Three things that make a great coach

There are coaches and then there are coaches. If you want to be one of the most expert and in demand ones, here's the three things that can see you rocket.

There are stars in any industry—people on the screen you can't take your eyes off, runners who make marathons look effortless, teachers you always remember. It's the same with coaches and in an increasingly popular industry, you want to stand out for all the right reasons.

I've been a coach myself for eight years and have learned from some of the best and mentored a ton of up and comers with different levels of potential and skill. Pretty much from our first or second conversation, based on whether they tick certain boxes, I can make an educated guess on whether someone will smash it out of the park.

And no, a head-turning social media account or instinctive talent for marketing aren't on my list (although these days they are great tools to have up your sleeve.)

The three things that make a great coach are more organic than that.


A lot of people grow up and stop learning, and not just about the world but how to be in the world. No longer having to study history or current events at school, they hang up their enquiring minds and leave it at that. Job done. Nothing else to see here.

It yells 'rigid mindset' and signals that they think they don't need new answers because they have them all already.

When I'm at a party meeting new people, I have a rule. If I ask someone three questions and they don't respond with one to me, I move on to the next person. It's not that I want to tell them my stuff but I don't want to waste my time on someone who has no interest in what's happening around them.

So a great coach is curious, is genuinely wanting to know, 'Why is this happening?' 'Tell me more.' 'How does that actually work?'

Wisdom is bringing an insatiable hunger to learn and grow. That's who you want as your coach, and the coach you want to be.

The second thing that makes a great coach also lies within.


Every day we make 226.7 decisions on food alone, according to researchers at Cornell University. And it's estimated that the average adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day. And with that decision making comes responsibility, some of which is important (should I marry that person?) and some not so much (is that Insta post worthy of a like?)

Given the millions of paths we have to choose to take or not take every year,  it's crazy that people don't take personal responsibility. They play the victim role, running the narrative to themselves and others that they're not succeeding because of the actions of others or circumstance.

A lot of the time in life we're not responsible for the things that are done to us but we are responsible for how we respond right now and we are responsible for the rest of the story.

A lot of people want to hold onto the past and say that's the reason they're not succeeding.

A good coach takes a stand for the moment right now, and knows it's not about changing the outside world to have a better life but about changing themselves.

Let's bring it home with the third thing a good coach does.


This last one is tricky to talk about at length because while I could bang on for a while, truth is that genuine care is something I don't think we can teach.

That's why it's probably the most important of the three. It's innate, it's authentic, it can't be faked and it is the X factor that will draw people to you. But if you are a coach, it's something you probably do have because you wouldn't go into the industry otherwise.


One of Australia's leading coaches, trainers and speakers, and head facilitator at The Coaching Institute. In between mentoring thousands of coaches and leaders all around Australasia and helping others build incredible culture, Matt is passionate about fitness and music. His healthy office lunches whipped up in five minutes are the stuff of legend

Matt Lavars life coaching
Matt LavarsThe Coaching Institute