posted on Monday, April 1, 2019
Ask any teacher, coach, or boss and they will tell you that they most enjoy working with those who are coachable (or teachable if you prefer). Being coachable is an important skill for both young and old– it’s a skill that can enhance the probability of a person or group becoming more successful.
Being coachable requires skills like listening, giving effort, having a desire to learn, accepting constructive criticism, and selflessness.
Ed Thomas showed me that leadership was a big part of people being coachable. He could take an individual who initially was resistant to the learning process, and help them to become coachable. He did this through discipline, respect, and building caring relationships with them. Ed Thomas saw the good in these young people and inspired them by helping them realize their potential. I never saw him motivate with negativity or by telling someone they couldn’t do it.
Being coachable is a sign of maturity– also explained as emotional maturity. Emotional maturity means we stay in control of our emotions; therefore controlling our actions. When someone coaches us, we are often told that we need to change our ways. If we are immature, this can cause us to react in an emotionally negative way. If we are coachable, we stay in control of our emotions and act in a proactive way to accept or at least learn from the feedback.
Leadership roles are also enhanced when leaders choose to remain coachable. As teachers and coaches, we often feel like we learn more than our students. Hopefully, we never forget that no matter what our position is, learning is lifelong. Even as adults, we can learn from the people in our community, workplace, family and church. As parents, we can motivate our kids to become coachable by supporting coaches and teachers whenever possible. Being coachable and mature means we first look within, without placing blame on others. When in leadership positions like teachers, coaches, and parents, we can help young people by role modeling emotional control and not acting out.
"Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it."
Try to remember that we can always learn. When others offer constructive criticism, do not become reactive and negative. Be mature and open to new ideas. Use the feedback to decide if you may benefit from learning.
Al Kerns & the Ed Thomas Family Foundation
This post is written by Al Kerns, a long-time friend of Ed Thomas and a team member with the Ed Thomas Family Foundation. Al coached with Ed for 30+ years at Aplington-Parkersburg.