By April 19, 2013 No Comments

One of the most important characteristics an athlete can possess is the ability to be coachable. I’ll take a mediocre athlete who is coachable over a great athlete who is not any day of the week. Whether we work in the world of sports or are in the business world, we all should strive to be “coachable.” If were not, then we act as a detriment to our team, company, or business.

Being coachable requires you to not take offense to constructive criticism. When being critiqued, it is important not to feel sorry for yourself. The ability to correct mistakes with a positive attitude is a hallmark trait of someone who is coachable. This week we’re going to discuss three questions that help define whether or not we are coachable people.

The first question is “Do I make excuses?” Are you the type of person who is quick to point a finger or come up with an excuse? Or are you the type of person who is willing to look in the mirror? No coach or boss wants people on their team that always have an excuse for everything. I hate the New England Patriots, but I love the team motto they have: Do Your Job. It’s no surprise they’ve had the success they’ve had in the last decade when this motto is part of the team culture. In order to be coachable, one must be willing to look in the mirror and accept responsibility for mistakes, but also be willing to fix them. Sometimes this might even require accepting a little criticism for something that is not our fault. However, when you get to that point you are ready to assume a position of leadership. The more leaders a team or company has, the more successful they will be.

In order to be coachable you must also ask yourself, “Do I let off the field things affect my performance?” Distractions can be extremely problematic for any team or business. If one comes to work every day not focused on the task at hand, productivity will decrease. If an athlete lets off the field problems dictate their attitude and performance, the team will not be successful. The great ones know that mental toughness is just as vital to individual and team success as physical talents. When practices and meetings are being held, are you focused on the topics at hand or are you distracted by social media, home life, or entertainment. In order to truly be coachable one must always keep the main goal, the team or company’s success, as the most important thing. When you are there, really be there, do not be a distraction that hinders the team.

The third question one must ask is, “Do I handle adversity well?” It is a given that we are going to encounter adversity. The overwhelming majority of us will encounter some form of adversity every single day. In order to be successful athletically or professionally one must not lose their cool when something bad happens. One must have the ability to “play present” and move onto the next play. Tony Dungy is a great example of a coach who was even keeled and did not let bad calls affect his coaching. I always refer to a line Coach Dungy said in one of his books about poor officiating. He asks, “How many times have you ever seen a referee stop the game, go back, and change the call you’re upset with?”  Coaches must model the behavior we want athletes to have, and Coach Dungy’s advice is wonderful. To truly be coachable one must not get too high with the highs nor too low with the lows. In the business world you cannot get too dejected if you a potential client tells you “no” and you cannot get too excited if you turn a lead into a client. The successful are able to rise above adversity and perform consistently at a high level.

As I mentioned earlier, coaches want athletes who are coachable. Professional leaders are no different from athletic coaches. If one wants to stand out from the crowd, they should focus on these three rules of being coachable. They seem rather simplistic, but as history tells us, little things make big things happen. Being coachable opens doors and provides more opportunities. Coachable people are selfless, team oriented, and willing to make sacrifices.  Coaches, bosses, and CEO’s want to work with people who are coachable.


As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!