Towards a 'Way of Being'

This article is an excerpt from An Introduction to Coaching Skills

Below, I will outline some ideal attributes for coaches based on a loose understanding of Rogers's 'way of being' (1980). Each represents a lifelong journey of development. These attributes can be considered aspirational goals for coaches. Self-awareness is important as you consider each point. You may already possess some of these attributes, others may require a lifetime of learning and development. We must be honest and humble when deciding on whether or not we need to invest time in any of the points below.

The most effective coaches are humble
Humility is an important attribute for a coach. Without humility, it is difficult to enter into equal relationships. Humility allows a person to constantly be a learner. Status games have no place in coaching arena.

The most effective coaches are confident in their ability as coaches
While humility is an important attribute, coaches need to be confident in their coaching abilities. Confidence in our coaching ability can be picked up by the coachee. Any self-doubt on our part can be contagious.

The most effective coaches care about people
Coaches should be driven by a desire to make things better for people. Of course, many coaches earn a livelihood from this business. However, 'making things better for people' should be the primary drive, not financial gain. Coaching is a very human way of interavting.

The most effective coaches believe that their coachees will achieve more of their potential
The belief of the coach is an integral part of the self-belief of the coachee. Research has shown that a person's positive expectation about another person's abilities can become a self-fulfilling prophecy (Rosenthal and Jacobson, 1966, 1968).

The most effective coaches treat others with respect
Feeling respected in one of the non-negotiables of trusting relationships. In order to build long-term, successful professional relationships, coaches must respect their clients and be able to demonstrate this respect quickly and consistently. Human beings are quick to sense the absence of respect.

The most effective coaches have integrity
Coachees must trust their coaches for them to be open and honest about their feelings, thoughts, aspirations and fears. Trust us built as coachees start to recognise that their coaches always operate with integrity. And this is not just about what happens in the coaching room.

In this chapter, we have carefully considered some of the key principles and attributes of effective coaches. As I hope you will have noticed, they are based on the humanistic principles of Carl Rogers. Essentially, coaching is a humanising activity, for both coach and coachee. To become a coach is to embrace the most positive aspects of being human. van Nieuwerburgh, C. (2014). An Introduction to Coaching Skills: A Practical Guide. London: Sage. PP.158-159

  • van Nieuwerburgh, C. (2014). An Introduction to Coaching Skills: A Practical Guide. London: Sage. PP.158-159
  • Rogers, C.R. (1980) A Way of Being. Boston MA: Houghton Mufflin
  • Rosenthal, R. and Jacobson, L. (1996) 'Teachers' expectancies: Determinants of pupils' IQ gains', Psychological Reports, 19: 115-18.
  • Rosenthal, R. and Jacobson, L. (1968) Pygmalion in the Classroom: Teacher Expectation and Pupils' Intellectual Development. Norwalk, CT: Crown House.