9 Coaching Skills That Will Make You Unforgettable

Being a coach requires certain skills that help you understand your clients better. 

Sure, getting new clients is thrilling, but what is the real magic? Keeping them around! It’s not just about filling seats; it’s about building strong, lasting bonds.

Most of my clients are returning ones. Why? Because they know I’ll always go the extra mile for them. They appreciate the personalized attention and the consistent results they see. With me, they’re not just getting a coach; they’re gaining a friend and mentor in one. 

After coaching more than 1,400 coaches, I have realized that the ones who made it big in the coaching industry had certain qualities in common. Having these skills can make you a part of the top 1% in the coaching industry.

Let me share my discovery. 

📜 The 9 Essential Coaching Skills You Must Have
  • 🤲 Empathy
    Understanding and sharing the feelings of your client to better address their concerns.
  • 💪 Recognizing Strengths and Weaknesses
    Identifying and leveraging your client’s strengths while acknowledging and mitigating their weaknesses.
  • Asking the Right Questions
    Skillfully posing questions that draw out insightful responses and foster deeper understanding.
  • 👂 Active Listening
    Focusing fully on what the client is saying, to understand the context and nuances of their communication.
  • 🧭 Intuition
    Using your gut feeling to guide responses and actions in coaching sessions.
  • 🎯 Effective Goal Setting
    Defining clear, measurable, and attainable objectives for progress and accountability.
  • 🪞 Verbal Mirroring
    Reflecting your client’s communication style to build trust and rapport.
  • 🛠️ Ability to Take Criticism
    Accepting and utilizing feedback to improve your coaching methods and personal growth.
  • 🤝 Creating Rapport
    Developing a trusting and positive relationship with your client to enhance communication and results.

1. Empathy

The most essential skill to have as a coach is empathy. When you analyze the problem and understand the issue from your client’s perspective, you will be able to focus on your client and rectify the underlying issue. Being empathetic makes you trustworthy and allows your clients to trust your abilities fully. 

Suppose your client is facing a setback; instead of saying, “Don’t worry about it,” you might say, “It sounds like you’re really frustrated by this. What do you think is the biggest challenge here?” This approach validates their feelings. 

I’m careful about phrasing my words. When I talk to clients, I match my tone to reflect my intent. 

2. Recognizing Strengths And Weaknesses

Recognizing the strengths of your clients can improve their morale and make them feel more confident. A study by Corporate Leadership Group revealed that focusing on strengths can lead to a 36.4% increase in performance. 

I ask my clients about their top three strengths, which gives me an overview of their capabilities. I also encourage them to share experiences where they overcame significant challenges and to tell me about the compliments they receive from others. By empowering them with their strengths and understanding their self-limiting beliefs or weaknesses, I help them feel happier, more positive, and more confident by the end of the session.

3. Asking The Right Questions

Questions should be asked at the right time, as bluntly asking irrelevant questions may backfire. I always know the purpose of the question and why I’m asking it in the first place.

I ensure my client and I are comfortable enough to engage deeply. The key is to create an aura of trust, friendliness, and warmth first before digging a little deep. 

Here’s a pro tip: Ask open-ended questions so your client can answer them and share their experiences. You can even ask follow-up questions to learn a little more about your client. Closed questions should only be asked if you just want to have clarification.

4. Active Listening

Active listening requires listening carefully to your client by putting yourself in their shoes. It is a must-have skill for coaches, as effective coaching is not about rectifying the problem but about focusing on the client. ICF mentions active listening as one of its core competencies. 

I listen more than I talk, allowing clients to trust me and openly share their issues and self-negating beliefs. This helps me to connect with my clients and offer tailored solutions. It’s hard to offer a plausible solution without listening carefully to the client. 

5. Intuition

Intuition is an innate skill we have been blessed with since birth. When communicating with clients, I try to fully immerse myself in the present and listen without judgment. I respond intuitively to what I feel is right, not just what I think should be said. 

This helps me create a personal connection with my client. Although intuition is innate, I practice it by sitting in silence and listening to my heart and gut. This approach ensures my responses don’t feel scripted to my clients.

My client, a coach (not naming her for confidentiality reasons) who was struggling to connect with her audience, was at a crossroads. Typically, I would suggest structured approaches like refining her messaging or adjusting her strategies. But something told me that her issue went deeper. 

Instead of sticking to my usual methods, I told her to take a step back and reconnect with why she started coaching in the first place. This wasn’t my usual approach, but her problem needed something else. Sensing the pulse of the situation, I realized she needed to reignite her passion and authenticity. 

6. Effective Goal Setting

Setting goals provide clarity and direction in your coaching session. I advocate for using SMART goals with clients. 

SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.  This allows me to work with an agenda. 

At the end of each session, my clients feel that something beneficial resulted from our time together, proving that hiring me has been resourceful.

7. Verbal Mirroring

Verbal mirroring wins the trust of your clients. Coaches who demonstrate verbal mirroring are seen as more professional and friendly by the clients. Verbal mirroring is copying your client’s words, tone, pace, and way of speaking. 

Verbal mirroring occurs naturally, but practicing it makes you trustworthy and dependable. Mirroring creates an environment of trust and comfort, which allows your clients to relax and share their personal experiences. 

Verbal mirroring can be practiced by observing your client’s words, tone, and communication style. Make a habit of repeating their words, matching their tone, and communicating with them as they are communicating with you.

Something I do is to repeat 

8. Ability To Take Criticism

There are times when even I have been guilty of not taking criticism well. It’s part of the journey though. Let’s face it – not every client you coach will like your methods. Take their feedback as an opportunity to grow and refine your approach.

Begin by appreciating your client’s honesty. Then, ask questions before giving your two cents. 

Ask your clients why they think so before giving a response, even if you feel otherwise. Use criticism as a powerful tool to become an even better coach. If you need any support, then we’re here to help you refine your skills and grow your business.  

9. Creating Rapport With Your Clients

Rapport goes a long way in the coach-client relationship. Building rapport with your client generates positive results and helps you to connect with your client on a personal level. Coaches who build rapport with their clients can create a safe environment. 

Show genuine interest. Know them as people. Try repeating your clients’ names while communicating to remember them. When you address your clients with their names, they feel honored and trust you more with their problems.


If you inculcate these coaching skills, you will see how your credibility, professionalism, and rapport improve. These 10 skills will help you bond with your client. In turn, I’m sure your clients will feel happier, more optimistic, and ready to tackle their problems if you portray these core coaching skills.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Are Key Coaching Skills?

The key coaching skills are empathy, rapport-building, active listening, accepting constructive criticism, and developing intuition. These are must-have skills for every professional coach as these will help you understand your clients and improve their lives in a better way.

What Qualities Make A Good Coach?

A good and reliable coach is optimistic, non-judgmental, dependable, trustworthy, and demonstrates empathy. Anyone can be a coach, but it is these qualities that make them appear trustworthy and reliable. These coaching qualities can be nurtured with time.

Why Is It Essential To Have Coaching Skills?

Coaches need to hone effective coaching skills as it will portray their credibility and professionalism. Clients are more likely to receive coaching from coaches who prioritize them and demonstrate these skills during the session.



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