194. Coachability

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Ep. 194 – In this week’s episode of the Manager Track podcast, host Ramona Shaw delves into the intriguing subject of coachability and its crucial role in personal and professional development. She begins by setting the stage with a helpful overview of what coaching conversations entail and then unpacks the four pivotal aspects of coachability: self-reflection, openness to feedback, action-taking, and self-accountability.

A question to consider: When something happens, do you think outward of what were the circumstances or what were other people doing? Or are you self-reflecting and considering what you chose to do or not to do?

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Episode 194 Transcript:

Ramona Shaw [00:00:00]:
This episode is about your level of coachability. Here’s the question. How do you successfully transition into your 1st official leadership role? Build the confidence and competence to lead your team successfully, and establish yourself as a respected and trusted leader across the organization? That’s the question, and this show provides the answers. Welcome to The Manager Track podcast. I’m your host, Ramona Shaw, and I’m on a mission to Right? Workplaces where work is not seen as a source of stress and dread, but as a source of contribution, connection, and fulfillment. And this transition It starts with developing a new generation of leaders who know how to lead so everyone wins and grows. In the show, you’ll learn how to think, communicate, and act as the confident and competent leader you know you can be? Welcome to this episode of The Manager Track podcast. I’d like to talk to you about coachability today because I recently had a conversation with a friend who asked me what coaching conversations sound like, What what coaching really is, what I talk to my clients about? And it was an interesting question, and I think a valid question.

Ramona Shaw [00:01:10]:
A lot of people who’ve never experienced coaching and are sort of interested, and we’ve had a chat After they are trying to solve a problem, and then they wanna know what does coaching actually look like and what does it mean to be in a coaching engagement video. And so they may be looking for a very clear answer what they can expect, a bit of a blueprint of what all that looks like And a crystal clear answer, of of the common conversations we’ll have. The answer, though, is not that clear. Every single client and every single conversation that I have sounds different and is different. I am not 1 coach that shows up The same way that every client. I as a coach, it’s not possible. It may be as a teacher, right, I could Say, hey. I teach you all these different things.

Ramona Shaw [00:02:00]:
In our 1st lecture, here’s what I’m gonna teach you, then 2nd lecture, We’re we’re moving on to a different topic. But as a coach, I’m here to serve my client’s purpose and their goal in the conversation and what they’re looking for and then also adapting to their style and their sell ability to self reflect? So every coaching conversation is very different. What it always includes is conversations around or at least a check-in around the big the bigger goals, Very tactical applications or moments and opportunities to move in the direction and make progress on those goals, And then challenges that they’re dealing with and helping them think through problems or self or self reflect, or I may, You know, recognize patterns or challenge their thinking to go beyond what they initially see. Those are some of the common things that show up Inside of a coaching conversation. And I didn’t prepare to talk about the different components of coaching, because as I’m saying this here, I listed 5, and I think there’d probably be 10 if I did an episode on what are some of the common themes that come up inside of coaching. But this is not about that. This is really about coachability. And the reason why I bring up that every coaching conversation is different is because the level of coachability is also different.

Ramona Shaw [00:03:20]:
In addition to every person being different, every goal being different, every circumstance situation being different. When someone is coachable, that person is open to self reflect and actually often doesn’t need to be prompted, but a sort of offers up self reflections. They’re interested in feedback. They wanna hear what someone perceives and picks up in addition to what they’re able to self reflect. Then they’re Action takers, they wanna look at, okay, what can I do? What am I willing to do as a result of that? And then they’re also self accountable, meaning They will track their own commitments, and they will also report back what they did do, what they didn’t do, and why. So these 4 things In my books, is what makes someone a coachable person. Again, they’re quick to engage in self reflection. They’re open to feedback.

Ramona Shaw [00:04:17]:
They wanna take actions, And they’re self accountable. Who’s for example, I have a client who’s very coachable. In a recent conversation, The person was talking through a conversation that they should have. And as we were talking, they said, actually, Now that I’m talking about it, I don’t think I should do this. I don’t think I need to have that conversation. And I said, What would the greatest version of you do? Would the greatest version of you have the conversation or not have the conversation, and why? And I didn’t know what it was because there could be really good reasons to have the conversation and really good reasons not to have the conversation. But I wanted to know, for them, When they really listen and go inwards, are they avoiding some discomfort by not having a conversation, or is that Truly what they believe they need to do to be their greatest their greatest self. And by asking that question, my client then said, Actually, I do think I need to have that conversation.

