Are You Coachable?

September 25, 2018 / by Keely Keller

Editor's Note: This post was orginally published on the Chalk Blog at our sister company, Learners Edge.

Upping Your Game
One of my favorite things about being a mom is watching my son play football. Along with that comes passionate, often one-sided conversations after practices and games. Many times, these chats are fairly insignificant (in my mind anyway), as he attempts to teach me about trick plays like the “flea flicker” and the “statue of liberty.” He might even tell me how the right side of the offensive line isn’t “pushing off the ball.” (Of course, he’s on the left!) A few nights ago, though, he was talking to me about the feedback he was getting from his offensive line coach. Bear in mind, my son doesn’t take criticism well — even if it’s constructive. While listening to him, I realized that I had a teachable moment on my hands. What ensued was a great conversation about being “coachable.”

This conversation made me reflect on my time as a teacher. Was I coachable? Interestingly enough, I came up with this answer: “sometimes.” I began to think about the opportunities I've lost to learn and improve my instruction when I wasn’t so coachable.

Think about it. When you're given a chance to improve through feedback and reflection and you refuse to take that opportunity, aren’t you actually hurting yourself and your learners?

Now I’m asking you, “Are YOU coachable?” I bet your answer is similar to mine. Or maybe you're thinking, “Depends on who's doing the coaching” or “Is the coaching mandatory?” Regardless of the reason, if your answer is essentially no or sometimes, consider these ideas to improve your coachability:

First, develop a growth mindset. Research tells us that having a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset can have a positive impact on success. If we know we can get smarter, we'll realize that effort will make us stronger in our practice. We're even teaching students these concepts. Check out this article on the importance of teachers and staff having a growth mindset.
Next, realize that the coach is in your corner. They want you to do well. Always assume others have the best intentions.

VIDEO: Building Coaching Relationships 

VIDEO: Building Coaching Relationships 

  • Finally, consider the ripple effect. If you're coachable and willing to take feedback to improve, you model that for your students and colleagues. Additionally, your instruction becomes stronger, impacting student achievement positively — kids will learn more.

Whether you're in the classroom or on the football field, be coachable!

If you want to become a more coachable teacher, explore our Course 5022: One to One Instructional Coaching to Improve Your Teaching: Upping Your Game and check out Teaching Channel's Coaching Deep Dive.

How are you working to become more coachable? What benefits have you seen in your practice and in student learning? Share your ideas in the comments below.

Topics: Professional Learning, Coaching

Keely Keller

Written by Keely Keller

Keely Keller is the Director of Professional Programs for Learners Edge. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from St. Cloud State University, a Master of Arts in Education from Hamline University, and additional Director of Special Education and Principal Licensures from the University of Minnesota. Throughout her career, Keely served students with special needs and subsequently served as a Special Education Coordinator in a suburban Minnesota school district. She taught as an adjunct instructor at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and has been developing training and providing face-to-face and online professional development for many years. Professional learning is Keely's passion.

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