What Makes A Good Coach?

Jul 20, 2016 3 Min Read

In all ways, a good coach must be someone who is genuinely and sincerely committed to this profession, and the best way to prove this is to invest time, effort, and money to undergo a formal learning from an established coaching school to be a professional certified coach.

Good coaches know that there is no compromise or alternative to this, as coaching skills and a coaching mindset are skills that are formally learnt.

Why coaching skills have to be formally acquired?

Coaching skills are needed to directly replace some old communication habits that we have acquired through the years. Take for example, our tendency of talking more than listening.

In coaching, we learn the reverse of talking less and listening more. Another one is to ask whatever questions that come into our mind. In coaching, every question asked must be purposeful and must be a result of after having listened to what the other has said earlier.

In the context of coaching, all these must change. Without a period of undergoing “coaching rehabilitation”, it is near impossible to shed off the old behaviours that many of us are so accustomed with.

This brings in another important point, which is, our years as a trainer or manager do not automatically make us a good coach. They too have to go through the mill of coaching.

What are the coaching bodies?

Most professional coaches belong to a known coaching body. There are so many out there, and some of them are: the International Coach Federation (ICF), Coachville, CoachU, International Association of Coaches and many others.

Each one of them promotes their brand of coaching and their set of coaching competencies to guide the development of their members to become good coaches. Although this may be confusing to many, the fundamentals of good coaching are somewhat the same as there cannot be too much ‘deviation’ from what true blue coaching really is.

The Malaysian Association of Certified Coaches

The Malaysian Association of Certified Coaches promotes the ICF brand of coaching, which explains why all its members are trained or certified under this coaching body. The ICF brand of coaching is the most established and prestigious coaching body compared to any other brands of coaching.

It is the standard bearer and is well recognised and respected, with a strong 25,000 membership, spanning across the world. Due to its strong reputation and branding, only an ICF-certified professional coach can be regarded as a global coach and can practise in any part of the world.

11 coaching competencies of ICF

There are 11 coaching competencies where all students in ICF-based coaching schools must be taught and evaluated throughout their studies to be professional coaches.

  1. Comply with ethical code and professional standards
    Hold a non-directive coaching conversation that is anchored on inquiry and exploration based on the present and the future.
  2. Establish coaching agreement
    Set a clear coaching agenda, measurable outcomes and clear ground rules to guide the entire coaching conversation.
  3. Build trust and intimacy
    Create a safe environment that gives space and respect for the coachee to freely express what they want.
  4. Listen actively
    Listen to both the spoken and unspoken words, detect incongruities and discern their hidden meanings.
  5. Ask powerful questions
    Provoke and elicit self-discovery to gain insights and find answers to resolve issues or get closer to the goal.
  6. Get into coaching presence
    Immerse into the coachee’s zone and thereby gain intuition to feel their inner motivations, emotions and underlying roadblocks.
  7. Raise awareness
    Elevate the coachee’s mind and broaden their perspective to find more holistic solutions to resolve their issues or get closer to their goals.
  8. Manage direct communication
    Undertake a two-way communication that is clear and simple and in accordance to the coachee’s preferred learning and thinking styles.
  9. Design actions
    Co-create innovative actions with clear steps that can lead to their goals.
  10. Plan and set goals
    Formulate realistic and empowering goals with a clear game plan on how to reach them.
  11. Manage progress and accountability
    Stay focus on the coachee’s goals and assertively hold them accountable throughout the coaching relationship.

To engage Heah for your organisational coaching support needs, email us at training@leaderonomics.com. For more Thought Of The Week articles, click here.


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Michael is an ICF master certified coach with Corporate Coach Academy and a faculty trainer with Leaderonomics.

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