Ramona Shaw [00:05:19]:
The the greatest version of me would do that. So, yes, thank you for reminding me. I need to have that conversation. I’m going to have that session next week. I take a note. I know that that’s what they said. I know they took a note. And then next time we speak, I’ll check-in and see did they talk to.

Ramona Shaw [00:05:36]:
Did they have this conversation? If it was a yes, great. Let’s quickly debrief, and also good job for doing that and, like, showing up, your greatest self, even when it was And if they didn’t do it, then let’s take let’s figure out why. No judgment. We all do this, but let’s understand and reflect? And I know that client would even offer that up and I don’t even have to ask. They would immediately jump in and say, here’s why I think I didn’t do it. Why I taken out? Right. So when you’re thinking about your own coach ability, ask yourself these questions. When something happens, when I’m challenged with a problem, when I think about my goals Or my progress or lack of progress, do I think outward of what were the circumstances Or what were other people doing? Or am I self reflecting as of what did I choose to do or not to do? What was I thinking, and what was I feeling? So actions, feelings, and thoughts.

Ramona Shaw [00:06:41]:
Those are the things we wanna really self reflect on. Then when someone provides feedback, unsolicited, what is your response to that? And by the way, a lot of us, we hear feedback and the initial reaction is like, I didn’t ask for that feedback, or Why or that’s not true. But then how long does it take you for you to come around and start to think about, maybe there’s something to that? Maybe they meant it well. So what’s the time frame? Does that happen fairly quickly within minutes? Does it take you hours? Does it take you days? If it takes you hours or days, aim to shorten it. Aim to get quicker into that, situation, into that headspace where you can see it As a benefit, again, an insight whether or not you’re listening to it and you’re acting on it, but just as an insight because someone else was sharing Something about you or the perception they have of you. In regards to solicited feedback, how often do you ask for feedback or for suggestions? And I specifically call out suggestions here because asking for feedback and using the word feedback can make it uncomfortable for other people Where they start to feel like they’re on the spot and some little char charged word and they don’t wanna step on your toes, Especially if if there’s power dynamic going on, you being a manager, for example, or if there’s some competitiveness going on, they may feel a little bit awkward about it. When you ask for suggestions or advice, it’s forward looking and takes that emotional charge out of out of it. Instead, people will start to not say what you did well or didn’t do well, but they will Start to look into the future and make suggestions of what they think you could do more or less of that would be better.

Ramona Shaw [00:08:34]:
So that’s a suggestion. How often do you solicit Feedback from others. That’s another component here in it. And then taking action. Yeah. When you say to a mentor, to, a manager who’s giving you performance Coaching or to a coach that you’re going to do something, are you actually following through? If you’re not following through, there could be 2 problems. Either you chicken out for some reason because you know you should have followed through, but the discomfort, the awkwardness, the doubts kicked in and You didn’t follow through on the action, or you said yes to doing something that truly you meant to say no, you didn’t actually agree with? And I see this often happen in mentor relationships where someone is significantly more senior, has a lot of experience, and they may give a give a suggestion. And there’s this sense of authority, in a play.

Ramona Shaw [00:09:32]:
And as their a mentee on the receiving end, I may just and say, yes. Good advice. Good idea. I will definitely do that. Internally, though, I feel either The times have changed or circumstances are different or it doesn’t feel aligned. We see this often also With typically masculine type of masculine type of leadership or typically a feminine type of leadership, where someone with a very different Style may mean really well, but they don’t recognize that that style does not feel good to you and wouldn’t feel authentic to you. So in those situations, right, to say, I appreciate your advice. I will think about it, or I will see what I wanna take from that and then apply For myself or even question it in the moment, but not to make a clear commitment, to it.

Ramona Shaw [00:10:28]:
That may then be the takeaway for you. Anyway, that was a quick side note on the solicited feedback that you’re not executing on whether or not it’s because a lack of Courage and follow through or a lack of agreement, on the feedback. And then the last 1 is to be self accountable. Self accountable being self accountable means that you are owning your mistakes and your wins, your responsibilities and your part that created a certain situation. Someone who’s very coachable, they will look at, let’s Say, hey. An employee quit. They will not say, well, that employee shouldn’t have quit, and I don’t know why they quit, and that’s their problem. I have nothing to do with it.

