Are you coachable?
No really…. are you?
My hunch is that most of us will reflexively say yes. But the truth is that many people are not. This doesn’t mean these people can’t be coached; coachability is a choice. It’s not a fixed state. We can choose it anytime.
It isn’t enough to WANT something else/more/different. We also have to be WILLING to do and be what it takes to transform ourselves and our lives. It doesn’t always feel good. Coaching is about stretching and growing, so it often feels uncomfortable.
Sometimes coaching is downright triggering. In coaching, we’re asked to confront our belief system and ways of doing life, so as to create next level results. We’re getting outside of what we know and what we think we know, and it can feel (for lack of a better word) weird. It’s you vs. you…. Weird.
(NOTE: it should not be excruciating. If it is, consider lowering the gradient, seeking healing support in place of or in addition to coaching; finding a new coach).
What are the essential elements of coachability? Reasonable minds can differ, but here’s my stab at a “top ten.”
1. Curiosity- about yourself; others; the world around you.
2. Trust- in yourself to have the “answers”; in coaching to make a difference; in others; in the universe.
3. Vulnerability- being willing to take off the layers of armor in service of finding meaning, creating results, strengthening relationships, cultivating connection.
4. Courage- to challenge your perspectives; to take risks; to practice new ways of showing up in your life; to hear reflections and feedback as contribution rather than criticism.
5. Responsibility- ownership of your life; agency; really getting that YOU create your life experience and that YOU get to say how it goes; an inner knowing that you are capable of closing your gaps and achieving your goals.
6. Possibility- an empowered relationship with what is possible; a knowing that there is possibility outside of your comfort zone.
7. Partnership- a willingness to be in a collaborative, creative relationship with your coach; to generate awareness and actions that move projects forward.
8. Openness- to new ideas; to new perspectives; to possibility; to new ways of understanding yourself and the world around you.
9. Action- All the awareness and openness in the world will not lead to true transformation; you must be willing to do the work, to take on the practices, to carry the learning forward between coaching sessions, to put it into action.
10. Commitment- to your goals; to your growth; to your vision; to doing what it takes to close your gaps. Without deep and true commitment, progress will be limited. Your coach should not be more committed to you than you are.
*11. Humor- This one has an asterisk because I view it as the icing on the coachability cake, so to speak. This is the thing that makes the whole process just a little bit more fun. Life is serious and meaningful, AND it is incredibly useful to be able to bring levity into any transformational process. I highly encourage laughter in coaching.
Coaching is a powerful structure through which to create tremendous results. It works. My engaged clients have had breakthroughs galore and have achieved more than they thought possible when we began our journey. My coaching had “something” to do with these outcomes, no doubt. And, in the successful engagements, my clients were coachable.