Career coaches have emerged as a powerful class of professionals over the past few years, as the global financial crisis and its effects has determined numerous companies from around the globe to reconsider their investment focus. Instead of cutting overheads at all costs, many businesses realized it would be far more profitable to invest in their employees and into properly training them. Thus coaching, with its accompanying philosophy and industry was born. However, what experts warn human resources managers about is that coaching is not always the best option. That is to say that some employees are uncoachable. Yet, what does coachability mean – both for the employer, as well as for the employee? How can one become more coachable? Is honing this trait desirable? Find out more below.
Simple answers: what does coachability mean?
As the word itself would suggest, the answer to the question ‘what does coachability mean?’ refers to the trait of being coachable. Contrary to the postulates of positivist behavioral psychology, not everyone is coachable, either by design, or as a result of the negative circumstances in their careers and/or personal lives. Some are uncoachable because their persistently negativist attitude prevents them from truly benefiting from this practice on the training scene. Others don’t believe in finding a coach as a role model; others, still, simply opt for other career training methods and should not be coaxed into approving of a strategy which doesn’t come naturally for them.
Who should be coached?
You may have already guessed the answer to the above question: those people who are coachable and thus stand to benefit the most from this practice. Find below a ‘cheat sheet’ of traits to look in individuals whom you might consider apt for a coaching program. These characteristics essentially make up the quality of ‘coachability’, which can be broken down into the following attributes:
Open attitude to feedback
Since the coaching process involves a lot of exchange of feedback, in order for someone to qualify as coachable, they need to be open to hearing it. Not just listening to it, but actually hearing a qualified opinion on their qualities, shortcomings, and areas which could use some improvement. It is often the case that coaching subjects develop a defensive attitude when it comes to feedback and interpret it as criticism. It is important for an employee who genuinely wants to allow coaching to improve their performance to be prepared to take feedback at face value and with an open mind.
While a natural predisposition toward curiosity isn’t an absolute must for a coach to obtain good results, it certainly helps. That’s because coaching involves hearing someone else’s take on professional situations that you may believe you are an expert in. And everybody knows that experts don’t need any further training, right? As a matter of fact, this is false, since genuine expertise is honed through a life-long learning process. Similarly, the most coachable organization members are those who are open to lateral thinking, new approaches, and outsiders’ perspectives on their current professional situations.
Belief in change
Someone who is asking themselves ‘what does coachability mean?’ is likely to be open enough to such a process to be worth a shot. Their inquisitive nature indicates that they believe in the mutability of human nature, and in improving oneself personally and professionally. The opposite of such an attitude is persistence and a conservative approach to the process of personality construction. In order to change effectively, individuals should also believe in personal accountability, without which change cannot be implemented for the long term, or with durable results.
So, what does coachability mean to you? In the view of expert coaches, being the right candidate for a successful coaching experience entails numerous traits, such as openness toward sharing personal information that impinges on one’s professional life, as well as self-awareness. Ideally, the coaching beneficiary should be in tune with their own needs, but also with those of others around them. Self-reflection on the effects of one’s action is very important, as it helps one deal with all kinds of professional scenarios, no matter how unexpected. However, real life is often far from ideal, so if you feel you don’t hold all the above traits, you needn’t worry – chances are, you could still benefit a great deal from coaching.