Why coachability is important

Posted: 9/16/2012 9:20:03 PM
Entrepreneurs are anti-authority so it's difficult to know why coachability is important. Well, here's why.
One of the many reasons to go out and start a business is to get out from under the control of some boss that doesn't understand your ideas or your reasoning. So why would you want to work with someone who wants you to be "coachable"? Does this mean they'll dictate your thinking?

When you're just starting out, you might look for a mentor, maybe at an incubator or start-up school of sorts. You may come across an emphasis on "coachability." What does it mean? Are the these people looking for someone to micromanage and boss around?? You could get that at a day job! You're just looking for help to start your own business and be your own boss.

As an entrepreneur, if you've got any experience at all, you're used to people saying no to your ideas or giving you advice you might find useless. It may seem that there are more people out there without a clue than with one! So why listen to someone else try to tell you what the right decisions are for a business you run everyday? You've put in the hard work, you know your business! Why is someone else trying to tell you what to do?

Here's why. Entrepreneurs, like you, are human too and still make a lot of mistakes. If you aren't making enough mistakes, you aren't doing enough. Right now, I'm watching Shark Tank, I have three episodes queued up in separate browser tabs, and I see the same mistakes over and over. If you're starting a business, you better be watching Shark Tank, because the sharks are right. Learn from their mistakes. The biggest mistake I see is people saying no to money. Those 5 sharks up there have way more experience than any of the pitchers and some naive pitchers still stand there and act like they know more than the sharks.

"Life is always about distribution... that's it." Daymond John gets it. You might, but you probably don't. It's okay, just trust him. He's sold billions of dollars worth of product. It's hard to create a business. It takes management, contacts and software. Do you know the people at 1,000 stores to sell to? Do you know someone at Wal-mart? If they buy 100,000 units, can you deliver? How? Are you going to put them in your trunk and drive them over?

I'm digressing extremely here. The point is, these sharks, mentors, some investors and many of the folks you'll meet at incubators, have been in business and created companies. They want to help you! Listen to them. They know the mistakes you're making. They've made them. If you aren't coachable, you aren't going to listen to them tell you you're making a mistake.

On season 3, week 14 of Shark Tank, Mark Cuban says, "At this point, I'm going to ask you to trust us." If you're coachable, your answer to Mark Cuban, is, "Wait a minute. I'm not quite sure I understand what you're saying, but if we can position ourselves on the same side of success, I'll will to trust you."

Coachability is the ability to listen to the people who have been through the wringer before and heed their advice. So listen, evaluate the advice, if you don't understand it, research it. If you're more coachable, you'll make fewer mistakes by learning from the mistakes of others -- and the successes too.

Good luck!