So, What Kind of Coach are YOU?


September 19, 2012

The coaching skill set is powerful.  It takes about a minute to learn, but a lifetime to truly master.  Committing to listening first, asking powerful questions, and picking out appropriate action steps that lead to your vision/goal makes a lot of things possible, but once you've got the basics down, how do you ensure that you're working in the area that makes you most effective? 

bass playerThink of it like a jazz band:  the trumpet is featured in one kind of song.  The bass takes the spotlight in another.  Every once in a while, even the drums get featured.  And it takes a different set of musical skills to play each of these instruments.

Every coach has particular area where they are MOST effective.  I know in my own coaching practice, my clients tend to be leaders--pastors, entrepreneurs, directors of non-profits, church planters, CEOS--that have the ultimate authority in the thing that they're leading.  I can't tell you that I chose to coach these folks, but over time it became clear that this segment was the group with whom I had the most effective coaching relationships.  Over time, a few coaching questions began to help me shape WHO I coached and HOW I coached them.

1.  How much is at stake?  The extra pressure to work with the top leader of a church or organization forced me to focus clearly on the situation at hand.  As a coach, knowing that the leader had shared some of his/her process with me AND that the decisions we were working through had consequences forced me to pay specific attention to the questions I ask.  The tighter the crucible, the more I relied on my coach training and the more effective I was.  What risk/reward balance are you most comfortable with?    (Side note:  paying attention to your mastery of the three key coaching skills may give you a clue about whether you want to be in high pressure situations!)

2. What is the other person trying to accomplish?  Coaching is a great tool for personal development, skill building or to implement a particular plan.  Which one are you most equipped to help accomplish?  

3.  What has worked in the past?  As you review your coaching history, what have you worked on regularly?  What has gone well?  What has not gone well?  One coach CoachNet trained a few years ago recently told me that he thought he would be a church planter coach, but he's struggled to work well with planters.  On the other hand, when he reviewed his coaching log he realized that lead pastors of existing churches regularly came to him for coaching and those relationships were going quite well.  What have you done before?

4.  What kind of people do I get along with well?  Since coaching is a relationship first, it makes sense to choose to coach the personality types and senses of humor that we appreciate.  There's nothing worse than dreading a coaching call when you see it on the calendar!

By asking yourself these simple questions, you can greatly raise your likely level of effectiveness.  Happy coaching!

For more from Jonathan Reitz, please click here.

Jonathan ReitzJonathan Reitz has a number of impressive titles at CoachNet Global (Chairman/CEO/Guy with Coffee).  Jonathan has been coaching since 1996 and has worked with over 500 clients in the church, the non-profit sector and the business world.  “Coaching plays a part in the kind of leadership the world needs,” says Jonathan Reitz.  “I want to be a part of that.”


Contact Jonathan Reitz at or by phone at 440.550.4374.  Follow him on Twitter @coachnetceo

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