Client: “I think he’s willing to be coached.”
Me: “But is he coachable?”
Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “coachable” as “capable of being easily taught and trained to do something better.”
Which makes a certain amount of sense. After all, why do you hire a coach? To do something better, right? A tennis coach teaches you to be better at tennis, a golf coach teaches you to be better at golf, a business coach teaches you to be better at business, and so on.
But what does it take to be easily taught and trained? It isn’t a matter of intellect. I’ve encountered a lot of brilliant entrepreneurs who were not coachable.
It isn’t about experience, talent or skill level, either. It isn't even about willingness to accept coaching.
There are a lot of people who say they want a coach, many of them go so far as to hire a coach, but that doesn’t always translate to anyone getting better at anything.
Coachability is all about belief.
Related: Are You Coachable?
You have to believe in your goal
Every coach has a story about the client who hired them to reach a specific goal, but came prepared with a mile-long list of reasons why that goal was forever out of reach.
One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make when hiring a coach is to make the coach responsible for overcoming all those internal objections. Your coach is there to teach and train you to be better at overcoming your own objections. They aren’t there to convince, persuade, or Svengali you into a breakthrough.
I call those lists “brick walls,” and I see a lot of entrepreneurs beating their heads against them. But banging your head while reciting your list of “but I can’t because” does not make you coachable.
Why would you be so attached to a list of “can’ts” that you “can’t” believe in your goal? Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of ridicule, fear of missing out. Whatever the fear, if you aren’t ready to release it in favor of your goal then you are not ready to work with a coach.
Most of all, you have to believe your goal is significant. If you don’t think it really matters, to you, to your clients, or to the world, then never mind “can’t,” you simply won’t. Because no one puts much energy into anything they think doesn’t matter.
(Of course, to believe in your goal you have to have a goal. Your coach can help you with that too. If you’re coachable.)
You have to believe in yourself
You have to believe in yourself enough to invest in yourself. Not just the obvious investment of hiring a coach, but the investment of time, energy, and emotion to work with that coach; because getting better isn’t just a result of teaching and training, it’s a result of practice and dedication.
You have to believe in yourself enough to be patient with yourself. You have to believe in yourself when it seems like you’re getting worse instead of better. You have to believe in yourself when you feel overwhelmed and underprepared. And you have to believe in yourself when other people ask why you haven’t gotten there yet.
Related: Can Coaching Help Your Business?
You have to believe in yourself so much that you’re willing to be wrong. Drastically, totally, earth-shatteringly wrong. You have to believe in your ability to be wrong and learn from it, or you will spend so much energy defending yourself or blaming someone else that you won’t have any energy left to get better at anything.
You have to believe in yourself enough to take total responsibility for everything in your life. People who are “easily taught and trained” accept their responsibility and own their outcomes.
You have to believe in your coach
No coach is the right coach for everyone who wants a coach. If you don’t believe in your coach’s ability to help you get better at whatever you are working on with them chances are you won’t improve, no matter how good they are at coaching or how coachable you are in every other respect.
You have to believe in your coach’s ability to respect you, to connect with you, to teach you, train you and support you during the process. More than that, you have to believe in your coach’s intention and integrity, because hiring someone you don’t trust and believe in will undermine your belief in yourself.
You have to believe in easy
While there may not be an “easy button” for life, the more coachable you become the more easily (and quickly) you will learn to be better. At tennis, golf, business, or life.