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Qualities of Successful Christian Coaches by Judy Santos, MCC

May 9th, 2009 | By | Category: Training & Certification Guest Posts

businessgroupWhat would it take for you to be a successful coach?  Start by considering personal characteristics that are present in successful coaches.  If the following describes you, then you posess qualities you can leverage for a successful coaching career. 

It should be noted that these are not the elements of a successful coaching business or ministry.  That’s a question for another day.


Great coaches are comfortable in their own skin.  A successful coach both knows and accepts him/herself, lacks any distorted sense of self importance and is relatively free of emotional baggage.  


Intelligence goes beyond the intellect.  While it is important, it ranks alongside emotional maturity and old fashioned common sense.  A successful coach will skillfully speak the truth in love and also rely on God to illuminate understanding.


Curiosity goes beyond interest.  It allows you to be creative and visionary with your clients. Strong coaches ask great questions that provoke thought and/or invite clients to look at situations with a different perspective.


Great coaches connect with their clients, developing rapport, trust and confidence.  That connection is an integral gauge to the extent of support and challenge it is appropriate to provide. The old adage applies here:  People don’t care how much you know, but want to know how much you care.


Successful coaches perceive the truth from what their client is saying. Perception often comes through being a well trained listener.  Having a sense of what your clients are experiencing is essential. Sharing an intuition or asking a pivotal question is often a result of exceptional listening.


Focusing on every client during a coaching session is paramount. The best coaches empty their minds of everything else while working with a client.


Terrific coaches ask the hard questions.  This takes courage and involves risk.  Great coaches are primarily concerned about helping a client move forward.


The most successful coaches meet their clients where they are, with neither judgment nor agenda to change the client’s values or priorities. 



Successful coaches teach their clients how to benefit most from coaching.  They quickly lead their clients to the nuggets of truth that create the challenge, putting unimportant details aside.


Wise coaches determine how much accountability each client wants and accommodates accordingly, allowing the client to take full responsibility for his/her action or inaction.


Successful coaches are generous with their clients, resources and schedule while maintaining boundaries.  Going the ‘extra mile’ is often the feet on faith and the action that demonstrates a caring, professional commitment.


Compassion is neither sympathy nor empathy, but a necessary mix that allows you to relate to your clients in a positive manner.  Great coaches are able to communicate compassion while still supporting a client in moving ahead.

13.   LIGHT

While issues involving change tend to be serious, great coaches enjoy lightness and laughter with their clients to keep perspective, making the coaching sessions enjoyable as well as productive.


The most successful coaches operate with a margin of reserves:  physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially.  Great coaches acknowledge that self care is a necessary element in their success.


Strong coaches are professional in manner and business.  They are secure in professional identity and portray confidence, stability and high ethical standards.


Wise coaches pray before each session with a client, knowing this in an important element in acknowledging personal availability before the Lord and also being open to His leading.   Many great Christian coaches pray with their clients as well, either on a regular basis or as fitting in particular circumstances. 

Judy Santos, MCC, is the founder and director of the Christian Coaches Network and an instructor in the Professional Christian Coach Training Program with the Institiute for Life Coach Training.

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