Ramona Shaw [00:11:12]:
They will What is my part in this? Did I miss conversations? Should I have anticipated this, I’m prepared for it. Is there something that I actually didn’t do well in that relationship and they left because of that? Or did I not support their growth, ambitions or their their goals enough? Or Maybe none of this is true, but at least inquire. Right? At least try to take account for how you co created the situation. If you notice as I’m talking about these 4 different things, if you notice that and you think like, yeah. I’m doing great on all of those, That should maybe awesome. If as and I hope that as I’m talking about these 4 factors of coachability, that you start to think about Situations that have happened in the past, currently happening, where you may recognize, okay. Yeah. I’m not reflecting On my thoughts, my feelings, and my actions enough, you might recognize I’m not asking for feedback enough or I’m not taking feedback well enough.

Ramona Shaw [00:12:19]:
You might notice that you’re not always following through on the things you say you’re gonna do and commit to, or that you’re not looking to tug Take account and accountable and be self accountable for your part in in results and outcomes, that are or or situations that are being created. But all of this is work. And by the way, all of this also often is uncomfortable work. Being self reflective, I don’t know. Not always the funniest thing to do. I have other fun things I could be doing, other more comfortable things I could be doing, then do sit down and write down my thoughts or to reflect or have conversation tough conversations with trusted people in my life about my actions and my behaviors. It’s sometimes really hard stuff. Right? It’s not not the funnest.

Ramona Shaw [00:13:06]:
We have more fun things we could be doing, But it’s necessary. Asking for feedback, taking those uncomfortable actions, taking account for things, those are all necessary things in order to be coachable and, as a result, to grow. Because at this point, you may say, like, okay. All all good, but But I’m fine. I don’t need to be more coachable, or I don’t work with a coach. So why do I need to be coachable in the 1st place? And my boss isn’t coaching me either. If those are thoughts that are coming up or if you have team members that may be in that mindset, then consider this. There are Two main ways to learn.

Ramona Shaw [00:13:48]:
There are there are 3 main ways to learn. You can learn information, Knowledge. You can learn by doing things, and then you can learn through self reflection, and that Part falls at through self self reflection and by being coachable. So for example, if you’re moving into a leadership role, There is the way that you can learn about it is by understanding what’s the role of a leader, what are the job responsibilities. How do you give feedback? How do you make sure that you delegate work well? How do you manage and coordinate and keep up with all the different tasks and due dates that you’re in milestones that your team is pursuing. How do you track a performance and help someone boost their com performance or Recognize and intervene when someone’s underperforming. There are knowledge components to this. You have to learn tools, frameworks, Practices in order to do this well.

Ramona Shaw [00:14:54]:
That’s knowledge. The second one is the actual practice of it. So you have to go out And you have to give feedback a few times. And every time you do, you’re gonna get better at it just by the simple fact of repetition. Right? You get better at it. You get better at it and so forth. So for example, on a personal note, I’ve recently started doing resin art or, you know, using resin as a material to create, art. And every time I do it, I learn something new.

Ramona Shaw [00:15:22]:
I don’t always look things up on YouTube. It’s simply by Experimenting the tech different techniques that I learned, oh, this works. This doesn’t work. This was too much, too little. The, you know, the wood, and the and the resin interacted that way. I’ll do it differently next time around. So we’re learning all these things As we apply it, but then the biggest and strongest factor In growth is going to be your coachability. So this is when I then reflect after the fact, Not just by simply doing it, but now I’m looking at it, and I compare myself or my work or my conversations Over time and I think, what did I do well? What did I not do well? And why not? Was I, uncomfortable? Was I worried about other people are thinking or how the other person’s feeling, and so I sugarcoated my feedback? Was I, For example, rushing a hiring process and then hired someone wrong.

Ramona Shaw [00:16:29]:
What should I be doing differently, and how do I make sure this happen again. What were some blind spots that I had? That reflective part of the end and ideally enhanced with feedback from other people, conversations with other people who elevate that part. When you’re coachable, you’re leaning into that to the full extent, And that is a huge catalyst to growth. So, again, knowledge, application reflection and feedback. That’s the the 3rd the 3rd pillar in this, the biggest of them all. And because the world continues to evolve, Everything is dynamic around us. Relationships are dynamic. People grow and change.

