How coachable are you?
Have you ever met people who are coachable, who have
• The mindset to constantly improve to the benefit of themself and/or their personal and/or professional environment
• The openness to seek, understand and accept feedback signals and feedback
• The ability to convert feedback into sustainable change in their behaviours, approaches, competences, and methods used.
What did you think of them? What would you like people to think of you? How coachable are you?
The Research of Zenger Folkman has proven that coachability is essential for everybody who wants to progress, not only in a management or non-management career but also in life. Their research demonstrates that coachability is a key source of success in all kinds of areas: from employee satisfaction to customer satisfaction to results.
Therefore, the answer to the question how coachable you are is highly relevant. It predicts how successful you are going to be in the future.
Much has been written on providing feedback; little on receiving, digesting, and acting on feedback; even less on benefiting from a flow of feedback over time, on coachability.
Let’s therefore look at 3 factors which define how coachable you are:
When preparing for a coaching session with the CEO of a very big company I read his 360° feedback report. It was so good I asked myself whether there was anything I could do to help this person improve. After few minutes into the conversation, I knew why this CEO was so respected and successful: he was keen on continuing improving, he invited, understood, and accepted feedback.
I also coached people who thought they were so good that coaching was a loss of time. When they got the 360° report many started explaining why the input received was not really valid, others thought it’s not brilliant but still acceptable. A different mindset was the reason why their managers, direct reports and peers were looking at them very critically; with obvious consequences for their career prospects.
Some people might not be coachable due to their mindset of:
• overconfidence, ignoring reality: My message to them: nobody is perfect, not even you. Your reality is how others see you.
• lack of self-confidence, they see themselves so far away from what they feel would be necessary that they don’t move: My message to them: you don’t need to be perfect. It is like with foreign languages you study: if you wait to use a language till you are perfect you will never speak it.
• complacency: My message to them, based on Zenger Folkman research: being good is not good enough.
2. Listen to, seek, and understand feedback
In whatever form you receive feedback, reflect to really identify what people liked, behaviour you should repeat and what they want you to improve. Remember: Where there is smoke, there is a fire.
3. Convert feedback into action
Feedback without action is like a diamond thrown away or a lifeline not grasped. Yet, this happens all too often, including to people who have the right mindset. Some reasons and remedies:
- No time to act: make time available to reflect and decide. Don’t let others and short-term pressure dictate your agenda. Define your objectives and then priorities to reach the objectives.
- Not organized or tendency to procrastinate: Use a planning tool to remind you of decisions you have taken, actions you have planned. Involve others in your efforts, tell them what you want to do differently.
- Don’t know how I can improve on a certain point: Ask others, make them your coaches, read, take lessons: learn.
Being coachable is key for progress and success. We need 3 attitudes to being coachable: Mindset – Openness and Ability to convert input into action. There are tools and approaches for each one of the three elements (only superficially covered here).
Start by reflecting what 1 – 3 areas you would like to improve on. What would this mean to you and your personal and/or professional environment? Then share your thoughts, intents, plans with people you trust. Make them your coach.