How to tell if an employee isn’t coachable

One executive coach says there are seven warning signs you need to watch out for

How to tell if an employee isn’t coachable
Much has been said about the value of a coaching culture in the workplace and its positive impact on staff morale and motivation.

However, according to executive coach Henna Innam, leaders should also watch out for warning signs that the employee might not be open to being coached or mentored.

She said there are seven questions you should ask yourself to determine whether someone is coachable:

1)    Do they tune out when you give them feedback?
2)    Are they quick to find excuses?
3)    Are they enthusiastic when presented with new challenges?
4)    How willing is the employee to experience discomfort or have difficult conversations?
5)    How open is the employee to new ways of looking at a situation?
6)    Do you see the employee trying a different behaviour based on your feedback?
7)    How committed are they to their continued growth?

Pay attention to their body language and how defensive they are when you give them feedback, said Innam, who is also the author of Wired for Authenticity.

“To truly shift behaviours and rebuild relationships requires a level of humility and vulnerability,” she said, adding that if the employee is unwilling to admit when they are wrong and are quick to blame others, they may not be the right candidate for a coaching programme.

Furthermore, Innam said the coaching process is meant to help pinpoint what beliefs or behaviours are causing employees to derail their career. As a result, they should be open to new ways of doing things.

She also advised mentors and coaches to look at themselves when evaluating their relationship with the employee. If you as the mentor or coach are looking at the coaching process as a way to ‘fix’ the employee rather than working with them as a partner towards a shared goal, then perhaps it’s your mindset that needs to be changed, she said.

If you see the warning signs, and yet things don’t continue to improve, Innam advised that it might be better to “take a step back and evaluate whether this person is right for the role”.

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