Are You Coachable?

Are You Coachable?

Successful people are coachable.  No matter how strong or weak their performance is in a particular area, they remain committed to continuous improvement and open to candid feedback.  They know that the purpose of the coaching process is to help them consistently live up to their highest potential.  The key question then becomes, what does it mean to be truly coachable?

Kevin Turner, COO of Microsoft, provided an example of being coachable in a speech to business school students.  Prior to joining Microsoft, Turner worked at Wal-Mart.  While meeting with David Glass, the then CEO of Wal-Mart, Turner said, “I want you to coach me to get better.”  Glass said, “Here are three areas where I want you to focus.”  An hour later, the two men were still on the first area because they were debating.

The first part of being coachable means actively listening to what the other person has to say to you.  It means letting them get all of their advice and feedback out without being interrupted.  Development and growth occurs when your capability and thinking are expanded.  Consequently, the fundamental test for being coachable is, if you debate with the other person during their advice or feedback, you fail.

Coaching is a gift.  It is another point-of-view for areas of development while gaining additional experiences and perspectives.  If, during the coaching process, you believe that the other person’s intent is to bring you down or hurt you, consider the source and move on.  Otherwise, give them the benefit of the doubt that they are providing you with the advice or feedback because they genuinely want to help you.

If you are not coachable, your potential will be limited.  Success requires continuous improvement.  Development and growth requires the help of other people.  The more you grow, the more value you can add to the business and others.  If you are not growing, you are not staying the same, you are atrophying.  You cannot give what you do not have.  Remember, even gold medal Olympic athletes need coaches.

The second part of being coachable is to wait 48-hours after the discussion to ask questions and provide counter-point.  Waiting 48-hours will help you actively focus on and listen to the advice and feedback.  It will also provide you with the opportunity to truly consider and internalize the information provided.  If, after the period, you want to respond, keep it fact-based, not emotional, to demonstrate executive maturity.

All contents copyright © 2010, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.


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