Character Flaws That Can ‘Kill’ a Coach

One day a coach-student tearfully confided in me that her introductory coaching session with a mentor coach was in shambles.  She said, “I went into the session feeling big and was really looking forward to meet my mentor coach, but I came out, feeling so small with every bit of my confidence destroyed”!

What should have been an uplifting coaching conversation to motivate the coach-student to become a better coach became a demoralising session where she was criticised and talked down for doing the coaching wrongly!  Obviously, a bad experience like this not only harm most people but can be traumatic to the point that it can destroy them for a long time to come.

But an incident like this is not a one-sided affair as it can also harm the coach’s reputation as well, and eventually his coaching career because this bad experience will be shared with many other people.  His future as a coach will be in flames, so to speak.  

Sometimes, coaches forget that their success depends many times more on their character than their skills and knowledge.  They can go on and on to build them but without a good character, nothing is going to work.  Whether it is in upgrading or adding onto their qualifications, clocking in more coaching hours, or exposing themselves in international conventions and seminars, it will all come to nothing if little is done to build their character as coaches. 

Here are five killer character traits that coaches should avoid having. 

The first one is arrogance.  Being a coach does not mean you are above others, especially the ones you are coaching.  Never think you are smarter, luckier and more superior than others.  When you have this attitude, you will likely be talking down on people with an “I-know-it-all” image.  This is not all.  You will also be making lots of judgements, criticisms and telling people what they should do instead of helping them to discover their answers.  Thus, the most fundamental principle of Coaching is being contravened!

The next one is a negative outlook on people.  Instead of supporting their coachees to see the bright side, they get into the “detective” work of furrowing further “holes” in their lives, causing more emotional pains to them. How can they enjoy a coaching session when it is more of a hell ride for them?

Another is the lack of passion for people’s growth. Many a time, coachees often wonder whether their coaches are genuinely helping them, or are after their money. If they are of the latter, you can see through them in their lackadaisical attitude, dull face, lifeless voice and their lack of energy.  A coachee can never be lifted up by coaches with such kind of negative persona.

One other is the lack of integrity and strong self-discipline. They compromise with themselves on quality, give in or give up too easily, lack discipline, tell lies, exaggerate facts and many, many others.

The final character killer is the stress in the coach caused by his own messy personal life either due to financial issues, relationship problems, health challenges and many others.  His life is somewhat in a mess and this is usually manifested in his erratic behaviours, wrong choice of words and disturbed appearances.  Somehow you will know that something is not working well for him.  So how on earth will you have the trust and confidence that this coach can help you?

Avoid the Boring Way to Explain What Coaching is

Every sales item needs to be well-packaged for greater selling success. Jewelleries are displayed in nicely lighted display showcases; foods are photographed to look really appetizing, and the list goes on. This applies when explaining or selling Coaching to people.

Many coaches describe Coaching in a dry, textbook way by explaining that “it is a process to help people find their answers through using listening and questioning.”

The tip here is to find a group of compelling words that sound nice to the ears about Coaching that will make potential coaching clients take action on it.

One of them which I use often is: ‘Coaching is simply a very insightful conversation between 2 persons where the coach helps the other person to see the many more opportunities before his eyes that they otherwise can’t see without a trusted companion next to them’.

Find those words that also fit well with the background of the person. If the person is, for instance, a lecturer or trainer, then words like being a personal tuition teacher to the person are nice words to his ears.

So go out there and attract potential clients to your Coaching with the right compelling words that sends music to their ears.