Ohio Appalachian Collaborative Blog

It takes teamwork to make the dream work

Becoming a Good Coach - Part 1

by Charity Dodd, Powerful Practices Specialist | Apr 27, 2015
Coaching/Adult Learning

Moving from teaching children to coaching adults can be a tricky transition. What does it take to be an effective coach? And, how does an effective coach mentor and facilitate strong teams? This is a topic that we’ll be exploring in a two-part series as we look at the character of a coach and the keys to leading and teaching adults.

To be an effective coach, one must first establish trust. When teams trust one another and their coach, success is truly achieved. Over years of work, Daniel Goleman (2002), Megan Tschannen-Moran (2004), Julio Olalla (2003), and Stephen Covey (2008) sought to explore this topic deeper. They identified six essential characteristics of a trustworthy coach: self-awareness, honesty, sincerity, competence, reliability, and intentions. Effective coaches embody these traits and are honest and aware of what inspires them and the contributions they’re making in their lives. They are honest with who they are and the characteristics of the individuals on their team – and, each can have honest dialogue about strengths and weaknesses, so that there’s a balance. Being sincere and intentional about commitments is another crucial trait of a strong coach. If teams don’t trust that their coach will be diligent about follow through, then the team cannot hope to achieve success. Building credibility does not happen overnight and that is why it is such a cornerstone of a trusting team. When a coach is viewed as competent amongst his/her colleagues, then confidence, trust, and true learning can blossom. Perhaps one of the most difficult traits of a strong coach in our day and age is reliability. This trait, while a difficult one to sometimes manage is a world filled with full calendars, competing agendas and over-scheduled leaders is crucial to building trust amongst a team. Honoring commitments must become a part of a coach’s core to the point that on a repeated basis they can always be relied upon. Stephen Covey explored the sixth characteristic in 2008, when he identified that the best coaches’ motives were centered on others. If coaches exemplify their altruism, then it’s transparent to their teams that they are not in the job for the wrong reasons. Trust flourishes, teams are successful and real progress is made towards goals and initiatives of the school, the district, and organization.

Once trust is flourishing amongst a team, how do you maintain it? How do you prepare for potholes along the way? In our next post, we’ll explore building a toolbox for success that’s mindful of the roadblocks a coach is likely to face along the way.