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What makes a good coach for someone?

Photo credit Christina @

I've been revisiting this question quite a bit this week, in the course of conversations with HR Directors and potential coaching clients.

The decision around coaching is both rational and emotional. It's about having a good decision process and also about what feels right for the parties involved.

It often presents as dilemmas to resolve in the choice of who to work with. For instance:

Is their experience of working with, or in, similar industries and occupations a useful reference point, or will it hinder their independent judgement?

Is our ability to get on with each other going to be valuable rapport or take us down rabbit-holes of what's mutually interesting, but maybe not really useful?

Is a high level of challenge going to be refreshing and stimulating, or detract from the support and patience needed to work through some big and important decisions?

Do I feel the need to be told what to do and, if so, is that really going to get me to answers that are satisfactory for me?

I would love to be able to resolve these definitively but, the truth is, like many things in this work, they are more in the nature of questions to work through where each individual has to get to their own answer. When we get to answers that both calculate right and feel right, it can create a powerful working partnership that generates real momentum for useful change. Game on.


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