3 Reasons Why You Wouldn’t Make A Good Coach

Wednesday, 21st March, 2018

Not everyone has what it takes to be a coach, especially an effective one. You may have a wide range of skills, strengths and qualities, but are they suitable for coaching someone?

Here are a few reasons why someone possibly wouldn’t make a good coach … (although see the end of this post!)

#1: You have lots of experience in the topic that the coachee has brought to coaching, and you’re keen to share it with them

Handwriting Announcement text showing Share Knowledge. Business concept for Education Sharing written on sticky note paper on wooden background.

Tempting though it is to want to help others via imparting all your knowledge to someone else, this would be mentoring not coaching! The more experience someone has in the area the coachee has as their goal/target, the harder it is for them to put aside their own thoughts about how they’ve solved similar problems, and just focus entirely on the coachee and their needs for the session. This is one of the most common initial issues that delegates have on my coaching training programmes, and we look at ways to quieten those distracting thoughts and be present for the coachee.

A good coach needs to be able to park their own ‘stuff’ and give their full attention to the coachee.


#2: You like the sound of your own voice

bigstock-Blank-Bubble-29624258I don’t mean to offend. Some people are just confident and enthusiastic about sharing what they know – with all who’ll listen! The thing is … in coaching, you should only be talking for about 15-20% of the time. This should take the form of questions, summarising or feeding back something pertinent that you’re noticing. It’s all about THEM not you!

A good coach needs to be quiet for longer than they’re vocal, comfortable with silences, and an excellent listener.


#3: You like pointing people in the right direction

bigstock--165457121Similar to #1, but rather than wanting to impart your knowledge and thoughts based on a ‘helping’ mindset (particularly when they’re stuck), this one’s about making judgements about a coachee’s choice of options or solutions. It could be argued that you still feel you’re helping, but it comes from a different kind of mindset to #1.

Coaching needs to be non-judgemental, which includes:

  • focusing on the coachee’s own resources and helping them develop these (whether personal or external)
  • encouraging them to expand their options to inform their choices (through questions, not telling!)
  • as coach, being able to recognise a judgemental thought, and effectively managing it so it doesn’t get in the way

If you feel you’re guilty of any of the above, but would still like to be an effective coach … all is not lost!

There are ways to develop the skills and mindset appropriate for effective coaching. The starting point is recognising that you’re:

  • wanting to share your experiences
  • talking too much
  • making judgements about the coachee’s choices / actions, etc. and communicating these judgements to them

Once you’ve raised your awareness to these, you can take action:

Re #1: Here your mindset needs to be along the lines of … I might have all this experience, but it won’t help the coachee learn for themselves, and my way may not be a good way for them. Plus, if I keep providing them with my experiences, it will reduce their ability to problem-solve for themselves. I’m not really empowering them when I’m doing all the thinking for them!”

Re #2: Here you need to get comfortable with asking a question, then staying quiet. It’s part of holding the coaching space and allowing the coachee to have that valuable thinking time they need. Don’t be tempted to ask overly long, complex questions. A great question is short, simple, open and non-leading.

Re #3: Whenever you hear a judgemental thought forming inside your head – move it away / out of reach / silence it! Some coaches internally tell it to go away, others visualise a STOP sign … do what works for you.

So which of those, if any, do you need to work on?


And finally … if you’re interested in learning more about becoming an effective coach, either in your organisation or working independently, check out my accredited Coaching Skills Training programmes here.



I’m Debbie Inglis, Leadership & Mental Toughness Coach, Coach Trainer & Supervision Coach. I work across the UK and Internationally with leaders and their teams to maximise leadership performance, create more effective, confident, and motivated teams … in a way that brings out the best in them.