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3 Minutes to Boost Your Coachability

SK Camille

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A talent development veteran tells you how to keep growing and advancing in your career — even as a seasoned leader.

The expert: Kevin D. Wilde is a talent development expert, currently teaching and researching at the University of Minnesota. His career in business included participating in GE’s famed corporate leadership training center and 17 years as General Mills’ senior talent development executive.

The main point: As leaders become more experienced and advanced in their careers, they often stall out. Coachability can keep you growing and advancing.

Coachability is the ability to seek out and hear feedback, take it on board, and improve as a result. Wilde says leaders who possess coachability benefit in the following ways:

  • Higher coachability leads to increases in performance and promotability.
  • Coachable leaders are viewed as more skilled and garner higher ratings in the areas of innovation, inspiration, strategy, and collaboration versus their less coachable counterparts.
  • Coachable leaders’ teams show more motivation, adaptability, promotability, and higher performance, productivity, sales, and customer satisfaction.

Conversely, Wilde says leaders who fail to develop coachability tend to have blind spots regarding their own performance. They find it difficult to develop new skills, and they lose out on opportunities, leading to career stagnation and derailment.

Coachability is a learned skill that you can develop through practice, commitment, and a growth mindset, Wilde says.

According to Wilde, the ability to take feedback on board is central to coachability.

To take action to build your coachability, Wilde recommends:

  • Actively solicit feedback. Seek it from peers, your people, and “truth tellers” — people who will offer the unvarnished truth. Speaking with a variety of sources will give you a range of perspectives. Ask specific questions to get specific feedback.
  • Listen actively to the feedback. Don’t interrupt, and don’t get defensive. Ask clarifying questions if necessary. Express gratitude for the feedback — even when you disagree. If active listening is a new concept for…

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SK Camille

I cover general-interest professional topics in clear, actionable briefs. I also write about change, growth, and faith with warmth and optimism.