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Erik Rebstock

Hi Steve -
I can't help but notice that the underlying theme of 'Coachability' and each of the five sub-tenets is humility. Arrogance is never coachable.

Deep Thoughts

The question that is then begged, is how do you help a team member who falls into the "uncoachable" definition supplied in the second sentence? To ignore the issue begs for more problems not only for the individual but for those around them as well, yet gentle encourage will be perceived as hostile actions validating the "survival mode" mentality the person already struggles with. How do you help someone who is desperately trying not to be introspective and open to change and constructive feedback?

Joe McFadden

You'd be amazed at what people are and aren't aware of about themselves. We are much more willing to discuss some shortcomings compared to others. A good manager has to be able to pin point what their employee is open to being coached on in order to develop an effective training program.

Kelly Platt

I agree Joe, and this is where a culture (and skills) of giving and receiving of feedback enables the 'blind' spots to be opened. Unfortunately in many organisations people duck or fluff feedback which isn't helpful to anyone. As leaders, we should set the example and also encourage feedback to be given to those around us...only then will people become more aware of areas they wouldn't.


I love reading this blog but this is a terrible post. Any one who has the 5 qualities listed above does not need coaching. You are describing a pretty englightened worker there, coach. I'd be happy to have just one of those qualities in myself and the people around me. It's the ones that are unaware but have the potential to be turned that are interesting, and I would have liked to read your perspective on identifying and coaching them.

Kapta Systems

I think if an employee is uncoachable than they are not an employee that will help the organization grow. A team member not willing to grow from within will not bring value long-term.

Steve Roesler


What I am describing is the range of characteristics that allow someone to be coachable. None of these describes actual performance. Instead, each describes an attribute that allows the individual to be accessible and open to new ways of doing things.

As for those who are unaware: until they reach the awareness that is described above, they aren't candidates for coaching but for more behavioral-based performance management regarding specific tasks and assignments. Coaching is designed to take highly motivated and self-aware people to new heights. On the other hand, performance management focuses solely on specific tasks that are not yet performed up to standard. The first is developmental. The second, remedial.

It's important to understand the distinction between the two.

Steve Roesler


Indeed, in any endeavor, participants who are unwilling or unable to learn new ways of seeing and doing things will drag down a group's performance and, until the issue is resolved, drain a great deal of the manager's mental and emotional resources and time.

Steve Roesler


I refer to that as a "high level of low awareness.":-) The moment an individual refuses to look in the mirror and see an accurate reflection is the moment that further growth ceases. When a manager sees this happening, it's time to urge the individual to a. Stop being defensive and start seeing clearly b. Understand that the organization cannot grow with individuals who will not grow.

Steve Roesler


That's a keen observation and, after re-reading, an accurate one. The absence of humility is the equivalent of closing a door to one's heart and mind.

It is, however, a choice. When an employee/colleague/child/spouse announces that they are tire of "new" and perfectly satisfied with thing as they are, it's a danger signal. Given that change and growth are constants, they are setting themselves up for failure and disappointment.

Steve Roesler

Deep Thoughts

One would wonder why someone is "desperately trying" to avoid introspection feedback. A a rule, if I encounter that, I usually pause, describe what I am experiencing, and ask directly: "What is stopping you from participating fully in life, since honest discussions about how we're doing is critical to our relationships, our learning, and our individual and collective success?" I then wait until the person responds, even if it takes a minute or two. Once you have named the issue in a caring, straightforward way, the responsibility for a response lies with the other person.

Thanks for adding that one. It may be more common than we realize.


Are you coachable? #in

John Waite

These points are a real insight into trying to determine the characteristics of coach-ability. There are, unfortunately, a number of people who aren't coach-able. But these people should definitely not be given up on, there needs to be an alternative method in place to coach these people. Maybe this could be a topic for a future post Steve?

Steve Roesler

Hi, John

You know, I like that idea (future post). Would you like to combine forces, based on our experiences?

Helping You Hire

I agree that if employees are not coachable then they are not employees who will help the organization grow and work towards its goals. These kind of employees will not benefit the company in the long-run as they are not willing to be coached/align themselves with the company's initiatives. From my experience working in the staffing solutions industry, I see firsthand how this plays out.

Chris Sammon

I strongly believe that this is something you have to try and work out early on. i.e the interview stage of hiring a new employee. I think the 5 points you raised are fundamental to a persons DNA who works in a team. If they dont comply with others and aren't willing to improve and change, that can affect the whole morale of a team!

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