In coaching, this is how things work…
If you are not continuously upskilling yourself and challenging your training,
you won’t last long and your competition will eventually surpass you. And at a time when thousands of coaches are competing for clients, it will be very difficult for you to make your own mark in your coaching niche.
Which is why in this piece, I have tried to mark down some of the best habits that you can adopt to become a world-class coach and dominate the coaching industry.
I can guarantee that as soon as you start imbibing these qualities, you will start to notice developments in your coaching practice.
So without wasting time, let’s start with it.
1) Make training more engaging
All world-class coaches attempt to make their training fun and engaging. They have the ability to make their curriculum super interactive, which compels people to take great interest and eventually helps them in getting desired results.
The capability to make training engaging and interactive is a vital skill that all aspiring coaches must have. Which is why coaches like Tony Robbins fill their live events with exercises and interactive plays because it helps to capture their full attention and in turn get massive shifts in people’s beliefs and ideas, which is ultimately the end goal.
You have to build the best activities in the industry, make them challenging- physically, mentally, technically, tactically, emotionally, and continually upgrade them with time.
2) Being specific
Most top-leading coaches are very specific when it comes to their coaching style, be it asking questions or providing a solution. Being specific, pointing out the right things and not being afraid of the circumstances is rarely seen amongst coaches.
Those are the ones who are considered to be exceptional.
As a coach, if you are unspecific about the problem areas of your clients or are not able to bring them up in a manner which is easy for them to understand, then chances are that you won’t be able to serve to their best interest.
So you might get early clients but most won’t stick around for long because you won’t be able to produce the results that they want, hence leaving as dissatisfied clients. To counter it, you must study some of the top coaches of your niche and model their ability to be specific and learn from them.
3) Being well prepared
A world-class coach is someone who has encountered multiple ideas, situations, questions, information and instances that their clients are going to experience, and is ready for discussions and to answer their queries.
Since they are prepared with the right coaching questions for their clients, they are in a better position to help the clients break barriers that most average coaches struggle with. I have found to be a major differentiating factor between world-class and mediocre coaches.
They are always primed up with their homework, so whatever type of potential problems their clients might encounter, they will be ready with a robust plan for each coaching session on a very detailed level, marking out details of how each coaching session is going to pan out, what will be the agenda, likely outcomes, results and activities that are going to be done in each coaching session.
If you don’t have any coaching structure, your coaching sessions can go in the wrong direction, more towards casual conversation with no real substance or direction, which might repel a lot of paying clients and you wouldn’t want to be in that position as a practicing coach.
For example: If a client has signed up for an 8 week coaching program, and you have one coaching session per week, you should lay out a plan of the activities and trainings that you will do in each session so that by the end of 8 weeks your client feels fulfilled and gets the desired results that they have signed up for.
So preparing a strategic plan of action for each session is a something that any aspiring coach should do.
4) Expectation Setting
All world-class coaches know that it is very important to inspire clients to take inspired action and push them to achieve their best. In that process, they also know that they are setting up the right sort of expectations for their clients. Setting expectations upfront serves as a reality check.
For instance, when I was working as a dating coach for men, we had an expectation set with all our clients where we said if you take the action as we teach you then by the end of one month you will have a potential girlfriend by the end of the program.
To make sure your client is satisfied with their result, you want to keep things in check and do small expectation setting exercises for your coaching clients.
5) Exceptional Listening Skills
All world class coaches have exceptional listening skills. I mean even the people that I have personally worked with, all of them have crazy sharp abilities in this area.
And it is because of this very skill their clients open up to them and build a great rapport with them during the coaching sessions.
A great coach listens to others and understands things from their perspective, makes them feel heard. Instead of criticizing or giving non-constructive criticism, they allow the other person (client) to provide them with an explanation from the other side, which can often help coaches in understanding the client’s position in a better manner and deliver effective solutions to the client.
6) Positive Reinforcement
Another key quality that I have observed with world class coaches is that they are very positive and uplifting towards their clients. And that’s exactly one of the reasons why their coaching is so effective.
World class coaches don’t use embarrassment and humiliation as “teaching tools“. They are fully aware that embarrassing or humiliating their client for a mistake, failure or shortcoming is a direct attack on them and it won’t help them get any results in the long term.
Shaming someone simply tears them down and breaks their self-esteem, thereby causing them to doubt their own abilities, because of which it becomes difficult for them to make progress in their coaching sessions.
So being positive is a world-class coaching quality which every new coach must possess or train themselves for it.
7) Being An Excellent Teacher
When I started out, I set up my own dating coaching in Australia. I had some friends who were really good at connecting with women.
So what did I do to help my students? I got one of those friends of mine to our workshop and asked him to educate a group of students on his expertise using our curriculum and infield drills.
That weekend the workshop was particularly busy as we had an increase in the number of students, and since we had to maintain the 5:1 student to teacher ratio, I asked my friend to come in and handle a group of students.
He worked with the students and coached them throughout the weekend with us.
