How to Choose a Good Coach

CoachingGoogle CEO Eric Schmidt identifies a key feature of his experience with a coach: ‘One thing people are never good at is seeing themselves as others see them’. You can watch Eric’s 40 second clip of an executive’s view of coaching here

With the rapidly increasing complexity of demands facing leaders today, one-on-one coaching by a trusted professional coach has become the favoured pathway for development for many Christian leaders. The outcomes of effective coaching have been widely established: as well as the growing self-awareness identified by Eric Schmidt, leaders have attested to effective people management, better relationships with people, improved productivity, increased engagement, and more effective communication.

An important question for many leaders is ‘What do I look for in a coach?’ The actual competencies and skills of effective coaches have been researched and a number of coaching organisations have a version (e.g. CoachNet Global). However the personal attributes are often harder to define.

I believe coaching is a deeply personal relationship requiring high levels of trust and resonance around core values. When seeking a coach, some of the personal attributes you can look for and enquire about from the coach and from referees are…

  • Keeps things simple
  • Focuses on a critical few things rather than a myriad of many
  • Listens attentively with good retention and recall skills
  • Has the discipline to remain completely engaged in the moment, all the time
  • Celebrates the individual, demonstrates positive regard and belief in the leader
  • Is relevant to and respectful of the leader’s personal and professional lives
  • Consistently demonstrates compassion; the coach cares authentically
  • Protects confidentiality with integrity
  • Continually probes for deeper meaning, seeking to surface clarity of purpose
  • Works seamlessly with both encouraging support and challenge to higher performance
  • Makes learning fun in a safe environment
  • Doesn’t pretend to know it all, seeks to keep up with current thoughts on leadership, but acknowledges it is impossible to catch up completely
  • Develops accountability for new behaviours that achieve improved results
  • Is a positive influence on the lives of others, lives a full rounded life, walks the talk
  • Has his/her life in order and is passionate about their calling as a coach

In his book The Next Generation Leader, Andy Stanley (Senior Pastor of North Point Community Church – the second largest church in the United States) says…’you will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. You may be good, you may be better than anyone else, but without outside input you will never be as good as you could be’.

Clearly coaching may not be for everyone, but there is no doubt that everyone can benefit from coaching at some point in their lives, especially when facing a major personal or ministry change. It may therefore be extremely useful to seek out a coach whot is potentially a good match sooner rather than later.

Call to Action:  If you want to reach your goals in what is often a fun and interesting way; find purpose, and reach your full potential; overcome obstacles and be more successful in your ministry; don’t wait to contact a Coach.

 Colin Noyes

 Colin is the Director of ResourceZone International. He has thirty years of ministry experience as a pastor, college lecturer and consultant/coach to consultants, denominational leaders and local church pastors. He can be reached at

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About the Editor and Primary Author

Colin Noyes

Colin Noyes is a Brisbane (Australia) based coach and consultant with extensive experience in the areas of organisational health and growth, change management, leadership development, recruiting/staff development and coaching. Read more

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