As athletes, it seems like we’re all hyper-aware of our strengths and weaknesses. That level of awareness can be such a good thing. It helps us know what we want to improve on and make calculated and informed decisions about the goals we want to set for ourselves. It’s like a compass that guides us forward.
As coaches at Microcosm, we often hear athletes express some of that awareness by saying things like “I’m naturally good at running easy for hours and hours” or “I’m just not a fast runner, I need to improve my speed.” We also hear stuff like “I’m not a great climber,” or “I’m just not very good at running the flats.” Sometimes, athletes even take this a step further and use self-evaluation like this to start making critical judgments about their talent levels too.
Although each of us has our strengths and weaknesses, and of course an array of different talents that may underlie those strengths and weaknesses, it’s important to note a talent that we find vital to this process. Coachability.
What is coachability? Coachability is a person’s ability to be open and receptive to feedback and constructive criticism, as well as a willingness to implement that feedback.
Why is coachability important? Coachability is important because the better able you are at receiving and implementing feedback without putting up barriers, the faster you’re able to grow and improve. Athletes who are coachable tend to be more self-confident and spend less time being self-critical. All of this couples into that athlete’s ability to stay on track toward their goals and train more effectively for longer.
The best thing about coachability is that you can cultivate it over time. You can literally get better at receiving and implementing feedback with each entry in your training logs. Trusting the process, being vulnerable with your coach and providing extra context to the things you feel in the training process help improve the coach-athlete relationship. Build trust in your coach, and yourself. Take feedback without ego, and with courage and an open heart. That trust is what makes it easier to be receptive of feedback. It’s the bedrock of all we do here.
Just know that this is one of the hidden talents we feel is most important to growth in running. No matter where you’re at in becoming a more coachable athlete, you can continue to improve in this area and experience all the benefits that come along with it one entry in your training log at a time. Those small steps add up to big gains over years, so let’s get started!