It is impossible to know everything; even those considered experts in their fields lack all the answers. But chances are, you know someone who believes they know it all. Having this mentality stunts growth. In order to grow we must experience growing pains, some sort of discomfort, because in reality, learning can be painful. It isn’t pleasant being told you aren’t doing something right. This applies in all areas of life, but I’m focusing on sports today.
Being “coachable” is another way of saying an athlete is open to instruction and willing to use it to improve. When coaches give constructive criticism it is meant to help the athlete reach their full potential. But it’s easy to see it differently. It’s not uncommon for an athlete to feel like they are actually being told that they don’t measure up. They may become defensive, assuming the coach is just on their case or doesn’t like them. How they respond can have a lot to do with who the instruction is coming from and how it is said, but it has the most to do with how coachable the athlete is. If an athlete is willing to learn and grow, he or she will take that instruction and let it guide and motivate them to get better. Coachable athletes realize there is always a lesson that can be learned and something that can be improved upon. They are willing to put their egos aside and take the advice given to them.
Here are some ways to become more coachable:
1. Recognize that there is always a need to learn and room to improve. It speaks volumes when an athlete is constantly trying to expand their knowledge and advance their skills. Never stop learning, never stop improving.
2. Realize that most of the time a coach’s instruction is simply meant to be just that, instruction. He isn’t doing it to put down your abilities but rather to provide you with the necessary feedback to grow. Take his advice and get better. Even if you don’t think they are right—atleast you tried it their way.
3. Change your mindset and put your ego aside. If you want to grow there is no room for a giant ego. Be willing to learn from all people and experiences. You do not know it all—and that is ok. As long as you are open to learning, that is all that matters.
Author Brian Herbert once said, “The capacity to learn is a gift. The ability to learn is a skill. The willingness to learn is a choice.” God gave you the capacity to learn, develop that and choose to always learn—in all circumstances, good and bad. Become the coachable athlete you most certainly have the ability to be and if you do so, it will only help you to grow in knowledge and improve in skill.