This is a good cup of hot chocolate
I had asked my mentor if he could sit down with me again to pick his brain. I had some ideas about business and because he was successful, I knew he could help me. It was at this time I learned the hard lesson of what it really means to be coachable.
“Ok, here are my ideas; if I can pull this off, I know we can grow at least 100%”, I said.
My mentor began to share his ideas, “Tony here are some things to consider.” Unfortunately, it took only a few moments for me to jump in with my ideas.
He simply sat back and listened. When I finally emptied my tank, he said to me. “Ok well this was a nice cup of hot chocolate.”
What, I thought to myself. What does the hot chocolate have to do with my ideas?
“I am sorry Sir, are you saying we are done? “ Yep! When you are ready to be coachable let me know. Right now, you are not coachable. You are eager. Yes! You work hard…yes. However, you are not coachable! You are not ready to hear the truth. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear!
Puffing out my chest. “ In all due respect, I know what I am doing. You have seen my success right. I want to grow! I am ready to hear the truth.
Are you sure?
We have met now 3 times. Here is what I learned about you. You would rather be right, than be good. You are not willing to give up control. The only reason you reached out to me is that I asked you too. If you really want to be good to great, you would have taken more action. You simply aren’t willing to surrender. You think you can do this by yourself. You don’t need my help. Tip for you. Nothing has ever been achieved by one’s own self. Nothing. Michael Jordan has a coach; Jack Nicklaus has a coach, who is your coach? Only a fool uses “Well, I have experience. News flash, wisdom is not guaranteed to come with age. Wisdom is found in the experience of others. I am not going to fault you for being young and motivated but if you truly want to be successful, you must learn to be a good follower and understand that a good mentor truly has your best interest at heart. Do you know why a lot people don’t achieve the results they want? Why they fail? Because they aren’t accountable to someone else and they won’t allow themselves to be held accountable.
I sat back and looked at my hot chocolate. He was right, it was good hot chocolate and it suddenly became a lot better.
Finding a coach isn’t simple, you must do your due diligence. Nevertheless, he was right. Being coachable means, you are willing to be wrong vs having to be right. It’s also very scary at least it was for me to surrender control. However, looking back I realize many successes in life professional and personal were due to the fact to having a mentor, surrendering control along with the willingness to have faith and belief that your mentor has your best interest in mind. Part of growth is exploring the unknown.
He truly brought value to me. He cared for me and was willing to ruffle my feathers if it meant that I would grow.
The rest of the story from that fateful hot chocolate. These mentorship conversations affected every area of my life. I am forever thankful. We had many conversations ( I actually listened), including tough ones that I didn’t like (smile).
In my experience, here are 4 ways to be more coachable
- Be willing to submit your ego to a greater cause. Ego stands in the way of most people’s success. Before you can be a leader, you must be a great follower. Many great companies and even civilizations fell due to ego.
- Being coachable means taking action. Reach up to your mentors’ vs playing the card “ Well they don’t call me.” Remember they have attained what you want not vice versa
- A coachable person will give his mentor/coach his undivided attentionand then do what he/she has been told to do.
- Being coachable means, you are willing to admit when you are wrongeven when you do not want to. , instead of trying to prove your right all the time.
Pat Summitt, the very successful coach of the women’s basketball team at the University of Tennessee, said: “Accountability is essential to personal growth, as well as team growth. How can you improve if you’re never wrong? If you don’t admit a mistake and take responsibility for it, you’re bound to make the same one again.”
In my life, I have learned my mentor and Coach Summit are right. There is power to having a mentor and being coachable.
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