As a coach, I will be the first to tell you, I was not coachable. This was something I had to learn how to be. Not being coachable severely hinders reaching your potential and makes you look kinda like a dick. Whenever someone told me I was doing well, it went to my head. I would get super cocky. When someone told me I did something not so great, I would get butt-hurt. I would go so far as talking back, throwing fits, talking under my breath, etc. Point is, I thought I was too good. I thought I didn’t need anyone to help me get to where I want to be. I didn’t realize all the lessons I could have learned from coaches in the moment. It wasn’t until much later that I realized being closed off wasted a lot of time and effort. I sit here regretting that I let perfectly coachable moments go to waste. I want to help you become coachable so you can learn the essentials now and not have to look back and have regrets like I do.
Being coachable is very much a skill, one that takes practice to develop. It can also be applied to all aspects of life, not just sport. This skill can almost certainly be interchanged with being a good learner. The single most important trait to develop when becoming coachable is listening. “Too many people think with their mouth instead of listening in order to absorb new ideas and possibilities. They argue instead of asking questions.” Well said, Robert Kiyaski. Learning how to properly listen to what someone is saying and not making judgment based on your own preconceived notion is very important. We often see people seek out a coach and then try to tell the coach what’s up without having ever studied the field at hand. Do not be this person. If you don’t know, don’t think you know. Trust what the professional has to say.
Once you are listening, you can’t be on the defense. You have to be able to take constructive criticism. Think about it this way, people have no problem hearing all the things they’re doing well, “Nice job,” or “That looks great,” and “You’re so smart,” yadda yadda. Our society is conditioned to look for this type of approval. As soon as people are criticized to work on something, our defensive side kicks in. The immediate reaction is to counter this critique, shut down, and start making excuses. Look, it’s alright. Every single person on this entire planet has something to work on. No one is perfect. I know the immediate reaction to criticism can be to get defensive because it feels like an attack on you. In reality, this feedback on what to fix is far more beneficial to becoming better than all the good stuff you already do well.
Good listeners that refuse to get butt-hurt over hearing constructive criticism have one last step towards being fully coachable. The final step is to take the critical advice and apply it. Working on whatever it is that you need to improve on will help lead you to progress. Any coach anywhere loves seeing their student make progress, especially if it’s something the student worked on after they were given the feedback.
If you have a good coach, they really do want to see you succeed. If you don’t currently have a coach for anything, do not be scared or embarrassed by what they may have to say. It will all make you better. I think everyone should have a coach of some sort in their lives. Follow these rules to help make both your and their experience a great one.