I am often asked what makes a great coach.  Of course, this is not a straight forward answer – much will depend on the individual coach themselves but there are some common factors. Below I give my 5 top tips to help you on your road to becoming a successful coach or mentor.

Spend time acquiring knowledge and understanding of the skills, behaviours, and attributes of an effective coach as well as a variety of coaching models, that will help guide you through a wide variety of coaching scenarios. If you do want to work in a formal coaching or mentoring role then I would recommend that you seek to gain an accredited qualification. The learning process will help you with all the above and will also help you to establish your credibility with prospective clients or sponsors.

To become an expert in coaching and mentoring, you will need to spend time learning how to develop these initial skills and knowledge. It will be time spent practising how to successfully apply these in a highly skilful and artistic way that maximise the performance outcomes of the coachee and the impact of your coaching intervention. Talk to and observe TOP coaches in action and get yourself a coaching mentor to help you develop your expertise.

Take time to understand and learn about the great communications skills you will need to build rapport, develop, and maintain effective working relationships as well as, establishing a psychological safe zone where openness and challenge are encouraged. The coach/coachee relationship is fundamental to coaching and mentoring success.

Understand that the people you coach, or mentor will be ultimately successful in fulfilling any potential or achieving their goals because they have the talent, commitment, and desire to do so and not simply because you want them to. It is therefore essential that the coach and mentor understand what motivates them and why they want to do what they do.

Make sure that you never have a situation where the potential or performance levels of the people you work with is restricted by your own limitations as a coach and/or mentor. Work hard to stay ahead of the people you work with and where necessary, recognise when and who to hand their continued development on to.

So, they’re my top tips but of course, those who know me know I have a lot more to say on the subject! If you’re interested in finding out more, please do feel free to get in touch.

If you want to learn about the difference between coaching and mentoring – is there one? – check out my earlier blog on this subject.

If you know coaching or mentoring is an area you wish to develop in, consider signing up to one of our courses. You can find out more by reading our course details.

About the Author: Graham Ravenscroft

Graham Ravenscroft
Graham is Gateway HR & Training's Lead Performance Coach. He has over 30 years' coaching and mentoring experience in the worlds of sport and business and is considered 'World Class' by many. He holds a Level 5 IAAF Elite Coaching Diploma and a Level 5 CPCAB Diploma in Stress Management.