Ramona Shaw [00:17:10]:
Roles expand and shrink and change. Companies do. Demands on employees do. Demands on leaders do. We can’t stagnate. If we stagnate, We’re falling behind. So regardless of how you engage at work and how big or small your goals are, There’s always going to be a need for you to evolve. The degree to which you evolve depends on how much knowledge You consume a new new information you absorb, how much you apply that information, and then To which degree you lean into that aspect of coachability and self reflection.

Ramona Shaw [00:17:54]:
Again, that last part is the biggest. Hence, this topic on the podcast. I want you to think about how coachable are you and in which of those four of coachability that we talked about. Are you the strongest? And in which 1 or ones are you maybe the weakest? And what could you do to dial that up a notch? As we’re thinking about the year ahead, as you’re thinking about your personal goals or your professional goals, how can you become More coachable. Give yourself a rating from 1 to 10 right now in your head. If 10 was Absolutely amazing at being coachable. 1 would be not coachable at all. What rating would you give yourself? And then how can you turn that up Two points.

Ramona Shaw [00:18:42]:
If you gave yourself a 6, what will need to change for you to give yourself an 8 in a month or 3 months from now? That is the big question. And the thing I hope you take away from this episode today, some food for thought. The clients that are the most coachable are most Definitely the ones who grow the fastest, and they’re the ones who blow my mind in what they’re able to achieve in a very short time frame. The changes are drastic, and they recognize, wow, I’ve come such a long way Reflecting back on our engagement or just a calendar year or a milestone, and they reflect back on where they were before. And it’s not that they just learned more in terms of skills in terms of skill sets. It’s really their ability to self reflect, their sense of accountability and ownership Changed their thoughts, how they see things, and their perspectives changed. The way that they feel changed, and the confidence that they have in themselves changed over time as well? So it is a big factor. It’s important for any professional who has career goals and wants to grow or just not stagnate and then as a result of that fall behind? If you are interested in coaching itself, in a coaching engagement where you have an External coach.

Ramona Shaw [00:20:01]:
Like, you you have an external coach, meaning someone who’s not employed by your organization, But, really, their single chop is to support you with achieving your personal goals, and that’s the only and that’s the That’s the only thing on a coach’s mind. That comes from external parties, and it can be tremendously helpful to lean into it And also strengthen your ability your level of coachability along the way too. So if you are interested, check the links below or head on over to ramona shah dot com If you want individual coaching, if you’re looking for executive coaching for your organization, go to arcova.org. All the links will be in the show notes. And with that, I’ll see you next week. Ciao ciao. If you enjoyed this episode, then check out 2 other awesome resources to help you become a leader people love to work with. This includes my best selling book, the confident and competent new manager, which you can find on Amazon or at ramona shaw.com/book, and a free training on how to successfully lead as a new manager.

Ramona Shaw [00:21:11]:
You can check it out at ramonashaw.com/masterclass. These resources and a couple more, you’ll find in the show notes down below.


  1. How would you define coachability in your own words based on the information provided in this episode?
  2. Reflecting on your own experiences, can you identify instances where you exhibited strong coachability or areas where you could improve in that regard?
  3. From your perspective, which of the strategies suggested in the episode could be implemented to enhance your level of coachability in a professional setting?


  • Learn how to turn your 1-on-1 meetings from time wasters, awkward moments, status updates, or non-existent into your most important and valuable meeting with your directs all week. Access the course and resources here: ramonashaw.com/11
  • Have a question or topic you’d like Ramona to address on a future episode? Fill out this form to submit it for her review: https://ramonashaw.com/ama



Grab your copy of Ramona’s best-selling book ‘The Confident & Competent New Manager: How to Rapidly Rise to Success in Your First Leadership Role’: amzn.to/3TuOdcP

If this episode inspired you in some way, take a screenshot of you listening on your device and post it to your Instagram Stories, and tag me @ramona.shaw.leadership or DM me on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/ramona-shaw

Are you in your first manager role and don’t want to mess it up? Watch our FREE Masterclass and discover the 4 shifts to become a leader people love to work for: ramonashaw.com/masterclass

Don’t forget to invest time each week to increase your self-awareness, celebrate your wins, and learn from your mistakes. Your career grows only to the extent that you grow. Grab your Career Journal with leadership exercises and weekly reflections here: ramonashaw.com/shop

Love the podcast and haven’t left a review yet? All you have to do is go to ramonashaw.com/itunes and give your honest review. Thanks for your support of this show!

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