by Jason Fortune – September 2013
Simple question, one would think. When we ask ourselves if we are coachable, most of us would say, “Absolutely I am.”
But let’s dig a little deeper. Would your manager say you are coachable? If so, you will do four things.
1. Be Open Minded.
Simple questions you should ask yourself to make sure you are as open minded as you can possibly be:
- Do you apply the feedback that you receive from your manager?
- Are you open to new ways of doing things, even if you have to step outside your comfort zone?
- Are you willing to give something a try that works for others, that you are not doing currently?
Managers don’t ask you to do something they don’t believe would work. Be open to change. Step out of your comfort zone. If you’re uncomfortable trying new approaches, you may not be as coachable as you think.
2. Be Willing to Learn.
You can always expand your knowledge of the industry or company. Whether you are a rookie or a veteran, challenge yourself to learn new techniques. Don’t just use the knowledge from your manager; seek out your colleagues too. If you haven’t asked for help lately, you may not be as coachable as you think.
Coach K (Duke Blue Devils Basketball Coach) said it best: “When I first started with USA Basketball, people would say, ‘You’ve won three national championships, you’re in the Hall of Fame. You know it.’ No, you don’t. There’s always something to learn. To think otherwise would be arrogant and narrow-minded, and not very smart.”
When you reach your sales goals, what do you do? Does being at the top of the sales charts mean you know everything there is to know about selling? Never stop learning. The day you think you know it all is the day you ought to get out of the business.
3. Plan and partner for success
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“When hiring new reps, we always look for those looking to advance professionally. When we ask someone during an interview where they see themselves in five years, it is very impressive when they discuss how they want to have success as a sales representative, but ultimately want to be a sales manager. As sales managers, we love to invest significant amount of time and energy preparing our staff for career advancement, so it is imperative for the representative to share that same desire to learn, grow and develop their skill sets.” [/dropshadowbox]First, do you have a plan? What specific steps do you need to implement to reach your goals?
Second, if you’ve not met with your manager to discuss this plan and how to work together to reach the goals, you may not be as coachable as you think.
Develop a strategic plan with your manager. Invite your manager to be a part of your personal goals, not just your company goals. The biggest hurdle in success is complacency. It can be a career killer.
4. Listen. Really.
This is the most challenging and important characteristics of coachable people. Too often we spend too much time speaking, suggesting, solving, and selling! We forget to listen.
You must listen to know client needs. You must listen to know what your manager expects. What’s the difference between hearing and listening? Hearing doesn’t become listening until you allow in what is being said and actually apply it. If you haven’t changed behavior based on what your manager said lately, you might not be as coachable as you think.
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“The best sales people I have had over the years have the unique ability to be quiet and listen to the client or prospective buyer. Buyers will tell you exactly what they are looking for if you give them the opportunity. Too often sales people think they need to fill dead air with conversation, when in actuality they need to just ‘shut up’ and listen.” [/dropshadowbox]
As a manager, we are searching for superstars to coach. Anyone can be a part of the team, but superstars are open minded, have a strong desire to learn, are 100% determined to succeed with our help, and most important, employ a willingness to listen to direction.
We would love to hear some feedback or characteristics that you have noticed that makes someone coachable. In fact, we’d love to hear your thoughts on what makes a good coach!
Cover photo courtesy of Kevin Krause.