10 Crucial Skills that make a Great Coach

by | Sep 5, 2018 | Coach Training

I’m Stopping by to chat today about what makes somebody a great coach. I thought I’d break it down today into two very simple lists that I’ve developed across my two decades of coaching to form what it is that I believe makes a great coach. It starts very simply my friends, and that is you’re going to need two sets of skills. And the first of those skills that you’re going to need is what I call some Hard Skills. You’re going to need some Hard Skills. And I will chat about what those things are. But you’re also going to need some Soft Skills.

Now, I’ve got good news and bad news and I’m going to go with the bad news first. The bad news is Soft Skills can’t really be taught. You’ve got to have them – the good news is that Hard Skills can be taught, can be learnt, can be modelled, can be mirrored, and can certainly be continually improved.

So let’s look first at the Soft Skills. And so these are my top five, if you will.

1. You must like people
Now, that seems kind of funny to write because I like people. I like people a lot. But if you’re in this business to make money, or to be famous, this probably isn’t going to work long-term. It might work in the short-term but long-term, you actually have to genuinely like people. Like hanging out with them. Like talking to them. Like listening to them. Like having conversations about them. From the time I was old enough to remember, I’ve loved people. I love talking to them. I love meeting them. I love connecting with them. I love supporting them. So that’s why it’s my number one.

2. You must have compassion
You’ve got to genuinely care about people. You have to actually have some compassion and some empathy – not sympathy, which is one of the distinctions I teach in my program. Do you actually care about them? And care about their journey. Care about fears. Care about their doubts. Care about where it is that they end up. Knowing that coaching is about moving people forward, having compassion is hugely, hugely important.

3. You have to have a genuine willingness to help
And it’s got to be genuine. Again, if it’s incentivised and motivated by the cheque or the cash, if it’s incentivised and motivated by the fame or the celebrity it’s going to bring you; then this is never going to work long-term. You have to have a genuine willingness to go above and beyond. And that might mean sometimes taking a call at a strange time of the night or responding to a text or message when it’s inconvenient, or working with someone really deeply when they’re trying to maybe close a deal or convert a project or get something done. But a genuine, authentic willingness to serve and help other people is a necessity.

4. You’ve got to have some life experience
Which means, ideally, you’ve had both some ups and some downs. Now, certainly, in my life, there have been lots of incredible, incredible, ups and there’s certainly been some downs. Some of them have been self-inflicted because I’ve made some poor choices, and some of them are just by circumstance and the deal that I was dealt by the universe and life. But you’ve got to have some ups and downs. So don’t be thinking you need to be perfect. Don’t be thinking you need to be this shiny, polished, Instagrammed pretend facade of a person. You want to have some life experience. And for me, life experience is more than just, “This thing happened to me,” but actually, “This thing happened to me and here’s what I learnt from that.” That’s kind of what I think by experience. If something happened and you didn’t learn from it, it kind of wasn’t an experience, it was just a thing that happened.

5. You have to actually want a better life
The essence and point of coaching and mentoring is to move people forward. And so if you’re one of those people who just wants to go, “Well, I’m at peace with the world, and I’m happy where I am. I’m not looking to make money,” or, “I’m not looking to change,” or, “I’m not looking to get healthier,” or, “I’m not looking to improve my life,” well, you’re probably going to be great at chitchat, you’re going to be great at being a friend, but you might not actually be awesome at helping people move forward. So you must want a better life.

So they’re my top five, that’s the Soft Skills. If you’ve got those, I’m telling you, you’re probably halfway qualified to being a great coach, speaker, mentor, or teacher in some way, shape or form.

The Hard Skills that I think are critically important (again, this list is not going to be exhaustive, there’s going to be other things I would add to this) But if had to give you my top five, the Hard Skills would be this.

1. You’ve got to be able to create relationships
You’ve got to be able to create great, deep, intimate, genuine, authentic relationships – and you can’t fake that. There are some skills and science. And whether that’s through NLP, matching and mirroring, certain types of questions… The ability to create relationships of trust, and connection, and rapport are critically important. Because as a mentor, as a coach, you’re going to delve into parts of people’s lives that, truthfully, they probably haven’t revealed to anybody else. So you need some skills and tools to not just like people, but also be able to create genuine, authentic, impactful relationships.

