The 5 Things All Coaches Should Have (or Do)

Thoughts on the top 5 behaviors coaches need for success.

Posted Oct 07, 2020

Dawn C. Reid/Reid Ready Life Coaching. Using with permission.
Dr. Dawn C. Reid, ACC
Source: Dawn C. Reid/Reid Ready Life Coaching. Using with permission.

Those who know me know I love, love, love coaching. More than my love for coaching, I am more obsessed with coach training and professional development. So, I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts and ideas on the top five behaviors or actions I believe all coaches should have and/or do to create a strong foundation for present and future success.

  1. Have an extensive library. Your library can be electronic, filled with audiobooks, podcasts, videos, and ebooks, or you can have a traditional library. Either way, the purpose of a library is to have readily accessible information as you cannot know everything about all things. The goal is to have a plethora of reference material that you can tap into when you need it.
  2. Invest in yourself—participate in continued education and training. Grant (2008) suggests training is important for the coaching industry's success. Therefore, once you become a professional coach, you are a life-long student. As such, setting aside a yearly budget to invest in your professional development will be instrumental for your success. Theories and approaches change over time, and scholar-practitioners find new ways to understand coaching and its application. Staying in-tune and mastering your craft are important to your practice as a coach and to your ultimate success.
  3. Join industry organizations or coaching groups. Stelteber, Nielsen & Michael-Wikman (2011) propose that being part of a group is instrumental for relationship building, reducing stress, and influences psychological and professional wellbeing. I have a monthly coaching group that meets one to two times per month. We talk about the interaction and integration of life and our coaching practice, among other items. I also hold a leadership role at my local ICF Chapter and am a member of our parent organization. These memberships provide access to opportunities, information, learning, and growth. Likewise, I get to build relationships with amazing and intelligent individuals. Being part of a group of people who understand the industry but also who can support you as a coach is vital for success. Plus, you get to give and share your knowledge and expertise as well. It’s a very rewarding and worthwhile opportunity, both professionally and personally.
  4. Develop your business acumen. If you are an external coach and have your own business, you must have a basic understanding about business operations and administration. Yes, most of us go into our own coaching business because we want to help people. But we cannot forget, what we are doing is still a business. Likewise, if you are an internal coach, you still must meet the mission and objectives of the organization for which you work. Therefore, even at the basic level, learn about accounting, legal expectations, and marketing for your coaching business. (A great resource is Plus, joining industry organizations, becoming a certified MBE/WBE/CBE can also help you in this area.)
  5. Get a coach or mentor. I fully believe every coach should have a coach and/or mentor. In addition, Grant (2008) extensively speaks on the positive impact coaching-the-coach has on the professional development, learning, and mental wellbeing of a coach and argues coaches should experience personal coaching themselves. Likewise, we all need someone to keep us accountable, call us out on our *BS*, and to brainstorm with one on one. So, hire (or barter with) a coach to be your coach and/or mentor.

I am sure there are other items we can add to this list. But these specific actions can really make a huge difference in your coaching practice and how you develop yourself as a coach and influencer in the industry. 


Grant, A. (2008). Personal life coaching for coaches-in-training enhances goal attainment, insight and learning. Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 1(1), 54-70. DOI: 10.1080/17521880701878141

Stelter, R., Nielsen G., & Michael-Wikman, J. (2011). Narrative collaborative group coaching develops social capital – a randomised control trial and further implications of the social impact of the intervention. Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 4(2), 123-137, DOI: 10.1080/17521882.2011.598654