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UK Coaching Team
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Coaching Behaviours

A detailed look at what great coaching looks like through the eyes of the participant

Great coaching is all about putting people first. Whether the participant or the person coaching them, being able to understand and connect with them is essential to creating an environment in which they can thrive. Listening to the wants and needs of people is key to creating the experiences they want from coaching.

We asked a wide range of participants to help us understand what great coaching looks like to them. They consistently described the behaviours of the person who was or would be coaching them in favour of highlighting the specific knowledge or skills they might hold.

Behaviours are what people see. By defining coaching through behaviours, we are able to present clearly what great coaching looks like through the eyes of the participant. Behaviours also provide a connection to the knowledge and skills required to help enhance a person’s experience or performance.

What are behaviours?

A behaviour is defined as:

The way in which someone acts or conducts their self, especially towards others or in response to a situation or stimulus.

This is more than purely a person’s ability to do something (Competency), it also involves the what, how and why they do the thing they do.

What do people want from coaching?

We have taken time to understand what people want from a great coaching experience. We captured their thoughts and words to create a vivid picture of the coaching behaviours they are looking for across four key participant groups.

Watch our Voice of the Participant animations to see what they told us:


People not regularly taking part in physical activity

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People in full-time primary education

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People engaged in the talent pathway

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Active Lifestyle

People regularly taking part in physical activity

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What are Great Coaching Behaviours?

Although people often use different words to describe what great coaching looks like to them, they do refer to one or more of the same 10 Great Coaching Behaviours:

Developing Great Coaching Behaviours?

To help to understand how to develop great coaching behaviours we have mapped the associated knowledge and skills connected to each identified behaviour.

How does our work connect to the Professional Standards for Coaching?

Our insight into coaching behaviours has informed the development of the professional status for Coach and Coach Assistant. The behaviours we have identified map across to the knowledge and skills that exists within the current Professional Standards

UK Coaching is committed to working with CIMSPA to embed behaviours into Professional Standards in 2019.

Related Resources

  • What is Great Coaching?

  • Coaching the Person in Front of You

  • Principles of Great Coaching: Introduction


We’re unlocking the secrets of #greatcoaching


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UK Coaching Team