• Debbie Goldfarb

The Power of Being Coachable (and how to improve on it)

“If at first you don’t succeed… try doing what your coach told you to do the first time.”


My dad was a stubborn man. One time, my mom was telling him not to install a ceiling fan with a duct tape. He didn’t listen, then it hit him. The moral here is… be coachable.

As a business coach helping entrepreneurs to grow and succeed in business, I’ve had my share of struggles with uncoachable clients. It can be frustrating to see my coaching efforts fall flat at the very least or witness the extent of the havoc that comes as a result of not listening to my advice.

Here’s a few questions I ask my prospective clients to determine their coachability and readiness to work on improving and growing their business with the help of a mentor.

  1. In what capacity have you worked as part of a team in the past? How did you feel about collaborating with others?

  2. What prompted you to seek out the help of a business coach? And when was the last time you sought out the help of a business coach?

  3. Tell me about a time when you received feedback from a customer, colleague, or mentor? How did you respond to that feedback?

  4. Are there areas of your business needing improvement? Why or why not?

Coachable business owners constantly challenge themselves and are motivated to try new things. They are proactive, collaborate with their business coach, and work hard in all areas of their business. For any coach, there is nothing better than working with a coachable client.

So, what exactly does it mean to be coachable? In simple terms, being coachable means having a growth mindset. Plus you’re coachable if you actively seek and are receptive to feedback, leaving room for the possibility that there’s something you haven’t learned yet that could make you and the business better.

Specific traits of coachable clients I most often see are:

  • Open-minded

  • Passionate

  • Collaborative

  • Optimistic

  • Motivated

  • Self-aware

  • Responsible

  • Dedicated

  • Proactive

  • Humble

Why is being coachable so important?

There’s wisdom in being coachable. When we embrace coachability, we’re able to learn from the multitude of everyday experiences in our personal and professional lives, either through self-reflection or through feedback from our customers, our partners, and mentors turning it into an opportunity for personal, professional, and business growth.

Finally, most great things are not built solo — they are a team effort. Friendships, relationships, businesses, are collaborative efforts really; they form when people work together. In business, remember that your coach is a vital part of your team.

How can I improve on my coachability?

  1. Have the right mindset. Be willing to take feedback from your customers, colleagues, and mentors and learn from it.

  2. Surround yourself with people who challenge you. There is no point in having a bunch of ‘yes’ people around.

  3. Seek out multiple opinions. Have a series of mentors in different areas. Some for strategy, others for communication, and another mentor for personal life and relationships (close friends and families can help too).

  4. Actively listen. Listening is a process that involves several steps: absorbing information, considering it carefully, and then acting appropriately. Just learning to listen is a major step forward.

  5. Provide feedback. As the business owner you are the ultimate decision maker and know what makes sense. Make sure and provide feedback as coaching is a two-way street.

  6. Make time for self-reflection. Self-examination is an important part of growth. Use your alone time to weigh in on every aspect of your life and business, where you need to grow or improve and if you need help to do that.

  7. Be grateful. Even when you don’t agree with their advice, thank them for the time they took to provide you with new tools. And be humble enough to realize that they may actually be correct.

Keep in mind… a business coach is your “personal” cheerleader and wants to see you succeed. They are not a consultant who does the work — but, the person who mirrors back your thoughts along with additional input to help provide course corrections as needed.


For more business tips, check out my other blogs on Medium. And email us for help with marketing and branding for your small business.

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