7 Habits of Highly Effective Coaches

Lewis Raymond Taylor and Liam James Collins

What is an effective coach? 

First, let’s start with explaining what effective coaching is and what it’s supposed to do for your clients–because ultimately it’s all about them right?

A good way to start is by defining what effective coaching isn’t…

And that’s not telling people what to do, giving orders or providing the solutions to their problems on a silver platter–because without effective listening (more on that later) that solution won’t be the right one.

Effective coaching is more about letting clients get there by themselves…

Think of the blindfold game where one person has to guide a blindfolded partner to an end goal. Whether it’s a finish line or an object or something else, the first team to reach it is the winner–and guess which one is the more effective team.

Effective coaching is all about guidance and leading your clients to their own revelations and solutions. 

An effective coach will therefore be able to guide and steer their client in the right direction, often with powerful and effective coaching questions and proven coaching and NLP techniques.

Why is effective coaching important?

The answer to this is almost too obvious and it can be split into two related parts: impact and income.

An effective coach will make more of an impact than an ineffective coach–obviously! 

Effective guidance = more revelations = more barriers overcome = more solutions reached = a happier more fulfilled client! 

It’s as simple as that.

Now, when you create a bigger impact you will generate more income as a coach.

People are willing to pay more when they know you can guarantee results. 

Satisfied clients are also more willing to spread the word and recommend you to their friends and family, talk about you amongst their circle and promote you on their social media.

So we can say that effectiveness is the key to coaching business success!  

So, “how can I become an effective coach”?

Being an effective person brings you one step closer to being an effective coach. 

Bringing effectiveness to every part of your life will ensure the best results for your clients and therefore, for your business…

So are you an effective person?

If you answered yes, then good for you! You should succeed in almost all aspects of your life, you have won in life!

If, like the rest of us, you still need a little work, here are some habits of highly effective people. Adopting and practicing these will steer you onto the path to success…

The 7 Habits of highly effective people and, therefore, coaches:

These 7 habits are based on the essential read that is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

Covey studied 200+ years’ worth of literature on the concept of success and came to this conclusion: 

In order to achieve success, we first must undergo a paradigm shift and change ourselves deep within. 

It’s not enough to just change your attitudes or seek certain actions–that’s just a quick fix–you must shift your mindset to change how you interact with yourself, others and the world in general.

One way to promote this mindset change is to practice positive habits that boost your effectiveness. 

Here we’ve summed up the 7 habits and applied them to coaching so that you can be the best and most effective coach that you can be.

Let’s dive in.

1. Be Proactive 

The first three habits focus on developing your ‘self-mastery’.

When you can master your own mindset and move into independence, that’s when true work can begin. 

So the first habit of a highly effective coach should always be proactiveness as opposed to reactiveness. 

An effective person is always aware that they are in control of their thoughts, actions, decisions, and how they react and handle all situations.

Rather than focusing on things you can’t control and being a victim of the world, an effective person will think instead:

  • What can I control in this situation?

And therefore…

  • What can I do to solve the problem? 

Proactive people make effective coaches because they know which problems to prioritize and focus on. 

By focusing on things within your control, as well as things your clients can control, you expand your circle of influence. 

A reactive coach focuses too much on things outside of one’s control, expanding their circle of concern which does not result in an effective coaching strategy.

2. Begin with the end in mind

The second habit focuses again on priorities and your ability to organize your life based on your core goals. 

An effective person, or coach, always starts a task with the end goal in mind. 

Having a clear view of your destination before you start something will allow you to judge whether each task will move you towards that desired end goal. 

Hopefully, this should also help you identify tasks that won’t move you towards that goal, eliminating any wasted time and energy.

Too many people move busily and blindly down the wrong path, chasing the wrong career, following the wrong people and not focusing enough time and energy on the important things that lead to their desired destination.

A good exercise to uncover your core priorities is to imagine that you only have 30 days to live…

What do you do? 

