picture from shorespeak.comWe’re nearing the end of football season and I haven’t made a single reference to sports and HR yet.  Unbelievable, right?  I mean, there are SO many great analogies to be made here. As I was watching the pre-game for the NFC Championship, there was a piece on Tony Gonzalez of the Atlanta Falcons.  Gonzalez, a tight end and likely hall-of-famer, talked about his career and how he arrives at this point after playing sixteen years in the league.  One thing he said stood out to me….he said he wanted to be remembered as a player who was coachable.

Can you say the same?

I’ve often said, I am hard to manage.  I’m driven and like to work where I am challenged to learn and apply new things.  Even so, I’d also like to think I’m coachable and if there are things I can do to improve my own performance, I’m not too arrogant to bite the bullet and take the constructive criticism.

That is not easy.  Why not?

  • It’s easier to maintain the status quo
  • You may feel like there is something wrong with you if you need a coach
  • You think you know more than the person attempting to coach you
  • You may have incentives to keep doing things the way you always have

Even with these barriers, there are ways you can avail yourself to improve through coaching.

Three things you can do to break the chain

  1. Seek out feedback.  We all know deep down that we can do things better, faster, or differently.  Instead of waiting for your boss or someone else to come tell you how to make the change, seek out opinions.  Ask colleagues, members of other teams, or your boss.  Yes, setting the tone and asking for guidance is typically viewed as positive, pro-active behavior.  I know I always make note of my team members who ask for feedback and have ideas of what they can do to change and improve.
  2. Realize that someone else can see your flaws better than you and that you can actually perform better when you tweak your performance behaviors.
  3. Understand that even in high-level positions, your role is still just one piece in the big picture.  By seeking out coaching, you give yourself permission to practice new techniques and perform at a higher level.

What do you see as barriers to being coached?  Do you believe YOU are coachable?