Coachability is a word most of us know through sports.
My best skill was that I was coachable. – Michael Jordan
As a result, there is likely a relatively widespread, intuitive definition that exists. But surprisingly, there are very few broadly objective definitions to refer to.
Given the rise of coaching as a management methodology, coachability is a quality that deserves a good definition. So we’re going to take a stab at it – starting from what we all know it looks like.
What does coachability look like in practice?
First and foremost, coachable people show initiative. They try harder than most. And they aren’t self conscious about showing their drive.
They are accountable to their coach and team members. They listen well. In fact, they seek to find their responsibility in any situation.
They are flexible, able to take feedback constructively from anyone. They manage their emotions and stay focused on what matters.
They don’t just do what they are told. They are willing to try ideas out, keep the ones that work, and throw away the ones that don’t.
They don’t try to hide their imperfections. They have the humility to share their skills or thinking openly, flaws and all. In fact, they invite it.
And they have the self control and resilience to push through failures and setbacks. They know that failures are valuable learning experiences, not something to be ashamed of.
The more coachable someone is, the less it matters how they are coached and who is doing the coaching. Learning is always occurring.
You could try to map coachability to other popular definitions – grit and growth mindset both come to mind.
But there is a simpler, more profound definition. These behaviors match the behaviors of an emotionally mature person. They are demonstrating the ability to prioritize values over emotions while learning.
We believe the best definition of coachability is embracing learning with emotional maturity.
What other characteristics to you think define coachability?