The Importance of Coachability in Business

Have you ever heard of the ‘gun-to-the-head’ rule of management?

It sounds extreme, but don’t worry. We’re not recommending that you threaten your team with gun violence. Rather, it is more of a metaphorical measure that can be used to gauge and address poor employee performance.

Determining what’s behind poor performance?

If an employee is not performing – let’s say they are not completing their sales reports on time, or in a thorough manner – imagine what would happen if you put a gun to their head.

If, with a gun to their head, they are still unable to complete their sales reports on time, or effectively, you are dealing with a skills’ based challenge. They simply cannot do it – either because they lack the skills, or they have not been appropriately trained.

If, with a gun to their head, they are able to get the sales reports completed on time and well, then you are dealing with an attitude problem. And that should be swiftly addressed.

For purposes of this blog post, we are assuming that you are dealing with the former. And once you have determined that the barriers to performance are based on skills, you have a responsibility, as a manager, to make sure you are providing your employee with the resources, training and support they need to be successful. And that starts with strong coaching.

How to coach

Half of the battle requires a strong coach. And the fundamentals of good coaching usually involve the following steps:

  • Explaining and teaching, clearly and effectively
  • Listening to employees, and asking to make certain they understand what they have learned
  • Investing your employee in next steps and setting measurable, achievable and time-boxed goals
  • Sharing feedback to ensure your employee knows how they are performing

There are many great resources on how to enhance your coaching skills. However, no matter how well you coach, you will only be effective if your employee is actually coachable.

What is coachability?

Coachability is an individual’s propensity to develop self-awareness, be open to change and learn new things.

When someone is coachable, they:

  • Do not get defensive when people suggest alternatives
  • Invite and appreciate feedback
  • Keep challenging themselves
  • Openly and comfortably discuss their strengths and weaknesses
  • Handle failures well

With these qualities in mind, it is clear why coachability is a critical quality to seek out in business.

The benefits of having coachable employees

Coachable employees add a considerable amount of value to any work environment.

Since they take feedback to heart, and want to grow and improve, they are more productive and efficient. They tend to get along better with coworkers since they are confident and do not feel defensive or threatened. They can also help to sustain a sense of calm and balance, since they are not easily rattled.

Being coachable is often what distinguishes good employees from great ones. For more information on how to identify, recruit and retain coachable employees, contact Miller Bernstein today.

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