By Valerie Martinelli, MPA – Leadership, Life, & Career Coach/ HR & Management Consultant

Whenever I receive a new coaching client, one of my initial thoughts is “this individual coachable?” What many may not realize is that wanting coaching services and being coachable are two very distinct concepts. When one is coachable, they are open to listening to feedback, able to receive constructive criticism without taking it personally, willing to examine your own performance to improve it. In addition, they do not fear new ideas, growth, improvement, or learning opportunities, and you’re ready to do what it takes to change, transform, improve, or excel. Being coachable is also directly related to your professional success and living a happy, productive life.

Being Coachable, Being Vulnerable

So, what is it that makes someone not coachable? Examples of those include always thinking that they are right, negativity, not open to change, not willing to learn new things, pessimism, the inability to self-reflect, do not care about improving life or relationships, disrespectful of others and/ or their opinions, putting others down, and generally unwilling to grow, learn, or do what it takes to improve.

There are, of course, misconceptions are well. Being coachable does not mean that one is weak, disempowered, or being a pushover. Some may relate being open and receptive to feedback to being weak or a pushover, which is not true. Some may also feel that if they are seeking out coaching that it means they are not good enough. Being coachable doesn’t mean that you do not have a voice. In fact, most clients feel that seeking coaching helps them find their voice and teaches them to use it wisely. Being coachable means that you have the perseverance, awareness, and determination to seek out someone to help you improve. It means you’re willing to discuss something that might help you improve a skill or a part of your life that you desire to improve.

“Being coachable is the secret to achieving many or most of your most of your dreams, even if it makes you feel vulnerable.”

Being coachable is about awareness and the ability to take golden nuggets from a situation and use them to your advantage. Wisdom can be found in being coachable because it means that you are paying attention to other people and the experience, wisdom, skills, and knowledge they have earned and you’re willing to listen closely enough to understand what may help you on your own journey.

In Val’s next article, she will explore coaching within the workplace and how a mindset can make or break professional success.


Valerie Martinelli, MPA is the CEO & Owner of Valerie Martinelli Consulting, LLC and Founder of Innovate 50/50. Connect with Val on Twitter @AskVMC or via website