How to be a Masterful Coach: 5 Simple but Powerful Tips! | by Marion Franklin MCC

Coaching has evolved a lot over the years. I started coaching in the mid 90's when people were still asking, "What sport do you coach?" Thankfully we have come a long way.

In all the years I've been teaching and mentoring, I consistently run into "crappy coach syndrome" - when a coach does not believe in the value they provide.

To achieve mastery in anything, it takes practice. Some signs that your coaching is highly effective:

  • The client thinks differently and has a new perspective by the end of the conversation.
  • The client organically creates their own action and way of moving forward because of the change in their thinking (no need to get into serious accountability).
  • Every question you ask provokes thinking (vs. providing information).
  • There is often reflection (or context) before you ask a question so your questions make sense.

That said, after all this time as a coach trainer and mentor, I repeatedly see the same coaching mistakes and pitfalls.

Looking back now to my early coaching days, I wish someone had told me some of the things I had to learn the hard way. And that's what I'm sharing with you in this article!

Here are 5 Powerful Tips to Make Masterful Coaching Easier!

1. Communicate Clearly, Kindly and Directly

I was so sure that direct communication meant 'tell it like it is' - and that it would be too harsh. I believed it was better to soften my message. Fortunately, I learned a way to 'tell it like it is' that is kind, realistic and the client can hear it.

MASTERFUL COACHING TIP #1: Leave out the word 'you' at the beginning of your statement and follow with a simple question.

Example: It seems as though there's some anger underneath that. What do you think? NOT: You seem angry underneath that (and then wait for the client to respond).

2. Learn to Love Silence

Silence used to be so scary. My first thought was often, "I said something awful or the client has left the call. What should I do? Should I say something?" It felt agonizing.

And then I would recall my coach saying something like, "Tape your mouth shut".

Today, silence is my all-time favorite part of any coaching conversation, and I can wait patiently for as long as it takes for the client to say something.

MASTERFUL COACHING TIP #2: Simply let your client know from the start that whenever there is silence, you will wait for them to speak first (this relieves all of the tension and anxiety).

3. Everything the Client Shares is for a Reason

I recall a time when a client mentioned something as we started, but said she wanted to avoid talking about it. I agreed and we moved on.

What I know now is that everything a client shares has a reason, and nothing is to be glossed over.

MASTERFUL COACHING TIP #3: Although what a client says may seem to be just a way of starting out the call or thrown in for no reason, it's always worth checking out how it might be related to the topic at hand.

4. Stop Worrying About How You're Performing & Put that Energy into Asking Great Questions

In the beginning, my focus was to make sure I was doing a good job as a coach. I would worry about this, and in my mind I gave myself a hard time when I asked a question that wasn't great.

If you are worried about how you are doing, you are doing a DIS-service to your client by not being fully present.

Thankfully, I've learned an easy way to make questions powerful every time.

MASTERFUL COACHING TIP #4: Remember that clients have no clue if your question is a "good one" or not! So relax...

5. Be Aware of the Two Levels of Coaching Happening

It took a while before I realized that coaching occurs on two main levels.

There's the surface level - the client wants an outcome and we go for it. And then there's the deeper level; this is where the client is permanently altered so they no longer relate to what they were initially thinking - and the change impacts other areas of their life.

MASTERFUL COACHING TIP #5: To create a deeper coaching experience, every question should force the client to think of something they don't already know. If the client already knows an answer and is simply "reporting" to you, it's your curiosity - but does not help the client or move the conversation forward.


Which of the 5 tips most resonates with you? Choose an action to make your next coaching session more masterful!

Loved this? More Information:

he Heart of Laser-Focused Coaching Book ImageIf you want more information or a better understanding of anything in this article, grab Marion's newly released book on Amazon: The HeART of Laser-Focused Coaching: A Revolutionary Approach to Masterful Coaching.

In this book she shares common coaching themes (the big picture of what's going on), how to make questions powerful, effective steps for creating a deep shift in perspective, knowing the anatomy of a coaching conversation and much more to help your coaching can become effortless.

If you like this article on becoming a more masterful coach, you may also like:

Marion Franklin Headshot

Contributing Author:

Marion Franklin, MCC, is globally sought after for her laser-focused approach and direct communication. Her work includes developing and teaching her unique intensive program, "Laser Coach Your Way to Sustainable Success" emphasizing masterful coaching skills. She facilitates ongoing "Coach with Confidence" Mentor Groups. Her book, designed for all levels of coaches, The HeART of Laser-Focused Coaching: A Revolutionary Approach to Masterful Coaching, has led every student she has mentored or taught who sought ACC, PCC, or MCC to get their credential using the material from her book. She also published the audiobook Life's Little Lessons: Improve Your Life One Lesson at a Time. Visit her online here, get her free resources here and connect with her on Linkedin here.

Learn more about Marion & see all their articles here >>

Image of Young Coach Learning to Coach Masterfully with Coaching Tips by fizkes via Shutterstock


  1. Björn

    This is a great article. I can only say yes to all of the things mentioned above. I have experienced all of them and am still working on them. This list is a great reminder, especially, when things appear difficult. Thank you

  2. Frank Poschen

    Not only the article is insightful and inspirational, the whole book is by far the best coaching book I have ever read. Thank you.

    • mturcott

      Thank you for your kind words, Frank and I absolutely agree with you about Marion's Book! Warmly, Mary


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