“Coachable” is a term that I hear often in conversations with executives, leaders, and coaches. The context is generally an assessment of one’s ability to take feedback.
In a recent interaction with a client who is in the early developmental stages of a sales career, I had a “blinding flash of the obvious” moment. Coachable individuals have a “growth” mindset, it goes beyond ability to take feedback. Being coachable is the ability to hear constructive feedback and the willingness to learn from experiences and make the adjustments to improve.
Here’s a summary of that interaction:
At the beginning of client meetings, I try to capture where they are having success and build upon recent achievements. I’ll start with some form of, “Since our list discussion, tell me about progress. What are some of your top achievements?”
C: Long pause… “Well… I had a meeting with a new prospect earlier today.”
Me: Knowing there is more to the story… “Well, how did it go?”
C: “I (expletive- ed) it up.” -briefly looks away and then back to solid eye contact, not hanging his head.
Me: Somewhat taken aback, the colorful language is out of character for this client. I can tell he’s upset with himself . “OK, tell me more.”
C: “When I did the walk through with my sales leader/mentor his feedback was, ‘this is too much, you’re getting too deep in the weeds for a first meeting.’ I took that and attempted to make the necessary adjustments. It started ok but I was quickly lost.”
Me: “How did it end?”
C: “Thankfully, my mentor could see I was flustered. He took control and got the discussion back on track. All was not lost, we are moving to the next stage in our sales process.”
My takeaways from this interaction:
- No excuses. He owned the mistakes.
- This client has made noticeable improvements in our short time working together and this illustrates a commitment to learn from every interaction.
- A growth mindset requires vulnerability, a willingness to admit mistakes and suspend protecting one’s ego for the long-term gain.
- Beyond coachability/growth mindset, this reinforced my belief in the team-selling model.
What are your thoughts on coachability and growth mindset?
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