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Five Traits of an Effective Coach

Orange Leaders
Orange Leaders Friday February 2, 2018
<? echo $type; ?> Five Traits of an Effective Coach

Everyone can go farther and faster with someone coaching them than they can on their own. This is true in sports, it’s true in your health, it’s true in business and it’s also true in ministry. I’ve found, “You will never maximize your potential in any area without a coach.”

I have always admired coaches. Show me a successful team and I’ll show you a great coach. I’ve noticed truly great coaches have developed the skills to produce a winning team wherever they coach. Also, they have learned how to assemble other great coaches around them.

It’s funny to me how people sometimes think they have arrived, when they have been doing something for a long time. Even seasoned veterans can benefit from coaching. I’ve found I can learn something every day, if I want to. And believe me, I want to. In my life today most all my coaches are someone younger. If you ever quit learning you stop growing, and when you stop growing you have the potential to stop being effective. Those who stop being effective could lose the opportunity to be a leader all together, that’s why I desire to have a coach speaking into my life.

Here are five traits of an effective coach:

1. Good coaches are always learning. I don’t want to tell people what I used to do. I want to share with them what I’m learning now and challenge them to do the same.

2. Good coaches are guides not counselors. The job of a counselor is to help an individual resolve issues of the past in order to operate more effectively in the present. A coach, on the other hand, helps us assess the present so that we can operate more effectively in the future. A good coach guides the group or individual on to where they are headed.

3. Good coaches commit to the process. I have found most of the people I have coached where looking for a pill, not a process. In this microwavable, drive-thru world we gravitate toward a quick fix. A different way of thinking is needed to update the process, system or structure that is holding us back.

4. Coaching is not consulting. A consultant is typically engaged for a short time in order to solve a specific problem. Coaching is typically a medium to long term prospect. Coaching does not center on problem solving, as it is with consulting. Instead, the focus is performance enhancement.

5. Good coaching is more than having a mentor. It is an honor when people tell me I have been a mentor to them. But a good coach is more than a mentor. A mentor is usually an older and more experienced person who provides advice and support to a younger, less experienced individual in a particular field. Coaching encompasses all the components of a mentoring relationship, and then some. The primary difference is that in a coaching relationship, the coach often takes more initiative about when and how information is passed along. Unlike a typical mentoring arrangement, a leadership coach doesn’t simply advise when asked. A coach is going to be more proactive in his instruction and evaluation along the journey. A coach is always watching rather than in an office waiting for a report.

I have found as a coach I help people the most when I do four main things. I should observe, evaluate, instruct, and inspire and/or encourage.

The starting place to becoming a good coach is to become an example, and to desire to be a person worth following. First Peter 5:2-3 tells us to: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”

Set the example of leading. Positional leadership is the lowest form of leadership. Don’t lead because you have a title, lead because you care.

Set the example of serving (you gain those you serve). As you turn your heart toward those you coach they’ll turn their heart towards you. I’ve said this earlier but I’ll say it again: Set the example in learning (be teachable), learn everything you can from everyone you can. Be willing to go the extra mile and be committed to whatever it takes.


For years, we at Orange have received requests for a training and development strategy for staff in family ministry.

It’s finally here!

We are releasing a new monthly online coaching strategy that is part of You Lead. You Lead Coaching is designed specifically for staff who work with Kids, Students or NextGen.

We are inviting a limited group of participants to make sure that we provide the best experience for everyone participating. Find out more info at YLCoaching.com.

At Orange Leaders, we influence those who influence the next generation. We do that by creating resources and products that help leaders like you do ministry better.