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Are you coachable?

Being a leader is about more than being responsible for those in your care. Being a leader means constantly improving yourself and your leadership style, which may require help. The best leaders are also learners and can receive critique and advice well. Some may call this coachability. And it will surprise no one reading this that coachability is all about asking the right questions. 

How do you become more coachable?

Being coachable is easier when we are young. Our minds are in a constant state of learning and absorbing new information. But as we grow older and more confident in our ideas, we begin to stray away from coachability. We become comfortable. We become complacent. We become averse to risk and annoyed by advice or encouragement. So how do we combat this? How do we get past frustration with our lack of growth and move beyond our current plateau?

The first two steps to becoming more coachable are: 1) Wanting to get better and 2) being willing to change. We must be willing to take advantage of the experiences, advice, wisdom, or encouragement of those who could share the tools and insights to make our climb far more successful.

What questions should you be answering?
In order to see the positive results that coachability will deliver, as well as inspire change and growth, you should first work through answering questions that require you to reflect on your goals. But you can't do this alone! It's best to ask a friend to have coffee or a meal with you every week to ask you 3 questions:

  • You said that by today you wanted to do X.
    • How has that gone?
    • What have you learned?
    • Where can you put that into practice?  (or how can you create a practice opportunity for yourself?)
    • What are your next steps?
  • When do you want to meet again?
  • What do you want to accomplish by then?
Once you've established a habit of introspection with your partner, your friend can expand their questions to cover more details of your life in some of the categories listed below:
  • Hunger
    • What specifically do you want?
    • Where do you want to be, and by when?
    • What would "success" look like for you?
    • Who are you trying to impress?
  • Honesty
    • Where are you NOW?
    • What "numbers" accurately measure your desired performance?
    • What obstacles exist to achieving the success you seek?
    • What does the team need (how does your performance impact others)?
  • Humility
    • What weakness do you NEED to admit?
    • How do you respond to mistakes or criticism?
    • Who are a few valuable mentors that you can learn from?
    • Who do you need to appreciate more?
  • Habits
    • What will you DO differently?
    • What are you doing occasionally that you will now do consistently?
    • What things are current distractions that you will stop doing?
    • How will you acknowledge your progress?

How do you inspire others?
Your organization – your future – depends on you staying coachable. Your ability to adapt and develop yourself and your team determines the level of sustained success you will be able to accomplish. If you want to reach and inspire people who only seem willing to do things THEIR WAY, the most effective way to lead is with meaningful and thoughtful questions.

Whether you're trying to get to know someone new, learn more about an old acquaintance, or simply ask for directions, questions can get you the answers you seek. But you must be bold, confident, and patient.

Andy Stanley: “You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without a coach, you will never be as good as you could be.”  

All my best,

Bob Tiede

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