This article is part of The Ascender, the Highrise platform for articles and resources.

What is Coachability & How to be Coachable (10-Tips)

Andrew Langat
May 30, 2023
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"The only way to get better is to be open to feedback and to be willing to learn from your mistakes." - Michael Jordan

You might have heard of "uncoachable athlete or uncoachable employee." These are persons who, despite their talent, don't give room for constructive criticism or don't want to push out of their comfort zone, making it challenging to work with them.

Being uncoachable may deny you personal and professional growth opportunities, such as leadership.

For instance, let's take the example of Mary, a banking professional with stellar academic credentials who consistently passes the recruiting process but does not seem to last on roles.

Her teammates find her complex; she cannot manage-up or respond to feedback, and she consistently sees the need to change jobs. Perhaps Mary needs to look in the mirror and learn more about coachability and how to be a coachable employee.

Like Mary, are you uncoachable? What can you do to become more coachable? Read on to find out!

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What is Coachability?

Coachability is the ability to be receptive to constructive feedback and use it to improve. This skill can be learned through personal initiative or by working with a skilled coach. In the workplace, coachable employees possess a growth mindset and are willing to step outside their comfort zone.

Some traits of a coachable person include humility, the willingness to learn, accountability, and a positive attitude.

Such individuals can thus identify their blindspots and accelerate personal growth, enabling them to succeed in many life areas, be it business, the workplace, sports, or even personal development.

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How to Be Coachable: 10 Tips to Be Coachable

1. Listen actively.

Active listening involves paying attention to what the other person usually a coach is saying and showing that you understand. This involves asking questions, clarifying misunderstandings, paying attention, and summarizing what you have heard.

To be coachable, one must listen actively to the coach's feedback and try to understand and apply it. This establishes trust and enables you to connect more with your coach.

2. Be open to feedback.

Being open to feedback means being willing to receive constructive criticism and using it to improve oneself. It is normal to fear feedback, but this should not cloud your judgment.

This entails being objective and non-defensive when feedback comes your way. For example, you need to separate your personal feelings from feedback, no matter how unpleasant it might be. When you do this, you will recognize areas of improvement.

To be coachable, one must be open to feedback and view it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

3. Take action on feedback.

Taking action on feedback means using feedback to make meaningful changes and improve areas of weakness. This is one cornerstone of meaningful personal development.

For example, you might receive feedback like:

You must learn more about self-awareness to improve your relationships with your co-workers. This will assist you in knowing vital relationship management areas.

Acting on such feedback increases your coachability, assisting you in being a better person beyond your workplace.

4. Set goals and track progress.

Being coachable means that you can set goals and track progress. This allows for a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished and how far one has come.

As a rule of thumb, set SMART goals to enable you and your coach to assess your progress.

An example of a goal can be: I want to develop self-confidence that will enable me to contribute more to team initiatives.

To track the progress of this goal, you can use questions such as: What progress have I made since I started coaching? For example, do I know to speak confidently, am I able to handle feedback well? What behaviors have I improved on? Etc.

5. Maintain a positive attitude.

Maintaining a positive attitude means staying optimistic and motivated despite challenges or setbacks. Moreover, it means understanding that coaching is a process that does not deliver quick returns but rather offers guidance and requires commitment from both parties to succeed.

To be coachable, one must maintain a positive attitude and view challenges as opportunities for growth and improvement. This way, one can be more coachable and enhance their performance, increasing the chances of success.

6. Embrace personal development initiatives.

Personal development initiatives are a great way to improve your skills and knowledge and help you become more coachable. Some examples of areas you can improve on include self-awareness, journaling, practicing mindfulness, effective communication, and networking skills.

When you take the initiative to improve yourself, you show you are willing to learn and grow, improving your coachability.

7. Learn how to communicate.

Coachable employees have mastered the art of communication. This way, they can convey their thought processes logically as they point out where they need improvement.

Communication can be improved with a coach. You can practice this vital skill through continuous learning initiatives that will teach you how to choose a suitable communication medium, active listening, and be clear and concise.

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8. Be open-minded.

Open-mindedness is a key to coachability because it allows you to be receptive to feedback and suggestions that might be critical as well as vital for long-term success.

Furthermore, open-mindedness significantly improves your coachability as you will likely appreciate feedback and adapt. It is a key element in shaping a growth mindset.

Some useful tips for being open-minded include: being willing to learn, practicing empathy, challenging your beliefs, embracing curiosity, recognizing biases, and being able to listen to diverse perspectives.

9. Be humble.

Being humble is a sign of emotional intelligence and enhances your coachability. This critical trait enables you to identify your blind spots. Moreover, it improves your relationships with others, giving room for further growth and learning.

It is the opposite of arrogance and conceit, characterized by a hostile attitude that often masks low self-esteem and confidence.

To be humble and overcome your ego, you need to accept flaws and avoid the temptation to be defensive.

10. Avoid excuses.

To quote Benjamin Franklin:

"He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else."

To improve coachability, you need to cut down on excuses.

Remember that you don't have all the answers and making excuses derails you from arriving at a desired destination.

To limit your excuses and improve on coachability, do the following: take responsibility for your actions, have a strategy plan, ask for help during coaching sessions, and focus on the desired coaching outcome.

Other tips that will improve your coachability include: being willing to ask for help, being persistent, and being patient.

Inspiring, isn’t it ? Want to learn more about connecting self-awareness to professional development? Get in touch today.

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Try Highrise to Improve Your Growth Mindset

At Highrise, our tailored approach, offered by our experienced coaches, empowers clients to embrace vulnerability, set goals, and achieve transformative growth. This enhances coachability and willingness to embrace new ideas, enabling you to realize your professional goals.

Join us today and experience why folks from Airtable and Amazon embrace our coaching services.

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Andrew Langat
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Andrew Langat is an experienced content specialist in Leadership, Productivity, Education, Fintech, and Research. He is an avid reader and loves swimming as a hobby. He believes that quality content should be actionable and helpful.