How Coachable Are You?
By Nancy Zwiers
A life-long mentor, I decided during the pandemic to get certified as an Executive Coach. Now with more than 200 hours of coaching under my belt, I want to take moment to talk about my insights on coachability--what it means to be coachable.
First, mentoring is different than coaching. Mentoring is about giving advice and support. Conversely, coaching is about asking powerful—and sometimes challenging--questions to help my clients reach the answers and insights they need to reach new heights.
Some of my clients grow in more profound ways than others. What accounts for the difference is how coachable my clients are. So, what factors play into coachability?
Some clients want to get promoted; some want to cultivate more confidence and ease with how they fulfil their role; some want to delve into career planning and/or lead up to a transition; some of my entrepreneurial clients want to see their business grow; almost all of my clients want to improve high stakes relationships.
Ideally, my coaching client and I will have both an overarching goal for the 6-month contract and also have individual session goals. I want to be able to ask at the end of a session—“Did you achieve your goal for this session?” and hear my client say yes.
In the course of a coaching session, I gain insights as to what follow-up activities would help my client progress more rapidly in the direction of their goal. I assign homework that might involve reading or writing something, or having a needed conversation, or doing a personal assessment of some sort.
In keeping with the axiom “No pain, no gain,” growing as a human being is hard work. Not everyone is willing to do what is necessary to outgrow their current self. Some of the biggest leaps in my clients have experienced is when they confront personal barriers to success. We are all a bundle of strengths and weaknesses; we all have unspoken fears about our possible shortcomings. A willingness to acknowledge where we may be our own worst enemy is essential for transformative growth.
”Sometimes, you must hurt in order to know, fall in order to grow, lose in order to gain, because life’s greatest lessons are learnt through pain.” – Nagato
It can make us feel vulnerable when we do not know the answers, but my clients that create the most value out of our sessions don’t pretend to have the answers…it’s the questions we are willing to ask that lead to new insights. This is harder than it sounds; I know I have been guilty of wanting to dwell on areas that I know well, and shy away from areas that make me feel like I don’t know something that perhaps I should.
Everyone benefits from creating the time and space in their lives to work on themselves and elevate their game, which is what coaching is all about. How much you get out of coaching depends on this—how coachable are you?
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