How to be more coachable? There are plenty of tips out there on how to coach, but far fewer when it comes to getting the most out of coaching as the coachee.
As the coachee, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure you get the most out of the coaching process. Unlike training, where the emphasis is on one person to transfer knowledge to another person/s, coaching is a 2-way process, that requires input, engagement and commitment from both parties.
Here are my top tips for the coachee
Start with the Right Mindset
For coaching to be successful, the coachee must be open to the process. If you’re sceptical or negative in any way, quite simply, it will have a detrimental impact on the effectiveness of the coaching. Research shows that those who are more coachable are viewed as more promotable and, furthermore, research shows a direct correlation between leadership effectiveness and perceived coachability, but this will only happen if you have the right attitude and approach. You should expect to be challenged by your coach so, don’t get defensive when this happens, instead embrace the challenge and remind yourself that your coach is there to help you realise your own individual potential.
If coaching is going to have an impact on your performance and success, it needs to be prioritised, both in terms of attendance at pre-planned coaching sessions and in terms of following up on goals made during coaching sessions. Do not be tempted to postpone or cancel sessions, even if you know you have not completed an action that you have committed to, this will only drag it out further. The value coaching will bring to your personal development and performance means you can, without question, justify the time.
Be Clear on what you want from the Coaching Process
You should start the coaching process with some idea of what it is you want to get from it and the areas you wish to develop and improve on. Share these with your coach at the outset. You and your coach will build on and refine these as you move along the coaching process but you need a starting point, so make sure you’ve given this plenty of thought ahead of your first coaching session.
It is tempting, in any situation, to give the response we think the other party wants to hear, rather than the genuine response but you will get little or no value from coaching if you do this. Coaching is a ‘safe’ environment, in which you can be honest. There are no right and wrong answers. This is, of course, easier when you have good rapport with your coach. If you do not feel you have this rapport and you have alternative options, you may wish to consider another coach. But, before doing this, think carefully about what is missing from the coach/coachee relationship – is there something you could be doing differently to build that rapport? A good coach will pick up on a lack of rapport but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk to them about any concerns you are having. Honesty goes both ways and, sometimes, just airing your concerns is all that’s needed for you both to find a way forward.
Commit to Coaching
Do not be tempted to see coaching as a ‘tick box’ activity, or try and action goals a day or two before your next coaching session. It should be a continuous process that permeates into your everyday actions. The purpose of coaching is to help you realise your potential and so you must be pro-active and fully committed to the process. Coaching should encourage and reinforce a commitment to continuous learning, so think about other ways you can develop and improve outside of the coaching itself, for example; additional training, reading and shadowing others. Take a leaf out of the book of the most successful people – they constantly look for ways to further their knowledge and experience and they seek out people who know more than they do.
Coaching has the ability to unlock an individual’s potential, but only if the coachee has the right mindset and approach to it. As a coachee, you cannot just sit back and expect your coach to do all of the heavy lifting, you must take accountability and commit fully to the process. If you do this, I guarantee, you will see the results in your performance and success.
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