Coach Development Guide

Coaches are always in a state of becoming, perfecting their craft, learning, and deepening their foundation. This checklist helps identify areas where you might focus future training, coursework, or personal development. Of course, depending on your specific coaching niche, there are other potential development areas that do not pertain directly to coaching. In the checklist, there are no right or wrong answers. However, your answers reveal areas where it would benefit you to focus time and energy. Commit to one or two development areas. Consider creating a SMART goal for each area.

Do you believe your knowledge, appreciation, or engagement in this area or topic is sufficient to support your practice as a coach?

Personal foundation: current status assessment

I have engaged in activities or processes to develop my . . .

Understanding of my values, beliefs, and worldview

Understanding of my lifestyle, stressors, and stress management capacities

Awareness of my spiritual side, including my purpose in life and the variety of spiritual practices that are available to me

Artistic side through readings, workshops, and courses in poetry, fine arts, and so on

Knowledge of modern and classical literature

Appreciation of life by reading inspirational biographies

Comprehension of how we grow and develop as human beings through lectures, readings, or podcasts about personal growth

Understanding of different forms of bodywork and their potential benefits for me and others

Knowledge about my physical body, its needs, and what I have to do based on medical evaluations or physical assessments

Comprehension of individual differences and diversity—including cultural awareness—through readings, discussions, and other means

Sense of the world through travel, reading, and other means of experiencing life in different areas of the globe

Historical understanding through various sources of knowledge about local, regional, national, international, and world history

Emotional intelligence through experience-based workshops, lectures, readings, and other means

Social or interpersonal intelligence through experience-based workshops, lectures, readings, and other means


Personal foundation: current practices

I presently have a regular practice involving . . .



Personal foundation-related reading

Lifestyle management, or life-balancing

Physical activity

Healthy eating

Relationship enhancement (e.g., scheduled dialogues)

Personal values reviews

Spiritual development

Artistic development


Professional education and development: coach-specific

I consider my training and knowledge base adequate in the coaching-specific domain of . . .

Ethical guidelines about boundaries and practice

Contracting for individual and third-party coaching work

Building client trust and intimacy within coaching parameters

Coaching presence

Active listening

Powerful questioning

Providing feedback

Offering appropriate advice, suggestions, and information

Challenging or confronting


Use of immediacy

Approaches to reframing and the use of metaphor

Creating awareness

Designing actions

Planning and goal setting

Managing progress and accountability


Professional education and development: general

I consider my training and knowledge base adequate in the coaching-related domain of . . .

General psychology

Lifespan development


Learning theories

Interpersonal dynamics

Health promotion

Behavior change and management

Systems theories

Business development

Theories of personality

Positive psychology

Transpersonal psychology

Psychosocial assessment methods

Cultural studies

Eastern philosophy

Western philosophy

Theories of consciousness


Communication theories

Interviewing skills

Helping skills

Anatomy, Physiology, Biomechanics


Stress management

Relationship dynamics

Group and team dynamics


Professional mentoring, supervisory and reflective experiences, and participation in the coaching community

As an integral part of my ongoing practice, I . . .

Personally review my work related to each of my clients at least once a  month

Personally reflect on what I am noticing about my coaching work at least once a month

Participate in a peer coaching group at least once a month to discuss coaching issues, and some of my material regarding my clients and my work

Participate in a session with a mentor coach at least quarterly

Participate in a session with a supervisor either individually or in a group format at least quarterly

Attend meetings of my local coaching association at least semiannually

Attend meetings of my regional or national coaching association annually

Attend meetings of international conferences related to coaching at least biannually


What Now?

Based on your answers and what you assessed as being most important, list one or two key development areas you are willing to undertake in the next 6 to 12 months.

Goal 1: Select your top priority and go through the following process.

Exploring your developmental intention: Consider whether you need to investigate, explore, clarify, or find resources to move this intention to action. You might need to read about it, take online courses, or talk to colleagues. Give good thought to these matters, and investigate!

Describe your intention: As in a coaching process, use laser language and articulate your intention in 10 to 15 words.

SMART goal: Just as when you are working with a client, identify what must be done to move you closer to bringing this intention to realization. You may be so clear that what you describe here becomes a plan for doing what is required to develop in your priority area. However, you may need to do a bit of homework first, in which case your goal would be to outline your plan for moving your agenda forward.

Specific goal: In a sentence, define the targeted action you must engage in to move toward your developmental intention.

Measurement: What concrete indicator reflects your engagement in the required actions?

Adjustability: If you run into some roadblock or other unanticipated snag in your plan to take this step, what’s your fallback option? What else will you do? Or how will you accomplish your goal differently?

Realistic nature: What tells you that what you intend to do is achievable? In a sentence, provide a rationale for why this is attainable.

Time specificity: What’s the time frame for this plan? When will you commence? When will you complete it? Or what’s your implementation schedule?

Goal 2: Go through the same process for a second developmental intention.

Have fun with these new opportunities in your life and work!