Ep #14: What Makes a Good Coach?

Last week was all about fault obsessions, and this week, I had a client lay a huge one on me, so I just had to take a deep dive into it for this episode. They asked me, “How do you know when you’re a good enough coach?” And this question just blew my mind a little bit.

This sounds like a valid concern, but honestly, it’s kind of a redundant question. I know that this is something a lot of coaches obsess over, no matter what level they are at in their coaching journey. But the good news is, there is no yardstick for what makes you a good coach.

Join me on the podcast this week to discover how to know whether you are “good enough” as a coach. And if my explanation isn’t enough for you, I’m providing my four coaching credentials that you have to display if you really need to prove to yourself that you are worthy of considering yourself a good coach.

What You’ll Learn:
  • Why so many of my clients obsess over whether or not they are a good coach.
  • How we try and categorize ourselves as a good or bad coach.
  • Why there is no real benchmark of what makes a good coach.
  • Who decides whether you are a good coach or not.
  • Why, no matter what level of coach you are, there is always someone out there whose life you can change.
  • 4 ways you can be the best coach possible for your clients.
Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:
Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 14 of The Confident Coaches Podcast, the one where we settle, for once and for all, what makes a good coach.

Welcome to The Confident Coaches Podcast, a place for creating the self-confidence you need to do your best work as a life coach. If you want to bring more boldness, more resilience, and more joy to your work, this is the place for you. I’m your host, Amy Latta. Let’s dive in.

Hello, hello, my friends, my Confident Coaches squad. How are all of you awesome people doing out there? I hope you’re doing amazing. I know I am. I have lots of fabulous things going on right now. I have a master coach training project.

I’m getting ready to travel to my coach’s in-person mastermind, so I’m going to be spending three days in Atlanta with my coach later this week. And I’ve been working on my own fault obsessions, if you listened to last week’s episode. Did you catch that one? All of those habitual thoughts that your brain obsesses over that are keeping you from your dream, guess what, I might be the host of this podcast, but I still have a human brain and I still have my own fault obsessions. So, I’ve been working on mine and I really hope that you have too.

And today’s podcast is actually a deep dive into a fault obsession that one of my clients brought up in a coaching session this past week. I know that it’s one that a lot of my clients have, so I’m betting that many of you are going to relate to what we are talking to today.

But first, let’s give a shout out to Confident Coaches listener Meg, my friend Meg who wrote this fabulous review of The Confident Coaches Podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Meg wrote, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, Amy. Thank you for being you and showing up. I’m loving your content and the way you bring it to life. It’s so easy to digest and understand, and at the same time, blowing my mind. My brain is doing backflips. It’s a total workout for my thoughts and beliefs. You’re shaking them up and rearranging them beautifully. I sometimes listen to these a few times just to marinate my brain in your words. The bottom line is, as your work is having an impact, thank you.”

My friends, thank you, Meg. You are having a huge impact. And listeners right out here, if you keep listening to this – and I’m really hoping today’s episode too is going to help you have an impact – my dear friend Meg is one of my masterminders in my Confident Coaches Mastermind and we’re working together on creating self-confidence because Meg, her fault obsession is around not having enough confidence, so we are working on that work with her; her fault obsessions and helping her make a huge impact.

So, in last week’s Confident Coaches Mastermind call that I have with Meg and eight other women, I asked everyone if they had all set their 90-day goals and how they were thinking about them and how they were feeling about them. Like, we were just kind of touching base on what they had created. And one of my clients said that she actually hadn’t gotten around to it.

“Yeah, I just didn’t get around to it.” So, it’s a good thing I’m a good coach because I dove in, right? Like, why? It literally takes a minute to create a 90-day goal. I want to sign X-number of clients for Y-number of dollars each for a total goal of Z-dollars, right?

So, in seven days, why hadn’t she been able to write out her simple math equation? Because it totally wasn’t about the math, was it? I mean, you know that, I know that. So, we dove in and we probed. It didn’t take too long to find out what was really going on, particularly if we’re willing to be onto ourselves, right? Like, why didn’t you do it?

Let’s really dive in there. What was she so afraid of by setting up this simple math problem, particularly if it’s math that makes her money? Well, it turns out she wasn’t really sure how many clients or how much money because maybe she wasn’t sure that she was really good enough to coach, that she wasn’t even good enough to sign clients for that amount of money.

Was she a good enough coach to charge this number of dollars for this many people? And she asked me this question, “How do you know when you’re a good enough coach? I mean, you just can’t think you are and then you are, can you?”

