What Does It Take To Be a GREAT Coach?

Hi there. Russell Stratton, president and leadership champion with Bluegem Learning.

I work with organizations just like yours to help managers become even better at improving individual and team performance.

The topic of my couple VLOG's has been becoming more effective "coach" using the COACH Model for leaders...

Over the year's I've met managers who struggle with the idea that they could be a coach. Sometimes this perception exists that a coach is some kind of well put together, extermely motivational, charsmatic superhero.

Their employee comes to them with a problem that they need some help with, and as the manager they feel that they need to sort of rip open their shirts and they will have the big "S" in front...

Or they've got the Wonder Woman outfit on...

THAT'S who they need to be in order to help somebody to do their job even better and to be a great coach.

But that's simply not the case.

Let's look at the example of Arrigo Sacchi...

Arrigo Sacchi was the coach of the Italian soccer national team and for many years he'd coached the Italian Sierra, our team, Milan to the European carp on more than one occasion.

He was asked at an interview press conference by the media, "how do you coach elite level soccer players when you yourself never played soccer beyond tier four?"

His answer was interesting....

He looked them straight in the eye and he said,

"well, to have been a jockey, you don't need to have been a horse first." Arrigo Sacchi

I think that really encapsulates the idea that you don't need to be a superhero to be a coach,

You don't have to have been an elite level soccer player to necessarily coach elite level players, nor must a manager be better at the job her employees do to be able to coach them.

All that is needed is enough information about the job, so I do need an overview, but then more importantly I must also have and develop those coaching skills (like being a great listener).

A coach must bebe somebody who can

  • ask great questions

  • be analytical

  • help others discover understand their responsibilities, and

  • help each team member discover their own solutions

This is why in a previous blog, I've talked about having great coaching questions.

Coaching is about helping somebody find solutions for themselves, not tell them what the solutions are!

If it interests you, what I'm talking about with our coach model and our coaching cards, then why not join us at our next Lunch and Learn which takes place in June at the downtown library here in Calgary. Click on the photo below and we'll see you there!

9 views0 comments


"Bluegem Learning & Development and Corporate Culture Shift have presented two very effective and interactive workshops with our organization. Their comedic and engaging presentation style in the ‘Managing the Unmanageable’ workshop has left a lasting impression on our staff. I highly recommend this workshop if you are looking for a valuable, cost effective customer service training option."

- Jeff Gerestein, City of Brooks

"Russell produced a highly engaging HR programme that reflected our organisational issues. He is without doubt an outstanding training deliverer, challenging managers to address what can be difficult HR issues. I highly recommend Russell, and would always seek to engage Russell on future learning development opportunities."

- Sharon Gartland, DSG Consultancy Services

Keyboard and Mouse
Glass Buildings

Russell Stratton

Leadership Champion

RUSSELL STRATTON is an international Leadership Expert, Professionally Certified Trainer and Coach, with a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management. He is co-author of the book 'I Need to F@#king Talk To You - The Art Of Navigating Difficult Workplace Conversations'.


He is a Master Facilitator for Bluegem Learning's ground breaking "Leadership Success" workshop series - providing a practical toolkit for building engagement and improving individual and team performance. Using live actors in a stop/start forum theatre approach and a combination of dynamic experiential learning techniques, participants come away with a greater ability to actually perform better as employees and leaders in your organization.


He is an accomplished management education, learning & development professional with a proven track record of working with clients in the public, voluntary and private sectors to achieve lasting, measurable step changes in business performance.


Russell works internationally with a wide range of organizational cultures and with all levels from front line customer facing staff to executive management boards. Having worked as both a Personnel Manager and Operational Manager he works at both strategic and tactical levels.

#300, 160 Quarry Park Blvd.  Calgary, AB  T2C 3G3

  • Russell Stratton on LinkedIn
  • Bluegem Learning on Twitter
  • Bluegem Learning on Facebook
  • Russel Stratton on Instagram