Here’s a short entry that, I believe, is a key success factor in life…Maybe one of the success factors for YOUR life. And this will also help me break my complete absence of blog posts in the last ten days.
I also read the leadership books, magazines, listen to the stories and the speakers, and blah blah blah.
But there’s one critical ingredient that’s a huge success factor for your life and mine, that’s rarely (relatively speaking) acknowledged or addressed:
There are tons and tons of “best practices” that list everything imaginable: right seats on the bus, empower people, principle-centered leadership, sharpen your saw, words that work, servant leadership, and more blah blah (blah blah blah only in the most respectful of ways, I’m just trying to prove my point). And yet, the absolute irony is that none of this makes any (I so want to use a strong word here, but I resist) snaps worth of difference if you’re (me included) unwilling to be coachable (this has got to be a worlds record for parenthetical statements for two sentences).
Coachability is listening, understanding, accepting, hearing the feedback, acknowledging reality, not glazing over stuff, confronting the truth and receiving it–both “it” being the fun stuff and the not so fun stuff–so that you can make genuine and authentic improvements in your life.
The best people in leadership and management, that I’ve read and followed or seen and experienced, are the ones that have this underlying characteristic: they’re coachable.
Being uncoachable is like needing to buy a car that will be the catalyst for you to get to all sorts of places really important.
And amidst this, you’re going to be driving other passengers so you want to be in something comfortable, plus you also have a need to get there fast. And safely. Reliably too. So you’ve found your wheels, the car is decked out, it’s fast and comfortable. You’ve spent all this time and money and effort picking out the perfect car. And your first day you’re in the drivers seat, ready to roll. You pull out of the driveway and passively cruising, something is wrong but you can’t tell what it is, noises are coming out of the vehicle, it feels sluggish, there’s an acrid smell like something is burning. And it’s because you left the emergency brake on.
Being UNcoachable is like having the perfect set of wheels, but your e-brake is always on. It slows you down. It burns things up. And in the process you look silly.
This is how, unfortunately, a lot of us go through life. With our e-brake on, being uncoachable. Slowing things down, other people and ourselves.
So here it is, my number one success tip for leadership development: be coachable.
Because downstream none of the other stuff matters much, even if you read and can recite at rote all the common best practices, if you and I aren’t coachable.
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