What are the things you want to accomplish most before you die? Who comes to mind? What suddenly seems frivolous?

Now you have a clear idea of what and who is important and which tasks are straying you from your core path.

As a coach this will help you start, launch or even grow your own online coaching business by revealing to you what’s most important, helping you focus on your energy, time and other resources on the right tasks.

3. Put first things first

Number 3 focuses again on, you guessed it, priorities! 

As habits 1 and 2 focus on the big picture and your attitude towards life, the third habit focuses on your day to day organization. 

How do you organize your day at the moment? 

Do you finish small, non-important tasks first to get them out of the way? Or do you focus on bigger long-term goals first? Do you procrastinate before getting to your urgent and important deadlines?

Just as the name suggests, this habit is all about putting first things first. 

Imagine a graph divided into 4 sections, each section is a combination of either: 




4: Not urgent and not important – these are things like scrolling social media, distractions and those non-important things that keep you procrastinating. 

3: Urgent and not important – these are tasks that keep you busy working all day without actually accomplishing anything, such as meetings, phone calls, interruptions, last-minute unimportant tasks, etc.

2: Not urgent and important – relationship building, long-term planning, and seeking new opportunities all fall into this box and are the most important for a successful and well-organized day. 

1: Urgent and important – these tasks usually come from outside of ourselves such as important deadlines, work crises, and such. These things most often lead to burnout and stress and when not planned properly they just get bigger and bigger.

The second section is the most important in order to stay well-organized and effective but it often goes untended because it is overshadowed by those urgent tasks that keep us so busy.

To become an effective coach you must start prioritizing those long-term goals, focus on new opportunities and nourish personal as well professional relationships… and help your clients do the same.

4. Think Win-Win

That’s it for the self-mastery part of the seven habits. Utilizing those three practices should lead you onto a path of independence. 

4,5 and 6 will focus on interdependence and how you interact, work and connect with the people around you. 

So let’s dive into habit 4…

Imagine you are working alongside another person or team, whether that’s a project, important deadline, or workplace exercise. 

Do you go into it with a competitive mindset? Waiting to crush the other party and win it all? 

Well, I’m sorry to tell you but that’s the wrong attitude, or at least, not the attitude of a highly effective person or coach.

The right mindset to adopt is to always create a win-win situation where both parties can benefit and come out satisfied. 

This strengthens your relationships and prepares you for a lifetime of strong and peaceful connections. 

What’s the point in creating enemies at every turn? 

An effective coach has an abundance mindset, knowing that there’s enough of everything for everyone to win in any given situation. They can be happy for the other person no matter what and always think about what they can give to the other party rather than always take, take, take.

5. Seek first to understand, not to be understood

This might be the most important habit of an effective coach. 

You must always seek to understand your clients in order to help them.

And to become a better listener and communicator you should always practice this habit in everyday life. 

Are you listening to the people around you? Or are you offering solutions without understanding people’s real pains and ways of thinking? 

Most people listen in order to reply, already thinking of what they will say as soon as the person finishes, which is not effective communication.

An effective coach listens in order to deeply understand the other person.

One thing you can do to improve your communication skills is to practice empathic listening and reading non-verbal cues.

You can learn both of these by taking the Coaching Certification or/and The NLP Foundation course which comes as part of The Coaching Masters Membership (you can find more information about these courses here). 

6. Synergize

Habit 6 contains elements of habits 4 and 5 because without a win-win attitude and effective listening you can’t have synergy.

Synergy is creative, dynamic, and effective teamwork with each person working in harmony towards a common goal. 

Imagine the Chinese Dragon Dance, often the parade dragon is operated by around 10 people, but there have been times when over 60 people are working together in synergy to present this dance!

Without understanding, effective communication, and a common goal the team wouldn’t synergize. If people started doing their own thing, trying to outdo each other, moving in different directions, it would be a mess! 

