How Coachable Are You?

Are you coachable? How coachable are you?

When coaches get together and trade shop talk, one of their favorite topics is who has the most “interesting” client from hell. Of course, few of them will admit such an openly negative thing publicly. But the truth is, they’ve all had at least one of those clients and usually more than one. In some cases, many more.

If you’re wondering what makes a “bad” client, this is where you find out. And if you’re a coaching client yourself, pay close attention to what I’m going to tell you. It could utterly change the results you’re getting.

So, what makes a “good” client? What characteristics make you a client that a coach just loves to work with?

1. Passion: Your enthusiasm and eagerness toward your goals are always at top levels. Your interest and motivation don’t fade; they remain consistently high.

2. Responsiveness: You promptly take suggestions on board, rather than passive-aggressively dragging your feet. In fact, if you’re in the top percentiles, you’ll grab your coach’s suggestions and run – no, you’ll gallop – with them, developing them further and faster on your own.

3. Initiative: You like to surge out of the starting blocks. While others are still pondering a new idea, you may have already outlined a set of products, written some of the sales copy and gotten started on a web site. Maybe you’ve also made several phone calls and lined up several presentations. You not only can’t wait to get started, you won’t wait.

4. Delegation: You know that a person who tries to do every single thing is already bogged down before even starting. Handing off parts of your project to specialists keeps things moving on all fronts. You avoid getting stuck in endless details. You recognize that “I don’t have enough money to hire things done” is just an excuse.

Oh yes it is. It may feel “true” but that’s because you’ve repeated it to yourself so many times you’ve lost perspective.

5. Ownership: You own your ideas, your projects, your goals. They’re a part of you. And you consider your coach an accountability partner and a source of new perspectives, rather than as a professional nag.

Of course, there are other characteristics, but if you have these five, or can acquire them, your coach will love working with you. Clients at this level are why coaches go into the business.

So what can you do if you don’t quite measure up? There are several things you can do, but we’ll get back to that in a moment.

First, however, let’s look at where you rank. Let’s use the ten-point scale that everybody knows. Rate yourself, one-to-ten, in each of the five areas. Be as honest and objective as you can. That means don’t fluff over obvious weaknesses, but neither should you be harsh and over-critical of yourself.

1. Passion: ____________
2. Responsiveness: _____
3. Initiative: ___________
4. Delegation: _________ 
5. Ownership: __________ 
Average: ______________

Got that? Good. Now do it again. Only this time imagine that you’re looking through your coach’s eyes, and rate yourself as he/she sees you. Again, be tough but fair.

1. Passion: ____________
2. Responsiveness: _____
3. Initiative: ___________
4. Delegation: _________ 
5. Ownership: __________ 
Average: ______________

Did you discover anything new the second time through? Any disappointments or pleasant surprises? How do those two rankings compare? Are you a five? An eight? A ten?

And if you found that you’re a ten, what’re you doing reading this post?

So, getting back to the question of what you can do to raise your coachability, my first advice is to concentrate your efforts. Maybe you see a bunch of things you’d like to change. That’s terrific, but don’t attack all of them at once. Even the great general Napoleon couldn’t fight wars on multiple fronts. Choose one point at a time and concentrate on that.

Also, do tell your coach what you’re doing. She’ll be delighted to help you with it, trust me.

When Benjamin Franklin wanted to become a better, more disciplined man, he made a list of thirteen “virtues.” But he only worked on one at a time. You probably should, too.

Next, use your head. You have at your disposal techniques like self hypnosis, visualization, NLP, and an armload of others that enable rapid change. Get familiar with them. Use them. You can shift the habitual thoughts running around in your head much farther and much faster than you might believe.

And of course, use your heart. Positive, joyous results just simply don’t come out of dark, gloomy, pessimistic expectations. Fill yourself with images of things that make you laugh and smile, that make you feel good. Do it so often that it becomes your natural first reaction to everything in your life. If that means bookmarking YouTube videos of cute kittens or babies or old comedy TV shows – whatever does it for you – work at it. Get it happening and keep it happening.

And yes, I recognize that if you do this, you’ll be taking responsibility for your own life and thoughts and feelings. This is what high-coachability tens do. What a concept, right?

Cheers from sunny Japan,


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