Most people think being coachable is how well you, personally, stand up to individual criticism about your job performance.
Consider this alternative approach: being coachable involves the sum total of all of your interactions with colleagues and customers throughout the year which contribute to productive and profitable business outcomes. Being coachable leads to growth.
There are two qualities I look for when working with startups and small and midsized businesses. I want to know how scalable their business is, my post from Tuesday. Is it even structured for growth?
More importantly, I want to know how coachable their team is. Very often, these are the two rate-limiting factors to personal, professional and corporate growth.
I offer you 4 ways to become more coachable. Consider how incorporating this mindset makes a difference in the business outcomes you produce.
- Identify what you don’t know and ask for help from others. Thrashing around and looking busy isn’t productive. Churning through (mostly unqualified) leads lists so your volume of calls makes you look good to your manager gets everyone nowhere. Sending out 5 daily responses for quote or proposal is a great way to fill your day; your actions can rapidly bring your company to a standstill by turning it into an RFQ mill. Stop hiding behind “busy” actions. Figure out what you need to know in order to become more productive at what you do.
- Focus on continuous improvement of your skill sets. Nobody is going to tell you what to do, so you can do it perfectly and mindlessly. Even line workers in manufacturing and assembly plants are responsible for stopping the line if something doesn’t look right. Learn how to do your job better each day by collaborating with your team. Engage in collective coaching so you can all become more productive. Get to the finish line, together.
- Accept responsibility for your actions and outcomes through collaboration. Finger-pointing and playing the blame game can be avoided at the end, if you were alert, aware, proactive and anticipatory of all the aspects of the project while it was in play. If things have gone well, determine all of the aspects that you – and the rest of your team including your customers – have done to make things “right.” If things have gone wrong, do the same type of analysis. Create a culture of collaborative coaching.
- Become more interested so you become more interesting. Whom do you need to speak with to learn about the history and context of why your job looks like your job; why your company has its present business model; how money walks through your company and your customers’ companies? When you connect these dots with your own, and your colleagues’ contributions, you gain greater breadth and depth of what you all bring to everyone’s business tables. You also broaden your sphere of influence within your company as you cross-pollinate your knowledge and benefit from the insights of internal coaches and potential mentors.
All it takes is the first step. What will you choose?
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works with non-traditional sellers like engineers, manufacturers, and technical startups to create sustainable business models and revenue strategies. She was named a Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencer 2014, for the second year in a row, by Top Sales World magazine.