For effective coaches and their clients, synergy means creative cooperation-a process where client and coach collaborate in a safe and open-minded space in order to find new solutions, overcome barriers and grow.

7. Sharpen the saw

As coaches we should always strive to grow, improve and expand our knowledge. 

Habit 7 is all about sharpening your tools, whether that’s discovering new techniques, going to the gym, learning new methods, meditating, growing within or anything else that develops you as a person. 

There are four different dimensions of self-development that are crucial to becoming an effective human, and therefore coach:

Physical Dimension: this includes things like healthy eating, exercise and getting good sleep.

Spiritual: practicing religion, immersion in the arts, meditation and being one with nature.

Mental: continuous education, good literature, internal introspection such as journaling, and choosing not to dull your mind with TV and social media.

Social or Emotional: deeply connecting with other people, giving back in any way that you can, adopting an abundance mindset and helping others. 

By developing and balancing all of these dimensions you will be able to practice all of the previous habits in order to become a well-rounded and happy person, and there, an effective coach for your clients.  


Highly Effective Coaching Questions 

Implementing these habits into your life will take time and require daily practice once learned.

So we’ve put together a list of powerful coaching questions that can help you get there faster and that you can use with your own clients.

Being Proactive:

  • What’s worrying you most? 
  • What can you control?
  • What can’t you control? 
  • Imagine a specific problematic situation. What can you control? What can you do to solve the things you can control? 
  • Now imagine a problematic thing that has happened to you? How can you take ownership of the situation? What can you do in the future to prevent this from happening? 

Begin with the end in mind:

  • What is your ultimate goal in life? 
  • What is your ideal outcome of [situation]?
  • What tasks will help you get there? Which tasks won’t? 
  • Imagine you have only 30 days to live. What would you do? Who would you see? What things would you stop doing? (Only ask this if you know it won’t trigger your client)
  • What matters most in your life? 
  • If you were the best and bravest version of yourself, what would you do?

Put first things first:

  • What is your daily routine? 
  • What keeps you busiest throughout the day? Are they urgent or important? 
  • What tasks are you putting off that are important to you? 
  • How can you slowly implement these tasks into your daily routine? 

Think Win-Win

  • What is your definition of success?
  • If one of your colleagues got a promotion, how would you react? Why?
  • Now, imagine you got a promotion. How would you like your colleagues and loved ones to react? 
  • Imagine there is enough success in the world to make everyone a millionaire. How do you react to another person’s promotion knowing there’s an abundance of money and success? 

Seek first to understand, not to be understood:

  • Do you think you are an effective communicator? Why?
  • Do you think you’re a good listener? Why?
  • Think about the last time a friend came to you with a problem. Did you listen to understand? Did you try to solve their problem? How do you think the conversation ended? What would you do differently if they came to you again?


  • What makes you different from others? 
  • What unique talents and skills can you bring to a group environment? 
  • Think back to a group situation where you had a disagreement with a teammate. How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome? What could you do differently to achieve a more effective outcome?

Sharpen your saw:

  • What are your Strengths and Weaknesses? (You can go as far as doing a SWOT analysis on yourself or client)
  • Based on your SWOT analysis, what are your areas for improvement?
  • If you could take up any skills, what would you learn?
  • Professionally, what could you do better? 
  • How can you improve this?

So, how to become an effective coach?

…Become an effective person! 

  1. Be proactive with your decisions and reactions
  2. Prioritize what’s important by imagining the end destination
  3. Plan and put important things first–ditch the unimportant time wasting tasks
  4. Adopt an abundance mindset and think win-win in every situation
  5. Listen and seek to understand others before you speak
  6. Collaborate, connect and synergize with others
  7. Always develop and look after yourself

If you want to hear more, listen to The Coaching Masters Podcast episode: ‘What Are The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People?’ on Apple or Google Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

And if you want more incredible value for only $9.99 a month check out our Membership. There, you can find tons of coaching and business courses, training, resources and a huge community of like-minded people! 

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