Let’s face it -- becoming a good entrepreneur is something that takes time, effort, and constant willingness to improve. Whether you’re new to your business or you’ve been working in your field for years, you’ll continually be challenged to learn new skills or adopt new ways of growth and connection with your customers. When it comes to your personal development as an entrepreneur, one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself is to learn to be coachable.
But that’s something that’s easy to say, and harder to do. Today, I’ll share some of my observations and techniques for learning to be a coachable business owner.
You’re trying to become a leader in your field. Look around you as some of the other “bests” -- from Olympic athletes to best-selling writers to Fortune 500 CEOs. Behind these successful individuals, you’ll find a small army of editors, mentors, and trainers.
What helps to make an individual coachable?
According to Doug Lemov, the author of the book Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better, coachability is all about being receptive and actually accepting feedback.
Doug writes, “People get feedback all the time … This means that they probably practice ‘taking’ feedback quite a bit – they learn to get better at nodding with eye contact, making their tone free of defensiveness, and taking notes even. Recipients may signal that they take feedback seriously … but this does not necessarily mean that they use feedback. Nor does it make them better at employing feedback over time. In fact, the opposite may happen. People may practice ways of taking feedback that help them avoid doing anything about it.”
Does reading this description make you cringe a little bit inside? I know that despite my best intentions, it’s something I’ve struggled with at times.
It’s easy sometimes to think that listening to feedback is the same as acting on it, when in fact, it’s the actions that will take us where we need to go. Being coachable means you must be willing to act on the feedback you receive.
So, how do you take action when you’ve been given feedback? Here’s a few ways I implement coaching and feedback into my business:
Select The Right Coach
It’s tempting to think of the superstars on your team or your successful friend as the perfect coach for you. But give this a bit more thought, because an effective coaching relationship requires more than simply a coach with a successful track record.
Certainly, select a coach you look up to. A peer, someone at your same level of business, may not have much to say or suggest to help you grow effectively. So you do need to choose a person who is farther along the spectrum of where you want to be, but this is only one factor.
Choose a coach who you can communicate with effectively. You need someone who will speak to you honestly, without sugarcoating difficult comments or being worried about hurting your feelings. You also need to choose a coach whose feedback you’ll accept. This may not be your best friend or close partner, but someone a bit more removed from your everyday life, who you’ll take seriously when it comes to feedback on your business methods.
Establish Specific Goals
Once you’ve selected the right coach for you and received feedback on your process thus far, talk about what comes next and make a specific plan.
If your coach points out that your social media postings have been lackluster, talk about what the solution looks like, and then start to schedule the right kind of posts.
If your business could use a party or event to jumpstart some new energy and prospects, talk with your coach about the right kind of event, the right venue, and how to engage attendees with the right kind of invitation and language.
If you need to increase your reachouts or meet more potential new customers, discuss ways to get yourself out there and start adding to your prospect list.
Once you’ve established your goals, be sure you set a time to follow up with your coach on how you’re doing and whether you’re meeting these benchmarks, or whether you need to adjust your actions to make sure you stay on track.
Be Patient & Believe in the Process
A big part of growing a successful business is simply doing the work and not giving up. We’ve talked about persistence, failure, and moving forward withsmall steps. Being coachable is also recognizing that change takes time, and sometimes you won’t see the results of your actions right away.
In some cases, things may even feel worse before they feel better. If you’re upping your activity to making 20 calls a day instead of 10, you may end up with more rejections as well as more follow-up conversations, and sometimes it’s hard to see the progress when you’re feeling the sting of objections. Be confident, trust in your coach and your own passion, and believe in the process.
So, how is your coachability factor? What other steps are you taking to help your business grow by learning from your coach or finding the right coach for you? I’d love to hear your stories and comments, so be sure to tag any social posts with #TRAKstar. Before you know it, you may be coaching others as well!