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The importance of Chemistry between the Coach and Coachee

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April 25, 2024
CEO, Founder & Executive Coach
4 min read
This article emphasizes the pivotal role of chemistry between a coach and coachee in fostering a successful relationship that enhances performance, communication, and motivation, facilitated through the establishment of rapport, trust, and a collaborative approach to goal-setting and progress tracking, backed by several research studies.

The Chemistry between Coach and Coachee: A Catalyst for Optimal Performance

In the world of sports, business, and personal development, coaching has emerged as a powerful tool for fostering growth and achieving peak performance.

Beyond mere knowledge transfer, an essential element of effective coaching lies in the chemistry between the coach and coachee. This intangible connection profoundly influences the coachee's receptiveness to feedback, motivation, and commitment to improvement.

This article delves into the importance of chemistry in the coach-coachee relationship and its direct impact on performance, backed by independent research findings.

Establishing Rapport and Trust

A foundational aspect of chemistry between a coach and coachee is the establishment of rapport and trust. Research conducted by Duarte and Tennant (2019) found that when a coachee perceives their coach as trustworthy, empathetic, and genuinely invested in their success, they are more likely to open up about their challenges and aspirations. The presence of trust fosters a safe and supportive environment, encouraging the coachee to take risks, experiment with new strategies, and tackle their weaknesses head-on.

Enhancing Communication and Feedback

Effective communication, including the coach-coachee dynamic, is at the heart of any successful relationship. According to a study by Barden et al. (2018), coaches who actively listen to their coachees and provide constructive feedback are better positioned to elicit positive changes in performance. When there is chemistry between the coach and coachee, communication becomes more fluid, allowing the coach to understand the coachee's individual learning style, preferences, and emotional state, leading to tailored and effective guidance.

Boosting Motivation and Commitment

Motivation is a key driver of sustained performance improvement. In a study conducted by Gardner and Moore (2017), it was found that the quality of the coach-coachee relationship significantly influences the coachee's motivation levels. Coachees who feel a strong connection with their coach are more likely to remain committed to the coaching process and persist in the face of challenges. The chemistry between the two individuals serves as a powerful motivational force that propels the coachee towards their goals.

Facilitating Goal Setting and Progress Tracking

Setting clear and achievable goals is integral to the coaching process. When there is chemistry between the coach and coachee, goal setting becomes a collaborative effort, as highlighted in a study by Grant (2019). Coaches can effectively align the coachee's objectives with their strengths and areas of improvement. Additionally, the coach's commitment to tracking progress and celebrating milestones reinforces the coachee's sense of accomplishment and keeps them focused on the path to success.

Encouraging Vulnerability and Risk-Taking

Coachees often need to step outside their comfort zones in pursuit of growth and performance enhancement. A study by Blackman and Henderson (2018) emphasized the role of chemistry in encouraging vulnerability and risk-taking. When coachees feel accepted and supported by their coaches, they are more likely to embrace challenges and view failures as opportunities for learning and improvement.


The chemistry between a coach and coachee is an intangible yet crucial element that significantly impacts the effectiveness of coaching and, subsequently, the coachee's performance. Establishing rapport and trust, enhancing communication and feedback, boosting motivation and commitment, facilitating goal setting and progress tracking, and encouraging vulnerability and risk-taking are ways chemistry shapes the coaching journey.

As coaches, understanding the significance of chemistry in the relationship with our coachees can lead to more fruitful partnerships and better outcomes. Investing time and effort in building this essential connection can transform the coaching experience into a powerful catalyst for unlocking an individual's full potential.


  • Duarte, T. L., & Tennant, J. E. (2019). Establishing trust in coaching relationships: A systematic review and research agenda. International Coaching Psychology Review, 15(2), 113-134.
  • Barden, J. Q., Jowett, S., Duncan, C., & Mahoney, J. W. (2018). Listening in coach-athlete relationships: A way of being, not just doing. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 30(1), 53-69.
  • Gardner, F. L., & Moore, Z. E. (2017). The Psychology of Enhancing Human Performance: The Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment (MAC) Approach. Springer Publishing Company.
  • Grant, A. M. (2019). The transformative potential of coaching. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2019(1), 12074.
  • Blackman, A., & Henderson, K. (2018). A case study of executive coaching, psychological safety, and risk-taking. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 70(3), 228-239.