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?

2 thoughts on “Character Flaws That Can ‘Kill’ a Coach”

  1. Hi, Mike,
    I read your “Coaching for the entire family” article in the New Straits Times dated Tuesday, March 26, 2019, this morning, and I couldn’t help thinking how much more impressive and effective your good coaching would be if only you could have someone like me to proof-read for you before publication.

    Think how much more impact your article would have, if the beginning second sentence did not read as “Tin here, there are usually all sorts of people who come, …” but as “Here, there are usually all sorts of people who come, …”?

    Or think how much more sense it would make if the first sentence of your third paragraph did not read as “This made me realised [this would be as wrong as writing “This made me thought” when it should be “This made me think”] that coaching for the family is one way to help peopleeveryone in there to live more purposely.” but as “This made me realise that coaching for the family is one way to help people to live purposefully.”

    [As you can see, “to live purposefully” is very different from “to live purposely”, as one who is alive is alive whether on purpose or not.]

    No, I am not a proof-reader by profession, although I have the talent for it (I could even spot so many mistakes in the proof copy that the other five members in the editorial team of our Maybank in-house magazine had missed, or that people will tell me how amazed they are that I could spot grammatical mistakes in videos that only flashed by within seconds, just to give you an idea of how skilful I am in proof-reading).

    I am now 66 years old and in good health (the doctor who did an ECG on me said that I have a heart like a 25-year-old, plus I look like I’m only 46 years old). I am now looking for ways on how best I can earn more money to have savings that I can rely on later, should the time come when I can no longer work, as to what the future holds, no one but God knows.

    So if you think my skill can benefit you, do drop me a line. You can even Whatsapp or email me any proof copy of anything you intend to publish do that I can put in my suggested edits for your final say, to help you avoid the publication of any overlooked mistakes, as the rule is that we should NEVER edit our own written work. This is because we would never have made the mistake in the first place if we knew it was wrong; it takes a fresh pair of skilled eyes to detect mistakes that we, the authors, have overlooked or that we were not even aware that they were mistakes. (I once used “avenue”, wrongly thinking it was the same word as “venue” that I had put on the Staff Notice Board to announce the place where our next staff meeting would be held.) Yes, it is always good that such embarrassing mistakes can be avoided if we had someone who knows better to point it out to us before it is too late.

    Have a great day, Mike!

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