Are you looking to sharpen your coaching skills to improve the coaching results for your clients?

It is good for a professional to be reminded that his professionalism is only a husk, that the real person must remain an amateur, a lover of the work.

May Sarton

As a coach, you need a lot of skills to help your clients achieve desired results.

We have asked successful coaches to share their top three coaching skills, which they believe every great coach should have.

We hope these curated responses from successful coaches will give you a great list of skills, which you can review and add the missing coaching skills to your coaching toolbox.

Happy reading and feel free to share your favourite coaching skill in the comments below.

Christy Whitman is a Transformational Leader, Celebrity Coach, and the New York Times Bestselling Author. She is the CEO and founder of the Quantum Success Learning Academy & Quantum Success Coaching Academy. Christy has helped thousands of people worldwide to achieve their goals through her empowerment seminars, speeches, coaching sessions, and products.

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

  • To be an effective coach you must start from the authentic part of who you are.
    The coach’s own inner being is their primary tool for being a great coach. The inner being, that non-physical part of them, that old wise, that infinite intelligence, always knows exactly what the coach needs to bring their clients, and what the client needs more than the coach can ever prepare for the session. Connecting with your higher energy is the best way to get out of your own way, and be there fully for the client so Divine wisdom can come through. Being authentic is essential. 
  • Being with clients with truly listening
    When a coach is thinking about what they are going to say next or to solve the problem for the client, they are not being an effective coach. Coaches need to BE with the client and that means listening to them on all levels. For Law of Attraction coaches, certified in the Quantum Success Coaching Academy we teach coaches to listen on all levels, even to the clients’ vibration. Coaches need to 1. Listen to what the client is saying and feeling and 2. feel the vibration. 
  • Structure and Process
    As a highly effective coach you need to know the structure of your sessions, just like a success formula, and the processes that are universal so you can take the client through these processes no matter what issue or goal they present during a session. If you have both structure and processes you will be effective for your client in every session so they are moving towards what they do want.  

Connie Whitman is a Business Development and Executive Coach, Author, International Speaker, Business Owner, Radio Show Host, and more. She is an expert in building strong client relationships, generating sales, improving internal and external communications, executive coaching, and training & business development.

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

  • I believe the three must-haves for a coach are listening skills because it’s not about the coach, it’s about the person being coached.
  • The second skill would be not to preach, but rather to share actionable steps to help with skill development, without judgment.
  • Third, meet the person where they are and start by building on their strengths to catapult the change in behaviors they are seeking to develop.

One bonus tip would be to hold the coaches accountable by having a follow-up system in place for reporting back to the coach about what is working and what is not.  It’s about being fluid with our coaching efforts so action steps can be tweaked as needed quickly and not having to wait 15 or 30 days to discover the action plan is not working.

Leslie Bosch is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. In addition, She has a Ph.D. in Family Studies and Human Development from the University of Arizona. She is on a mission to help ambitious professionals optimize their response to stress using science-backed strategies.

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

I’m a developmental psychologist and a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. I received my training as an integrative wellness coach from the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine. When I work with my clients to achieve their health and wellness goals, I rely heavily on the following three must-have coaching skills: 

  • Excellent listening skills
    You must be able to give the client your full and undivided attention. You must be able to listen on a variety of levels. Listen for an understanding of their words/thoughts. Listen for an understanding of their body language. Listen for an understanding of their values or what’s most important, which often shows up in their emotional state. Listen for a sense of their community, a sense of how they fit into a bigger system. 
  • Excellent empathy skills
    After you listen for understanding, you must be able to communicate your understanding to the client in a way that truly captures their experience. Then, you must listen for confirmation that you have hit the mark. Do they light up? Do they say, “That’s right, you understand me perfectly!” If not, you need to listen some more until you get confirmation that you’ve accurately captured their experience, and their point of view. 
  • Excellent questioning skills
    You must be able to ask questions that not only elicit information about the current situation but also take the client into new areas they’ve yet to explore. This is often where the real magic happens. 
    Using these three must-have skills, I have helped clients change their response to stressful situations, let go of old aspirations that no longer serve them, advance their careers, transition to retirement, deal effectively with a health crisis, sleep better, adapt to a promotion, lose weight, start exercising, prioritize self-care, communicate more effectively, navigate uncertainty, and make difficult decisions. 

