What is a good coach?


Coaching is a full-fledged profession that requires specific, well-defined competencies. The 11 ICF core coaching competencies are a good guideline for this. We want to add that a good coach is able to question him or herself and is therefore a good self-observer. Because of this quality, he/she will be a better observer as well. A coach sees and hears what others have not yet seen or heard. Two key competencies for the coach are “listening” and “asking questions” and yet, in the toolbox of techniques and competencies, these are only 2 of the 11 competencies and there are different levels of mastery for each coaching competency.

The essence of coaching lies in the quality of the availability of the coach. Coaches are aware of the effect they can achieve by applying their toolbox and skills. Life experience helps but it is not sufficient to coach for tangible results. And coaches do not necessarily have grey hair either, young coaches can be a great source of help for young, ambitious managers.

The quality of the presence mainly lies in the way in which the coach pays attention to key issues without constantly focussing on ‘what is going wrong’ and not dwelling on the details, contents, denial or diversions. The more the coach succeeds in broadening your perception, the more you can evolve.

A good coach will focus on possibilities and is not afraid to be confronting when things don’t work. A good coach allows space and time each of which is a gift in itself – and will support you in your process without taking over.

A good coach triggers and challenges you, and understands the balance between ‘venting’ and ‘responsibility’.

A good coach is capable of ensuring that the coachee is responsible for taking action but will do whatever is required to assist him or her in the process, pacing when the coachee is in “complaining” mode and leading him towards “taking ownership”. The more alert the coach is, the more the coachee will start “moving” and evolve.