Paradoxically, we often hear the uncoachable describe themselves as being open-minded. Translated, this often means that their mind will remain open long enough to receive the feedback and run it by their internal threat meter (the Ego). Then, a quick risk assessment is performed to ascertain how much damage it poses to their internal belief systems and external image.
We all know someone like this. The ultimate workplace survivalist. This is what you would call control-minded. They are prepared to hear what you have to say because it will remain in a controlled, mental waiting room while they decide the safest route to process (or eliminate) it.
Being open to hearing what someone has to say is not the same as being willing to allow it to challenge and change you. Ego driven activities such as self-preservation, rationalizing, and image control waste so much time, little attention is paid to the merit or value of the feedback itself. The message gets lost beneath the thundering, chest pounding of the Ego.
In contrast, someone who is truly coachable has set aside their Ego in order to raise their EQ. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the must-have ingredient of coachability.
Competencies such as transparency, active listening, self-awareness, intuition, optimism and self-control are the bedrock of transformational learning and all stem from EQ.
The good news is EQ is a set of skills and can be learned. Research from the Hay Group shows that people who improve their EQ have the following things in common:
v They don't bite off more than they can chew
v They are very clear about what the payoff for them will be if they change
v They are feedback junkies - they are tenacious about asking those around them for feedback
Are you coachable? Do you operate from Ego or EQ? Answer the following questions to gauge your coachability: (and then check your self-awareness by asking someone you trust to be objective to answer these about you)
· Do you determine the worth of feedback based on who is giving it or do you spend time considering the rationale behind the message?
· Have you asked for feedback on yourself in the last month?
· Do you partner with others to develop yourself or prefer to handle that privately?
· When is the last time you publicly admitted you were wrong?
· Do you have difficulty turning down your mental talk so you can actively listen to others?
· When is the last time you apologized to someone at work for your behavior?
· When faced with personal feedback, do you focus on staying superficial and ending the encounter as quickly as possible or do you open up about how you feel about the feedback and ask clarifying questions to gain understanding?
· When is the last time you asked someone to hold you accountable for certain behavioral goals?
· Do people feel safe coming to you with feedback you may not like? How do you know?
· When it comes to your own performance, do you care more about appearances or real results? How would your staff answer that about you?
· When is the last time you listened to a contrasting viewpoint about something you felt strongly about and ultimately changed your opinion?
· Do you catch your own mixed messages or contradictions?
· What are three areas you feel you would benefit from coaching? Ask your team to answer the same question about you and see how well you understand their perception of you.
· Final and most important question: How often do you receive meaningful feedback from others? The amount of feedback you are given will be in direct proportion to the degree of coachability others see in you.