In this 24 minute podcast, I was interviewed by Nicki McClusky of Nicki asked, “What are the qualities of magnificent coaches?”

You can listen to The Qualities of a Magnificent Coach podcast here.

Exquisite Listening

One of the qualities in magnificent coaches is exquisite listening. These coaches have a way of listening from the soul, for their clients’ values, their vision, their purpose. They’re listening for the person’s soul to speak, really listening to their words.

I asked one of my clients, “What is my greatest strength and hallmark of my coaching?” The reply was, “Listening. Karen when you listen to me, I know you see me at my very best. And you really know I can do anything I want to do, I have my own answers, and I’m 100% convinced.” I tend to think in metaphors – people are diamonds at the core and during the course of life, mud got caked on. A little splatter of wet mud, then it dried, and we added on another. And another.

People are essentially big balls of mud. 😉 When they come to coaching, they oftentimes don’t understand that if they washed away the mud, there is a diamond underneath. Instead they often fear once they chisel off the mud, that there will be nothing there.

So, exquisite listening and love are essential in a magnificent coach. A coach can effectively wash away the layers of mud. A magnificent coach needs to be absolutely convinced there’s a diamond inside that ball of mud. And when we do, the magic happens.

When we or our clients are not willing to go through self-development, it can get messy. We’re scared because we’re not presenting our best self to the world, how we like to show. Top coaches understand the process of self-development, and offer to bring the chisel and help dig in.

A magnificent coach needs to love and see people in their magnificence in the diamond. You’re a diamond miner.

Exquisite Selfishness

Ayn Rand wrote a book called, The Virtue of Selfishness. Really it’s about self care and supporting oneself. It’s funny because I used to think the whole idea of self care was a very good idea. Now I think it is ESSENTIAL…much more than just “really nice.” Self-care is as essential as needing air to breathe. It’s not the icing on the cake; it IS the cake. The pot roast. It’s really really really important. Top magnificent coaches practice self care and encourage self care for their clients.

This goes back to exquisite listening. Listen for self care strategies of the client. The beauty is that the client will tell us in many ways. I once coached a hospice vice president who was very directed, really smart, sharp savvy business woman who shared in our first meeting that she loved to write poetry. There was later a time in one of our coaching sessions when she was in overwhelm – as would be expected in any top executive position. And so I asked, “When was the last time you wrote a poem?” She replied, “Oh, it’s been so long.” So I asked if that might be something she would like to do. The beautiful part is that she started sending me her poems because she knew I was interested!

Whatever the clients’ strategies are, we listen to then, we acknowledge them, we utilize them to bring clients into their own balance or “selfishness.” It is so important to be able to help our clients to support themselves. Self care moves from way down on our priority list, up to the top, just like the air we breathe.

Exquisite Coachability

One other quality of magnificent coaches is exquisite coachability. One of the top qualities I’ve seen is when a coach is open to learning and coaching him/herself. A magnificent coach sees everything that happens as a gift, a lesson to be learned. I learn all the time from my clients. Other coaches whom I admire have asked me, “How are you doing this, Karen?” CEOs ask me these questions because they’re coachable. They know, as successful coaches know, we can always learn from people no matter who they are. I know I can always do something differently. I’m open to asking, “Is this working for me? Is this the direction I want to be going? How can I get there?” There’s a certain amount of humbleness. Mindset, curiosity, interest, without judgment.

I am always interested in what somebody’s doing and why. For me this isn’t about a skill set – exquisite listening is a MINDset – really seeing another’s true magnificence means really listening from the soul and having that vision. Everything we’re talking about here is mindset. The skill set, honestly – I’m going to say this publicly as the former ICA Chief Learning Officer – mindset is 90% and the skill set is 10%. Once the mindset is in place, the skill set will come. I’ll get the skills with this openness. I’m going to practice and choose to learn the skills. For me the focus has been on the mindset, which determines the motivation and vision.

My Coaches

Personally the qualities I look for in a coach is that he/she:

  • Has A Coach. They’re having regular coaching sessions, they’re clearing out their gremlins, they really value coaching. They’re gaining the perspective of being a coaching client.
  • Listens to My Soul. I have three coaches right now. I listen to people all day – in my session, I just want to talk in a stream. Then I take a breath and ask what they heard. They’ll respond with a Top Three list. When I’m all up in my head and into the doing and messed up and just confused and disconnected, I want them to listen to my soul.
  • Encourages Self Care. My coaches focus me and remind me of exquisite selfishness. I don’t want to do anything out of obligation, only what nurtures and nourishes me. And then I want my coaches to invite me to do it.

“What qualities do you look for in your coach?” Please share your comments below.