Are you coachable?
Just as being change-ready is the first step in any change management process, being open to personal development is a prerequisite for effective coaching outcomes and as well as a leadership skill.
According to a recent study quoted in Forbes and based on results from over 50,000 leaders the correlation between coachability and leadership ability is undeniable.
Yet the opportunity to undertake developmental coaching - develop our knowledge base, augment our job skills and enhance our career prospects isn’t always leveraged to its full capacity. When offered the opportunity, how many of us look inside ourselves with honesty and candour to make sure we are ready for coaching? And how would we make that assessment of ourselves?
Forbes magazine suggests that coachable people share certain distinct character traits: One of these is humility. From humility, we learn that there are things we need to do that we cannot do on our own. It teaches us that learning requires fundamental changes in our outlook and behaviour. Humility requires a change of heart as opposed to a change of mind.
A second trait is an action bias. Effective coaching requires you to do the work. You need to adopt the mindset that you are prepared for the effort it is going to take. No goofing off – no shortcuts.
We also need to be prepared to surrender control. It is said that the reason most of us need coaching in the first place is to give up control. And finally, faith. Often, the benefits of change are only really understood after the change has happened. Life must be lived forward and understood backward. That’s the way it is.
Otto von Bismarck once said, during a heated parliamentary debate: “…a fool learns from experience. A wise man learns from the experience of others”
To be coachable means having the ability to listen. Obvious, really, but how many of us truly practice this fine art? (Link to listening skills video)
It also means being someone who understands that life is about sharing the stage and being aware of not just one’s own surroundings but the needs of others in those surroundings. These individuals, who know and admit they have weaknesses and understand themselves are able to learn from their mistakes. As a result, they take direction much more easily than are people who want the spotlight and see themselves as being smarter and more deserving than others on that stage.
Being coachable also entails understanding that there are at least two sides to every story and knowing the value and freedom of not being judgemental. It is far easier to grasp the reality of any given situation when you have no attachment to the outcome.