Henry David Thoreau observed, “It is as hard to see oneself as to look backwards without turning around.” I’m inclined to agree.
On a scale from 1-to-10, how would you rate yourself on coachability?
While you’re pondering that, let me tell you just how vital a leadership attribute this is. Coachability is the willingness to be corrected and to act on that correction. When we are coachable, we are prepared to be wrong. We can withstand a high degree of candor. We are willing to let others evaluate — and perhaps even plumb the depths of our performance because we understand that the journey of personal development cannot be traveled alone. We understand that our first fiduciary obligation is to ourselves, and that obligation is to gain accurate self-knowledge and then take the next step of progress. For the highly coachable, feedback, as the chalkboard aphorism goes, really is the breakfast of champions.
I observe many leaders who are in diapers in their understanding of themselves. They bristle at unvarnished feedback. They are too sure of themselves to listen. They travel down avenues of self-importance or self-doubt.
Those on the pride side of the line want to be the only noodle in the soup. They want people to be lap dogs of validation. They refuse to acknowledge that there are people wise in perception all around who have the precious gift of guidance to give. They can’t bear the thought of bad press or the possibility that someone might find a cockroach behind the wall. They prefer polite society, cocktail-party talk, fulsome praise and a fabled reality.
They don’t speak truth to the power of themselves. The juice is not worth the squeeze.
So . . . how coachable are you?