Oh, my friends, when she asked me this, I was like, holy cow. Like, you can’t just think you’re a good coach, can you? I don’t know, can you? Random coaches of the podcasting world, can you just decide that you’re a good coach?

Now, I created this podcast to help all of you become Confident Coaches, and the assumption is that you’re all good coaches, right? I mean, who’s to say, really? Can we just declare without, I mean, I don’t know, running it by the good coach committee, as if there is even such a thing?

So, I’m going to give you the short answer, and then we’re going to strap in for some truth talk today, the short answer is this; yes, anyone can declare that they’re a good coach.

You, right now, listening to this podcast, you can decide in this moment that you are in fact a good coach. There, we’re done, right? Now, if it were only that easy. Because I know your brain is not convinced that it’s just that easy. My client definitely wasn’t convinced that I could just say, “Yeah, just decide you’re a good coach and you are.” And she was like…

So, we ended up having such a brilliant conversation because of that. We want to feel confident that we are a good coach. So, first of all, what makes a good coach? I want to offer you this. It’s a terrible question to even ask because, “Good coach,” that’s a thought. This person over here, this person’s a good coach. That’s a thought.

Let’s take my mentor. My mentor is Brooke Castillo. She owns and runs The Life Coach School. She coaches thousands of people. She has trained over 1000 coaches and certified over 1000 coaches herself. She’s running an eight-figure coaching business. She has one of the most successful podcasts with over 300 episodes and millions of listeners.

Let me ask you, is she a good coach? Some people say she’s the best coach. But did you know that there are some people who’ve never even heard of her? And there are some people who have heard of her and they don’t like her at all. They might think she’s a terrible coach.

“This person is a good coach,” is a thought because we can’t get everybody to agree on what makes a good coach. I mean, what about Tony Robbins? There are people who spend – like, they will go to his Unleash Your Power Live every single year. There are other people who are like, “What a schmuck.” And everybody in between. Same with John Maxwell or Martha Beck or any of the other people out there calling themselves coaches.

There are thousands of coaches and one person’s best coach ever is another person’s, “Meh, they’re alright,” or, “I don’t like them at all. I think they’re terrible.” And yet, so many of my clients spend hours obsessing over whether or not they are a good coach, as if this was a thing, as if this was a diagnosable declaration to have or a specific set of criteria that everyone in the world agrees on.

So, first and foremost, let’s understand that it’s not. There is no set of criteria that everyone in the world agrees on, on what makes a good coach. It’s very important to realize that the coaching industry does not have regulation. There is literally no standardized definition of what makes a good coach. There is no standardized licensing or national certified test to pass.

So, if you think you can help someone move forward in their life, you can, in fact, set up shop and call yourself a coach. Whether or not you are a good coach is all in how you think about yourself.

Now, as soon as I said this last week, they were like, “Yeah, but then clearly some people are bad coaches.” I mean, if any Joe Shmo can set up shop and call themselves a coach and there’s no determination of criteria, surely there are some bad coaches out there, right?

But isn’t someone being a bad coach kind of the same thing as deciding someone is a good coach? “Bad coach,” that’s just a thought too, just as, “Good coach,” is a thought.

You may think this person is an amazing coach and I may not. This is such a true story. I have been recommended to other people, been turned onto them, been tuned into some of their stuff and I’ve thought, “They’re just not really for me. I’m not getting this person’s vibe.” But the person who recommended them were like, “Oh my gosh, they’re amazing,” right?

I know plenty of certified coaches form accredited coaching schools, which is really interesting because, again, what makes something accredited in an unregulated industry? And they may not necessarily be helping their clients get huge results. They may not even be coaching at all. And I know plenty of coaches who don’t even have a basic weekend certification in coaching and they are helping their clients get huge results.

So, who is to say what makes a good coach in that instance? Being a confident coach doesn’t come from knowing you are a good coach by some outside agency. Being a confident coach comes from how you think about yourself; you mentoring with your future you, you having your own back and you keeping going no matter what.

And that’s all inside work. None of that is out there. And even when lots of people all agree, that doesn’t make the thought, “They are a good coach,” or, “They are a bad coach,” any more true. It’s still just a thought, and you get to decide which one you want to think about yourself.

Remember, all seven and a half billion people on the planet have to agree. Most of those billions of people don’t even know what a coach is, much less know enough to decide what is good or bad. And this is so important because today, I really want to help you shift your mind from, “Am I a good coach,” to, “Of course I’m a good coach.”

Realize this; most humans on the planet, they are not going to be doing any of this life coaching work, this examining of their thoughts and feelings and how they drive our actions and results. This work is hard work. It’s uncomfortable work. And most humans are not going to opt to do it.

