Rod Marinelli, the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, said something to this effect: "When recruiting college athletes you have to look into why they are successful. When you enter the pros, your skills are stymied. It becomes less about your abilities and more about how coachable you are." A great football quote, but is there a place for coachability in business?

According to a study by Leadership IQ, a leadership training and research firm founded by New York Times bestselling author Mark Murphy, 46 percent of new employees fail within 18 months, while only 19 percent achieve success.

Contrary to popular beliefs, Leadership IQ found that the main reason for this failure is not performance based or a deficiency in technical aptitude--it's because these new employees lacked the ability to accept constructive criticism and feedback from their managers. They lacked the "coachability factor."

Let's take a look at four ways that you can increase your coachability factor.

Be quick to hear

A fourth-grade teacher once asked her class, "What is listening?" After a few moments of silence, one little girl raised her hand. "Listening," she said, "is wanting to hear." (Excerpt from How to Become a Good Listener by Janet Dunn.)

Being quick to hear requires discipline, patience, and humility, but you'll never be able to learn if you don't learn to listen. "In one ear and out the other," is a quick way to miss vital advice and offend those who cared enough to give it.

What separates elite performers from the rest is their willingness to learn even after they know "everything."

Let go of pride

The number one enemy of growth is pride. If we want to improve, we have to let go of self-centeredness and our egos. We have to be mindful not to twist things and make them personal. Everyone is not out to get you. Those who don't keep their pride in check become their own worst enemy.

Interested in some additional emotional intelligence strategies to combat pride? Check out Jen Shirkani's book, Ego vs. EQ or Mark Murphy's, Hiring For Attitude.

Be willing to change

Think about this: If you implemented a tenth of what you actually know, your life would be entirely different. We don't need more information; we need more application. Find ways to turn knowledge and data into practical uses, and do it quickly. Per the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve and demonstrated through a Skillsoft webinar, 90 percent of information is forgotten if not applied after 31 days. (This explains every math class ever.)

Be committed to it

Like playbooks, we should all study our craft. Transformation doesn't happen overnight. It requires a lot of practice and commitment. It requires training, not trying--systematic "baby steps" to get yourself in shape. By dedicating yourself to practices geared towards your craft, you'll inadvertently create healthy habits.

The great thing about habits is that they have a compounding effect. Not only will they help you achieve short-term goals, but over time, they will carry you to far more success.

Wisdom whispers to us during our successes and, like coaches, shouts during our failures. Save yourself from some of the failures by increasing your coachability factor and you'll have a more successful career.

Published on: Mar 16, 2017
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