Serena is an Accredited ICF and WBECS coach. With extensive leadership experience both in Corporate and Startup settings. Her mission is to grow a human-centered business. She works with business owners and leaders at all levels to help them scale up their business stress-free through high-performing empowered teams.

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

  • Empathy
    Understanding how your clients feel and how you can support them is the absolute key to coaching. Some clients do not have strong self-empathy, so often a coach believes in them and their capabilities before they do.
  • Curiosity
    You work with so many different types of people and you get to know them at a deep level very quickly. Being curious and really being there to listen with interest what the other person needs and has to say it’s crucial in building the relationship to support them.
  • Balance
    A coach needs to go deep while cutting the chase, needs to know when to slow down and when it’s time to push faster. It’s all about listening to small clues, setting the tempo, and constantly adjusting the beats based on what the client needs at that moment. It’s not about having it your way, but figuring out the best way for them.

Lilach Bullock is a business and mindset coach. She helps coaches, entrepreneurs & service providers create Ben-and-Jerry-type partnerships, fill up their bank accounts, switch their minds to genius business mode, and explode their businesses. She has also written for top publications, like Forbes, Social Media Examiner, Alexa, The Guardian, The Telegraph, BBC, and The Times, as well as spoken in front of crowds of 50 to 10,000+ people! 

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

As a business and mindset coach, my top 3 are:

  • Listening
  • Asking questions
  • Keeping clients accountable and pushing them past their comfort zones.
  • Bonus one

As a coach, my job isn’t to tell you what you always want to hear. But it is to help you become who you want to be.

Georgie is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness coach who supports women and couples at midlife to start putting themselves first, discovering what they want in the next stage of their lives, and helping them enjoy a fulfilled and meaningful life. She is also a trainer for the Guiding Mindful Change Mindful Health & Wellness Coach Certification.

Originally from the UK, she now lives in Seattle WA with her husband, two daughters, and a menagerie of animals.

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

  • The ability to be fully present with your client
    Be mindful in your preparation before each session to put aside any distractions that you may have coming into the session and then leave your judgment at the door, so you can work with your client from a place of support and nurturing.
  • To value and respect your client and know that they have the strength and ability to succeed
    As a coach, you are a support and guide for your client, not an expert on anything. You are there to help them build their self-efficacy and help them move forward from what could have been years of struggle. You may be the one person in their life that believes in their ability 100%.
  • To be able to connect with their need deeply
    Each client is individual, and therefore, it is impossible to offer them a one-size-fits-all solution to their problem. The ability to get to know them, put aside your own agenda and beliefs, and ask thoughtful, meaningful questions encouraging them to make shifts in their perspective, is a must.

Britta Lorenz is the founder of Britta Lorenz – Be Human, a certified executive leadership coach, an international speaker, and a mother of two. She is the creator of the C²LEA²R framework for leadership. Britta supports people in gaining the clarity needed to guide them towards their goals–mixing coaching and compassion by focusing on the 3 P’s – People, Purpose, and Performance. Britta partners with business owners and leaders on how to tap into the unlimited human potential to create diverse, inclusive, purpose-driven culture change.

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

My coaching builds on the 3 P’s – People, Purpose, and Performance.

  • First, understand who you are, and second, whom you are working with. Be empathetic, authentic, be reliable, and create accountability.
  • Understand your WHY. Create clarity by communicating and acting aligned to your vision and values. Then, make conscious choices and decisions.
  • Set a CLEAR goal, break it up, and identify the actions that support reaching your goal so that it won’t be overwhelming.

To best serve these 3 Ps, effective communication incl. active and deep listening, emotional intelligence, and adaptability are needed.

While observing and always being curious to unearth patterns in a client’s behavior, effective and clear communication is essential to articulate them with positive intention, supporting the client. Don’t underestimate the power of active and deep listening. There is a reason why we have two ears and one mouth – Listen twice as much as we speak. Listen with intent. Connect authentically and non-judgmental.

Emotional intelligence, empathy, and patience to build rapport, a solid level of trust, and create a confidential and safe space where your clients can feel open to being vulnerable with you. Leverage your emotional intelligence to be fully present, and as I like to say, be present where your feet are. Create a routine for yourself before a coaching session that helps you focus and brings you into this exact moment – the present moment. This way, you can be kind, calm, direct, and challenging, yet respectful.