This work, this deep thought work that we’re talking about on this podcast, it’s not theirs to do this go around on Earth. And that’s totally fine. We just get to love them with so much grace and so much compassion. And the there’s going to be some people who are going to have this idea that maybe, just maybe, there’s something else out there that they haven’t realized yet.

Maybe they have dabbled in some self-help and personal development. Maybe they’ve read one of those books or two, they see the inspirational memes, they’ve heard somewhere that maybe their thoughts have the power to create their results. They have this general idea that there might be something out there that can help them move past from where they are.

And then, some people will be even deeper than that. They’re going to be ready to go all in. they’re going to be ready to do this work at a very deep level. And no matter where they are, you will be there for the people that match you.

Like, really understand, no matter what level a coach you are at right now, no matter where you are in your coaching practice, in your coaching business, if you’ve just started, if you’ve been doing it for years, there are people out there who are at a level where they are waiting for your level, your expertise, and you can absolutely help them. So, no matter what level of coach you are, because there’s no such thing as a good enough coach except in our minds, there’s a level of client who is ready for you.

I really love using this Harry Potter analogy. You all know I love Harry Potter, right? If you don’t know this by now, hi, my name is Amy Latta and I am a Harry Potter nerd. I mean, I took my kid to Harry Potter World back in October. I drink from an, “I solemnly swear I am up to no good” Marauder’s Map mug almost every single morning. I’ve read all the books. I’ve seen all the movies. I’ve gone down rabbit holes with my kiddo on YouTube about Easter eggs and all of that, like flat out, I’m a nerd, I totally own it.

And here’s the amazing thing. If you aren’t familiar with the books, which come talk to me, I’ll set you up, know that there are seven books in the Harry Potter series. And with each book, they get longer and they get deeper with every single one. And actually, it’s really quite amazing.

I think it’s one of the very few – and I can’t even think of another book series – where the reading level increases as the books go on. It’s why they’re so good for your older grade school or middle school kids because they can be in book one and totally get it, and as the books go on, the reading level goes up along with your reader. It’s really quite astounding what the author created.

And here’s the thing; if you pick up the series for the first time, I don’t have to have finished book seven to help you through book one chapter one. Do you see where I’m going with this? In fact, some might even say it’s advantageous to be closer to book one chapter one because I will have remembered what that was like. It wasn’t that long ago since I was there.

In fact, you only have to be a chapter ahead to help your client that it’s in book one chapter one. And on some topics with my clients, I will give full disclosure. You know how I’m always saying you only have to be a chapter ahead? I think I may only be a paragraph ahead on this topic right here. I’m doing this work darn near right alongside you.

And your clients are likely picking up coaching, picking up Harry Potter, for the very first time. They’ve heard about it. They’ve heard it can be amazing. They’ve heard that they’ll love it. they probably have a lot of doubts, but they’re willing to try. You don’t have to have read the entire series to help them. You only have to be a chapter ahead.

Now, there might be another client and they’re ready to dive into book four. And yeah, if you’re familiar with the series, this is definitely where things start to go a lot deeper. And by books five and six, we are some serious deep high-level thinking shit in that book series. But don’t worry. There are people out there who are ready to serve those people, who are a chapter ahead of them.

That person may not be you. But that doesn’t mean that you’re not good. That doesn’t mean that you can’t help the client standing right in front of you whose just ready to get started for the first time.

And even outside of this Harry Potter example, you only have to be a chapter ahead. You don’t have to have completed the entire series in order to help. There’s another analogy that is not my own. It is one that I read in another book.

It’s called the lamppost analogy and it comes from the book The Prosperous Coach by Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin. As Steve writes in the book, “If someone left work every single day and just talked to a lamppost about their day, shared their struggles and concerns, their hopes and their dreams, this person would feel better about their life just having had this regular conversation with a lamppost. They would feel lighter and ready to take on their next day, just having aired all of that out.”

And you are so much better than a lamppost because you can really listen and you can see what they can’t see. And most importantly, you talk back. So, really understanding that most people aren’t even going to be ready to do this work of taking emotional responsibility for their lives, by learning the difference between their circumstances of their lives and their thoughts about those, your work is to believe that you can help those who are ready for a coach that is at your level.

So, all of that being said, what do you really need in order to be a, quote unquote, good coach? There really are no criteria. So, you can totally take these things that I’m getting ready to share with you with a grain of salt. But I want to offer you that these are The Confident Coaches Podcast criteria.

