We all know that managers need to coach their employees, but how can employees become more coachable? Effective leaders are more like coaches, leading their employees toward career development, ultimately, greater job satisfaction. While managers help lead their employees to accomplish their goals, coachable employees are part of this vital part of the equation.
“Coaching must be focused on what the person being coached wants to achieve,” she says. “It can be a mutual goal that benefits both the leader and the employee, but leaders need to be careful. The problem is if the employee isn’t ready to be coached. That could be due to doubt or fear about the outcome.” -Behavioral scientist and ICF master certified coach Marcia Reynolds, author of Coach the Person, Not the Problem: A Guide to Using Reflective Inquiry.
Whether it’s from a professional coach, a manager, or a peer, being coachable is a crucial aspect of continuing to grow as a professional at any level, says Reynolds. To be coachable, you need to have three critical traits:
Be open to exploring beyond the surface.
Be open to being coached. A willingness to try is crucial to have a working relationship with your manager to succeed. It’s important to be willing to explore what you don’t know so your manager can help you achieve your goals and hone your professional skills.
A passionate desire to pursue and fulfill your professional goals.
Although you might need a willingness to try, you must desire to sustain the relationship over time with your manager to reach success and build on professional progress. Possessing a passionate desire to pursue and fulfill your professional goals will help sustain your willingness even when you encounter obstacles and failures.
Courage to be vulnerable.
Achieving goals takes courage, even if you are willing and have the desire. To be coachable, you must dig deeper and uncover the root of your fears and the cause of what stops you. When you’re able to explore each fear, you’ll often find that they’re baseless.
While all three traits are necessary, a lack of courage is often the stopper for becoming coachable. Even if you’re willing and have a desire, when it comes down to the deciding moment, fear may stop you from following through.