What are the Skills and Traits of Successful Executive Coaches?


Becoming an executive coach can be an exciting career path for anyone who has an interest in the corporate world and a talent for motivating people. However, just like any profession, being a successful executive coach demands a certain set of traits and skills that will either need to be already in you, or that you’ll have to develop. In this article, we’re going to explore the qualities and aptitudes you’ll need to have a fruitful career as an executive coach.

High Emotional IQ and Self Awareness

A lot of people have been raised to not show emotions, and that even having emotions is bad. Others have been told that there is no place in business for emotions. However, as an executive coach, you’ll need to be able to identify and label emotions in your line of business. You’ll also need to teach people how to harness these emotions for good.

People with a higher emotional IQ are better at maintaining genuine relationships with people and are also able to take the good and the bad with every person. This allows them to focus on strengths and not expect things from people that simply don’t have it in them.

Good Communication Skills

The relationship with the people you coach will be mainly focused on clear communication and feedback. Not only that, but executives don’t have a lot of time on their hands, so you’ll have to be able to gain their attention and get your point across as fast as possible. You’ll need to be able to deliver your message in a straight to the point and concise way. But you’ll also have to be perceptive and curious enough to ask the right questions and actively engage the people you’re coaching.

A Good Foundation

While anyone can profess themselves to be an executive coach, you’ll need to have a good formation in order to be effective as a professional coach and patch any gap that you may have at the moment. This is where executive coaching and mentoring courses come in. People like The BCF Group will allow you to get ILM Level 7 Qualifications in Executive Coaching and Mentoring through their mentoring and coaching course.

You’ll first learn the importance of mentoring and coaching to organisations and individuals. You will then be taught how to plan, deliver and review coaching programmes. At the end, you will be asked to perform peer mentoring and evaluate your performance. ILM Level 7 Executive Coaching Courses are perfect either for people currently working as senior managers or leaders who want to improve their coaching skills, or people who want to get their skills validated and accredited.

Broad, Creative and Swift Learner

Coaching and mentoring is a creative process. You will have to find creative ways to enlighten the people you work with and push them forward. You’ll have to be able to tailor your programmes specifically for them. Training will give you a solid foundation, but there are times where you’ll have to be able to think on your feet and come with solutions on your own. You also have to be able to absorb new information and methods quickly, and always seek to learn more about the profession so that you can apply these methods to your coaching.


While you’ll have to be a good judge of character to be a successful executive coach, you can’t be overly judgmental. Remember, your job will be to build up the people you train, not tear them down. There are times when you’ll have to deal with stubborn or unmotivated clients. You still have to remind them that you’re here to help. Being genuinely open and caring will allow your clients to open up about their hang-ups and challenges. It will also give you both the chance to work on a solution together and encourage change.

Being Able to Draw from Experience

Already having experience in the corporate world will help you have a stronger impact on your clients. While there are people who have been able to have a successful career as executive coaches without significant executive experience, being able to draw from your failures and successes can help you create a stronger connection with the people you coach. Being able to use the success and failures of others can also help drive the point home, but nothing can beat first-hand experience.

Executive coaching can be an extremely rewarding career path if you feel you have the people skills and the type of aptitudes and personality needed to make it. If you feel like this is the right path for you, we strongly suggest that you look at the options open to you and consider getting the formation and certification needed to start your coaching career.


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