In my consulting and coaching business, I often ask potential clients the question “are you coachable?”
It is amazing how many times the prospect says “well, yes I believe I am.” After a few sessions with input and feedback, it becomes apparent they really are not coachable.
How do I know? It manifests itself in many ways.
The Athlete’s Edge
To find good examples of being coachable we can look directly at athletics where the concept of coach and student are most notable.
When you explore the story of the truly great athletes (think Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant), you will find stories of tireless pursuit of perfection. Regardless of the season they just had, these guys worked relentlessly to improve their stamina, skills, and techniques.
Jerry Rice, football great and now, NFL Hall of Famer was being interviewed. He was on the driving range at a celebrity golf outing. Rather than merely slap some golf balls around, he was on the range with both his caddy and a coach. When shots were not going the right place he was asking for guidance and advice.
Golf isn’t even his game, yet the discipline of looking to perfect a skill was at work. His desire to do well at whatever endeavor was before him drove his will to be better. That’s being coachable.
Here are a few thoughts about deciding if you are truly coachable.
First, do you routinely seek advice and counsel to improve some aspect of your professional or personal life? Or have you learned it all and know it all?
Next, when you get advice do you act on it, following through with using the information to achieve more? Or do you discount the information and talk yourself out of action?
Lastly, do you seek follow-up from the coaching source to be sure you understood the coaching and that you are properly performing the actions that were recommended? Or do you move on without ever doubling back for refining advice?
If your current professional or personal situation is not producing the results you expect, then perhaps some coaching is needed. But before you simply engage a coach, ask yourself whether you are truly coachable.