Once the boot camp was done, I started gathering feedback (which was our usual thing back then. To grow our customer base, we did manual feedback collection via phone conversations and in person)
I started to speak to the group of students that was headed by him, and all of them told me the same thing, that their instructor himself was very good at connecting with women but somehow the students couldn’t get the kind of results that he was getting throughout the boot camp.
I then sat down and figured out where things went wrong.
The problem was in his style of teaching. I mean, sure, he was really good at his groove of chatting up women, but he wasn’t able to drill it down for others to learn from him.
And that’s the key takeaway here.
You might be really good at your skill, but being a great teacher is a skill of a different level.
So getting good at coaching means that you have to become an exceptional teacher. A world-class teacher understands that his teachings go beyond basic Q & A’s. Instead, they look for moments where they can teach key lessons to their coaching clients, such as handling failure, mastering the craft, rebounding from hardships, breaking success barriers and much more.
8) Understand different kinds of coaching clients
Each world-class coach understands that each coaching client is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
They have a basic understanding of each of their coaching client in terms of their attitude, personality, response-ability, how they handle pressure and other key behavioral attributes.
These coaches spend time trying to understand the minute things about their coaching clients which helps prepare and alter their coaching sessions to produce desirable results.
They know that while one client might respond to a more strict approach, while another client might not react to it the same way. They tweak their teaching processes by adapting to their coaching client’s individual abilities, in order to achieve maximum coaching effectiveness.
9) They are voracious readers
Reading is the most important differentiating factor that separates world-class coaches from average coaches. Because if you want to become a coach, you need to have an effective balance between reading material and experiential learning.
Reading is what provides world-class coaches with an unfair advantage over others. By learning more they balance their coaching with the right mix of knowledge which newbie coaches haven’t experienced in their career yet.
So if you want to grow you must develop the habit of reading at least 4 books per month on your coaching niche, and only then you’d be able to stand a chance to compete with the best coaches.
Check out some of the best coaching books here and some of my personal recommendations below
1.Transforming Your Life (Shameless plug for my book :P)
2. My Losing Season: It’s an excellent book that will tell you about the workings of a practising coach
10) Coaching the person, not just the problem
World-class coaches understand that the way their coaching clients behave in their personal life really impacts the way they are in their coaching sessions.
“ The way you do one thing is the way you do everything “
They take a lot of interest in trying to understand and study how their
clients behave and operate in their day to day life. Because that’s where they usually find the weak spots of their clients.
These coaches also ask the right type of questions from their clients. In general I have seen that coaches who study their client’s overall life are easily trusted and respected as compared to the ones that don’t.
And as a result, clients are motivated to put in more work since they know that their coaches have their back.
11) Excellent communicator
You might be the best coach in your coaching niche, but if you can’t communicate your ideas clearly then the chances are you won’t be able to give the best to your coaching clients.
Communication is not just a coaching skill, but an important life skill, and as a coach, it must be mastered.
All world-class coaches know this and that’s why they continually focus on excelling at it. It is a two-way street where you must have a back and forth communication channel that allows you to make the best of your coaching session.
An ideal effective communication would look something like this; If you are speaking, your coaching client should listen attentively. It should be the same when your coaching client is speaking.
12) Regularly challenge your coaching clients
The best coaches continue to push their coaching clients to do better and better and they continually challenge the norms. They inspire clients to improve their skill set and better their performance.
They do this by breaking their mental, emotional and physical types of barriers which are prohibiting their advancement to extraordinary results. In a way, they refuse to accept the norms and continually challenge their clients to help them in achieving their objectives.
13) Have a beginner’s mind
Most top-leading coaches not only work well with the clients, but continually test their own limits by changing their own attitude and behaviors. They usually adopt this thing called “ the beginner’s mind “ and every now and then they step out of the expert’s frame of mind.
By putting themselves in the shoes of a beginner, they experience and understand what it feels like to be a beginner. This allows the student to be at ease with their coach. Since they have already experienced all types if hurdles and successes their client might face when it comes to coaching them, this comes to them naturally.
14) Ask questions
Asking questions is a faster way to get the desired outcome when it comes to coaching. All world-class coaches are great at asking questions. And guess what! If you know the right questions to ask, you will get the right answers.
Asking the right questions can help you dig deeper into a client’s psyche. Well-calibrated questions are short and to the point. Right questions will help you understand the other person’s point of view, instead of getting simple “yes” and “no” responses.
This way you allow them to find all their answers themselves which helps build self-confidence and gives them the belief that they themselves are able to find the resolution of their problems. If they are not able to find answers, then you could guide them with sample questions that can help them arrive at a conclusion.
With all top performing coaches that I have studied and worked with personally, I’ve noticed that they exhibit a pattern of empathy and are very tuned with the feelings of the coaching clients.
They have this exceptional ability to truly understand their clients’ thoughts, emotions and feelings. Empathy allows your clients to feel at ease around you and connected to you. In coaching, the more trust someone has towards you, the more assured they’ll feel about reaching their desired outcome with you. This really goes a long way when it comes to achieving bigger goals.
This usually helps in building deep loyalty towards the coach. Coaches who lack this ability will find themselves struggling in the industry.
