He was educated at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.
During the American Revolutionary War, he served as a colonel in the Virginia militia. Nevertheless, he ran for the United States House of Representatives, serving in Congress from 1789 to 1791. He was also elected to the House in 1792 and 1794, serving from March 4, 1793 to March 3, 1797.
Coles died on his plantation, Cole's Hill, near Chatham, Virginia in 1813 and was buried in the family cemetery there. 1789; Coles was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives unopposed. 1793; Coles was re-elected unopposed.
1795; Coles was re-elected with 36.76% of the vote, defeating Independents Simon C. McMahon and Matthew Clay.
In 1780 and 1781 as well as 1783–1788, he was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. As a member of the Virginia Ratifying Convention assembled in June 1788, Coles opposed ratification of the United States Constitution.