Are You Coachable? Change This One Thing for Better Results

Do you know what makes an effective coaching relationship?

It’s not necessarily a good coach. You need to be coachable.

Being coachable is a surprisingly uncommon skill. The truth is that many people don’t want help changing — they want a coach to tell them they’re fine as they are, or to agree with their versions of why things are going wrong in their lives.

The problem with this attitude is that most of us have blind spots that are seriously holding us back when it comes to our lives and our careers. The role of a coach is to turn your attention to those spots, but if you won’t listen, you can’t overcome them.

How to know if you’re resisting being coached

Of course, one big blind spot many people have is about how coachable they are. You may think you’re the model coaching client or mentee — but are you?

Listen for these phrases next time someone gives you advice or criticism. (You may either speak them aloud, or hear them inside your own head).

  • I already know all this
  • That won’t make a difference
  • He/she doesn’t understand what I’m trying to do
  • That worked for him/her, but it won’t work for me
  • I don’t need to listen to this

If any of these phrases pop into your head or out of your mouth, you’re not making yourself open to advice. Instead, next time you’re in a coaching situation, make the decision to have a truly open mind.

The biggest trait of coachable people: A growth mindset

In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck talks about the difference between people who have a “growth” mindset versus a “fixed” mindset.

The former, she writes, see their skills and abilities as something they can change and develop. The latter see them as a fixed trait.

For example, a student with a growth mindset believes she can become better at math by studying harder, whereas someone with a fixed mindset believes she is simply bad at math and stops trying.

Asking for help with math becomes difficult for the student with the fixed mindset, because she believes it reflects poorly on her personally to “not be good at math.” The student with the growth mindset, on the other hand, has little trouble asking for help. In her mind, a willingness to learn and grow is an asset, not an admission of failure.

When you approach coaching with a growth mindset, you’re removing pride from the equation. Instead of letting your ego be wrapped up in whether or not you know it all, you’ll make yourself be open to asking insightful questions, receiving honest feedback, and making positive changes.

Being coachable is a vulnerable, humble state. But choosing a growth mindset and receiving feedback without pride will help you grow by leaps and bounds.

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I am currently writing my first book, All Leaders Make Mistakes. Read the introduction on LinkedIn Pulse. Comments always welcome.

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