10 qualities of a good life coach
What are the qualities that make a good life coach, and how do you know whether you have found the right person?
First of all, you need to like them. The rapport, or ‘chemistry’, is key to creating a successful coaching relationship.
But when a coach doesn’t reveal much about who they are, how are you supposed to know whether you like them?
Perhaps by asking them a few questions and testing their openness. For example, if they don’t state it on their website, you can ask why they decided to train as a coach and what they did before.
Do remember that your coach isn't meant to be your friend; they have a specific role, therefore boundaries must be set and respected.
Yet I believe that good coaches are able to show some vulnerability, even to their clients. By vulnerability I mean the ability to admit doubts, mistakes and fears, which is always a sign of true strength.
Vulnerability and humility go hand in hand. It is about participating in the process as an equal, rather than from the standpoint of the dogmatic expert. Humility is the ability to remain teachable. As parents can learn from their children, and teachers from their students, coaches can definitely learn from their clients.
If a coach appears to be overconfident, it probably means they’re not questioning themselves enough and that they’re more concerned about looking the part rather than about doing a good job. Self-awareness is the key to emotional intelligence and it is concerning when a coach thinks that they’re done with their own personal development.
In order to look the part, some coaches will hire expensive practice rooms and charge ridiculous amounts of money for their services, but are price and quality directly proportional to one another? When it comes to the helping professions, the opposite is often true, because when someone truly wants to help others, they will make their services affordable to a wider range of the public.
Another way of ‘looking the part’ is to write a book or give a talk, and these can be great books to read and talks to listen to. However, being a good writer or public speaker doesn’t necessarily make you a good coach. What does is the deep altruistic desire to help others.
6. Emotional health
Nobody is fully healed, but a good coach will have resolved most of his or her emotional issues, and there is a huge difference between resolving your issues and pretending they’re not there. Someone who always appears happy isn’t necessarily a healthy person, as they may well have dissociated from their issues and traumas.
If someone relies on medications to regulate their mood, they’re probably not in the best position to help others – unless they have a serious mental health condition, in which case the drugs are more than a ‘crutch’. To be fair, I’ve known people affected by bipolar disorder and other conditions who had incredible insight and wisdom.
By autonomy, I also mean independence in thought and action, rather than being swayed by outside influences.
Adhering to models such as GROW and SMART isn’t just restricting - it is downright stifling. When someone just follows patterns, they inevitably become stagnant. Life coaches must be capable of creative and critical thinking.
A good coach will not be scared of challenging his or her clients, even at the risk of losing them as clients. It almost goes without saying that tact, empathy and compassion are crucial qualities to look out for in a coach, but courage and integrity are equally important if you want to achieve any substantial change.
Last but not least – in fact possibly the single most important quality for a life coach to possess – is presence. It is only when the mind is calm, centred and focused that we can hold space for another person and have the necessary insight to help them get unstuck.
Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.
About Nico De Napoli
Nico is an accredited life coach specialising in existential, mindfulness and somatic coaching. He has over a decade of experience in mind-body coaching and stress management.