Coaching is an invaluable tool for developing people and provoking behaviour change. But not everyone responds to coaching in the same way. Some people show resistance, while others thrive under the direction of a coach.
But are some people really more coachable than others? And if so, what makes them more coachable?
What is certainly key, is an individual’s willingness to change. Ultimately, coachability is a mental attitude. An individual has to want to change, to develop, and to improve. Without this, even the best coaches will struggle to make a difference.
Personality also plays a role in coachability. Some people are naturally more resistant to change than others. Some people find it more difficult to accept feedback or prefer to work on things on their own. Others may naturally be more inclined to seek out development opportunities, more excited by change and variety, and more likely to flourish with coaching.
Let’s take a closer look at the impact of personality.
What can an individual’s Facet5 personality profile tell us about their coachability?
On the one hand, high Will individuals could be very coachable. They tend to respect and value influence and therefore will take what a coach has to say seriously. They are also individually competitive and will relish opportunities to develop and improve. But on the other hand, high Will individuals can also be difficult to coach as they like to be able to do things their way. They can be stubborn and defensive if they feel like they are being told what to do or how to behave.
Low Will individuals are generally very receptive to coaching, as they like to seek advice from others and value their thoughts and input. However, they may not be as driven as others when it comes to embedding new behaviours, and therefore may be slow to change.
People with high Energy tend to speak more and listen less, therefore the struggle in coaching this type of individual might be in getting them to focus and shut out distractions. However, a high Energy individual is more likely to open up and share in a coaching conversation, which would prove to be beneficial. They also tend to like change and variety and are very adaptable.
People with low Energy tend to prefer to work alone, can find it uncomfortable being the centre of attention, and also value reflection time. Because of this, one-to-one coaching is the ideal situation for them. They do like to spend time focusing on things that are important to them, so if coaching gives them an opportunity to work on their own development, then chances are they will be very receptive to the idea. However, coaches may have to work slightly harder to get them to open up.
People with high Affection are generally open-minded and receptive to new ideas. And as they also tend to be supportive of others’ needs, they are likely to see the value of coaching quite clearly, acknowledging how it could help others. Their altruistic tendencies also mean they are likely to be concerned with how their behaviour affects others. It may be that this is what triggers them to change, so it's important for coaches to be aware of this.
Low Affection people can err towards being quite cynical, so there is a possibility that they may be more sceptical about the value of coaching. Whether they are receptive to the idea or not, they are more likely to approach it in a tougher, more focused way than someone with high Affection.
People with high Control like order, structure and planning. They also like to have goals to work towards and therefore may like the idea of coaching. They are conscientious and are likely to give their all to coaching sessions. Although, they could become frustrated if the coach doesn’t share their personal views about what is right and wrong.
People with low Control are likely to take a more casual and relaxed approach to coaching. They tend to be more instinctive and will go with whatever comes naturally from the sessions. However, they may have some difficulty focusing on the longer-term benefits. And it’s likely that they won’t respond well if they feel like they are being ‘pushed’ in a certain direction that they aren’t comfortable with.
People with high Emotionality believe they are capable of constant improvement. In one sense, this makes them an ideal subject for coaching, as their drive to be the best they can be means they take it seriously. However, they also tend to feel things more personally, which might lead to turbulence as well as difficulty focusing on key issues.
People with low Emotionality will likely take a more relaxed approach to coaching. They tend to be more confident and consistent, which might make them easier to coach. However, they can sometimes see themselves as unable to change - hence why they have no anxiety around who they are - and there is a risk they won’t fully invest in coaching because of this.
So, are there some personality traits that make people more coachable?
Ok, personality affects how people respond to coaching. But, everyone is coachable.
Using Facet5 personality profiling, we can understand and predict how people are likely to respond to coaching. This enables us to adapt our own approach so that we can support people, no matter their natural preferences, on their journey to being the best they can be.