2. You have to be able to ask quality questions
Not just fill-in-the-blank questions but actual quality questions. In fact there are two questions (and we might talk about them at another time) that are going to make you all your money and cause all your impact. But the ability to ask quality questions, questions with a purpose. Questions that unfold. Questions that open. Questions that hone in. Knowing which question to ask at the right time. And certainly, I think, having at least 100 quality questions in your back pocket is critically important to being an effective coach, speaker, or mentor. You can be a great speaker and you’d be doing your PowerPoint presentation and standing behind the lectern or doing whatever you want to do, but the minute you put a microphone in a client’s hand, the minute somebody from the audience stands up and starts to engage with you, the minute a reporter asks you a question, the minute you start to get some feedback from people, you’ve got to start to have a dialogue and you need coaching skills and the ability to ask great questions which is hugely important to have.

3. The ability to pay attention
Actively listen. Being an expert, being a guru, being a coach, is not about you just talking for the whole 45 minutes. People will tell you what their wounds, desires, needs, and fears are, if you listen. Now, it sounds kind of corny to say, but I read one day on a little fortune cookie which said, “You know what? I’ve got one mouth and two ears.” And I say that to my boys, Wisdom and Justice. Properly listening, it’s more important than talking. But you’ve got to be able to actively listen. Which means, pay attention, retain what it is they’re sharing. Because as you ask people quality questions from the place of a great relationship, they’re going to tell you things that are really important, and they’re going to tell you where the X on the pirate map is. And the X is where to dig!

4. You’ve got to know how to coach
Do you have a system and a structure to move people forward within a session? And move them forward over a period of 6, 9, 12, or 18 sessions. Because if you’re just hanging out randomly chatting, if you’re just feeling good for 45 minutes, if you’re just making people like you or making them like themselves, that’s cool. But I can do that with a juice, or a smoothie, or even a beer. Do you actually have a system and structure designed and built and carefully crafted to move people forward, knowing where you are on the journey? Knowing what’s coming up ahead. Knowing what problems, both normal and abnormal, are to be expected. Do you have a systemised structure and actually know how to coach? That’s important.

5. Know how to sell your story
What’s your story from rags to riches? What’s your story from slavery to freedom? What’s your story from being overwhelmed and challenged to freedom, and success, and joy? The ability to know your story and to sell your story, and market your story to a particular audience, allows a certain type of person to be drawn to you, and as a consequence, you get to sell, and market, and monetise your coaching, speaking, and mentoring skills.
So that’s my list for you today. If you want to be a great coach, speaker, mentor, guru, expert, in some way, shape, or form you need two sets of skills, some Soft Skills about being kind and nice and liking people, having compassion. And some Hard Skills, some technical skills which you’ve got to learn from somewhere.
I hope this has been valuable and useful. If you’ve got any questions about anything, you know what to do, type one in the box below. I’d love to chat to you guys and girls about what you’re doing and how it’s happening, and how it’s unfolding. So chat away, ask me a question, and we’ll give you the best possible answer we can.

Live very, very deliberately.

Read The Full Transcript

Hey, guys, it’s Scott Harris, the founder of Ultimate Expert and Ultimate Coach Professional. We train the world’s best coaches. Stopping by to chat today about what makes somebody a great coach. If someone’s going to reach out and connect with you, and impact you, and serve you in some way, shape, or form, what is it that makes them a great coach? What are the skills and tools, and traits, and personality styles that are important for you or someone that you want to engage and employee, a great coach?

So I thought I’d break it down today into two very simple lists. Two very simple lists. So if you’re watching this, and you’re not driving your car, and you’re not working out somewhere, then you should probably get a pen and paper and take some notes. And let’s have a conversation about what is that I believe, what is it that I know after more than two decades of doing this, about what makes a great coach. So who’s [head?] start? It starts very simply my friends, and that is you’re going to need two sets of skills. And the first of those skills that you’re going to need is what I call some hard skills. You’re going to need some hard skills. And I will chat about what those things are. But you’re also going to need – ta-da-da, as they do with a big reveal – you’re to need some soft skills.

So the first thing I’d write down is, “I need some hard skills and soft skills.” Now, I’ve got good news and bad news and I’m going to go with the bad news first. The bad news is soft skills can’t really be taught. You’ve got to have– the good news is that hard skills all day, every day, can be taught, can be learnt, can be modelled, can be mirrored, and can certainly be continually, continually improve. So if you’re looking to coach, teach, speak, mentor, and I kind of think coaching, teaching, speaking, mentoring, are all very similar things, very similar skill sets. Let’s run through what I think the necessary skills are.

