Updates from QA Training

To coach or not to coach?

Surely everyone is capable of being successful if they’re coached? The fact is, everyone isn’t.


Jennie Marshall | 16 October 2013

Surely everyone is capable of being successful if they’re coached? The fact is, everyone isn’t.

This question and answer was something that I was discussing recently with a group of delegates on a coaching workshop, who were going forward to coach members of their team to perform better and wanted to know 'how to coach someone who doesn't want to be coached.'

And this raised some thoughts in my own mind.

There are uncoachable people out there. Those who are uncoachable often think they have no performance issues and if there is one, believe everyone 'out there' is the cause. In these cases, coaching isn't a very good option to produce positive results. It's kind of like one spouse dragging another to marriage counselling in the hope that the counsellor can 'fix' the partner. (Ever see how well that works?). The sticking point here is a mind-set that doesn't allow someone to reflect on their own behaviour, a desire to change it, and their personal responsibility for the relationship. So, forcing someone into a coaching relationship isn't the best organisational solution for certain issues and individuals.

5 ways to spot coachable people

If you are considering coaching someone else or being coached, here are five attributes I've observed in people who successfully 'own' their part of the coaching process. You might want to use this as a quick diagnostic tool.

1. Committed to change. Individuals who don't think they're perfect, want to improve, exhibit responsibility for their lives, and are willing to step outside of their comfort zones are good candidates for a successful coaching relationship.

2. Open to information about themselves. Be willing and able to listen and hear developmental feedback without being defensive; then, synthesise their coach's suggestions with their own personal reflections on the issue.

3. Open about themselves. Willing to engage in topics that may be uncomfortable but are getting in the way of their professional development; talks about 'what's really going on' so the coach can have a complete and honest picture of the total situation.

4. Appreciate new perspectives. People who get excited about hearing someone else's take on a situation and figure out how to learn from it can really benefit from coaching.

5. Awareness about one's self and others. Coachable people already have at least a fair amount of awareness about themselves. Equally important, they use it to reflect on their behaviour and how it impacts other people in the range of situations that come their way.

You may have some others that you use to gauge coachability.

It's not always going to be 'one glove fits all, coaching cures everything.' It is however about thinking how you can coach in subtle way to those non-believers.

I'm not guaranteeing you'll crack those uncoachable souls, but you may start to make inroads in to their own beliefs about their performance.

Jennie Marshall
QA Learning Expert: Leadership, Management and Business Skills

QA Training | Jennie-marshal

Jennie Marshall

Learning Programme Director (Enterprise and Outsource Services)

Jennie Marshall is an award winning learning professional (Winner of the 2016 Learning Performance Institute, Learning Professional of the Year Bronze Award), who joined QA in 2010 as a Learning Consultant in the Leadership, Management and Business Skills team. She has gone on to progress through various positions to her current role of Learning Programme Director where she now designs, develops and manages the delivery of end to end learning programmes. She is an experienced and dedicated learning professional, with expertise including management, leadership and talent, and training and facilitation developed within a variety of environments. Jennie has a proven track record of delivering blended, multi modal learning programmes using Learning Management System platforms and in a more traditional face to face setting, is at home with small and large audiences. She is a proven developer of people and is accredited in the use of a variety of tools including Strength Deployment Inventory®, Emergenetics®, Hogan®, Prism® and Worldsview™ as well as being an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Master Practitioner and Kirkpatrick Certified Professional (Bronze).
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