Do You Need Coaching? Are You Coachable?

Mark Goulston
5 min readDec 4, 2022

Most star athletes — think Steph Curry, Tiger Woods, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams — have coaches because a coach can see and point out things to them that make them perform better.

An executive or other coach at work can do the same thing. And yet, many people in the workplace are resistant or reluctant to hire or work with a coach.

That may be due to the fact that a coach in the workplace who is not focused on your technical skills (which your supervisor can help with) is focused more on your interpersonal skills.

Why is that important?

Because the higher up in an organization you are, the more you need to get things done through other people. Most CEO’s do little more than develop a vision and strategy and delegate everything else and raise funds and respond to issues brought up from/by their Board, all of which involve interpersonal communication.

The more open, approachable and clearer a communicator that CEO is, the more he/she motivates and inspires people to do things. The less open, approachable and poorer a communicator that CEO is, the more he/she deflates and demotivates people.

Why if it is so important, is there so much resistance to coaching?

Because even if the areas in need of improvement aren’t meant to be a personal assault, they can often feel that way. That is because they push into the areas of your personality — such as your EQ vs. your IQ — that you may be less competent at.

You needn’t look any further than your marriage or relationship with your children to see how the wonderful intentions of helping your loved ones can be perceived as being judgmental, critical and unloving.

Something to keep in mind in all your relationships is that you have more control over what and how you say something (even when you’re unaware of how you come across) than how the other person hears it.

Justifying and rationalizing to yourself that you only have the best of intentions is not enough to cover up for your coming across as insensitive.

Do you need a coach?

In 2015 “HBR Assessment: How Well Do You Communicate During Conflict?” an assessment — as the title indicated —…

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Mark Goulston

Dr. Goulston is the world's #1 listening coach and author of "Just Listen" which became the top book on listening in the world