This topic comes from deep in my archive of potential blog post topics – meaning it’s been sitting for a good while in the list of things I’d put aside to potentially talk about. It’s a pretty evergreen subject, though.

I’m referring to the subject matter of an article titled Top 10 Qualities You Need to be a Coach. It’s from the UK Coaching website, so is meant to be applicable across all sports. Here’s the introduction.

These transferable skills and abilities can be applied to any sphere of coaching. They will help you build rapport with the people you coach and will contribute significantly to maximising their experience, ensuring it is both enjoyable and rewarding.

Here’s the list they’ve come up with.

  1. Communication
  2. Questioning
  3. Self-Reflection
  4. Knowledge
  5. Organizing
  6. Enthusiasm
  7. Sense of Humor
  8. Creativity
  9. Active Listening
  10. Emotional Intelligence

I’d argue that #9 should be part of #1, but the article describes the latter in terms of getting across what you want the athletes to take on board, while the form is you taking on board what they are sending your way. I don’t have a problem looking at things that way.

I might also argue that #7 isn’t strictly necessary, especially if you’ve got #6 going for you. But I love to have a good laugh, so I won’t put up much of a fight if you want to make the case. 🙂

When I saw #2 I thought immediate of how my friend Mark Lebedew likes to say question everything. That’s not the real point here, though. Instead, it’s about ask questions to gain further understanding and knowledge. Hard to go against that!

The Coaching Conversation I did on Understanding verbal communication for coaching featured a lot of discussion of #3. I encourage you to check it out. Similarly, Mark and I had a good Conversation on the subject of creativity (#8) with Sue Gozansky.

I think #4 is petty obvious. In the case of #5, the focus is on practice planning rather than broader administrative functions.

It’s unclear if this list is meant to be a ranking. If so, I’d definitely move emotional intelligence well up from #10.

Definitely give the article a read. It’ll give you some stuff to think about for sure.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

    1 Response to "Key coaching capabilities"

    • Sue Gozansky

      Fun list. The order and value of each changes with the moment but all are tools you need to be a great coach.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.