Are You Coachable?

You Are Stuck. You Want Help. Yet, 'Are You Coachable?'
A Guest Post on Coachability by Rory Kelly Connor

Recently, I was contacted via email for coaching support by a woman (let’s call her Sue) stuck in a job she loathed. Working for an international corporation with numerous locations and subsidiaries, Sue had moved around within the corporate framework, most recently taking a position out-of-state that required her to commute home on weekends. The new position was achingly dull and provided none of the career opportunities and challenges she longed to tackle. Combined with the bi-state living situation, her pain level was almost at the breaking point. Sue was stuck and needed help.

As is protocol, I scheduled a time to speak with Sue directly by Skype/phone during the following week. I also sent her a short list of questions to answer which would help provide more information for that discussion. I also asked that she send me her resume for my review.

The day before the complimentary consult, I received the responses, as requested. Over several pages, Sue had thoroughly answered each question and provided context for our discussion. She also sent three significantly varied versions of her resume. Clearly, she was mired in a sea of considered possibilities with no clarity on which direction to focus her energies to create desired change or how to modify her personal branding so as to manifest momentum. As I prepared for our call, I knew from experience that I was up for a potentially challenging conversation and, as I do before every coaching call, I offered up my intention to be of the greatest service possible to help this person during our consult, whether she became a client or not.

Are You Coachable?

As a Certified, trained Coach and Strategic Advisor who has successfully worked with hundreds of clients who want to achieve and/or exceed their goals, I can intuitively sense when a client is ready to “make it happen.” For peak potential/life and career coaches, there is a basic formula with which to identify if a person is open to the transformative process of coaching and able to enter into a trusted, accountable relationship with a Coach – in other words, coachable.

A person who is ready to create change in his/her life or career through coaching will generally embrace all of the following statements:
·    I sincerely need and want to improve my life/career.
·    I am not looking for a quick fix.
·    I am open to honest feedback and candid assessments.
·    I am the only one who can make my life better.
·    I view coaching as a worthwhile investment in me.
·    This is the right time for me to accept coaching.
·    I realize that everything I want is probably just outside my comfort zone.
·    I accept responsibility for my actions and do not expect anyone to "fix" me.
·    I acknowledge my life will remain the same unless I make change a priority.
·    I understand coaching is an ongoing process for creating changes in my life.
·    I am fully willing to do the work and let the Coach do the coaching.
·    I will be open to the direction or suggestions of the Coach and "try on" new concepts or different ways of doing things.
·    I am able and committed to honesty (to tell the truth) with the Coach.
·    I am willing to stop or change any self-defeating behaviors which limit my success.
·    I keep my word without struggling or sabotaging.
·    I want to be held accountable for my progress.
·    I can be relied upon to be on time for all calls and appointments.
·    I have adequate funds to pay for coaching and will not regret or suffer about the fee.

I Know I Need Help, But…You Have To Be Ready To Do the Work

As I began the consult with Sue, I quickly realized she was looking for a quick fix (red flag!), especially as related to her desire to get a new job, preferably in an entirely different field. I noted that there were problems on her resume which were probably keeping her from getting the attention of prospective employers. While acknowledging this was true, she did not seem open to receiving suggestions on how she might improve it (another red flag!). In addition, Sue noted that people were always telling her she kept sabotaging herself, yet she knew she was fantastic (justification for self-defeating behaviors, red flag number three!).

Overall, I quickly realized that whenever I tried to learn more or give specific feedback, Sue either changed direction or would not allow me to get a word in to the conversation. Sue was not a good listener. So far, all red flags considered, Sue did not appear to be coachable.

Yet, intuitively, I felt this was not a result of self-centeredness. Sue was afraid. She was afraid that if she stopped talking for too long, someone might find their way in – might “see” her – and then they might be able to hurt her. I also knew that opening up, getting quiet, would allow her to let someone in to help her.

I had been clear on my intention for this call. So, pushing back hard on her defense mechanisms, I mentioned this to her, acknowledging the courage it takes to trust someone and to love yourself enough to move forward through the coaching process even when facing what’s inside is the scariest thing you feel you’d ever have to do. I told her that a good Coach would never “hurt” her or take advantage of her. A good Coach would first and foremost make sure she felt safe. My words were met with utter silence.

We ended the call on an upbeat note, with a plan to work together on her resumes. Sue was ambiguous on whether she wanted to move forward yet on the coaching. After the red flags, I wasn’t surprised that she wasn’t yet ready.

Then a few days later, I received an email from Sue stating that she was sorry she had been “fighting” me so much during the call. She realized she was keeping herself from moving forward. She wanted to commit to the coaching process and to do the work needed to get where she truly wants to go. Through just one small taste of the coaching relationship, Sue went from being not coachable to potentially very coachable.

Ultimately, the nature of coachability rests independently on the client and on the Coach. If a Coachee is not coachable (in other words, open, intuitive), then the Coach is probably not a very good Coach. The beauty of the coaching relationship lies in the sacred energy and dynamics that exist between the two people, where together they are more than each are separately. This expanded space allows the room needed for a shift in perspective, or in this case, coachability.

Based in New York and Philadelphia, and serving clients worldwide, Rory Kelly Connor is a Peak Potential Coach, Certified Life & Career Coach, and Brand/PR/Business Strategy Expert. For more information, please visit
Can You Imagine Life Coaching LLC © 2011


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