Last but not least, adaptability is a must-have. We, as coaches, are the GPS and not the driver for our clients. Being such, remaining flexible and responsive to, and being open and partnering to uncover diverse and unexpected solutions for the individual needs of our clients is mission-critical.

And never forget the human factor.

Claire is a qualified Personal and Business coach with 24 years of experience in the financial industry both offshore and in London, working within HNW private client advice in the regulated financial industry.  She has over 10 years of experience in the learning, development, supervision, and coaching of world-class professionals, and has designed award-winning Leadership programs. Claire is a member of the ICF and has attained her ACC accreditation. 

She works with executive leadership teams building on their collective visions, strategies, and helps drive true collaboration, and effectiveness and develop psychological safety. 

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

My top three coaching skills would be:

  • Tune out of your head
    Coaching is not about you or your experiences, it is not what you’re having for dinner or whether you are going to be too busy tomorrow to exercise.  We all get drawn into our heads, and in coaching, there is a conscious effort needed to get into your coach state, focus entirely on the client, and switch off your inner voice, even if it’s trying to throw at you the next 2 or 3 killer questions. Be present, and live in the moment with utter connection to the clients’ presence. 
  • Serve the client
    We are there to hold a space for the client, to help them remove blockers and noise so they hear themselves think.  We are there to notice what we witness, about the client, not to judge or assume we know their next thought. We do not need to pry into their stories, but to question their thinking and challenge their assumptions. We should not drive the direction or aim for an outcome to our own agenda. Before I ask a question or consider an angle of challenge, I ask myself, “who is this serving?” If the first response is not “the client”, I move on.
  • Hold it lightly
    I was raised to think there were no problem people just people with problems.  Whilst this is a useful belief for shifting perspective, it can be burdensome as a coach.  For years I felt the need to save people from their problems, that I could help fix them.  Learning to coach taught me to hold this and many other beliefs lightly.  It may be the case, it may not. That tool might work it might not. We could reach an outcome today or maybe not.   It’s really about being kind to yourself and in turn to your clients’ experience of coaching… release the grip and hold it lightly.
Dina R

9. Dina R.

Dina is a Business Psychologist MSc and life coach. She helps people reach extraordinary goals. Goals involving business, career, travel, moving somewhere new and creating remote working strategies that enable workers to achieve and deliver more whilst living their dream life.

Her method works by uncovering your potential, your strengths, and helping you create solutions. She also draws upon her personal experience to mentor you where needed like marketing, sales, and with stories.

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

  • Deep Connection
    Make your client feel comfortable even when the topic is uncomfortable. Simply tell the client that it’s okay to feel uncomfortable and to let go and focus on breath to ground.
  • Active listening
    Deeply listen to the words and context of what your client is saying so you can support them in the best way.
  • Open questioning
    Give clients space to think and open their minds with open-ended questions. Open their mind to more possibilities and opportunities with “what”, “how”, and “when”.

10. Nina Amir

Nina Amir is known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach. As one of 800 elite Certified High Performance Coaches working around the world, she combines personal and spiritual growth strategy to help her clients Achieve More Inspired Results and create lives that feed their souls. As a transformational catalyst, she works with people who want to realize their dreams, achieve their potential, fulfill their purpose, and live full lives that feed their souls. Nina is also a bestselling author, certified Law of Attraction Coach, certified rebirther, trained voice dialogue facilitator, and ordained minister. 

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

  • Great listening skills
    Don’t just hear what they say and repeat it back. Hear what they are actually saying underneath their words, and then help them hear that underlying message. And “hear” their body language, tonality, and emotional energy. By doing so, you will discover much more than their words can express.
  • Intuition
    Great coaches trust their intuition–not just their heads. They go out on a limb and challenge their clients based on gut feelings and innate knowing. This brings a deeper quality to the coaching experience. And it often results in huge insights for the client.
  • Courage
    You must be willing to risk your client’s feelings or reactions. Challenge them, point out their blind spots, or speak with honesty (even when you know they don’t want to hear what you have to say). If you let your fear that they will fire you get in the way of being the best coach possible, you do them a disservice. They didn’t hire you to keep your white gloves on. They hired you to take them off and tell the truth–and help them see it.

