I have been fortunate in the time since the Olympic games to spend time with seven coaches of Gold medal winners in Athletics (Track & Field) from the London games. In two instances I got to watch workouts and spend significant time with the coach and athlete. These are the commonalities that all shared:
Passion – In most cases they wore their passion on their sleeves.
Technical Knowledge – They knew the basics and didn’t stray far from them. None of them made what they did overly complicated.
Emotional Intelligence – They know their athletes and themselves. They listened to the athlete.
Systematic – Nothing by chance, thorough plans, but still built flexibility into the system
Humility – Not overly impressed with themselves, willing to credit others and seek help. Did not go it alone.
Paid their dues – All except one has been coaching for quite some time; they were not always coaching gold medal winners.
Interestingly enough these are the characteristics I see in great coaches at any level. These characteristics are what it takes to be an effective coach.