Are you coachable?

August 21, 2009

Continual learning is a basic necessity to professional improvement and in many cases it’s other people who will help you get there. But only if you’re coachable. Are you?

To be coachable means to be:
• Approachable
• Attentive
• Receptive
• Curious
• Objective
• Trusting
• Shape-able
• Confident

It means you must listen with the intent to learn rather than to show what you know (exactly the type of listening required in the sales process). To be coachable means to lack arrogance and defensiveness, to minimize pride and ego. Completely teachable. Completely trainable. Completely malleable. Is there anything more frustrating than the know-it-all in the room? To be completely perfect, to need no more training or coaching is to stagnate or die – and in many cases, to be dismissed. To know everything is to be unbelievable. The best professionals at all levels (and in most fields) require coaching to improve and they know it. Are you one of them? Check yourself with the 8 points below. Sales managers: How much development attention are you giving to your team? 20% of your week would be a full day of nothing but development time. 40% would be two full days, beginning to end. Salespeople: Don’t have a “coaching” manager? Consider finding a development partner. Here are some ideas on getting started.

Good Questions To Ask: A quick 8-point check on your coachability:
Which of these are true and to what extent?
1. I usually allow my manager and others to complete their sentences before responding. (If you don’t, it’s not a good sign.)
2. When I’m given feedback/ criticism, I usually think about it before responding, waiting just a bit. (If you don’t, you’re likely not giving it real consideration.)
3. When I’m given feedback/ criticism, I rarely find myself defending a position or action immediately. (If this is true, you’re probably trying to really learn how you can improve.)
4. When I’m given feedback/ criticism, I ask questions about it in order to try to better understand it. (A good sign.)
5. I feel my work’s purpose is to serve my external customers. (”You’re gonna have to serve somebody.”– Bob Dylan)
6. I feel my work’s purpose is to serve my internal customers (managers, colleagues, other departments).
7. I’ve changed/revised my position/approach because of the advice of another individual. (If not, how coachable do you really think you are? No one is always right.)
8. My manager invests time in my professional development (If s/he doesn’t, it might be because of a perception that you’re uncoachable).

There’s no rating scale here. These questions are simply meant to raise awareness when answered objectively and truthfully.

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