Coachability Leads to Success

How do you handle investments for your organization? As CEO or part of the executive leadership team, sound decision-making is second nature to you so substantial investments require thought, due diligence, and consideration of the timing. You prepare before you act. Choosing to work with an executive coach is a significant investment that warrants the attention and careful thought. You may have reached the point where you recognize that you have to tap outside resources to accomplish your next level goals.

You may need space to think and an objective, neutral party to be your confidential sounding board. In other words, you may conclude that you need an executive coach.

Executive coaching is an investment in your professional and personal growth as well as an investment in the success of your company or non-profit. While coaching is known to increase awareness and produce transformations, it also is an investment, and like other investments, needs to be explored with discernment to ensure you are fully prepared to accept the adventure that lies ahead.

Assessing your own attitudes and receptivity to coaching is a first step toward a coaching engagement, and your willingness to tackle this preparation points toward your readiness, or coachability.

Our attitudes and attributes aren’t fixed. An individual’s level of coachability may vary over time with different circumstances and events. Thus, timing–in terms of readiness and attitudes—plays a part in achieving a successful outcome and receiving the maximum benefits from coaching.

Consider these points as you assess your personal readiness to be coached:

No pain, no growth

Change is frequently uncomfortable, especially when it involves breaking long-standing habits and routines. You’ll be making new pathways and practicing new patterns of thought and activity, so it’s important to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Like changing your golf grip, what feels awkward at first becomes familiar with practice and may bring clear benefits.

As you reflect on questions from your coach, you can expect to see situations—and yourself— differently and you may not like what is revealed. Honestly facing your flaws or areas that need improvement is a necessary part of the transformation process, despite the discomfort you experience.

Exploration, experimentation, and the inherent risks of trying new things

Coaching means that you’ll be trying new behaviors and approaches, testing to see the results, but not all will be successful the first time around. Part of the learning that takes place includes exploration of different solutions; experimentation helps identifying what doesn’t work as well as what does prove effective. You need the courage and willingness to get up and try again. As Brenda Steinberg notes in her HBR article “Are You Ready to Be Coached?” experimentation is an important part of the process, as are the risks that go with it.

Increasing self-awareness and understanding your own behavior

Many people enter coaching engagements to increase their self-awareness and improve their interpersonal skills. Self-awareness is fundamental to any lasting change as is a willingness to learn about the drivers behind behavior. A coach will help you peel off the polished mask that conceals the motivations that determine your actions. Applying the lessons learned from revealed truths also demands a sense of responsibility and willingness to be accountable.

Pair self-discipline with reflection

Self-discipline means staying the course even when it feels uncomfortable, being vulnerable enough to be teachable, and making the effort needed to build new—and more effective— routines and habits of behavior. It could mean setting new boundaries and delegating tasks you once automatically handled. Coaching involves moving from A to B; understanding where you are today and each stage along that progression requires reflection on what you are learning. The best and most successful coaching experiences occur when participants are prepared to participate and committed to cultivating the flexibility to change and self-disciplined enough to forge ahead.

Coaching helps you gain a new sense of perspective that leads to action and change. An executive coach asks questions that challenge assumptions, and that help you clarify goals and values; questions that reframe issues, help you plan courses of action. In a coaching relationship you receive vital feedback and have the opportunity for guided behavioral practice. The coaching relationship provides a safe place for open and honest discussion in a neutral, objective setting, a space where you can pause, think, and establish a plan.

Like any investment, it’s important to discern whether the timing is right for you to get the most out of the coaching experience. As Lillian Valdez points out, certain mindsets and attitudes interfere with attaining the full benefit of coaching and others help a person capture the full value of being coached. Prepare yourself with a warm-up stretch to evaluate your readiness, then hit your stride with the right executive coach. Take time to find the right fit; at RoundTable Consulting, we like to begin with a free consultation to gain a sense of how we could work together to accomplish your goals. Connect with me or give me a call to start the conversation.

My focus this fall is on helping people to stop spending time with people who don’t deserve their time, so they can better manage themselves and their teams. Is this you? Do you know anyone who could use this kind of help? I am currently interviewing for 1 or 2 client openings. Come discover what’s possible with me! Click here and let’s get the conversation started.


Nancy Owsianowski is the Founder of RoundTable Consulting where her relational, insightful approach transforms teams, leaders, and organizations.

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