16. From Good to Great: The Road to Becoming a Coachable Leader

Ep.16: From Good to Great: The Road to Becoming a Coachable Leader


Ever wondered what distinguishes a great coach from the rest? Prepare to unlock the secrets behind extraordinary coaching as we sit down with the dynamic co-founders of the 100 Coaches Agency, Jacquelyn Lane and Scott Osman.

This enlightening conversation promises to reveal the nuanced qualities that distinguish good coaches from outstanding ones. Jacquelyn and Scott, who’ve journeyed far and wide in the coaching world, divulge the distinctive attributes they’ve noted in truly impactful coaches, including their dedication to embody their teachings, their deep commitment to listening, and their relentless pursuit of holding their clients accountable for their goals.

But wait, it’s not just about being a great coach; it’s also about being a great coachee! In this fascinating discussion, Jacquelyn and Scott explore the importance of coachability for a successful coaching engagement. They share their unique Openness Framework to help leaders become better coachees.

They further stress the need to be open to changes, embrace feedback, take action, and be held accountable, both as a coach and a coachee. If you’re already in the coaching space or considering a venture into it, this is a must-listen episode packed with priceless insights.

Episode quotes

Qualities of a great coach

Jacquelyn: I think for me there’s one quality that separates good coaches from great coaches, and I think it’s that good coaches know how to talk the talk, but a great coach knows how to walk the walk. You know they really live what they talk about, and that makes an enormous difference. There’s someone who walks beside someone and can listen for a long time and ask great questions. I think some of the most powerful coaching I’ve observed is when something just gets unlocked in someone. They have a flash of insight. Or this moment where their life is really never quite the same, and that’s a powerful thing. Or someone who just calls out the best in someone, someone who can hold them accountable to reaching those goals. 

Scott: Number one, they’re able to develop a deep and trusted connection with the person they’re working with. So there’s complete openness and transparency and trust. And again, at the level that many of our coaches are operating in, that’s a very rare thing. You know, one of the things common among all top leaders is they don’t really have anybody that they can talk to in a trusted way, because everybody needs or wants something from them. So that ability to be that very close, trusted relationship is key. And then knowing what to do with that relationship, both in terms of, on the one hand, being respectful and, on the other hand, sometimes I would call it abrasively blunt, right, and tell them unabashedly what they need to hear. 

Coaches should not be afraid to be fired

Scott: One of the things that my heart really goes out to with coaches is you have to be not just willing but embracing of being fired, which is a little counterintuitive for people.

So if you’re afraid of being fired as a coach, then you’re not going to say the things that might get you fired, which are probably some of the things that the person you’re coaching really needs to hear. You just have to accept the fact that you’re going to say some hard things that people really don’t like. That may be the end, but that’s part of the price of coaching. That’s a great tone-setter, it’s what that is. 

On becoming coachable

Jacquelyn: We’ve had the great pleasure of doing this now for several years. We’ve witnessed over 300 executives and engagements and at that point now just started to aggregate what makes certain engagements successful versus others, and there’s really one characteristic that has consistently risen to the top, and that’s what we call coachability, which is dependent not on the quality of the coach, but rather on the quality and coachability of the leader. 

I mean, that is one of the core insights we had too, and this goes back to what I just said earlier about the great coaches walk the walk. Great coaches are also coachable people. They know what it means to receive coaching and, oftentimes, a great coaching relationship. A great coach is soliciting feedback from their client all the time. “Was this what you needed? Did you get something insightful out of this? How close were you to firing me today?” It’s all about continuing to exchange that feedback so that we can continue to grow and become better.

We can certainly talk about mindsets and qualities of people who are very coachable. But I think I’d first like to mention what we call our openness framework. And our openness framework is this idea that if you are open to making a change, if you are open to receiving feedback, you’re open to taking action and open to being held accountable.

That makes you coachable, and, of course, part of the reason we use the word, “becoming,” is because you never just arrive, you never are coachable. You are constantly becoming more and more coachable. And you are becoming more and more open all the time to those ideas.

But just, you know, if you can crack the door open a little bit, let that light shine through, and take that first step, then the coaching process will carry you, you’ll start to build some momentum, turn that flywheel. And I think people really start to see radical results from coaching.

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