So let’s look first at the soft skills. And so this is kind of my top five, if you will. Certainly, it’s a more extensive list. But my top five things that I think that you need to have if you’re considering a career in speaking, teaching, coaching, and mentoring, and the first is, no surprise, you actually kind of have to like people. Now, that seems kind of funny to write because I like people. I like people a lot. But if you’re in this business to make money, or to be famous, or to get your name next to somebody cool so he can take your selfie, this probably isn’t going to work long-term. It might work in the short-term but long-term, you actually have to genuinely like people. Like hanging out with them. Like talking to them. Like listening to them. Like having conversations be all about them. So that’s kind of my first really important soft skill. From the time I was old enough to remember, I’ve loved people. I love talking to them. I love meeting them. I love connecting with them. I love supporting them. So that’s kind of number one.

Number two, no surprise, I think, is you kind of have to have this thing called compassion. Which means you’ve got to genuinely care about people. You have to actually have some compassion and some empathy – not sympathy, which is one of the distinctions I teach in my program – is that you’ve got to have some compassion for people. Do you actually care about them? And care about their journey. Care about fears. Care about their doubts. Care about where it is that they end up. Knowing that coaching is about moving people forward, surely, having compassion is hugely, hugely important.

Third skill. The third of these critically important soft skills. Again, this thing’s obvious, but you have to have a genuine willingness to help other people. And it’s got to be genuine. Again, if it’s incentivised and motivated by the cheque or the cash, if it’s incentivised and motivated by the fame or the celebrity it’s going to bring you, this is never going to work long-term. You have to have a genuine willingness to go above and beyond. And that might mean sometimes taking a call at a strange time of the night or taking a text or message when it’s inconvenient or working with someone really deeply when they’re trying to maybe close a deal or convert a project or get something done. But a genuine, authentic willingness to serve and help other people.

Fourth one, I think is pretty exciting and that is you’ve got to have some life experience. Which means, ideally, you’ve had both some ups and some downs. Now, certainly, in my life, there has been lots of incredible, incredible, ups and there’s certainly been some downs. Some of them self-inflicted because I’ve made some poor choices, and some of them just circumstance and the deal that I was dealt by the universe and life. But you’ve got to have some ups and downs. So don’t be thinking you need to be perfect. Don’t be thinking you need to be this shiny, polished, Instagrammed pretend facade of a person. You want to have some life experience. And for me, life is experience is more than just, “This thing happened to me,” but actually, “This thing happened to me and here’s what I learnt from that.” That’s kind of what I think by experience. If something happened and you didn’t learn from it, it kind of wasn’t an experience, it was just a thing that happened. So have I had some life experience, and have I learned from those things, and have those learnings then impacted me and changed what it is I am. And, again, these are all things that are part of, hopefully, your DNA, hopefully, your genetic makeup.

And then the fifth, the fifth, of my really important soft skills, if you want to be a great coach and a great speaker or mentor, is you actually have to want a better life. The essence and point of coaching and mentoring is to move people forward. And so if you’re one of those people who just wants to go, “Well, I’m at peace with the world, and I’m happy where I am. I’m not looking to make money,” or, “I’m not looking to change,” or, “I’m not looking to get healthier,” or, “I’m not looking to improve my life,” well, you’re probably going to be great at chitchat, you’re going to be great at being a friend, but you might not actually at being awesome at helping people move forward. So you’re going to want a better life.

So that’s kind of my top five, that’s the soft skills. If you’ve got those, I’m telling you, you’re probably halfway qualified to being a great coach, speaker, mentor, teacher, in some way, shape or form. Now, these are the ones– Me, personally, I’m not great at teaching these. You’ve kind of got to have them. Now, there are two sets of skills, soft skills and hard skills.

The hard skills I think that are critically important– again, this list is not going to be exhaustive, there’s going to be other things I would add to this. But if had to on this quick video give you my top five, the hard skills would be this. And the hard skills, the first one is, holy smokes, ladies and gentlemen, you’ve got to be able to create relationships. You’ve got to be able to create great, deep, intimate, genuine, authentic relationships. And you can’t fake that, man. And there are some skills and [science?]. And whether that’s through NLP, through matching and mirroring, through certain types of questions. But the ability to create relationships of trust, and connection, and rapport are critically important. Because as a mentor, as a coach, you’re going to delve into parts of people’s lives that, truthfully, they probably haven’t revealed to anybody else. So you need some skills and tools to not just like people, that’s a given, but actually have the skills, the tools, the NLP programming, the mindset, the questioning, the mirroring, the modelling, the actual skills and tools to be able to create genuine, authentic, impactful, relationships. That’s hard skill number one.

