John Bennett/ January 16, 2020/ Executive Coaching, Leadership

I am often asked about my experiences coaching all levels of leaders. One of those questions is “what makes a good coaching client?” There are five distinct factors that indicate a person is likely to benefit from coaching—whether from a professional coach, manager-coach, or peer. 

1. Embrace a Growth Mindset

A desire to learn, grow and shift their mindsets and behaviors. According to Carol Dweck (HRB, 2016), author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, “Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts).” The bottom-line…you need a desire to grow and change.

2. Request and Accept Feedback

While a coach can provide feedback during a coaching session, getting feedback related to the desired behavior changes is critical to getting the most from coaching. This may come from a manager, peer, direct report, friend or family member. It is important that you know what you are doing well and what is off-track in relationship to your goals.

3. Welcome a Challenge

As adults, we can learn a great deal from taking on challenging assignments and reflecting on experiences (whether they went as well as you hoped, or not). Coaching clients who take advantage of opportunities to stretch outside their comfort zone can use those opportunities to try and perfect new and different behaviors.

4. Seek Support

Support is essential. This may come in the form of an accountability partner (a person who helps focus on action plans and goals), a person who will listen with empathy and curiosity to what you are experiencing as you learn and grow, or a book or training program that provides you with additional information.

5. Invest Time and Energy

Making changes to mindsets and behaviors takes time and energy. Coaching clients who make the time (away from distractions and competing priorities) to “do the work” involved in a coaching relationship gets the most out of it. This requires meeting regularly with a coach, following through on action plans, reflecting on events, circumstances, and actions in order to gain the most from them. 

I’m interested to hear what qualities you think a great coaching client should have, so please leave your comments below.


© 2020, John L. Bennett . All Rights Reserved.

Share this Post