7 Traits of a Successful Coach

In my last post, we discussed what it looks like to be a part of a winning team. They care for one another, they communicate well, and they put the team’s needs before their own. All of those things are great, but we all know, if a team is going to be successful, they have to have a great coach. So, how do we know if we’re doing a good job coaching our team?

This post is part of a six part series on leadership development, largely taken from my notes on John Maxwell’s book, Developing the Leaders Around You. You can check out the other posts in the series here, here, here, and here.

If you look at great leaders and coaches, whether they’re serving on the football field, basketball court, or leading a church, they all have similar traits that I believe make them successful.

  1. They choose their players well. This doesn’t mean they always choose the most talented players, but they always choose the best players that fit within their team. They’re great at identifying strengths and weaknesses and filling those gaps.
  2. They’re great at communication. They know in order for their team to execute the game plan, they have to be great at communicating it. They also have to be great at inspiring their team. If you can’t get your team excited, you’re going to have a hard time winning. Great coaches are great communicators.
  3. They’re not afraid to make adjustments. The Atlanta Falcons held a 21-3 lead over the New England Patriots in the 2017 Super Bowl and ended up losing the game. Why? Half-time adjustments from a great coach. How often are you evaluating what’s working and not working in your church? Great coaches are willing to make the adjustments that will give them the best chance to win.
  4. They’re problem solvers. If you’re pastoring a church, you’re going to have problems. Some will come from people on your team, some will come from people in your church, and some will even come from people outside your church. Your ability to make the right decisions at the right time will go a long way in determining your success.
  5. They provide support and encouragement. When’s the last time you sent a thank you letter to someone on your team? If it’s been more than a week, you need to stop reading and start writing. Your team needs to know you care about them and you’re there for them.
  6. They earn the players respect. If you’re lazy, the team is not going to respect you. If you’re not trustworthy, the team is not going to respect you. If you’re not willing to make hard decisions, the team is not going to respect you. Don’t think because you have a title you deserve respect. Respect always has to be earned.
  7. They know how to delegate. John Maxwell says, “Learning how to delegate effectively is the most powerful tool any coach has.” Your time and expertise is limited, which means you’ll need to bring other people around you to help accomplish your vision. The best coaches know they can’t do it by themselves.

Take a minute and look back over this list and evaluate yourself. How would you rate yourself as a coach? Are there areas you need to work on?

Sometimes the best thing we can do is get coaching ourselves. I plan on doing some coaching for small town pastors in the near future. If you’d like more information on that, please leave a comment or send me a message through my contact page and I’ll keep you updated.

Please note I have the right to remove comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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