I’ve recently written two posts on the question: Should I Hire a Coach? and What Do I Look for in a Coach? After the first of these posts, I received a comment regarding something I had missed. It’s an important question for every leader, whether you’re looking for a coach or not. Today’s Challenge: Am I Coachable?
This is not a trivial question. Before any leader signs a contract with a coach, he or she should wrestle with this question. Here are a few items for you to consider.
Have I been willing and eager to respond to feedback I’ve received in the past? Look back at past performance reviews. Do you see patterns in the feedback? Are there issues you’ve failed to respond to? If so, why? If you’re unwilling to respond to feedback, you may not benefit from having a coach.
Do I REALLY want a coach, or is this something my boss wants me to do? This is not to say you shouldn’t do it if your boss wants you to. It’s more of a gut check – IF you are going to do it, can you open your heart and mind to the possibilities?
Am I willing to be honest with my coach? I liken this to going to a doctor and NOT telling him or her about your symptoms. Obviously, this would greatly hamper their ability to diagnose and prescribe appropriately. When my coach challenged me about my marriage a few years ago, I had to be honest with him – I didn’t know how to address the issues he identified. That was the first step toward a solution.
Am I willing to be honest with myself? Do you have a history of self-deception? Do you even know? I highly recommend the book, Leadership and Self-Deception. Get ready, it may rock your world – it did mine.
Do I have a coachable spirit? When confronted with observations about me, how do I respond? My friend, Ken Blanchard, taught me a valuable way to respond in the face of critical feedback. After the person is finished speaking, thank them and say, please tell me more. That’s the moment they’ll likely share the last 10% of the truth. They were probably holding back to see how you responded to the 90%. The real value is often in the last 10%.
Am I willing to do the hard work required to create and execute a plan for change? Coaching can be a catalyst for change, but it is not the change. You and I have the ultimate choice – what will I do with the coaching? We must ask, am I willing to humble myself, admit I need to improve and then, muster the discipline to change? I hope you will – I hope I will.
If we want to lead we must grow; if we want to grow, we must change. Coaching can help… if we’re coachable.