How to Spot a Coach

For an organisation to develop and maintain a coaching culture, it must first understand and encourage the coaching mentality in its staff – or in those members of staff who have been identified as ambassadors for that coaching culture.

A coach –and by this I don’t necessarily mean just those who have had some training, I just mean anyone who is ready to take on the role of listener and questioner– has a particular view of the world: they are able to see beyond the immediate ‘here and now’ of a conversation; they can see the clues when people are being less than frank with themselves; they can project their thinking forward to a positive outcome from unpromising beginnings.

Compare this kind of thinking and being to that of an individual in an organisation that doesn’t ascribe value to the concept of coaching: In that situation the individual is more likely to use a ‘how will this affect me’ mindset when faced with a conversation or comment. They will focus inward and generally fail to see any outcome as a positive one unless it is positive for them.

At its simplest, this difference can be defined by the kind of self-talk someone uses, and their vocabulary when speaking with others.

The coach’s self-talk is generally couched in terms of others, while the non-coach’s self-talk will be primarily about themselves.

The coach will start sentences in general conversation with words like ‘when, what, where’ and will listen to the answers. The non-coach will start sentences with personal pronouns, and will dominate a conversation, often interrupting others and quickly stepping in to top anecdotes with tales of their own.

Even the body language of the coach will differ from that of the non-coach, with the former engaging people with an open face and enquiring smile, while the non-coach is more likely to exhibit an in-turned shoulder and a lowered face and brow.

We all know people who fit both these moulds (if we care to look and pass judgement) and to step into an office full of people who fall into one camp or the other is to be able to take a good guess at whether the coaching culture is alive and well…or not!


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 Caitlin has made a real difference to my confidence and to the way I approach my business on a day to day basis.
John Baker, Regional Director, The Jockey Club
 It (coaching) unearthed a depth of confidence that I was beginning to question and enabled me to make a significant change within myself and my work.
Luke Joy-Smith, Managing Director - Somerset Social Enterprise
 I connected with my coach on our very first call and I believe that made the whole difference for me. I wish I could dig deeper on some of my remaining issues but unfortunately all good things have to end. I will definitely recommend coaching and have been already doing it for while. It definitely changed my life.
Stephanie Malka, Director NOC Service Engineering – EMEA
 Great to see that there has been a positive outcome from this.
Simon Gosney, Head of Learning and Development
 Tim has provided some high quality coaching support to me through a time of transition both in terms of job, career and organisational changes. He is a skilled and experienced executive coach who facilitated just the right mix of reflection, future visioning, challenge, compassion and stretch. I’d strongly recommend working with him if you are going through a career or organisation transition. Fun to work with, I always left my sessions with him feeling significantly clearer and more content with my overall direction of travel and next steps.
Neil Savage, Director of Organisational Development 2gether NHS Foundation Trust
 “I selected my coach on the basis that she had a completely different approach to my structured way of thinking. Katherine challenged me and took me way out of my comfort zone – scary and uncomfortable at times but eye-opening. These coaching sessions enabled me to see things from a very different perspective, gave me the time and space to reflect on my practice and provided practical tips and approaches as to how I can develop my performance.”
Zenobia Daar, Head of People, Governance & Performance
 Please continue with the programme. For a guy, like Paul, who does not use the word 'fantastic', who then uses must be really good!
Marissa Bartlett, Head of Organisational Development - Mid Sussex District Council
 Everyone learnt a lot about themselves and others. It was the first training in English that one of my mentors had done and it was really successful for him. We have all come away feeling more confident. I have been on many development programmes and I have to say it has been one of the best I have ever attended.
Radka Lankasova, HR Manager, DENSO MANUFACTURING CZECH s. r. o.
 Steve Delivered a professional, relaxed and engaging session. Relevance, interest and clarity of delivering allowed for a very productive outcome.
Andy Castle, VP of Network Operations and Engineering, EMEA
 I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with Steve. He encouraged me to look at how I view myself and my actions, to actively seek positive outcomes to every day situations. My perception of myself has certainly changed due to my conversations with Steve and I would highly recommend coaching sessions with Unlimited Potential.
Rik Roberts, Team Leader