Coaching Research

The Core Traits of Truly Effective Coaches.

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A vast amount has been written about the competencies of coaches and mentors, and even more about the qualities of great leaders.

Much of this is contradictory and dependent on circumstance or context. Research into the desirable traits of both coaches and leaders, for example, shows significant differences of expectations and perspective arising from cultural factors.

There seems to be a whole industry devoted to creating new descriptors of these traits: authenticity, connectedness, learning agility …. And so on.

Some time ago, I set myself the task of cutting through the fog. My question for research and reflection was What lies at the core of an optimally functional human being, who is tasked with (or takes upon the themselves the task of) influencing others to achieve a greater good?

There are, of course, potentially limiting assumptions in this question. Not all leaders have a greater good in mind – many on the sociopathic spectrum seek only personal advantage.

Moreover, the greater good is in itself a slippery concept. Optimal functioning is also a concept, which may have different interpretations. I have taken for granted, for example, the inclusion within this term of a reasonable level of intelligence, as well as a lack of any serious mental disease, but ignored any aspects of physical disability.

These constraints accepted, in my reading and conversations, especially with coaches, who I supervise in their professional practice, I have sought a consistent pattern that integrates multiple perspectives (philosophy, religion, the science of adult development, well-being and the literature of coaching, mentoring and leadership).

What emerged is a triad of core virtuous traits or qualities, which seem to underpin optimally functioning coaches, mentors and leaders.

Find out what they are in this edition of the Worldwide Coaching Magazine.

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