Why It’s Important To Be Coachable

Growing up as a first-generation Cambodian refugee, I struggled to fit in early on in life. My parents worked multiple jobs while taking English classes, and my father enrolled in a trade school, as he believed that was the fastest way to a higher paying job. We struggled; seven people in a 2-bedroom apartment was our living situation at first. However, throughout the hard times, my parents believed in themselves. They believed that if they worked harder than anyone else, we would climb out of poverty and live the American Dream. They taught me how to work hard, they taught me how to listen to understand, they taught me that no matter how much I learned… there was always more to learn. And for those reasons (plus much more), I owe them everything!

I start off by giving you a glimpse of my earlier life because it gave me the foundation I needed. To evolve, we need to understand who we truly are, where we came from, and what makes us tick (what are we passionate about). Last but certainly not least, we need to be coachable.

In the 27+ years that I’ve been in the workforce, I’ve learned that no matter what you do, no matter what your title is, or how successful you become, there is always room to learn and grow.

That brings us back to the word coachable. Being coachable is something that doesn’t come easy for many people. The very definition means you’re able to receive constructive criticism without taking it personally. That you’re also willing to take a deeper look at your own performance to improve upon it, and potentially accept that there may be a more efficient way of doing something vs. the way you’ve always been doing it. It takes a certain person to step back, listen, digest the information with an open mind, and accept the coaching tips.

Some people just have a problem taking constructive criticism due to pride, ego, indifference, low self-esteem, inability to self-reflect, afraid of change, and or the belief that the way their doing something has worked for several years … “why should they change up their ways”?

That mentally is cancerous. It’s a growth killer! Just because something has worked in the past, doesn’t mean it’s going to continuously work in the present or future. Just because someone is a high producer, doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Things change! Life circumstances change! People’s strengths and areas of opportunity change! And with the advancement of technology in certain sectors, it’s highly possible to be more efficient than ever before.


  • Meet Privately: Pull the individual into a more private setting. I’ve found it helps when having critical conversations.
  • Use the Build, Break, Build methodology and come prepared: Start out by giving the person praise for their successes and efforts; build them up. Then break down the area’s they could use improvement. Avoid words like “weakness” and use productive phrases like, “areas of opportunity”.
  • 3R Rule when trying to overcome objections: Know your audience. If the person you’re trying to coach up has one of the personality traits listed above, you’re going to run into objections and roadblocks. When that happens, use the 3R Rule — Repeat, Reassure, Resume. Repeat the objection to show you’re listening. It also helps to defuse a potentially combative situation; because when you repeat the objection, you’re not being argumentative. If able, try to empathize with whatever their objection is (avoid being sympathetic). Afterwards, transition right into Reassuring them why you’re having this coaching / mentoring session. Site examples and share perceptions. Finally, Resume and go into your trial close. Assume the sale so to speak.
  • Gain acknowledgement: Before you end your coaching session, see if you can gain acknowledgement from the individual you’re trying to mentor / coach up.


As Michael Jordan said, “My best skill was that I was coachable. I was a sponge and aggressive to learn.”

SKILL — That’s the word that stands out to me in his quote. Being coachable is a learned skill. People are not born coachable. But it’s never too late to become a person who is coachable. If someone like him is saying it’s im-portant to be coachable to rise to new heights, there must be some validity to it.

There is wisdom in being coachable. It means you are intelligent enough to self-reflect. You can humble yourself enough to acknowledge that other people may have experience, knowledge, skills, and wisdom that is relevant to your personal or professional growth.
Be open, be coachable. In doing so, you give yourself a better opportunity to break through different barriers.

All you have to do is leave room in your mind for the possibility that you can achieve more with the right people mentoring you. Ricky Cheath

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