16) Process-oriented / consistency
Consistency trumps everything. You must have heard it right? That’s how it is in the coaching world as well. World-class coaches are consistent with their efforts.
An excellent coaching model has 4 key parts to it: standards, monitoring, analysis and feedback. An excellent coach is robust with monitoring his coaching clients and delivers feedback on the clients’ progress. They are very reliable, dependent and consistent because everything works on the basis of a reliable system.
17) Self Growth
If you really want to master the art of coaching, you need to be at the peak of your game. Whether it is physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually or in whatever way.You need to be really good to your own self.
And once you are in overall peak human condition, only then you’d be able to make your clients feel great about themselves, regardless of what coaching niche you are in. The idea is that you need to become the best version of yourself which is what will inspire people.
You need to stand out as an example to your clients. People don’t buy your products, they buy you, your lifestyle, your story.
If all those things are not in alignment, then the chances are the people won’t find you credible and you will be finding it difficult to sell to your dream clients.
Coaching your clients means that you have to stay on top of your game and that means that you have to be constantly upskilling yourself. That is the only way you can provide your clients with new cutting-edge ideas and coaching techniques for which they have signed up.
So you need to be constantly investing time in training yourself and learning at a rapid pace. Think of yourself like a lab rat and keep upgrading and testing the skills on your own self so that you can pass those skills on to your clients and keep them at the top of their game.
If you want to be a coach, then staying relevant is something which you have to commit to for the rest of your life. And that means invest your time, money and resources in taking workshops and learning new material.
19) The speed of learning (as compared to other competition)
We are living in a world where everything is available on the internet and easily accessible for everyone. The democratization of information means everyone has access to the material that you are reading.
So where do you get your competitive advantage from? Simple, by increasing the speed of your progress and making the most efficient use of your time.
Like even for myself I constantly buy new courses every month. Videos, tutorials, books. I read 4 books on coaching every month, just to keep myself abreast on all the topics related to my coaching practice so that I know that I am moving at a faster pace as compared to my competition.
So back in the good old days information took up a lot of time to learn. Now with easy access to the internet- new information, books, courses and technologies are easily accessible to the masses. That also means that what you know, everybody else knows. So how do you build a competitive edge in your target market?
World-class coaches understand this really well, and that’s why they invest a lot of time and energy in learning it hands-on from specialists and finding shortcuts or getting training which is extremely unique and special to their coaching skill. Hence, your speed of learning new skills as a coach can have a big impact on your success.
Example: A high-performance rugby coach with an outstanding success rate at the highest level spent one month each year improving his skills.
Immediately following the end of the competitive season, he started travelling the world learning from other coaches in other sports in various countries to ensure his rate of learning and development was superior to other coaches in his rugby.
Result- the most outstanding coaching record in professional rugby.
20) Giving Space
A great quality in a top performing coach is that they know when to give space to the client and when to assist them in getting results. It is also about being able to recognize what exactly works with what type of person. The next step is customizing coaching according to the client.
Some people may need hand-holding while some may need just guidance and are good to do it themselves. You should master the ability to let go of control when needed. If their efforts are great, make them feel appreciated for it but do not get too invested. The end goal that you should be looking for is that your clients should be able to look up to you and should rely on you as a source of guidance and strength.
21) Accepting of other people’s opinion and ideas
This is a skill which I have seen with not only world-class coaches but all top performing leaders. You will see all top guys are very encouraging and willing to accept other people’s ideas and welcome constructive criticism.
Being a coach means that you have to expect to be proven wrong once in a while and you must never let your EGO come in the way of getting great outcomes for your client. This is a mark of a great coach who displays humility and a will to learn new ideas from others.
If you can manage to do this, it adds a lot of value to your coaching clients as they feel like their opinion is being taken into consideration and appreciated.
22) Excellent ideas
I think this is one of the favorite things I love about high performing coaches.
Almost always, I have seen them carry a small book or diary or a notepad where they consistently write new ideas and execute them on a day to day basis. That’s how they become the best at their craft and continuously update their coaching methods and technologies.
You can find ideas everywhere, be it your coaching technique or changing your methodology or even the art of communicating with your coaching clients. If you continuously keep ideating and keep testing them slowly then you will notice that as a coach you will start progressing towards growth in a much faster manner as compared to your other competitors.
23) They tape themselves
Earlier when I started out as a dating coach, I use to videotape myself just to see how I look in front of my clients, what my body language looks like and how my presentation is.
I initially picked up this skill from Tony Robbins and later learnt that all top coaches use this technique. It gives you an idea of how you are perceived by others. In fact, all top football players and tennis players watch their own videotapes to improve their skill set.
Try to watch yourself carefully, you will be surprised with the kind of things you will notice about yourself.
What kind of body language do I have?
Do I look afraid?
Do I look tensed?
Can my clients see me properly or not?
Studying your own self is a huge factor when it comes to improving yourself as a coach. I honestly feel that If you are able to assimilate these qualities you’ll be able to start your own journey of becoming a world-class coach.