Coachability – an interesting word! You may be surprised to hear that not everyone is coachable. As Ginnie Baillie says: “Ultimately clients are not buying you or coaching, they are buying their belief in themselves and their goals.” So it’s important to help a potential new client to get clear about whether they believe in themselves and their goals. Coaching will be far more successful if they have this belief; and will be frustrating for both coach and coachee if they do not have this belief in themselves.
Coachability according to the individual
We (coaches) can check this at the initial chemistry meeting, or during contracting. We might ask questions (again from Ginnie Baillie) such as:
“Why have you set aside this time to talk to me? Why now?
What is it that you want?
Why do you want it?
Why do you think you don’t have it/are not getting it?
What happens if you don’t get it? What will that be like for you?
What will it mean if you do get it?
What evidence do you have of your commitment to this?
What do you think it will take from you to achieve your goals?”
Coachability according to the line manager
If you are working for an organisation, you might also ask the sponsor or line manager some questions about the individual before speaking with the individual, to find out:
How do they react to feedback?
How willing are they to take personal responsibility? (vs blaming others or the situation)
How do they react to a challenge, and learning new things?
Are they prepared to ask for help? Do they admit when things don’t work out right?
How willing are they to look through different lenses when approaching a problem?
How willing at they to experiment with new behaviours?
How well do they stick with new behaviours?
[Questions adapted from Henna Innam’s article Seven Warning Signs Your Employee Isn’t Coachable, in Forbes].
You’ll get a sense for how coachable the individual might be, and how willing they are to make changes. Afterall, if they don’t want change, why invest time and money in coaching?