The Importance of Being Coachable

In the realm of sales coaching, there’s a lot of talk about the importance of being coachable: You can’t coach someone who doesn’t want to be coached. Or can you? And is being coachable something we’re born with, or, like most skills in business – is it something we can learn? Read to learn what coachable is – and isn’t – and why it’s important for anyone looking to grow in their career.

What Does It Mean to Be Coachable?

Coachability refers to someone’s willingness and ability to grow. Having a growth mindset is a core part of Agile, and it’s something I look for in the people I choose to work with.

Often, coachability is defined as the willingness to accept and incorporate feedback. I disagree with this definition, because of how it frames the coach-coachee relationship. I believe this puts an unfair burden on the coachee – to meet the expectations of their coach, rather than their own expectations and goals.

In my experience, I’ve found that the best results come when the coach-coachee relationship is a true partnership – where both partners commit equally to a shared definition of success.

Defining Success in Coaching

How do we define success? To me, success is helping my coachee be their absolute best – by guiding them on a path of self-discovery that teaches them how to leverage their strengths and overcome their challenges.

Success is not defined by whether my clients incorporate my feedback into their work. It’s defined by whether I have been able to guide them towards becoming more effective sales engineers, who get more consistent, better results. It’s whether the work we’ve done together has helped them reach their sales goals – not whether they’ve accepted my feedback.

Why Being Coachable Matters

As coaches, our job is ultimately to help our clients be more effective at serving their customers. It’s difficult to do this if our clients are convinced that their current “best practices” are, in fact, the best. This is why coachability matters. Coachability (defined here literally as the ability to be coached) begins with accepting the fact that everyone can improve, no matter how good we are. Coaches can only truly “work our magic” if we work with people who want to work. Who want to be open. Who want to be coached.

Coachees will only have valuable experiences if they make the experience valuable for themselves by jumping in with both feet. It isn’t just about being able to hear feedback. It’s about being open – to new experiences, perspectives, methods, tools, and ideas – so you can figure out what resonates with you. So you can keep what sticks and let go of what doesn’t, and ultimately, so you can grow into a more refined version of yourself.

As coaches, we also have to be open and engaged. We are not there to merely offer feedback at random checkpoints. Our role is to actively engage with our clients – to challenge them, offer our insights, and guide them toward their truth. Not ours. This is the difference between coaching and training – coaching is guiding people toward their goals. Training is telling people how to reach your goals for them. We need training in order to have consistency and direction in our sales teams. We need coaching to help teams (and the individuals within them) reach their full potential.

Want to learn more or discuss further? Contact me by filling out my contact form.