One of the key things I look for when I am interviewing someone is whether they are teachable and coachable. Most people will answer that question with a “Yes, of course I am.” The only problem is, their history and their actions speak to the contrary.
Why is it that someone who has been struggling in their life in a particular area won’t listen to someone who has been there and done that and have come through the other side?
Why is it that people who claim to want to change just give lip service and then do what they have always done? That is kind of crazy, right? But it happens every day all over the world.
Here are some common problems to being teachable and coachable:
- You have let your pride get the best of you and you won’t listen because you think you know it all.
- You have believed the lies that have been told to you. You are not “good enough, smart enough, strong enough.” Or, “You will never amount to anything good.” Or, “You are a loser!” If you have bought into the lies about yourself, you will never be able to accept the truth about yourself.
- You have a problem being taught by a certain gender, a certain aged person, or a certain race. You are prejudice and won’t allow yourself to learn from them because you have prejudged them as inferior or someone you can’t trust because you’ve been burned in the past. That is pretty sad, because we can learn something from everyone. The greatest lessons we learn may be from those we have the least in common with.
- You have believed the flattery of others. “You are the greatest.” Or “You are the best thing since the dawn of time.” Or, “You have no equal.” You may be indeed very gifted and great at what you do, but if you don’t swallow that with a glass of humility, you could lose your future opportunities by alienating those who hold the keys to the kingdom…your kingdom. It goes beyond the “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” mentality. You need to respect and love them…even when they don’t deserve it. That is the essence of being teachable. It is submitting your will to someone else and being willing to learn from everyone.
- You simply talk too much. You can’t learn if you refuse to take time to listen.
My hope is that we all remain teachable and coachable. This is healthy and will make for a lot less stress in life for everyone. Being teachable and coachable is like being a Willow tree…able to bend. You can insist on being the Oak, but if you break, you just might not be able to recover from it, and who knows what damage will be done to others at the same time?