Qualities of a Great Coach (and a Great Client!)

Leland Sandler Executive Coach

Qualities of a Great Coach (and a Great Client!)

Although it may be contrary to popular belief, great coaches and great clients do have certain qualities. Today I talk through a few of these qualities with Patrick Henry, CEO of QuestFusion. We discuss the struggles I’ve had with clients who aren’t open to being coachable, and how I overcame that process with them. Take a look:

Patrick:     What are the qualities that make someone a good executive coach, especially in the strength coach area that you work in?

Leland:      I think that, for themselves, they should have already gone through a certain level of development. You need resilience dealing with CEOs. CEOs can be challenging for good reason because, after all, they don’t have time to waste.

                  If they’re going to make an investment, then they’re going to want to see a fairly quick return. You need to be able to bring a strong, confident presence into the situation.

Number two is listening. It’s not only being able to listen with your ears but listen with your eyes. You have to really sense what’s going on in the situation (which means watching for somatic clues). You have to see when the person is stepping into a potentially troubling situation and when they’re stepping away from a potentially troubling situation.

Patrick:     On the flip side, what makes an executive coachable?

Leland:      I’ve had a few that aren’t.

Patrick:     We both have.

Leland:      It’s a willingness to say, “I’m good. I may even be approaching great, but I can be excellent. There’s still a place for me to grow.” It’s that willingness to say, “I want to do it.”

                  You can use the sports analogy. It’s like some of us who have played tennis or golf. If we get to a point where we want to up our game, then we can’t simply say, “I’m going to think my way through it.” It’s not going to work. We need someone who is excellent who’s going to help us move forward and get there fast.

Patrick:     I think the sports analogy applies again because all great athletes, no matter how great they are, have great coaches.

Leland:      Yes, they do.

Patrick:     I think the same thing exists in business. You need to have strong mentors. You need to have strong coaches. You need to have the right advisors to surround you to be the best that you can be.

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