Traits of Successful Teachers

At some point in life, we each take on the role of a teacher. Maybe you’re a parent, a coach, a Sunday school teacher, a youth leader, a manager, a scout master. And I know we’re all on different ends of the spectrum when it comes to how much teaching/coaching we do. So what traits do we need to possess or develop to help others learn and grow?

Last week I hosted a Train-the-Trainer class at my company. It’s a class we developed specifically for corporate trainers. It covers topics like adult-learning theory, presentation techniques, classroom facilitation, building a course, creating lesson plans.

For one of the exercises, we asked the following question: Name your favorite presenter/instructor and what makes them so great?

Here are some of the traits they named:


I told the class that one of my favorite presenters was Steve Jobs. He exhibited all the above qualities and, in my opinion, pioneered a unique presentation style.

I’m not saying that a great teacher needs all of these qualities in equal measures. But hopefully, one either possesses or can develop many of the traits listed above. A desire to help others is the all-important starting point.

How about you? Which teacher traits do you think are the most important? Do you have others you would like to add?

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2 Responses to Traits of Successful Teachers

  1. mbblalock says:

    Poised? An effective teacher is flexible enough to handle hiccups or surprises yet appear very much in control of a situation. And when asked a question they don’t directly know the answer to, they react in a smooth manner. By appearing poised, they’re building trust with their audience.

    • Great comment! Yes, don’t fake it if you don’t know the answer. I tell my trainers to park the questions they can’t answer immediately, but to follow-up on getting an accurate response.

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