Six Ways to Tell If You’re a Coachable Leader

I know a young man called Troy. He recently competed in the Australian Ninja Warrior series. Troy had to think in advance about how to prepare.

He took his preparation on with all his commitment. He was determined to make it worth the investment of his time. He wanted to stretch himself, and to see how far he could develop. He was curious about the outcome. 

I have noticed something similar with my leadership coaching clients.  It's nowhere near the extremes of a Ninja experience. But those who prepare well get more from their coaching program.

You see, not all of us are ready for coaching. We are not all highly coachable leaders.We might not want to admit this, but it's true.

Bacon and Spear's Coachability Scale 1 is a well-known metric for assessing a leader's readiness for coaching. The top three levels on their Scale are Good, Very Good and Excellent coachability.  The people who fit these criteria are those having the "wake-up call, desire to improve and intrinsic need to grow."

I've been researching this topic for some time. From the online articles and academic pieces I've read, I can distill my thinking into these tips for you. If you're a leader considering a coaching program, are you:

  • prepared to be vulnerable?

  • curious about what's possible, and what you already know, that's hidden from you?

  • prepared to make coaching a priority, and to commit the time to sessions, diagnostics, and learning exercises?

  • willing to explore new ways of doing things and to change your behaviours?

  • trust yourself enough to be held accountable for the things you commit to?

  • willing to hold yourself in high regard?

You can probably answer yes to a few of these questions. This means you are coachable, and it's worth looking at program options.

You might not be a coaching ninja right now, but you can definitely be in training.

P.S. While Troy didn't win the Australian Ninja Warrior title (this time), he had an extraordinary experience. He knows there is even more room for him to improve and grow - and maybe he will be back! Keep an eye out...

And in the meantime, grow well.

1. McLean, Pamela. 2012. The Completely Revised Handbook of Coaching. John Wiley & Sons

Lacey Yeomans