Coachability isn’t a word, really, but managers, leaders, and mentors are using it more and more. In fact, if I had to use one word to describe the traits of people destined for repeat success, 6 days out of 7 it would be “coachability.”
As I wrote in my previous post, you might win once or even a couple of times by hitting a certain level of skill or knowledge. But you won’t achieve new, bigger, more thrilling and fulfilling goals unless you keep improving. How?To keep improving, you have to be coachable. Click To Tweet
Being coachable is how you show the world that you have a hunger to get better and are willing to put in the effort. Attracting the best coaches also dramatically changes your rate of progress. Learning from people who have already won helps you acquire the fundamentals faster and grants you access to their unique insights—insights they gained by putting in 10,000 hours.
Proverbs 13:20 says it all: “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
According to Leadership IQ, if you aren’t coachable, it’s also tough to make a successful job move. They conducted a three-year study of 20,000 hiring decisions and asked, Why do 46% of new hires fail within a year and a half? The number one reason from hiring managers was lack of coachability. If you have big career advancement goals, you had better learn to be coachable, and show that trait to others.
Here are three tips that can help you send the message that you’re coachable to the people who matter most: the most successful people in your organization, group, community, or industry.
People are usually afraid to admit that they haven’t always been the perfect package—super capable and competent. Talking about coaching you have received implies that you needed it, which means that you weren’t great at something or maybe—the horror!—you’ve actually made mistakes.
Guess what? Everybody knows. So just admit it.
To be coachable, you have to be humble and willing to admit that you need to improve. Talk to influencers and the more successful people in your network about changes or challenges that required you to take on new responsibilities, learn new skills, re-evaluate your strengths, or grow in some other way.
The first ingredient I look for in a team member or a potential mentee is not only their willingness to be coached, but their eagerness and appreciation for it. It tells me that they’ll work with me, that every point of potential improvement won’t be an arm wrestling match. Also, leaders who have something valuable to offer—experience, knowledge, winning systems—don’t want to waste it on people who won’t use it to make progress.
If you hint that you thought coaching you’ve received in the past was unnecessary or lacked value or that the person’s assessment of your skills was flawed, you’ll come across as rigid and inflexible. Coaches know you can’t help people who are unwilling to be helped, so you have to be careful even in casual conversation not to give that impression. Instead, talk about the value of past coaching and how you engaged with your mentor or coach to keep growing.
Being coached isn’t a passive activity. You have to actually do something with what you’ve been given. When highly coachable people are given a few ideas or insights, they get excited and get back to work. They ramp up their activity, and their own intuition and learning kicks in as they apply the information in a variety of situations.
Mentors and coaches are not impressed by people who pepper them with endless questions and then do nothing. They are impressed by people with focused questions who use the answers to spring into action.
When the opportunity presents itself, be sure to talk about how you took the coaching you’ve received in the past further, on your own. It shows that you are not only coachable but also willing to use the input to improve and become more productive.
Prove you have that rare coachability trait and you’ll peak the interest of the best coaches and mentors—and that will make a huge difference in your career and life success.
I love hearing stories of great coaches—people who have made a big difference in others’ lives. If you’ve got one, please share it in the comments below.
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