When talking about transformation, growth, performance improvement, behavior change, or just learning something new, the first question to consider is whether you or someone else is coachable.

To answer this question more concretely, I recommend reflecting upon what I call the growth hierarchy–Awareness, Willingness, Ability


We’ve all heard it before: “awareness is the first step.” This means that you cannot change or grow beyond that which you are aware requires change. Therefore, you must confront or allow someone else to help you increase your awareness about the potential benefit you stand to gain by adding, subtracting, formulating, or refining a skill, attribute, understanding, consideration, or perspective.


When struggling with behavior change of any kind, it is my belief that most people don’t lack awareness. Rather, the struggle is with either a lack of willingness or ability. Unfortunately, there are many people who seek out coaching, consulting, therapy, or some form of education because of an awareness around the NEED to change; however, they still lack the willingness to actually make that partnership successful. This is why confronting the question “are you coachable?” is so important because it starts by requiring someone to consider the gap between their need and their actual want and desire for not just change but growth.


I have observed coaches, teachers, and, even, significant others get frustrated with those they are in relationship because they presume that the subject(s) in question are not willing to do what is necessary to improve. This can cause whomever is being judged to feel ashamed, neglected, and helpless. The reason is because these people are very motivated to improve, they just aren’t sure HOW. It is not a lack of willingness toward WHAT they need and want to do but an inability to know HOW.

Now you know WHAT being coachable means and HOW to help someone or yourself improve upon the ability to be coached.

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