I’ve narrowed it down to four things. You work on these four things and you will be the best coach for your clients no matter what level that you’re at. So, first and foremost, your ability to hold space. Now, holding space is a term that we kind of hear all of the time and we may not necessarily know what it means.

So, when I’m talking about holding space, I mean this; do you provide a space for your client to speak openly to you? Do you listen with full attention and full presence with your client? Do you listen without bias or argument or an assumption about what they’re going to say? Do you feel unconditional love and compassion for your client? Do you make what you are talking about about them and not yourself? In other words, while you are with your client, you stay out of your head so you can help them with their head. That’s what it means to hold space.

And so, the second thing that’s a great criteria for a confident coach is staying out of the pool. So, your clients are coming to you and they’re kind of drowning in a pool of muck. And yeah, it’s a pool of their own creation that they have created with their thoughts. They’re stuck in this pool of muck, right?

The last thing they need is for us to agree with them and jump in the pool with them. They need us to hold space form the side of the pool, not from inside the pool. We cannot hold space if we are in the much with them. As soon as we jump in with them, we can’t help because now, we’re drowning in the muck.

We don’t believe the thoughts that our clients’ brains are telling them. They believe the thoughts, and that’s why they’re stuck. We challenge their thoughts. What is actually true? Would all seven and a half billion people on the planet agree with what they’re saying?

Noe, their friends will be jumping in the pool with them, but you aren’t their friend, you are their coach. We don’t buy their story. We don’t believe their brain. We hold space from the side of the pool, not in it. we’ve got to stay out of their pool.

And because we stay out of the pool and because we don’t believe their brain, we can do what we really need to do, and that’s number three, which is show them their thinking. Remember that self-fulfilling prophecy model that I talked about a couple of episodes ago, it’s always working. It’s a universal law as old as time. Our thoughts create our life, our thoughts create our results.

So, if you want to change that, you’ve got to show your clients their thoughts. That’s your number one job; show them their thinking. Let them see how it’s creating their life. Just showing them their thoughts and that they have an option in what they think will create huge change for them. So, if you’re holding space from the side and you’re staying out of their pool, then you can actually show them their thinking.

And the last thing, get coached yourself. The best coaches have coaches The most confident coaches have coaches of their own to help keep their minds clean so they can serve their clients, to have their own transformations and breakthroughs so they can help their clients do the same, to have space held for them to see how their coach doesn’t jump in their pool, to witness what it’s like to have someone show them their thoughts.

The more you can do this for you, the better you can do it for others, alright, my confident fabulously good coaches, we hold space. We stay out of the pool. We show them their thoughts, and we get coached. That’s The Confident Coaches Podcast criteria of a good coach. And it’s just my opinion because no one’s out there accrediting any of us, right?

So, here’s some work I want you to do this week. I’m going to share something with you that I shared with all of my clients on their individual Slack channels and on social media this past week. And now, I’m going to share it with you guys.

So, while you are over here questioning if you’re a good coach, wondering if you’re ever going to hit that goal, comparing yourself to your fellow coaches, researching new business tactics, focusing on your truth and standing in your alignment, worrying what people will think or waiting for just the right moment, there is someone out there who is struggling, who is hurting, who wants to feel better, who wants to take better care of themselves, who wants to improve their marriage, who wants to feel more empowered in their career, who wants to take charge of their future.

And you can help them. You have tools that can show them how to find the answers they need inside of themselves. You can show them a solution that they’ve never thought of before and you are keeping it all to yourself. You aren’t helping them if you are wrapped up in your own head worrying about all the things being just so before you get out there and start telling people you can help them.

And you can change that right now. Who needs you to show up today so you can serve them tomorrow? They are there, they are waiting for you. Decide how you will show up right now and take the next step. Until next week, my friends.

I hope you loved today’s show. And if so, then don’t miss an episode. Subscribe to The Confident Coaches Podcast on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. You will have my undying love and possibly be one of the listener shoutouts if you rate and review to let me know what you think and to help others find The Confident Coaches Podcast because this is some good stuff and we shouldn’t be keeping it to ourselves. It doesn’t have to be five stars. I genuinely want to know what you think of the show so I can continue producing fabulous podcasts that provide tons of value to you. Thanks, friends.

Thanks so much for listening to The Confident Coaches Podcast. I invite you to learn more. Come visit me at www.amylatta.com and until next week, let’s go do epic stuff.

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Hi, I’m Amy.

For years, I took a ton of action to sign clients.

I learned to create self-confidence and powerfully believe in myself first, and then built a multiple six-figure coaching business.

And I can help you do it, too.

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