Ten of the Best Coaching Quotes

Abraham Lincoln once said, “It is a pleasure to be able to quote lines to fit any occasion,” and I’ve taken great pleasure in collecting these inspirational coaching quotes for your consideration. Along with my short personal commentaries, these quotes can be used to encourage and enlighten your coaching practice. Let them swim around between your own ears, then turn around and use them just as effectively to help your clients! I recommend plucking your favorites from this list and turning them into wall posters, screen savers, even t-shirts. They’ll guide your steps, refresh your perspective, and surround you with a sense of solidarity.

What Should Coaches do With Quotes?

Most coaches might think that quotes are solely useful in social media and personal growth seminars, rather than a coaching session. However, when your client needs some wisdom, and they aren’t grasping the answer on their own, a simple quote can be priceless.

What does a well timed, well placed quote do in a coaching session?

    • It offers an answer or direction for your client in the session.
    • It uses a “higher authority” when your client is doubting you (If the quote is coming from someone they’d admire or respect, then they’ll likely value the advice).
    • It offers a short turning point in the session… allowing you to provoke your client to change their thinking on the current issue.

My Top Ten Coaching Quotes

“I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars. I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.” — Warren Buffett

Every time I have tried to jump a 7-foot bar, I’ve fallen on my face. It’s a waste of time and dignity. I agree wholeheartedly with Warren here: take small steps to achieve your goals, rather than attempting a massive leap. Patience is definitely a virtue.

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” — John Wooden

John Wooden was an excellent coach, and a great generator of quotables. I love this one, because it reminds me that mistakes are a sign of active progress. Don’t be afraid of them. If you never take a chance, how can you succeed?

“Part therapist, part consultant, part motivational expert, part professional organizer, part friend, part nag — the personal coach seeks to do for your life what a personal trainer does for your body.” — Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune

I found this quote in a newspaper, and clipped it immediately. It pretty much nut-shells the job description of a coach.

Coaching Quotes
Coaching Quotes

“Fear regret more than failure.” — Taryn Rose

Take it from a guy on the other side of fifty: you definitely regret the things you didn’t do, more than the things you did (even if you did them wrong). Don’t be afraid to go for it.

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost more than 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life… and that is why I succeed.” –Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan, one of the best basketball players ever, casually reminds us that learning to lose big was key to the big win. Nobody cares about how many shots he missed. He just kept going out there and doing his thing. I’ve definitely dropped the ball plenty of times, too. Yet, here I am!

“Optimism is the one quality more associated with success and happiness than any other.”Brian Tracy

The clutch take-away in this quote?

Optimism is TOTALLY UP TO YOU.

Choose a positive attitude, keep your glass half-full, and set yourself up for awesomeness. Brian Tracy’s words help me stay focused whenever something outside of my control seems to stand in the way.

“There are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them.” — Tom Krause

A concise reminder that life is a subjective reality; make of it what you will. Choose to see failure as opportunity, and find gratitude for mistakes. If you always fail successfully, you’ll never “fail” again!

“Five frogs are sitting on a log. Four decide to jump off. How many are left? Answer: five. Why? Because there’s a difference between deciding and doing.” — Mark L. Feldman & Michael F. Spratt

Okay, so this is more of riddle than a quote, but it sums up a trait that successful people share:


Many people make decisions but leave them hovering overhead, dreams in suspended animation. If you want to make progress, you’ve got to move forward.

“If you wish your life were different… do your life differently.” — Terence Houlihan

Basic logic here. Doing the same thing over and over again will never lead to change. It’s also important to remember that, no matter how old you are, and no matter what point you’ve come to in life, taking a different action will lead to a different result. It’s never too late to improve.

“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” — John Wooden

I’ll leave you with another nugget from the legendary John Wooden. In your coaching practice, learn the fine art of giving advice and offering criticism without causing clients to get upset, angry, or resentful. This is one of the most essential (and often under-estimated) skills of a good coach.

Once resentment settles in, clients stop receiving your input. Game over.

There you go! Ten coaching quotes to help you and your clients achieve greatness. I like quotes a lot, so if you have any favorite coaching quotes of your own, drop them in the comments below. I also like feedback, comments, thoughts, and questions. And, if any of the quotes in this post inspired you, share the article link on social media using the buttons below!

Hope you took some great value out of this post today! I’d love to hear your feedback, so make sure you leave a comment with your thoughts or questions. And also, you can click on the Twitter button below to retweet this article…Thank you!

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  1. marquita herald says

    Oh I love quotes and have collected so many I finally had to organize them under categories and put them into a pdf format with links so I could find the ones I wanted! These will be a great addition – thanks for the inspiration!

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