Great Coaches Know How to Get the Most Out of Their Players

Adults who played team sports as kids often talk about what an advantage it was for them. They cite having learned the ability to work as a part of a team: the idea of knowing where you fit and how to use your strengths to become an asset to the whole; the camaraderie and joy of winning together; even the misery of losing together.

But how do you think those kids learned all those fabulous traits? Because, at some point, they had a GREAT COACH. Great coaches know how to get the most out of their players–whether coaching someone in the game of lacrosse or the game of life.

How do I know this? Well, unfortunately, it’s not due to ever having had a great sports coach as a kid. Probably because I only played in Catholic School CYA programs…usually it was just somebody’s older sister with a whistle. (As an aside, if you want to read about a great youth sports coach, here’s a sweet tribute to Steve Bandura LINKE

But I have had great coaches in life. I have one right now. In fact, I believe I will continue to have one for the rest of my life. Because now that I know how helpful and valuable it is to have a great guide along the way, I don’t want to be without one. Ever.

We need different kinds of coaches during different periods of our lives. Sometimes we need a cheerleader, sometimes we need a taskmaster, sometimes an empath. I think in order to BE a great coach, you had to have had one. At least once.

These are some of the common attributes of a great coach. I know my coach has them–and I believe my clients might just agree that their coach does too.

1. They build self-esteem. Not by praising a mediocre effort, but by having their clients truly notice “unconscious competencies”–pointing out areas in which they shine without realizing it.

2. They help their clients keep perspective. The best coaches are able to keep success goals in perspective. They do not get attached to a particular strategy. They help clients keep the long term in mind while playing full out in the moment.

3. Great coaches don’t let their own egos get mixed up into their client’s outcomes. They do not feel vindicated or diminished as an individual when the strategy they offered either succeeds or fails. They realize that everything is an experiment to see what might work most effectively for that particular client and they don’t get shaken if it doesn’t.

4. They use a holistic approach: they understand that potentially “succeeding” at work may in fact put a strain on a marriage or a parent, so they take the whole person into account.

5. They are flexible in their approach–they understand different learning styles and different attitudes require varying approaches and they’re willing to adjust accordingly.

6. They work hard at communicating effectively. They know that effective communication entails that you listen carefully to what your client’s are saying–and that you keep asking the same questions in many different ways in order to understand the nuances of the client’s response.

7. They walk the talk. A good coach works hard to practice what she preaches. Period.


As I mentioned, I am no athlete. But I do have a medal in truth telling–in helping others discover and communicate their own unique value. If you are ready to achieve that kind of True Success, I can help you win the gold. Call today to start your training!

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