Five characteristics of great coaches and great coaching

Ben Fennell, CEO and Founder of The Growth House, and I have identified five characteristics of great coaches and great coaching:

The telescope and the mircoscope

A great coach can focus on the big picture and on the small detail. They can set a long-term vision and work on short-term delivery. I have observed that this is also a characteristic of great CEOs; they will move from big picture to small detail in a heartbeat, often moving between macro strategy and micro execution without breaking stride.

Big picture is the telescope: the vision, the mission, defining a winning philosophy and style. Setting sight on the long term destination and building the capabilities to get you there.

The microscope is the six inches in front of your face. Execution, core skills. This week’s fire-fight. Reactive initiatives and short term delivery.

Andrew Strauss captained his England cricket team to becoming the best Test side in the world, and he talks insightfully about the challenge faced by Andy Flower and all elite coaches.

“No coach can afford too many losses on his CV and will often be tempted by short-term solutions, but ultimately no coach will achieve anything truly special if he is unable to stay the course to execute a longer-term strategy,” says Strauss.