The Power of The Coachable Mind: How an Open Mindset Drives Success

actions coachable leadership May 21, 2024

When I coached college basketball, one of the most powerful attributes a player could possess was coachability. The ability to receive information productively was crucial for both their success as a player, and for us collectively, as a team. As leaders and individuals aiming for personal and professional growth, being coachable is equally important. It helps us move forward, achieve our goals, and stay continuously prepared for success.

The Importance of Coachability

Being coachable involves two key types of information:

1. New Information: These are things we learn for the first time. Embracing new knowledge is essential for growth.
2. Fundamentals: These are core principles we need to revisit and refine. Even seasoned players need reminders of the basics, like shooting a basketball properly. Similarly, leaders need to continuously polish their foundational skills.

For example, every basketball player needs to understand how to shoot the ball correctly. This skill, fundamental since the sport's inception, must be taught and revisited regularly. As leaders, we need to be open to learning new things and refining our existing knowledge. It is as vital to our success as leaders as getting the ball into the basket has been since James Naismith nailed the peach basket to the wall the very first time. 

Open Mind vs. Closed Mind

A closed mind hinders growth by:

1. Seeing Obstacles: Challenges are inevitable, but a closed mind fixates on them, making it hard to overcome difficulties.
2. Dwelling on Mistakes: High achievers often make mistakes. A closed mind lives in these mistakes, engaging in negative self-talk that prevents moving forward.
3. Protecting Self: When we put ourselves first and resist new information, we close off potential growth. This fixed mindset keeps us from evolving.

In contrast, an open mind fosters a growth mindset by:

1. Seeing Opportunities: Challenges are viewed as opportunities to overcome obstacles and grow, even when immediate success isn't visible.
2. Learning Lessons and Moving Forward: Mistakes become tools for building strength. Learning from them equips us to handle similar situations better in the future.
3. Pushing Self: An open mind recognizes the benefits of new information and pushes towards improvement, both in new learnings and fundamental principles.

Developing a Coachable Mind

The journey to developing a coachable mind involves embracing a growth mindset. It means recognizing the importance of openness, continuous learning, and the refinement of skills. By doing so, we can navigate challenges, learn from mistakes, and push ourselves to achieve greater success.

The Wrap Up

Being coachable is a powerful attribute that drives success both on the basketball court and in life. By keeping an open mind, embracing new information, and continuously refining our fundamentals, we position ourselves for growth and achievement. Remember, the key to success is not just in what we know, but in our willingness to learn, adapt, and grow. Keep your mind open, stay coachable, and watch as you navigate change with confidence and resilience.

-Coach Mitchell