In a survey of 20,000 new hires, a staggering 46% failed to achieve their expected potential. The main reason (for 26% of new hires) was a lack of coachability, that is, the ability to accept feedback from bosses, colleagues, customers and others. This issue is not just limited to new hires. You might not be promoted because you plough your own furrow, regardless of the opinions of others. You may not be included on an important project because you are not open to constructive criticism. Your direct reports may not give you the feedback you require to become a better manager. Coaching works upwards, sideways and downwards, formally and informally. In the views of many experts, coachability is the most important management skill for top executives the world over. So, what makes a ‘coachable’ person, and how can you become one?
Humility. “True merit, like a river, the deeper it is, the less noise it makes” (Edward Halifax). Open yourself to others and realize that you can’t beat the world on your own, accept that you are not perfect and be open to real change. Humble people are approachable. You would be more likely to offer feedback to a humble person than an over-confident person. Only the truly humble can ask “How am I doing?” and really care about the answer.
Commitment. Proactively seek advice, accept responsibility for your life, and be willing to step outside of your comfort zone. Effective coaching requires that you have the motivation to try new things, form new habits, and be dedicated to the process. People who lack motivation aren’t going to be very inclined to seek out coaching, let alone stick with it
Self-Awareness. If you are reading this article, you probably have a fair amount of awareness about yourself. Use it to reflect on your behaviour and how it impacts other people in the range of situations that come your way. Have the desire and aptitude to increase awareness of your strengths, weaknesses, emotions, patterns and behaviours and how these traits impact your results.
Willingness To Learn. Coaching is all about learning new behaviours, learning to think in new ways, and learning skills that you didn’t previously possess. A willingness to learn, in turn, usually indicates a natural flexibility. You should be ready to take on advice, try new ways of doing things, and be open to modifying the way you interact with people.
Faith. Most people tend to not want to give up control unless they see results first. In a coaching relationship, you only get results if you are willing to surrender this control from the very beginning. Faith in your coach is the key, and no matter how much experience your coach has had, this is often a blind faith to start with. Take the leap. Life is such that it must be lived forward and only understood backwards.
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