Lourdes Gant helps professionals who own a small business transform their life and business to double their vacation time and double their revenue in 90 days or less. She has provided professional services for numerous multi-national and multi-lingual companies

She likes to call herself a blend between serious business acumen and open-minded joy. With a core value of freedom and a fifteen-year history of advising already successful business owners how to step up to the next level, I have learned that taking our business seriously and enjoying our work and life are not mutually exclusive.

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

  • Having self-worth
    If a coach doesn’t have self-worth, they will have deservability issues that’ll prevent them from asking what they’re worth.
  • Ability to listen
    If listening is not a skill, their ego will get in the way of clients’ breakthroughs.
  • Skill to be able to do TLC (tough love coaching) when needed
    Lastly, a little push is sometimes needed for a client to get into action.

12. Ed Evarts

Ed Evarts is the founder and president of Excellius Leadership Development, an organization focused on coaching mid-to senior-level leaders and their teams in business environments.

With over twenty-five years of innovative leadership and management experience, Ed possesses the ability to build awareness, create action, and deliver results.

Known for his business acumen, his ability to resolve complex human relations issues, and his enthusiastic, accessible, and responsive style, Ed partners with managers, leaders, and business teams to explore clarity and communication, and traverse conflict and change.

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

  • Ability to be genuinely curious
    Curiosity is a fantastic relationship builder and problem solver. The more curious we are, the more we can learn and help.
  • Ability to be a great listener
    If you are going to be curious, you need to listen and observe well.  Listen for important words and emotions; observe body language that supports the words.
  • Ability to be engaged
    Everyone loves chatting with someone who is engaged in their story.  A great coach should be deeply involved in his/her client’s story to help the story unfold well.

Kat works with driven, senior leaders at key transition moments like a new role, expanded remit, or career move, to magnify their unique contribution and impact. She leverages her background in financial services to bring commercial acumen and strategic thinking and her experience with NLP, neuroscience, and mindfulness to help you reconnect with your intuition. This combination helps to spark key moments of insight that allow clients to create fast results in a way that works for them.

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

  • Building deep trust
    Clients tell me things they’ve never told anyone else. Things that they’re scared of or proud of. These are often crucial stories that help us understand what’s important to the client and how they can feel safe bringing more of themselves into their leadership.
  • Listening and Noticing
    Listening to what the client is saying, the words they choose, how they say it, what they’re not saying, whether their physiology is congruent with what they say. All critical for gaining insight into how they really feel and what they really want.
  • Enabling insight moments
    Helping clients to have ‘eureka’ moments. Asking questions and sharing observations that help the client create insight – is the whole point of coaching because a new insight can change everything. Experienced leaders then swiftly move to act on it.

Janette Goodman is an ICF Certified Coach focused on mid to senior hotel managers transitioning their careers forward. She is also a Developer of Talent and a Mentor. Janette Goodman Coaching is focused on helping you through career transitions into retirement, one goal at a time.

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

  • Active listening skills
    Especially when coaching virtually. Being able to listen deeply and understand the cadence of your client’s reflection is key. 
  • Adaptability
    Each client is different with different needs.
  • Relationship building
    To have others open up to you there must be trust. 

David is straightforward, insightful, and highly skilled at helping people move to the next level. He drills right to the core of where people are stuck and provides them with a clear plan to reach their goals. David believes that with the right coach and support, everyone can bridge the gap between information and action. He masterfully blends his 25 years of practicing psychotherapy with a keen business sense to help his clients succeed in all areas of life and work.

David holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland and is currently a psychology Doctoral student at CSU. He’s a sought-after speaker and consultant and will get you where you want to go.

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

  • The first important skill a coach must have is the ability to really listen to your client
    It sounds obvious, but here is the subtle difference that distinguishes average coaches from exceptional coaches:

    Average coaches are thinking, “Am I listening enough? Am I coming across as listening? What else can I do to improve my listening?” as they listen to their clients.

    Exceptional coaches are actually listening and absorbing every word their client is saying. They are thinking, “What exactly is my client saying? What is the impact of what they are saying on their life and business?” as they listen to their client.

