TWO WAYS TO BE MORE COACHABLE
I’m Doing It My Way.
How this uncoachable leader turned it around… almost.
I’m doing it my way.
I know what I’m doing.
I have my Master’s degree.
I know best.
This is what I said for a long time.
It’s funny that I am writing about how to be coachable when I am one of the least coachable people on the planet. And it’s because of those sentences above. I thought, and still sometimes do think, I know best. My way is the right way.
As it turns out, my way may not be the right way. At least maybe not as much as I thought.
So, all those things above are true. I know I am smart. I know I have good ideas. I’m well educated. I’m a business owner. I’m really good at what I do. And being coachable was not something I thought I needed to be. I love being the coach. Telling others what to do. Listening to others, that is the hard part.
I’m a type A personality, as so many business owners are. I’m sure you can relate. The reason we go into business for ourselves is that we love being the boss. We have the ideas. We take joy in being in charge. So how can you be coachable if being coachable really isn’t you?
Here’s what I’ll say. Being coachable is always a work in progress. I’m here from a humbling place at the bottom to share with you what I have learned so far and how it has helped me. Hopefully, you can learn a little from my mistakes.
Does it sound like I’m asking you to be coachable right now???
You can do it. Fight the urge to close your laptop. I promise it will not be too bad.
“I’ve got this. I’m going to soar to the top.”
And I did. For the first three months of starting my network marketing business. Then I got stuck. Here is where I messed up. In trying to get unstuck I just got myself stuck deeper. And much of that was from being uncoachable. I kept thinking my own ideas were going to be the best. They were going to get me unstuck. I had leaders above me telling me … here’s what works, here are some ideas…. But that instinct in me that said I can do it on my own kept creeping in. My pride and independence pushed me to do my own thing.
I pushed back on coachability, a lot. Leaders tried to lead me. I put up walls, I got defensive.
Here I was, turning it into my way or the highway.
So after, 2 ½ years of being in a bit of a rut, I had a come to Jesus moment. Something needed to change. And that thing was me.
The best way of doing things was already out there. People for the last 5 years in my company had figured it out already. Isn’t that why I got into this business? Because there was a system. Because it was something that had the opportunity to work so great for so many? And I had the opportunity to latch on to that and go far and still be able to do some things my own way. What was I doing trying to go this alone??!!
Now, I’m still a work in progress. Every single day I fight through this desire to do it on my own.
So, why am I writing about how to be coachable when I still am struggling with it myself? Well, those who can’t do, teach, right? Just kidding.
Now it is really difficult to bring a person like me to step down a notch and become coachable. If you are that person, you know exactly how I was feeling. And like I said, I have to work on this every single day.
Here are the two simple things that helped me develop better coachability:
I actually made a list of what traits I couldn’t have in somebody I was trying to be coachable under. For example, I knew they couldn’t have a strong personality because I have one of those and I knew we’d butt heads. So, I found someone that had a little softer, gentler approach.
I am super collaborative. I love hashing ideas through with a group. Working out an idea together instead of being told what to do, what how I worked best. I needed to find someone who was willing to not tell me what to do but brainstorm together and allow me to be a part of the idea.
So how do you apply this?
Reach out to people who you truly respected and who you resonate with. You want to lead, and if you are going to follow, it better be the right person. Who are you willing to open up to, who do you respect enough to take their advice? Find the leaders in your industry that your personalities match and their leadership style works for you.
We all can’t be coached by the same person. It won’t work for us. Which is difficult because often in businesses, especially in network marketing like I am in, we are stuck with the leader directly above us. So, step out. Maybe it’s a co-worker in your same position, maybe it’s a leader in your company that is a few levels above you, maybe it is hiring a coach that you’ve researched and read their blogs and viewed their videos and you resonate with them.
Know who you are and what will help you listen, then find the person you actually want to listen to.
Okay, are you completely coachable yet? I’m not. Again… work in progress here.
So, what’s next?
KNOW YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A FOLLOWER
You don’t have to do to exactly what your coach says. It is still your business, your company, your career. It’s you. And you get to be your independent, type A self.
This is where I think I got stuck. I felt that if I was going to be coachable, I had to do what they said. (Yes, I sound like my 4-year-old not wanting to listen to mom.) I’m not a good follower, remember.
But, having to do what someone else says isn’t what being coachable means. Being coachable means you take what they say and you process it. I was missing the processing piece. I would listen and if it didn’t work for me, and I left it. I walked away from what they were telling me and went back to the “my way or the highway” attitude.
Now, I work to process. I listen, then I process. Listen, process. Don’t act or react immediately. Process. Take out the pieces that you feel work for you, work for your brand, personality, how you want to run your business, the pieces that feel authentic. Those are the pieces you pull out. Those are the pieces you use. Everything a leader say to you doesn’t have to be taken word for word and action for action.
Listen, process, take what works for you.
THEN MOST IMPORTANTLY, go back to that coach. And say… “Here’s what I took from that. This is what I loved about what you said. This is what seems to work for me. How can I use this? What do you see good and bad from this from your experience? How can we make this a better fit for what I want to do?” Ask questions and collaborate together.
Then again, listen, process, tweak and make it your own.
That is being coachable. You are still getting great advice, you are not reinventing the wheel, you are doing things that will help you be successful AND you are still getting to run your business in a way that works for you.
Now does this always work perfectly and turn you into being awesome at being coachable. No. Again…. Work in progress here. But, has it greatly helped and continued me down a very positive path. I have improved and my business has improved. Remember that rut I was stuck in for two years?
As soon as I took a look at how I was being uncoachable and implemented these two strategies to become more coachable, my business started to grow faster. Was it all because I became coachable, no. I had some other mindset shifts and things change that helped me move forward too, but coachability improvement was a huge part of it. I achieved 4 promotions in 5 months and my business growth more than doubled that following year.
That coachability helped launch me to a new level and continues to do so.
Now if you go find my leader and ask her about me and my coachability, she will probably laugh at you. I’m still one of the least coachable leaders on her team. But what she will say is that boy, have I come a long way. And isn’t that what coachability is? Working to improve yourself, working to get better, finding the people to help you there, and continuing to learn with them and from them.
I’m doing it my way…. With open ears.
I’m smart…. And collaborative with leaders.
I know what I’m doing…. And I utilized the ideas and strengths of others who also know what they are doing.
I know the best comes from a combination of me and help from others.
This is what I now say. And it has made so much of a difference.
Share in the comments below: What have you learned about being coachable?