The greatest athletes in the world have the greatest coaches – think of Brian Clough, Angelo Dundee or Clive Woodward. The one thing that all the athletes these formidable people have coached have in common, apart from their physical prowess, is their mental attitude. In other words, their coachability. When you’re looking to add talent to your team, it’s a quality that you can’t ignore. We look at what it is and how important it is that your candidates have it.
Put very simply, coachability means that a person is open to new experiences, wants to learn and has the ability to change. They are receptive to feedback and constructive criticism, and will listen and use what they’ve heard to improve their performance. They are good at self-analysis, and will reflect, improve and adapt. There is no ego in coachability, rather there’s a willingness to respond positively to pressure, to maintain motivation, and to work with others collaboratively towards a common goal.
Self-awareness – coachable candidates will demonstrate a high level of self-awareness, both of their strengths and their weaknesses. They will understand that there’s a difference between confidence and arrogance. They will also appreciate how feedback enables them to understand how they are perceived by others, and welcome opinions on both their performance and attitude. It’s the key to authenticity and will unlock potential.
Welcomes feedback – feedback is vital in every role and any coachable candidate will not only welcome it but also seek it out from wherever it comes – manager, colleague or even customer. Coachable candidates will listen to feedback, both positive and negative, and apply what they’ve learned objectively to their future behaviour and working practices. Candidates who get defensive when offered feedback should be treated with caution.
Open to learning – nobody knows everything, so when the opportunity to learn something new presents itself, coachable candidates will grasp it with both hands. They will seek out more knowledgeable colleagues to ask for information, put themselves forward for training, and actively look for better ways of doing things.
Collaborates well – teamwork is a fundamental element within an organisation, and the stronger a team the better its performance. Collaboration recognises each team members’ strengths and utilises them to get the best out of everyone. This not only improves productivity but also increases the quality of work that’s being done.
Have a growth mindset – coachable candidates are fully aware that they can improve, develop their competences and absorb new skills that will enable them to challenge themselves in their role.
Learn from failure – many people fear failure in the workplace but coachable candidates will understand that everyone makes mistakes from time to time, and that failure can be a top-down cultural issue. If someone is frightened to fail then they’ll be frightened to try and that can be detrimental to the success of a business. Accepting that you’re going to fail from time to time is part of a job’s challenge and that if you do fail it can be a learning experience from which everyone can benefit.
On paper the candidate looks ideal. They have the perfect mix of skills and experience, and their background is impeccable. However, once they start in the role they don’t gel with other team members. They’re defensive, sometimes rude to their colleagues (and, unforgivably, to clients) and they don’t handle criticism well. It’s a nightmare scenario and one that will impact negatively on both your existing team and your company’s reputation.
To avoid situations like this it’s important to know how to spot coachability in a candidate.
Of course, the best way to avoid hiring someone without coachability is to rely on a recruitment partner that understands the nuances of people’s personalities and can spot their potential to improve both themselves and the company that they work for.
If you’re looking to make the right hire for your business, whilst minimising risk and maximising effectiveness, get in touch with JIE Search.