Do you know how to be a GREAT coach?

It isn’t always a clear and straightforward for some coaches. In this heavily saturated marketplace where everyone calls themself a coach, it’s important to understand how you can be a GREAT coach. I’ve mapped out the intricacies of being a GREAT coach using the acronym GREAT below.

G: Guides your actions and choices with a strong personal foundation.

I started my journey as a coach more than 17 years ago when Thomas J. Leonard was alive. Known as the father of modern day coaching, Thomas was prolific and passionate about coaches being great. He understood the value of personal foundation. He knew that in order to be a great coach, you must work on your own personal foundation. Then, you’re assured of doing no harm to your clients and you’re clear on how you can support your clients’ success.

Personal foundation means you’re clear-headed and focused on serving your client.  You willingly share your inklings and ideas for your clients in your coaching. You boldly highlight growth opportunities and skills for development. You openly share lessons and insights to be leveraged.

Having a strong personal foundation means you’re present when you’re coaching your clients and free of emotional or physical distractions.

thomas j leonard, coaching isThomas identified ten distinct areas for strengthening your personal foundation:

  1. Clearing unresolved matters
  2. Restoring your integrity
  3. Getting your needs met
  4. Extending your boundaries
  5. Raising your personal standards
  6. Eliminating what you’re tolerating
  7. Coming from positives
  8. Resolving key family relationships
  9. Developing a supportive community
  10. Reorienting around your values

You’re under construction (as we all are!) Think of yourself as a work in progress so you can grow your personal foundation stronger with intention. Your awareness of your growth areas will guide you in strengthening your personal foundation.

R: Relies on your life experiences by remembering that EVERYTHING counts because LESSONS matter.

We’re all a product of our life experiences. Good, bad or different — every one of our experiences teaches us. Every conversation, Every relationship. Every job. Every class. Everything teaches us a lesson.

Here are a few examples of lessons from life experiences:

  1. New or shifts in your perspective after traveling to a new city or place
  2. AHA moment(s) after a session with your coach. (I don’t know about you but these are plentiful for me!)
  3. AHA moment(s) after a session with your therapist. (These may also be tied to your personal foundation goals.)
  4. New insight after exploring a new culture (food, country, event)
  5. Innovative concept after interviewing a mentor or public figure
  6. Flash of brilliance after watching an interview or listening to a podcast
  7. Renewed attachment to purpose after a challenging conversation with family or friends
  8. Restoration of your beliefs or conviction following a healed relationship
  9. Highlight of your purpose or direction after meditating
  10. Different or expanded concept after reading a biography about historical figures
  11. New intention after watch a documentary about the life of an historical figure
  12. Different definition of an idea after a suggestion from a friend
  13. New idea, plan or approach after journaling or free writing
  14. Invention after looking at your content or talking with your team or a colleague
  15. Revelation about about what connects your life’s work after riding in the car (This is how the Income Acceleration Roadmap™ came to be!)

The possibilities are endless! Be sure to notice there is action associated with these new shifts in perspective?! That’s totally by design.

E: Equips your clients for success, personally, financially, spiritually and professionally.

Empowering your clients is one of the tenets of being a great coach. That means, you’re in the transformation business and your clients will be prepared for a new level of success after coaching with you.

Doing no harm to your clients also means you’re setting the right example and you:

  1. Inspire your clients to elevate their lives, personally, financially, spiritually and professionally.
  2. Model professionalism, customer service and integrity for your clients.
  3. Expand your clients’ skills and arsenal of tools.
  4. Offer stellar resources and successfully vetted referrals and recommendations.
  5. Champion and encourage your clients.
  6. Challenge your clients to pursue higher opportunities and light their path.
  7. Support your clients, fully (no holding back, no holes barred).

The secret to your success as a GREAT coach is focusing your efforts on being the best you! It holds exactly what you need to equip your clients, too.

A: Adopts a lifelong learner mentality that builds upon the foundation of your formal coach training.

celebrating 17 years, be a great coach, great coachingWhen I started my business more than 17 years ago, I invested in lots of training before I officially launched my business. It’s because I knew despite my degree, corporate training and experience as a corporate manager, coaching would require more from me. I wanted to be highly trained with a specific set of coaching skills. At that time, coaching wasn’t prevelant and I spent a fair amount of time educating people about what coaching was and the benefits of coaching.

These days, everyone wants to call themselves a coach whether they have formal coach training or not!

One of the questions I ask new coaches is, “Do you have formal coach training?” It’s because it is the foundation for all other learning. Formal coach training represents an investment in your objectivity, compassion and deep listening skills. Coaching isn’t giving advice or telling people what to do. It’s so much more than that!  I share more about coaching in a previous post

I also see too many coaches focus on getting certified. The priority is not to get the certification. The real goal is to know how to leverage your coach training to truly support and serve your clients. Formal coach training is the foundation and everything else, i.e, your life lessons, education and training, builds on that foundation. Once you have the formal coach training, your assignment is to use it to enhance your service and support of your clients.

Become a lifelong learner, seeking learning where you find it. This makes it an adventure, keeps you focused and challenges you to apply the lessons you’re learning.

T: Teaches your clients to “self-coach” by building their awareness and insight.

how to be a great coach, coaching, great coachingCoaching is a lifetime venture that affords your clients the opportunity to “complete” certain growth phases and move on to new ones. When your clients complete a phase, it means you’ve taught them how to address and overcome challenges to excel in that particular area. It’s like teaching them to self-coach because you’ve empowered them with new skills.

I often work with clients off and on over a number of years. My work with my client, Fanny (not her real name) is such an example.

  • Phase 1: Fanny and I met when she was just starting her coaching business. Our initial work focused on setting up her infrastructure, establishing systems and identifying tools.
  • Phase 2: When she had a level of mastery in those areas, we began working on her growth strategy which included ideal client clarity, marketing and visibility goals, as well as, setting fees for her services.
  • Phase 3: Fanny was completing her coach training at the same time. We took a break from coaching so she could focus on certification which required that she work with a mentor  coach from that training organization. After her certification was complete, we resumed our coaching to continue building her growth strategy.

Today, my relationship with Fanny has become a friendship. I’m still aware of things happening in her business but our coaching relationship is complete. Teaching your clients to self-coach allows you to transform the relationship.

Let’s recap. A GREAT Coach…

G: Guides your actions and choices with a strong personal foundation.

R: Relies on your life experiences by remembering that EVERYTHING counts.

E: Equips your clients for success, personally, financially, spiritually and professionally.

A: Adopts a lifelong learner mentality that builds upon the foundation of your formal coach training.

T: Teaches your clients to “self-coach” by building their awareness and insight.

So, let me ask:  Are you a GREAT coach?

Sound off in the comments.


Called a “Force of Nature” and trendsetter in the coaching industry because of her fearless approach to innovation, Wendy Y. Bailey has been supporting entrepreneurial leaders, coaches, speakers, trainers, consultants and emerging thought leaders for more than nineteen years. She is a two-time bestselling author, sought-after mentor coach and sales speaker for her fierce and dynamic dedication to inspiring individuals, groups and organizations to create extraordinary results. Affectionately called “WendyY” by her clients, business associates and colleagues, she is an internationally known thought leader and has made a global impact in coaching as an innovative CEO and mentor coach, serving the US and in countries like the UK, Sweden, Spain and Italy.