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Are You Coachable?

4 Signs You are Coachable & Ready to Embrace Change

I took a tennis lesson with a new coach last week and for the first time ever, it made me want to quit the game! The instructor was a real “fun sucker.”

Ironically, my partner was Dr. Annette Conway Marxen, a psychologist, and we quickly dissected why we were so distraught over the clinic. Of course, in short order, I translated it into broader lessons and am sharing them here.

You are Coachable When….

  1. The Goal Is Of Paramount Importance – Although I fancy myself a tennis player, I do NOT have the fantasy that I am competing at the Australian Open. In other words, tennis is for fun; it is not my career.  If your goal is critical, if you want it more than anything, you are ready!
  2. You Recognize that Change Is Hard – Oh, how we hate change! The status quo is easy. But, if you recognize that there will be pain and frustration before your break through, you have the right attitude.
  3. You Are At the Right Place in Your Life – During the last year, I put clients on hiatus from coaching as they dealt with death, divorce, and even a life-threatening attack. They had enough on their plate and more words would have fallen on deaf ears. Remember: to make significant strides, you must be in the right emotional place.
  4. You Are Humble – Whew! It takes courage to admit you don’t have all of the answers. (Boy! I know this one!) Coaching will stretch you and then recreate you. Get used to pushing your limits and then you will exceed them.


3 Signs That I Had the Wrong Coach!

When I think back to the dreadful tennis lesson, I realized it was a failure because of these 3 reasons:

  1. Lack of Positive Reinforcement – In my mind and in my nightmares, I hear echoes of “wrong” running through my head. There weren’t enough positive statements to counter her barrage of negatives.
  2. Single Explanation That Didn’t Resonate – This teacher repeatedly stated that I needed to follow her formula, but I didn’t understand her formula!. It was as if I was back in my childhood asking my mom “why?” only to hear “because I told you so.”
  3. Wrong Type of Coaching – I felt that I hit 4 balls within this 1 hour lesson; it was talk, talk, talk!!!!  BUT, I am both a kinetic and visual learner. I wanted to hit and to move.



  1. How do you know when you’re coachable?
  2. What changes have you made from coaching?
  3. Why do you think you’ve succeeded?

Please comment and share below.


Image courtesy of PinkBlue /
  1. NICE! Love how you included the 3 reasosns she didn’t work for you as well as are you coachable!

  2. Glad you liked it, Mandy!

  3. AND, here is Annette’s take on the positive and negatives of the tennis lesson from hell:

    Liz, This is incredibly insightful on your part and educational for your clientele. You and I are on the same page regarding the coach (from Hell)
    I always say, “What you pay attention to is what you get” When you focus on what a person is doing wrong, then it will only negatively reinforce those incorrect behaviors., but when you focus on more positive behaviors, it will increase the likelihood of those behaviors repeating themselves, and result in success. In other words, “ignore the negative, emphasis the positive” Also, teach by doing, not by talk, talk, talk!

  4. Thanks Liz! I have a feeling you will be coming up with some interview questions to qualify your next tennis coach!

    Business incubators test applicants for coachable characteristics. My experience in the Founder Institute was great because we were all coachable – the program participants and the mentors too – it kept the energy level and creativity high.

    Your coaching program helped me breakthrough to a new level – because, as a great coach, you meet people where they are, offer a new perspective and collaborate with them to get to their next step.

    Creative interview questions:

  5. I Love this article, Rhana!

    FYI: For my interview with Quaker Oats, I was asked: “If I were a consumer product, what product would I be and why?”

    I answered non-fat yogurt: new product, healthy, on-trend, and a little bit tart – like me!

  6. Thanks, Tom Shead, head Pro at Bay Club, for pointing out the need to “sandwich” your comments: negative between 2 slides of positive.

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