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.