Today I was working with some co-workers on a presentation for an upcoming conference. As I listened to the feedback from my teammates, I realized how important it is to listen. I have been guilty of not being honest with myself and the feedback provided to me. If we keep a chip on our shoulder and think we got this, we won’t grow.
I want to become a better speaker and presenter. I took copious notes from the two people sharing with me suggestions to improve the presentation. I see too many men who think they know it all and don’t have anything to learn others. The best amongst in any walk of life got there by working hard and embracing the criticism.
Willingness to Listen
In our hectic world we live in, our attention spans have shrunk down to 140 characters. When someone gives us some feedback, we usually lose interest quite quickly. A few years ago I heard Anthony Paustian talk about how we can do a better job actively listening to others. He suggested going old school and using pen and paper. When we listen with good eye-contact and take notes we will remember much more.
I know most men derive a great deal of self-worth from their occupation. I see too many cocky and arrogant men walking around out there. I have been that person at times in my life. Learning what real humility is can change your life and how people treat you. C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.”
Another trait that stands in our way of being coachable is the concern we are going to make a mistake. This reminds me of an excellent book. Now I know this title is going to make you scratch your head but, The Inner Game of Tennis is a beautiful book about understanding our mistakes. In the book, the author, W. Timothy Gallwey, details our two selves. Our first self is analytical and worries about outcomes. The second self is more unconscious and intuitive.
Gallwey gives us training exercises to keep our first self busy, so we let our bodies play the game. By letting go and embracing those mistakes, we can win at tennis or other activities of life. We perform at higher levels when we tap into our natural abilities.
Trust the Process
Coaching involves trusting the coach and the process they use. Most of us remember the movie Karate Kid. I am talking the original back in 1984. Pat Morita played Mr. Miyagi and used many unconventional methods to teach Daniel how to defend himself. Daniel did not initially trust in the process. He thought that Mr. Miyagi was crazy to have him painting fences, sanding floors and wax the car.
Working as a career coach, I talk to people all the time that don’t understand the process of coaching. These can be the hardest people to work with. Since they don’t believe that finding a career that better fits them mentally sabotage their progress. Change can only come to people who believe that things can get better.
To get better at anything takes a tremendous amount of time. As a kid, I enjoyed reading sports biographies about the many athletes I admired. One book I read about Larry Bird called Drive. In this book, Larry details how he would shoot baskets every day. He worked relentlessly on shooting free throws. He even would shoot every day during which the time he had a broken ankle.
Some might say Larry Bird was obsessed with basketball. I heard someone point out that truly successful people never question the person that gives time and sweat to achieving success. Only people who don’t know how hard it is to make say, “they are just a workaholic.” Who are you listening to? If you are a man, who wants to make something happen, give the full-time commitment to see it through.
Become A Coach
The steps to mastery start with learning something. Then you must do it yourself, and the last step is to teach it to someone else. In my career as a software developer, I have learned many new technologies. The ones I master are the ones I work with and then teach others how to use. To become coachable you must become a coach yourself. Coaches believe in the process and know to master something quickly they should hire a coach to see results.
Photo: Flickr/ Ben Raynal