Center for Coaching Certification

Six Keys to Building a Successful Coaching Relationship

By Joy Miller

There’s no doubt about it: a positive coaching relationship is essential for successful outcomes.

What key ingredients create a high-quality coaching relationship?  Is it common interests or likeability?  Or something more tangible?

Coaches who understand what’s involved in positive coach-coachee relationships are best-equipped to help guide others on a path towards growth and success. Six Keys to Building a Successful Coaching Relationship

The Six Keys for Coaching Relationships

Let’s explore six essential components that make up a strong relationship skill set for coaches:

  1. Trustworthiness: Good coaches build trust with their coachees. They respect them as people, maintain confidentiality, and communicate clearly. This creates a safe space for growth and change.
  2. Empathy: The best coaches are interested in their coachees and care about their feelings. They show this through both words and body language.
  3. Honesty: When coaches earn trust, they can share observations; successful coaches confidently engage in difficult conversations.
  4. Guidance: Through listening and asking questions, the best coaches guide their coachees toward making their own successful decisions.
  5. Respectability: Exemplary conduct goes a long way. Great coaches are professional and reliable. They’re confident, and humble.
  6. Integrity: Good coaches can help others improve because they’ve experienced growth in their own lives. They remain willing to change and develop.

Although there is no substitute for coach training,coaching certification, or advancing your education, building stronger relationships is critical to your coaching success.

Putting These Six Skills to Work

Leveraging these skills creates a safe and trusting space that gives the coachee the confidence to do new things and operate outside of their normal comfort zone.

Because rapport is the number one indicator of success in a coaching relationship, positive results are highly correlated with a coach’s level of proficiency in these six relationship management competencies.


Whether you’re seeking ways to improve your coaching style or provide more value to your clients, focusing on these six competencies will help position you for greater success.


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