A great coach should be flexible, understanding, knowledge of the sport, reliable, and communication. I believe these are important when it comes down to the chararistic of a great coach.
Flexibility: Coaches should be flexible in ways that they can adjust their coaching based on the child's learning curve. No one learn the same way. Everyone learn differently but still get the same outcome at the end. Some kids are visual learners, auditory learners, and kinetic learners. A coach should be flexible to adjust those types of learners. I have coaches claims they teach the same way all the time and reality is that they don't. If we are learn differently it is impossible to teach the same way. Coaches should be flexible and find other methods of teaching the skill. Keep in mind there are more than one way to teach the skill and get the same outcome.
Understanding: A coach should be understanding that not all athletes are created equal from a personality and development stand point. They should be able to identify the personality and development of their athletes. Boys are different than girls and I don't coach boys the same way I coach girls and vise versa. I don't coach a 12 year old the same way I coach a 5 year old and vise versa. Some athletes like to be pushed hard and like their coaches to be hard on them and some athletes rather have their coaches be nice and friendly and not be so hard. So as a coach I look and to identify those personality and development of each athletes.
Coaches should always be understanding the child feelings and work those out accordinly. Not only you have to understand them physically but also understanding thier minds on the pychological aspect.
Knowledge: Coaches should be reading the rules, looking for drills ideas, and improving coaching and spotting skills. Nothing more frustrating to go to a meet and realize your athlete did the wrong thing or missing a special requirement because these coaches didn't read the rules throughly. As a coach its my job to do my homework to look for resources and take full advantage of them. The USA Gymnastics University has many courses and great staff to help you gain more knowledge. Other resources you can learn is by attending USAG National Congress, Regional Congress, and even attending a gymnastics camp such as Woodward Camp in Woodward, PA. I may know a lot but I don't know everything or ever claim I know everything. So more tools I have the more resources I have to help make my program better. So you never stop learning or ever too old to learn more. The more knowledge the bigger my fire! Knowledge is power!
Reliable: Coaches should be reliable at all times. They should be able to make all practices, spend time working with each individual athletes regardless of level of ability. Favoritism is not tolerated when being reliable.Coaches should be consistent on rules and practices. Most importanly being reliable is dressing professionally. Coaches should also be prudent of their own behavior even on a bad day.
Communication: Communication is very important and its critical to have good communication. Without proper communication everything falls apart in your program and the relationship you have with you clients. If I don't know the situation due to lack of communication then I can't help. Nothing more worst than someone to accumulate the problem by holding on to it for months. This causes problems because the person that holds on to it tends to make excuses or not seeing the reality of the situation clearly. The simple way I put it, is speak of your thoughts or concerns otherwise forever hold your peace.
What makes you a great coach?