    Both are listening, but exceptional coaches are REALLY listening.
  • The second important skill is being authentic and real
    You like authentic people. You relate well to authentic people. You trust authentic people.

    Average coaches are authentic. However, they are always a little concerned with how authentic their clients view them. And this impacts their coaching.

    An exceptional coach is truly authentic and genuine. The connection, trust, and rapport are natural and flow easily. There is a trust that organically grows when a client works with an exceptional coach.
  • The third important skill is being humble and open to the experience of working with your client
    Average coaches believe they must be experts and provide that knowledge and expertise to their clients. In the back of their minds, they are concerned about what their client will think of them if they don’t know an answer or solution.

    Incredible coaches also believe they have knowledge and expertise, but they are focused on leveraging their client’s knowledge and expertise. They are open to saying, “I don’t know,” and work closely with their clients to problem-solve and brainstorm solutions.

In summary, average coaches and incredible coaches both have important skills. The difference lies in their focus.

Average coaches are more concerned with how their client views them.
Exceptional coaches are more concerned with how they view their clients.

Sheila’s mission is to help ambitious women thrive in body, mind, and soul. She supports clients and groups in making whole-person change by holding space for their unique experiences, offering new perspectives, and intuitively integrating healing modalities.

She is a Trauma-Informed Certified Coach, Whole Person Certified Coach, ICF Professional Certified Coach, and Yoga Instructor.

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

  • Presence
    Presence is absolutely vital as it allows a coach to be anchored in their nervous system, thereby inviting the client into an anchored and generative state. It’s a coach’s responsibility to dance in the moment with a client, noticing key bits of information, orienting the conversation toward progress and action, and knowing when to pause and go deeper.
  • Curiosity
    A good coach is curious about everything the client is expressing verbally and non-verbally. They must practice non-attachment with the outcome and the direction the client wants to take. Curiosity is a wonderful way to explore and allow a coaching session to blossom. 
  • Championing
    Coaching integrates aspects of positive psychology, to help a client witness their innate strengths and maximize opportunities. Championing is not to be confused with cheerleading or bypassing issues using toxic positivity. Instead, championing is about helping clients shift into a more optimistic, courageous mindset so they can take aligned action and achieve their desired outcomes.  

Wendy is the Rolls Royce of Life Coaching.  25+ years of coaching has sculpted her into a highly experienced & versatile coach. Her credentials include studies & certifications in Life Coaching, NLP, Hypnotherapy, Spiritual training, Temperament Types & Psychology.

Her expertise is in knowing how to apply the Law of Attraction to any situation.

But, her special sauce is sharing Spirit messages. God (aka higher power, source energy, etc.) tells her what her clients need to know, and then she delivers those messages directly to themThese messages inspire, encourage, and provide guidance for her clients to receive that “aha” moment!

What other people call miracles and amazing coincidences, Wendy considers “normal” and the way life is intended to be.

What are your top three must-have coaching skills as a coach?

  • Hold a safe space container
    This creates the space for the client to express their pain or struggles without any judgment. Also, within this safe container, the coach must show empathy, be nurturing, and acknowledge the client’s situation in order for the client to feel “heard.”
  • Be a great listener
    The client always reveals clues to what’s lurking under the surface of the conversation. So, a great listener will pick up on the essential clues as to where the limiting beliefs or blocks reside. And a skillful coach will use those clues to move the client toward the breakthrough that had been previously out of the client’s awareness.
  • Stay focused on the client’s intended outcome
    Yet, be flexible enough to understand that often what a client “really” wants is something different than what they’re saying. When the coach becomes aware of what the client is truly desiring, the coach mirrors back what’s actually being expressed to help the client pivot their attention toward the true goal. 


We appreciate all the successful coaches for taking the time and sharing their top three coaching skills. We hope these curated coaching skills will help other coaches to improve and grow their coaching businesses.

What is your favourite coaching skill?

Feel free to share it in the comments below.

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About Rana

Building a website that drives traffic and generates leads is challenging. Rana is a website development consultant and a Co-Founder of WP Minds, a website consulting service that helps coaches, trainers, authors, and creatives to create winning website strategy, develop high converting websites, attract visitors and convert leads into customers to grow their businesses.

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