If you haven’t read “Part One,” it’s recommended that you read it first. Click here for Part One.
You must be flexible enough to listen for contribution. Contribution is everywhere. Being hooked into “one way” doesn’t work.
To request coaching is often scary. Many people cannot bring themselves to be that courageous. It takes courage to request coaching. When you request coaching, you put yourself at risk; you make yourself vulnerable. Not fun. And it is worth it.
People who are coachable are the kind of people you like to be around. They are champions in the game of life. They love new ideas and get excited about them. They win more consistently than others because they are always open to listen to and put to use the new ideas that present themselves when they are available for coaching. They are always looking for a better way. They look for opportunity in everything. They are the kind of people who want to learn all they can about being the best they can be.
When we are open to coaching, we are open to hear what others say as an opportunity to look at things differently. We miss out on opportunities because we are closed to the possibilities that are present in the conversations we have with other people. We are so busy thinking about what we are going to say when they finish talking that we don’t really hear what they say. Sometimes people say things that trigger bad, past experiences. This often can totally shut down your listening mechanism.
There you sit, shut down to the possibility the conversation presents, perhaps even thinking that you’ve tried that idea before and it didn’t work. What if, with a few minor changes, it worked? If you will not listen and really hear what others say, you really have a problem. I’m not saying that you have to do everything that people suggest, all I’m saying is, don’t be so quick to turn them off if what they say doesn’t agree with your own belief system. Be open to a new possibility.
Coaching either works or it doesn’t. That is up to you. It depends on how you listen to it. Coaching often shows up when you least expect it and it always shows up when you need it. However, you will more than likely not hear it as coaching unless you are truly coachable.
There are basically two kinds of coaching. The formal process of one-on-one coaching is most common. An example would be a football coach with his quarterback or a manager with his salesperson. Another version of one-on-one coaching would be when you actively seek someone whom you respect, a mentor or coach, who, by mutual agreement agrees to become your coach. The second kind of coaching is listening for and accepting coaching from anyone and everyone all the time! More about this later.
In one-on-one coaching, for coaching truly to be effective, two things are required. Number one: Coaching must be requested! If you need help, ask for it. If not, prove it. The fact is, everyone needs help. The very fact that the quarterback is on the team and goes to the sideline for coaching, is a request for coaching. The fact that you may choose to work with a specific manager, is a request for coaching.
Number two: In one-on-one coaching, you must surrender to the coach. This means you must choose your coaches very carefully. A commitment to trust your coach’s judgment comes with being coachable. If you don’t trust your coach or manager’s judgment, you will probably not be very coachable and the relationship won’t work. I know when I say surrender to the coach this is a strong statement. So, let’s put it this way, we are talking about trust here.
When you are coachable, let people know. Tell them that you are requesting coaching. Ask them to tell it like it is. Give them permission to assist you. Help create an atmosphere that says it’s okay for them to tell you how they feel. Let them know it’s really okay to be rigorous with their coaching. Say to them, “I can take it. For me to be able to be the best I can be, I want and need your ideas, opinions, suggestions, and advice. Please say what’s on your mind.”
We are all human beings. Even when you are committed to being coachable, it is normal to occasionally become agitated, irritated, or even angry. If this happens to you, let your coach know that he may need to give you the space to be angry with yourself for a few minutes. This will help your coach understand that you really mean business when you say, “tell it like it is.”
Next, take that time to remember that you did request that they be rigorous with their coaching. Work on not taking it personally. If the truth hurts, be grateful. If coaching is confronting for you, and many times it will be, be grateful that someone was courageous enough to tell you the truth from his or her perspective. A great question to ask your coach is, “In your opinion, how can I do better?” Then, LISTEN for the answer. NEXT, put the idea to work!
A wise coach will always give an honest assessment of the situation when requested. Coaches contribute. They do not withhold. They know that to withhold causes problems in coaching relationships. Sometimes it is difficult for a coach to say what needs to be said. There must be a clear understanding regarding “withholding.” Coaches are generally tactful when they offer assistance, but never critical, although sometimes it may appear as such. Never take coaching personally. A good coach coaches by assisting people in perceiving things from many points of view.
Being coachable is not listening for the answer; it is listening for many answers, and then making an informed decision about what has to be done. It’s listening for what is more appropriate for you in your situation.
The second kind of coaching is listening for and accepting coaching from anyone and everyone all the time. This is the tough one I spoke of earlier in this chapter.
For the purpose of this discussion, let’s assume that you could learn to accept coaching from everyone without an oral request for coaching. You don’t actively choose them, they choose you. They just show up. The secret is this. Always be a request for coaching. Rid yourself of the notion that only certain people would be good coaches for you; that only gifted people can make a contribution worthy of your listening. Be like the coachable quarterback, never evaluate the coach. Only evaluate what the coach says.
There is more benefit to be gained if you read these words with a specific intention to grasp the concept of what it could mean to you, if you could live your life as a request for coaching from everyone with whom you have a conversation. It’s a hot idea. What if it worked? Think about it. What if being open for coaching from the universe worked? It’s not easy. And you can do it.
This article is from the book, “Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections,” available in book stores and on Amazon.com.
We get LoveNotes: “I thought I was only going to read about how to best network my business at my local Chamber of Commerce functions. Instead, I was treated to a mature man’s wit and wisdom for living a successful, happy life. In the Acknowledgments! I was surprised to find Werner Erhard, one of my personal champions, mentioned. I knew then I was in for some surprises and I wasn’t disappointed. Larry James has distilled his own experience of a lifetime, hundreds of books and thousands of sayings into clear and helpful advice that, if followed, can lead one out of inertia and into the successful arena of winners-neatly summarized as his chapter titles: Blueprint Your Life! Accept Responsibility! Be Coachable! show Up! Be Yourself! Pay Attention! Contribute! As for What You Want! Say “Thank You!” Stay Connected! Landmark Education, another of Erhard’s brainstorms, is also beautifully and creatively encapsulated in James’ book. The principles taught here can take a lifetime of study and investigation. Buy this book and get it all quickly, follow it to the letter, and you will be excited about every day of your life, creating it consciously, from now on.” ~ Patricia A. Hamilton
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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