To be effective as a coach, you will need to be flexible in several ways.

How do you communicate and engage with others?

Not everyone thinks, talks, feels and acts the way you do, and the depth of impact that this has on the way others behave (and, hence, the results they get) may not be obvious at first. As a coach, you will need to be flexible in your style of communication if you are to achieve an effective coaching relationship.

What’s your style of managing?

Most people tend to use a predominant management style, regardless of the situation. If your style is authoritative or telling, you will need to make adjustments to your style of interaction to be an effective coach. We often have our own beliefs about how to achieve a given result, but is your way always the right, only or best way?

One of the benefits of doing more coaching is that it will feed back into your management style, giving you greater management flexibility.


The true coaching approach is often at odds with the directive or tell-oriented approach.

Do you cling to your beliefs about others?

We are not often aware of our beliefs about people, but they will have an impact on our coaching and its result. This is especially important if we are dealing with people who are very different from ourselves and/or with whom we have differences over values. If we have a belief about someone that is limiting (such as a belief that they can’t perform a certain task effectively or that they can’t change their behaviours), it will at some level be communicated to them and also affect how we coach them.

Before you coach someone, jot down what you truly believe about them.

  • Which of these beliefs will empower a coaching intervention, and which will hamper it?
  • How can you flex these beliefs so they help rather than hinder?

If you truly cannot be flexible with your negative beliefs about a coachee, you may be wise to decide that you are not actually the best person to coach them.