones, personal experiences, and the requested assignments. Each person keeps a journal. This is also an excellent journal for you to reflect upon to test the effectiveness of your leadership styles. In fact, you can refer back to these coaching session notes to perfect your coaching model and ensure that your training programs are working. 

Now you know how to be a more effective coach

Unquestionably, everyone needs a coach at one time or another. You might be called upon to fill the role of a coach within the next hour, day, week, or month. You can quickly improve your odds of being a successful coach if you follow these 8 coaching tips.

Who can teach you how to be a more effective coach?

Breakthrough Training™ has a proven track record working with hundreds of companies and tens of thousands of people to produce results. Jeffrey’s habits for success have been featured on over 500 radio and television shows. Breakthrough Training™ is an employee leadership development and team building training company that has worked with diverse industry clients including construction, manufacturing, finance, healthcare, education, real estate, hospitality and non-profit.

Working with thousands of companies, Jeffrey’s experience has insight on multiple strategies to achieve organizational goals and objectives through employee engagement. 

Best of success to you!

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