Hard skill number two, and this one is critical, critical. You have to have the ability to ask quality questions. Not just random questions. Not just fill-in-the-blank questions but actual quality questions. In fact, there’s two questions, and we might do another tape on this, another video on this if you like, there’s two questions that are going to make you all your money and cause you all your impact. And we might chat about those another day. If you want, maybe put a comment in the little box there at the bottom. But the ability to ask quality questions, questions with a purpose. Questions that unfold. Questions that open. Questions that hone in. And knowing which question to ask at the right time. And certainly, I think, having at least 100 quality questions in your back pocket, in your toolbelt if you will, is critically important to be an effective coach, speaker, or mentor. You can be a great speaker and you’d be doing your PowerPoint presentation and standing behind the lectern or doing whatever you want to do, but the minute you put a microphone in a client’s hand, the minute somebody from the audience stands up and starts to engage with you, the minute a reporter asks you a question, the minute you start to get some feedback from people, now you’ve got to start to have a dialogue and you need coaching skills and the ability to ask great questions is hugely important [to have?]. Critical skill.

Third skill. The third skill is the opposite of asking questions and that is the ability to pay attention. Actively listen. Being in an expert, being a guru, being a coach, is not about you just talking for the whole 45 minutes. People will tell you what their wounds, desires, needs, and fears are if you listen. Now, it sounds kind of corny to say but I read it on day on a little fortune cookie that said, “You know what? I’ve got one mouth and two ears.” I say that to my boys, wisdom and justice. Probably, listening, it’s more important than talking. But you’ve got to be able to actively listen. And I wanted to write, actively and retentively listen. Which means, pay attention, retain what it is they’re sharing. Because as you ask people quality questions from the place of a great relationship, they’re going to tell you things that are really important, and they’re going to tell you where the X on the pirate map is. And the X is where to dig. We’re all in this another day. The fourth.

The fourth most important hard skill is you really have to make sure, my friends, is that you actually got to know how to coach. Do you have a system and a structure to move people forward within a session? And move them forward over a period of 6, 9, 12, or 18 sessions. Because if you’re just hanging out randomly chatty, if you’re just – I don’t know – feeling good for 45 minutes, if you’re just making people like you or making them like themselves, that’s cool. But I can do that with a juice, or a smoothie, or even a beer. Do you actually have a system and structure designed and built and carefully crafted to move people forward, knowing where you are on the journey? Knowing what’s coming up ahead. Knowing what problems, both normal and abnormal, or to be expected. Do you have a system structure and actually know how to coach? That’d be important.

The fifth. The first of my important skills, hard skills, of being a great coach, is do you know how to sell your story? What’s your story from rags to riches? What’s your story from slavery to freedom? What’s your story from being overwhelmed and challenged to freedom, and success, and joy? And the ability to know your story and to sell your story, and market your story to a particular audience, allows a certain type of person to be drawn to you, and as a consequence, you get to sell, and market, and monetise, your coaching, speaking, and mentoring skills.

So that’s kind of my top five. Great, great relationships. Ask quality questions. And as I’ve mentioned, there’s two very specific questions we might chat about on another session. The ability to actively and retentively listen. The ability to know how to coach, what’s your system, what’s your structure. And then finally, you actually have the ability to sell your story. What is your story? Is it chunked down or is it marketable? Can you sell it, and do you know how to sell it? So that’s kind of my list for you today. If you want to be a great coach, speaker, mentor, guru, expert, in some way, shape, or form, two sets of skills, some soft skills about being kind and nice and liking people, having compassion. And some hard skills, some technical skills which you’ve got to learn from somewhere.

Hope this has been valuable and useful. If you’ve got any questions about anything, you know what to do, type one in the box. I love to chat to you guys and girls about what are you doing and how’s it happening, and how’s it unfolding. So chat away, ask me a question, and we’ll give you the best possible answer we can. Until then, live very, very deliberately. And bye for now

Join The Conversation

 

ABOUT SCOTT

Scott Harris is a leading Australian coach, mentor and speaker, with 20 years of experience working with individuals, businesses and audiences around the world and supporting them in creating phenomenal success; financially, physically and emotionally.

SUPPORT

If theres anything we can do to support you on your wealth or coaching journey, or if you have any questions about any of Scott's events or programs, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our support team.

GET CONNECTED

© ULTIMATE COACH PTY LTD 2017

Web Design & Development by NOX Digital

Share This