It was a particularly stormy meeting . Emotions were high. People on the team had some strong opinions. We were having a real rumble. We debated a number of alternatives and I had said some great statements. I felt at times like the smartest guy in the room and then the guy least prepared . What a see-saw of emotions. We all sort of went to our neutral corners (our offices) and the decision needed was tabled for a later date. it was then that my boss who was supposed to be coaching me sat me down to give me a few pointers. The funny thing, in those days, I was not aware that I was being mentored or coached . It just seemed like a hard dose of REAL that he laid on me.
He told me that I was uncoachable during this period in my career. He then told me why and it stuck with me. I want to share some of the things he told me . They were hard things to hear but I took them to heart and I started working on these faults that he so aptly brought to my attention.
The 6 Things I needed to work on:
- Ego- oh yes, my ego was a large one and it seemed at times that there wasn’t room for anyone or anything else in the room with me. I showed little humility– I thought it was weakness so I didn’t share in successes. If you want to be someone who can be coached, you need to show some humility along with the ability to admit your faults. Those who know themselves…really know themselves are aware of their faults and weak points . It is easy to embrace your strengths but it takes an enlightened person to recognize their areas where they need improvement. This realization opens you up for coaching.
- I had trouble listening to constructive criticism. Feedback was not welcomed and it was hard to hear at times. If I was to improve, my coach told me, I needed to be open to hearing these things. Once he could get through, then I was on my way to improvement. It is like that in business as it is in sports. Every great sports player has a coach,. How far they go and how much they can improve and level up depends on how open they are to criticism.
- Rock Solid and Stubborn– This was me. I thought I was right. I needed to be right. I would fight for that last inch. Being stubborn, stood in the way of me seeing other people’s view points. When you are closed to other’s views, when you refuse to empathize with them, you are like a rock in the road. The rock has to be moved for smooth progress. You can choose to move yourself or be prepared for life to move you. You need to move outside of your comfort zone. A coach can help you do this. They hold up a mirror and sometimes, you do not like what you see. I learned, through coaching what it feels like to move beyond my comfort zone and how what seemed uncomfortable or even impossible at the beginning becomes easier and easier through repetition. My coach finally got through to me.
- I lacked trust and respect for people in my group. I felt that everyone was in it for themselves. This was because I was closed minded . I didn’t really want to get to know them and their view points-their realities. My coach told me that I would never be a productive team member because all I cared about was myself. He said I was fighting for my position but unable to hear that there might be other ways to make this situation better. He was right, I can not say that the changes I made after that were easy or that they came quickly. I had to do a lot of soul searching and personal work but I did start to see changes and i slowly was able to “walk in someone else’s shoes”. I started to develop trust in my team mates and my coach and I had to show others that I was vulnerable. I could be right or i could be happy. I chose happiness.
- There was little commitment to improvement. In those days, I took the easier path. I wasn’t quite drifting but my level of commitment to be better was not very obvious. My boss pointed this out to me. He noted that there were numerous times I did not seem to rise to the occasion and I took the easier path. He knew I could do better. He knew I was capable of better and it was during this sit down that I started to be aware that I could do many more things that I was doing . I even started to get a glimpse of my destiny, my passions that were lying dormant within me. It was a coach who began my awakening, but only when I truly let him in to do this. If you are not committed to be better, you are uncoachable.
- Operating out of a bunker. Acting as if the world was a battle field and I was fighting this battle alone. This was how I looked at my world. I felt it was me who had gotten me to this place in my career. I failed to see how others helped me to get there. We can act as if we are all on our own or we can understand that we are all connected. My coach told me that everyone in my group, my team was working toward a common goal. We need to not let our own egos and opinions close up off to all the ideas that the group was capable of generating. My boss told me we had had this conversation before and yet we were having it again. At first, I was angry at him, the team everyone but me. Then, I started to get what he was saying. I was closed but now I started opening up. Not quite a flower but a bud that would take some time to open. It was the beginning of my awakening.
It was during and after that meeting that I started to see what being an engaged member of my team really meant. I put the oars in the water and when we met again, it seemed like a different group, a different team that was in the room compared to those in the room during our stormy and tumultuous rumble the day before. Actually, they were all the same, it was me who was different. I became more coachable that day. The world seemed brighter and more hopeful after this rumble.
I like to think that through a series of steps, I became a better pupil, I better student of the game called business . I realized that I was not alone. We are in this together and we are all connected. I still need coaching. There are many great folks who I call my mentors and teachers. Life long learning is my passion. It is something that stirs my creative juices and helps me look toward the future with an eye on success and wonder. I hope you are coachable. I hope you do not need a major ah ha moment to get it and you are on your path toward your next level. Teachers can still be taught and coaches can still be coached.
Please forward this to three of your colleagues and team members who you think might benefit from this experience.
If you would like some help with your team, reach out to me and we can talk about how to do this and what this help might look like contact me. Oars Forward Coaching
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