Are You Coachable? by Jeanette S. Lopez

Most people would instantly say, “Yes. I am coachable”; However, not everyone really knows what the question truly means.

Ultimately, how well you hear and apply feedback determines whether or not you are “coachable.”

Here is a great definition on what it means to be coachable (from a great article on the qualities of coachable and un-coachable leaders): “Coachability is the willingness to be corrected and to act on that correction.” 1

Okay, so I ask you again; Are You Coachable??

Your background, your profession and your ego will ultimately determine that answer.

If you were fortunate enough to have parents that understood the power of team sports and they were not fanatical about any particular sport, you probably have had a well-rounded experience in the game of life as a child and are a coachable adult with more than likely success in your chosen career.

Those of you who did not experience this favorable curriculum might understand my story. Any sport or extra curricular activity was a void in my world growing up. My parents were both from families that did not follow team sports. My grandfather watched Bull Fighting from Spain on Sunday afternoons. As you know, that is a pretty solitary sport, just you and that bull in the arena… and you better be a Master at it.

My father, who never played any sports and having only daughters, had a great excuse to not ever have to become a sport-supporting dad. He felt sports were for boys and his role was just to be a doting protective father. My mother just assumed not allow us to have any after school activities because she was not home till 5PM from work and did not like the thought of her girls hanging out “unsupervised”, while she was working.

So cheerleading, choir, theater or any activity that required travel was just out of the question. Although I knew that I was really missing out on a lot of fun, I just accepted the rules and focused on my homework. That easy-going nature kept the peace at home; but looking back and evaluating my struggles as a leader, I realize why I had such a tough go at it.

I was that girl who was always the last one picked at PE sports. I was usually just in it to have fun and truly did not have a competitive spirit at all. I was usually the kid picking daisies in the field and getting hit by the ball that I would never notice flying towards me.

My self-esteem at school really suffered as the other kids realized that I had a real “lack of team spirit”.

I completed my high school years as a very studious “loner” who out of necessity developed my own sense of style and grew apathetic to the concept of following anyone’s “lead” in anything.

As fate would have it, I married a “Non-Sports” fan and we lived blissfully enjoying outdoor activities that only required the two of us, sailing, hiking, etc. I did not like the corporate world, so we became entrepreneurs and lived life on our terms, always.

It was only after becoming a Parent that I developed my understanding for the importance of sports in a child’s life. A child really gets to experience what life is like when you put him in team activities. They begin to develop the skills needed later in life. The gentle and sometimes not so gentle coaching from other adults throughout your child’s maturing years prepares him for the real world and how to handle feedback. Since we did not encourage little league, boy scouts or any other team oriented activities; my firstborn was content spending lazy afternoons on the beach with me. My youngest son changed everything! Right from the

beginning, he was determined to play in every activity that was offered. He has pretty much tried every sport all the way through high school. However, in spite of his team spirit at every game, he also had a very gentle side to him and was always yelled at by his coaches and other parents for not playing defense or offense aggressively. Today, my youngest excels in Music and Theater and is an acknowledged leader at school while my oldest struggled in team-like settings and is an introvert.

Your profession will also mold your leadership and coach-ability skills. In truth, you simply cannot be a “Coach” of anything until you have been coached yourself. The experience that you receive while learning any skill, either as a kid growing up in a sport supporting family or as an adult developing into a leadership role might determine how you treat others. It simply is up to every individual and their emotional quotient (EQ).

Being coachable, according to Forbes, will have the following characteristics…

Humility… coachable people understand that the “important things we need to learn require fundamental changes in our behavior and outlook.”

Willingness to Surrender Control… “unwillingness to surrender control is the single biggest reason for the lamentable fact that most authentic change is precipitated by a crisis.”

Faith in the Process… coachable people understand that “the benefits of change are often only obvious after the change has occurred …usually things get worse before they get better.”

The above three characteristics are just a few examples that will reveal whether your ego will ever allow you to become coachable. You either acquire these traits early on in life gently and methodically through a balance of nurturing and team sports; or you are forced to experience all three out of pure necessity by having your back against that proverbial wall.

As a self-proclaimed 27%’er and Personal Development Life Coach; I will be the first to admit, that my journey to reach a successful networking career has not been an easy one due to having to learn how to be “COACH-ABLE”.

When I stopped trying to do everything on my own and I began to invest in myself with countless hours of personal development webinars, seminars and books, I realized that I still lacked the success that I wanted so badly.

I had Humility notched deeply in my belt; I had the Faith in the Process of my learning absorbed into my soul and psyche, but I needed to Surrender Control and allow someone who knew me to evaluate my weaknesses and help me become who I am today. Trust me when I say, I am STILL a WORK IN PROGRESS… but loving the results so far!

ˈēɡō/ Noun 1. A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.

Your ego can either be a positive or a negative contributor to your success in any aspect in life. Having a high self-esteem is great and if we are self-learners, we are reminded often to maintain a level of high self-esteem. This would be your “conscious” mind, the part of your identity that you would consider “Self”. The practice of reminding your conscious mind that you are capable of learning more by maintaining a level of self–esteem actually keeps you open to receiving feedback and be able to process it to increase your success. However, if someone is said to have a “Big Ego”, they are reflecting an inflated pride in their superiority to others, thus creating a mental and emotional “block” for accepting any coaching at all.

+Leadership development requires the awareness of “self” in any situation.

One must evaluate every situation that requires some form of leadership and determine if he/she is intellectually, emotionally and even physically prepared for the job. And if not, then having the right balance within one’s ego to seek out instruction and coaching becomes crucial for success in any arena in life.

So Where Are YOU in the playing field of LIFE? Are you sitting in the outfield wondering why no one is cheering you on? Are you sitting on the bleachers, believing that you do not have what it takes to become successful? Or are you participating in the game and maintaining an open mind to coaching at all times? If you are reading our articles, then you are definitely open to Leadership Development and coaching!

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 Are You Coachable? by Jeanette S. Lopez



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