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What We Can Learn from the Highly Coachable

I’m often asked what makes someone “coachable?” Are there some people who seem to do more & go further with coaching than others? To this, my answer is, undeniably, YES!

I believe being coachable is as much about approach & attitude as it is anything else. If you are someone who wants to improve any aspect of your life, you will want to be concerned with how coachable you are.

If it’s not someone, like me, who helps you along, you can always rely on life to coach you through the perfect opportunity to be challenged & tested. The key is acknowledging and knowing what to do with the information that is being offered to you. The more coachable you are, the more awareness you’ll build, the more you’ll learn about the importance of perspective and the better you’ll become for having had the experience.

Here, as we focus on “better,” being the operative word, it all boils down to attitude and individual perception. If you want to experience more or a higher degree of anything in your life, it’s about establishing a positive relationship with change. After all, if you would like something else, then change is exactly what you need!

So, let’s dig in and look at some of the principle traits of those who are highly coachable.


Although we might blame it for “killing the cat,” curiosity is all about leading with what you don’t know as opposed to what you do know. Curious people allow themselves to be in the “unknown” in order to learn, grow & improve. As children, we all started out curious until we learned from others and life experience not to be. We were made this way because positive growth relies, to a large extent, on curiosity.


Just as a door that’s closed cannot be entered, when we are closed off to looking at “how we do life,” we cannot truly learn what we need to know to improve and enter the next level of our lives.


Let’s face it, people who are willing to lean into their discomfort in order to be, have & perform at their best are not the norm. That’s why “the best of the best” constitutes a much smaller percentage of the population. It takes a certain caliber of person to be willing to do whatever it takes to shift, refashion, augment and transform their situation and life. Yet, anyone can become better if they choose to be this.

Cares about Growth

At the end of the day, a person who is coachable is someone who is more growth-oriented than they are comfort-driven. Our comfort zone may be, well, comfortable, but nothing ever grows or improves there.


Anyone who wants to perform at their best knows that a big part of this is being able to examine “all of their parts.” High-achievers always look at what they have done to assess how they can do it better the next time, and this includes receiving and incorporating feedback from others, as well. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “high” achiever, working on being a “higher” achiever, can do a lot to create an environment where more possibility and opportunities can enter.


One of my favorite quotes is by Noel DeJesus. “Continuously lying to yourselfis just as fatal as suicide; only slower. Take ownership of your life, be accountable to you.” Coachable people embrace the opportunity to have others help them to be self-accountable.


No matter who you are, as a human, you have a “bull s#%&” meter. On some level, we can all spot authenticity. Coachable people strive to be genuine, transparent and, thus, believable. They want to make a positive impact and they know to do this, they must show up fully as who they truly are.

Life Learner

As Brian Herbert wrote, “the capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.” Coachable people choose to be life-long learners.


I mentioned before that attitude & approach are key elements to coachability. Someone who is enthusiastic about learning & growing sees any opportunity to do this as an adventure. With this attitude, it’s much easier to view challenge as a necessary part of the development process.

In looking at some of the characteristics of coachable people, we can understand how these individuals can experience higher than average levels of success, fulfillment and positive life engagement. They become models for all of us on the value of choosing growth and betterment over comfort and being right and safe. Any one of us can be this kind of person. It all depends on how much we want to experience what we desire in life.

Perhaps, Michael Jordan said it most succinctly, “my best skill was that I was coachable. I was a sponge and aggressive to learn.”


Published at with the consent of the author

Traci Philips

About author

Performance & Leadership Strategist | Speaker | Authentic Communications Coach | Transformation Instigator

Traci Philips is an Executive Leadership & Performance Strategist and supports visionary business owners and corporate executives to reach a higher degree of fulfillment, potential and purpose in their careers and lives. She excels at digging in and uncovering a client’s Zone of Genius, as well as identifying what is holding them back, many times in ways they are not aware. She is well practiced at helping clients improve their communications, resolution strategies, decision-making and establishing a sense of balance and unwavering confidence that is essential for leading during times of change and when the stakes are high.

Being one herself, Traci understands how visionaries think and operate. She helps leaders understand and define their unique lane, how to operate and stay in it, and she works with them to build the mental framework, behaviors and communication skills necessary to engage with their partners, teams and clients in meaningful, effective and positively influential ways.

Traci is the co-host of Eavesdrop in the Moment, a bi-weekly podcast that discusses current trends and leadership. Her book, Looking In: Discover, Define and Align the True Value of Your Life, Leadership and Legacy is helping leaders around the globe increase their confidence and self-identity to meet leadership demands and their personal performance potential.

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